Angry Robot

Neural Error

The output of neural networks makes me think about the delights of human learning. We are copycats. We only learn anything by iterating over hundreds or thousands of examples. But just when that process starts to seem dull or rote, we make a mistake. Mistakes are where invention hides. When the copying fails we see the gleaming of a new form.

Anyway, here’s a hilarious post from Lewis and Quark about terrible fake Broadway musicals.

Death when it comes will have no sheep.

Story titles, invented by neural network

I’m going through the Lewis and Quark archives because this shit makes me cry with laughter. Here’s a good one, that had me fantasizing about making trailers for:

Letting neural networks be weird • The neural network will name your next band

A lot of potential here, especially if you want a shark-themed band – and why wouldn’t you?

New paint colors invented by neural network

Or Aphex Twin track names?

I’m no big fan of Google these days but I have to admit their AI stuff looks pretty impressive.

Screen Plus Speakers Equals… Wait a Minnit

Amazon announced their long-rumoured Echo with a screen today and frankly I think this thing is a dog, but what do I know.

So this is basically… a smart TV for your kitchen? Is there any other room in the prototypical house for which this would be an appropriate arrangement of screens and speakers? In a living room a TV would probably be better, on a desk a computer would be better, and in a bedroom basically any one of tablet/laptop/TV would be better. My problem is I haven’t tried a normal Echo, and I gather it’s distinguished by an unusually effective voice service, so maybe if I got hooked on Alexa I’d want one of these.

There are plenty of rumours now of Apple getting into this game, and Phil Schiller spoke up saying he thought screenless smart speakers weren’t that useful. But I don’t think that means Apple is bringing out a smart speaker with a screen. I think it means they’ll bring out a smart speaker that will send stuff to your Apple devices that have screens, which is pretty much all of them. Apple needs to bring Siri up to the level of Alexa, integrate more smart home stuff with HomeKit, and make Siri something that is essentially ubiquitous in your home (could be the speaker, but the Watch gets you 90% there), and it could dominate this category right quick. Easier said than done, I guess.

A question few are asking is whether the tools of mass surveillance and social control we spent the last decade building could have had anything to do with the debacle of the 2017 election, or whether destroying local journalism and making national journalism so dependent on [the tech industry’s] platforms was, in retrospect, a good idea.

Lyrebird

Copy anyone’s voice based on a one-minute sample.
No, this tech won’t lead to huge problems at all!

Even if somebody can give you a reasonable-sounding explanation [for his or her actions], it probably is incomplete, and the same could very well be true for AI. It might just be part of the nature of intelligence that only part of it is exposed to rational explanation. Some of it is just instinctual, or subconscious, or inscrutable.

U of T professor Geoffrey Hinton hailed as guru of new computing era

O.G. Neural Net Gangsta

Apple Set to Join Amazon, Google, Facebook in AI Research Group