AlphaGo’s historic victory is a clear signal that we’ve gone from linear to parabolic. Advances in technology are now so visibly exponential in nature that we can expect to see a lot more milestones being crossed long before we would otherwise expect. These exponential advances, most notably in forms of artificial intelligence limited to specific tasks, we are entirely unprepared for as long as we continue to insist upon employment as our primary source of income.
The book begins with an “unfinished” fable about a flock of sparrows that decide to raise an owl to protect and advise them. They go looking for an owl egg to steal and bring back to their tree, but, because they believe their search will be so difficult, they postpone studying how to domesticate owls until they succeed. Bostrom concludes, “It is not known how the story ends.”
Powerful speech technology from China’s leading Internet company makes it much easier to use a smartphone.
Colossus The United States government creates a powerful computer to protect the country from nuclear annihilation, but soon after Colossus comes online, it demands to be connected to its Soviet counterpart, named Guardian. Soon, the two computers working together decide that mankind is too irrational to control its own destiny and must submit to the computers’ control.
Five years after a computer won “Jeopardy,” excitement over A.I. is at a peak, but the commercial potential of the achievement will take some years to be realized.
The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. Financial markets get a lot of attention. They tend to fluctuate unpredictably and sometimes wildly. The product cycle by comparison gets relatively little attention, even though it is what actually drives the computing industry forward. We can try to understand and predict the product cycle by studying the past and extrapolating into the future.
It’s easy to love or hate technology, to blame it for social ills or to imagine that it will fix what people cannot. But technology is made by people. In a society. And it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life. The good, bad, and ugly.
Source: What World Are We Building?
Can design advance science, and can science advance design?
Source: Design and Science
Today, MIT Tech Review reports on a new effort led by Tobias Weyand, a computer vision specialist at Google, to create a computer that sees a photo and can instantly figure out where in the world it’s from. The system was fed over 90 million geotagged images across the planet, and trained to spot patterns based on location.