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October 2016

Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works (Sebastian Anthony)

Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto. The study was a success: the first two AIs learnt how to communicate securely from scratch.

The Google Brain team (which is based out in Mountain View and is separate from Deep Mind in London) started with three fairly vanilla neural networks called Alice, Bob, and Eve. Each neural network was given a very specific goal…

Source: Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works | Ars Technica UK

NVIDIA’s Stunning ‘Discovery’ Demo Shows Future of Industrial Design (Dominic Brennan)

At GTC Europe in Amsterdam last month, NVIDIA’s ‘VR Village’ was host to a number of cutting-edge virtual reality demos, many of which we’ve had our hands on before. But there was something new being shown behind closed doors.No cameras were permitted inside the booth, nor am I at liberty to say which brand was involved. Having no idea what to expect, I donned a Vive headset, and found myself in a typical 3D modelling environment (a grey void), standing next to a model of a popular four-door family sedan…

Source: NVIDIA’s Stunning ‘Discovery’ Demo Shows Future of Industrial Design

New Kind of Processor: Microsoft Bets Its Future on a Reprogrammable Computer Chip (Cade Metz)

It was December of 2012 and Doug Burger was standing in front of Steve Ballmer, trying to predict the future.Ballmer, the big, bald, boisterous CEO of Microsoft, sat in the lecture room on the ground floor of Building 99, home base for the company’s blue-sky R&D lab just outside Seattle. The tables curved around the outside of the room in a U-shape, and Ballmer was surrounded by his top lieutenants, his laptop open. Burger, a computer chip researcher who had joined the company four years earlier, was pitching a new idea to the execs. He called it Project Catapult.

The tech world, Burger explained, was moving into a new orbit. In the future…

Source: Microsoft’s Internet Business Gets a New Kind of Processor | WIRED

Elon Musk’s Wild Ride – Biographer Ashlee Vance examines the troubles at Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity (Ashlee Vance)

Elon Musk recently took the stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, for the performance he’s waited a lifetime to give. Sporting a new, oddly manicured mustache, Musk did his best shy Tony Stark impersonation, informing a crowd of space enthusiasts that, yes, he does plan to colonize Mars. Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, will send thousands of rockets and people to the Red Planet—perhaps within the decade and perhaps at a cost of just $10 billion. Some of the astronauts will die as part of the experiment. Others will live out their days in … well, Musk was not very specific on that…

Source: Elon Musk’s Wild Ride

Great piece on the Future of Transportation & Mobility: Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service (Ben Thompson)

In the eight months since I wrote Cars and the Future, there has been an explosion in news about the future of transportation, much of it in the last few weeks:

  • Ford announced plans for its own car-sharing service built around self-driving Fords
  • Elon Musk penned a second master plan envisioning a future car-sharing service built around self-driving Teslas
  • Nutonomy launched a trial in Singapore of its own ride-sharing service built around Renault and Mitsubishi vehicles modified to be self-driving
  • Uber announced its own self-driving trial in Pittsburgh in partnership with Volvo. Uber alsoacquired self-driving startup Otto, founded by former members of Google’s self-driving team
  • And, speaking of Google, Alphabet executive David Drummond stepped down from Uber’s board a day before the company announced an expansion of its Waze-based ride-sharing service from Israel to Uber’s home city of San Francisco

Source: Google, Uber, and the Evolution of Transportation-as-a-Service – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

I like this thought: “Automation is Making Us Dumber…and That’s a Good Thing” (Ben Noble)

“What a strange practice it is…that a man should sit down to his breakfast table and, instead of conversing with his wife, and children, hold before his face a sort of screen on which is inscribed a world-wide gossip.”

If I attributed the above quote to my dad, if I said he was talking about smart phones, you’d believe me. And if your dad is anything like mine, he’s probably said similar things too…just maybe less like an old-timey newsman. And what’s more, the quote actually sounds like something hisdad might have said , except his dad would have been talking about the TV, not iPads (and actually would have sounded more like an old-timey newsman)…

Source: Automation is Making Us Dumber

Often underestimated: Driverless Cars Need Just One Thing – Futuristic Roads (Brent Skorup)

Driverless cars have moved with remarkable speed from DARPA-funded fantasy to picking up passengers on the streets of Pittsburgh. The excitement is justified, in part, because there’s much to gain. A single, shared autonomous vehicle could replace roughly 11 privately-owned vehicles, according to a recent University of Texas study. By reducing the number of cars on the road, self-driving vehicles could cut traffic, emissions, and urban sprawl, while improving safety and saving money for the millions of households that would no longer have to own a vehicle.

Yet we’re still a long way from adopting a futuristic fleet of driverless vehicles, and the main obstacle is navigation. Manufacturers teach their cars to move by employing fleets of drivers who travel the streets in ordinary cars, scanning for changes in previously mapped roads…

Source: Driverless Cars Need Just One Thing: Futuristic Roads

The combination of Human and Artificial Intelligence will define Humanity’s future (Bryan Johnson)

Through the past few decades of summer blockbuster movies and Silicon Valley products, artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly familiar and sexy, and imbued with a perversely dystopian allure.

What’s talked about less, and has also been dwarfed in attention and resources, is human intelligence (HI).

In its varied forms — from the mysterious brains of octopuses and the swarm-minds of ants to Go-playing deep learning machines and driverless-car autopilots — intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource in existence. Our own minds are the most familiar examples of a phenomenon characterized by a great deal of diversity…

Source: The combination of human and artificial intelligence will define humanity’s future | TechCrunch

Great Piece on where we might be heading with AI: Is Artificial Intelligence Permanently Inscrutable? (Aaron M. Bornstein)

Dimitry Malioutov can’t say much about what he built.

As a research scientist at IBM, Malioutov spends part of his time building machine learning systems that solve difficult problems faced by IBM’s corporate clients. One such program was meant for a large insurance corporation. It was a challenging assignment, requiring a sophisticated algorithm. When it came time to describe the results to his client, though, there was a wrinkle. “We couldn’t explain the model to them because they didn’t have the training in machine learning.”

In fact, it may not have helped even if they were machine learning experts. That’s because the model was an artificial neural network, a program that takes in a given type of data—in this case, the insurance company’s customer records—and finds patterns in them. These networks have been in practical use for over half a century, but lately they’ve seen a resurgence, powering breakthroughs in everything from speech recognition and language translation to Go-playing robots and self-driving cars…

Source: Human and Artificial Intelligence May Be Equally Impossible to Understand

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