CES 2020: ‘Robots for Good’ Advocates See Hopeful Future

A conference on “Robots for Good” sought to allay increased fears that robot overlords will soon rule the world and make humans redundant in the workforce. UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, who heads a robotics lab there, spoke about his “radically hopeful vision of the future.” Robots will not replace humans, he said, but rather enable people to focus on what they do best: creativity, innovation, empathy and other inherent human traits. Goldberg also put the fear of robots in historical perspective. Continue reading CES 2020: ‘Robots for Good’ Advocates See Hopeful Future

DeepMind’s AlphaZero Defeats Leading Chess Game Engine

Alphabet’s London-based DeepMind loosed AlphaZero, its AI-powered system that can master games without human intervention, on Stockfish, the highest rated chess game engine, and crushed it. DeepMind developed the self-training method, dubbed deep reinforcement learning, specifically to attack strategy board game “Go,” and an earlier iteration of the system beat one of the world’s best “Go” players, although it needed human guidance. AlphaZero trained itself in chess in three days, rejecting red-marked moves after a mere 1,000 simulations. Continue reading DeepMind’s AlphaZero Defeats Leading Chess Game Engine

DeepMind’s Learning Algorithm Could Prove a Game-Changer

DeepMind recently released the full evaluation of AlphaZero, a single system capable of playing “Go,” chess, and shogi (Japanese chess). This new project builds on AlphaGo, a program that beat one of the best players in the world at the board game “Go” in 2016, and AlphaGo Zero, software capable of mastering the game from first principles. AlphaZero represents a dramatic step forward in AI research as it is one of the first intelligent systems capable of generalizing solutions to new problems with little to no human input. Continue reading DeepMind’s Learning Algorithm Could Prove a Game-Changer

OpenAI Beats Human-Player Team at Complex Video Game

OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research group backed by Elon Musk, stated that its software can beat “teams of five skilled human players” in Valve’s video game “Dota 2.” If verified, the achievement would be a milestone in computer science and a leap beyond other AI researchers working on mastering complex games. IBM’s software mastered chess in the late 1990s, and Alphabet’s DeepMind created software that dominated “Go” in 2016. “Dota 2” is a multiplayer sci-fi fantasy game where teams advance through exploration. Continue reading OpenAI Beats Human-Player Team at Complex Video Game

Google App Engine Supports More Programming Languages

At Google Cloud Next in San Francisco, Google announced its overhauled version of App Engine, the company’s platform-as-a-service for building application backends. “The big news is that App Engine now supports any programming language,” reports TechCrunch, “so a developer can create the app in whatever language they are comfortable using. Google sees this as a game changer, making the platform more open, which is a big theme with the company as it transitions to try and lure enterprise customers.” App Engine was originally a closed environment, but the new version is open and initially supports seven languages (Java 8, Ruby, Go, Python 2/3, C#, PHP 5/7 and Node.js). Continue reading Google App Engine Supports More Programming Languages

CES: From Learning to Thinking Machines – the AI Explosion

Artificial Intelligence is finally here. After nearly 50 years in the doldrums of research, the science of designing “thinking machines” has jumped from academic literature to the lab, and even from the lab to the store. This is largely because its precursor, machine learning, has been enjoying a dramatic revival, thanks in part to the commoditization of sensors and large-scale compute architectures, the explosion of available data (necessary to train advanced machine learning architectures such as recurrent neural networks), and the always burning necessity for tech companies to find something new. We expect AI to have a significant presence at next month’s CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading CES: From Learning to Thinking Machines – the AI Explosion

Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

Google’s DeepMind division has improved the speed and performance of its machine learning system with technology whose attributes are similar to how animals are thought to dream. Dubbed “Unreal” (Unsupervised Reinforcement and Auxiliary Learning), the system learned to complete Labyrinth, a 3D maze, ten times faster than the best existing artificial intelligence software and can now play up to 87 percent of expert human players’ performance. DeepMind researchers will now be able to try out new ideas much more quickly. Continue reading Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Shaping the Future

Although up until now, augmented reality has had an inauspicious debut — think Google Glass — it’s poised to transform how we interact with computers in the next two decades. AR now has technical limitations including a narrow field of view, less-than-ideal resolution and latency issues. Furthermore, the only way to interact with AR is via bulky glasses or helmets. But many experts believe that we are in the midst of a speedy evolution to the point where AR will enable us to project a virtual screen on every surface. Continue reading Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Shaping the Future

HBO GO to Provide Streaming Content to iOS and Android Devices

HBO announced that its streaming service HBO GO will soon offer more than 1,400 titles for streaming via iPads, laptops and smartphones. According to the press release: “HBO subscribers can instantly watch every episode of classics like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and Deadwood and current award-winning series like Boardwalk Empire, Entourage and True Blood as well as blockbuster theatricals – where they want, when they want.”

HBO made its announcement with a YouTube video posted last week. The service will be available for iOS and Android devices.

The HBO promotional video suggests May 2nd as a launch date. The press release specifies that HBO GO will be available to HBO subscribers through Comcast XFINITY TV, Verizon FiOS, Cox Advanced TV and AT&T U-Verse customers. Surprisingly, Time Warner Cable is not currently included in the list of providers (HBO is owned by Time Warner).

HBO was in the news earlier in the year after senior vice president of corporate affairs, Jeff Cusson told The Hollywood Reporter that HBO “has no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix,” adding that the company “believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content.” It looks like the new capabilities of HBO GO support that strategy.

Related CNET story: “HBO Go teased for iPad, iPhone, Android” (4/19/11)

Related Gizmodo post: “HBO Go Will Bring Every Episode of All Their Shows to iOS and Android” (4/19/11)