Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Until real artificial intelligence hits the scene, there is always artificial artificial intelligence. In 2005, amazon launched mechanical turk, a website (with a pretty cool name) that allows workers and employers to create a global marketplace for those simple online tasks that stump even the smartest web crawlers. Amazon calls these tasks "HITs" (human intelligence tasks) and links those that are willing to complete them with those who are willing to pay.
Even if amazon's HIT market hasn't been a runaway success (and has been criticized as a virtual sweatshop) it makes for some pretty interesting possibilities. Quarter stories, created by new media guru Phil Lamplugh, is a series of stories written by mechanical turks who are paid 25 cents to find inspiration in a photo from Lamplugh's life.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Twitter delayed its scheduled maintenance yesterday after a meeting with the US State Department. The State Department highlighted that Twitter was a very important form of communication in Iran. Like in Moldova, Twitter has help facilitate the organization of protests in the country. Full story.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I think many who heard about Microsoft's new search engine expected a flop. But 'Bing' rivals google in search results and may even make some improvements in personality features and search result organization. Slate discusses the new engine on the block here, and mentions the short-lived interest in Topsy, a search engine powered by tweets.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Raja Parasuraman calls neuroergonomics "the merger of neuroscience, the study of the brain, with ergonomics, the study of how to design systems and technologies to be more compatible with what we know about human capabilities and limitations." Full story here.
UCLA find that in older adults, googling and surfing the internet stimulates and may actually improve brain health. "The researchers noted that compared with reading, the Internet’s wealth of choices requires that people make decisions about what to click on, an activity that engages important cognitive circuits in the brain." Full story here.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In a recent TechCrunch article, Eric Schonfeld discusses a metaphoric shift. For the internet, the dominant metaphor is that of a book, with pages. Now, more and more we are seeing something that looks more like a stream (First with RSS and now with twitter and friendwall). These sites are driving a trend toward fluid, INSTANT information. Traditional websites can't afford not to take note. Schonfeld says "The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness."
It does seem interesting that a decade or so after the 'surf' metaphor we get another water-based metaphor in 'stream.' Are we kayakers now? Or still surfing the rapids of the stream. I need someone to organize all the water for me? Maybe a water management technician? A beaver?
(Ward, thoughts on this?)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
On May 18th Stephen Wolfram will release the search engine Wolfram Alpha. The program, which is already getting use in the scientific community, employs sophisticated algorithms to answer questions like how high is Mt Everest, what is the fish production in Italy, and what was the weather in London on the day John F Kennedy was killed.
Although not ready to replace traditional search engines like google, Wolfram Alpha shows the potential power 'understanding' searchers questions by utilizing artificial intelligence techniques. (full story here).
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
First it was Gary Kasparov, now Alex Trebek. IBM's newest game-playing super computer (named Watson) is set to compete against human contestants in the game show Jeopardy. These occasional publicity stunts are a great way to bring awareness to the huge strides in the field of artificial intelligence.
Compared to chess (in which IBM's Deep Blue defeated Kasparov), Jeopardy is a much different challenge and will tax Watson's grasp on the nuances of the English language. Thus far Watson's performance has been mixed:
For example, given the statement, “Bordered by Syria and Israel, this small country is only 135 miles long and 35 miles wide,” Watson beat its human competitors by quickly answering, “What is Lebanon?”
Moments later, however, the program stumbled when it decided it had high confidence that a “sheet” was a fruit.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The Economist explores the concept of the connectome and the push to map it:
For, just as every organism has a genome (the complete set of its genes, as encoded in its DNA), every organism with a nervous system has a connectome (the complete set of its nerve cells and the connections between them). In practice, of course, a connectome will change over the course of time as new connections form and old ones die. But that does not stop people like Dr Lichtman dreaming of a Human Connectome Project inspired by the success of the Human Genome Project.