Results tagged “AI” from kwc blog

Google bits


Update: my account has IMAP support now. For the first time I can send e-mail from my iPhone using that account. I also don't have to go through the duplicate effort of deleting e-mails twice anymore -- though that could sometimes be a plus.

Lost in Translation


The same person responsible for distracting me with various puzzles is also working on a portable English-Arabic translator for US troops: Wired article on the project. Such a technology is clearly important and could save lives, but I find the goal of translating troops amusing. I spent several of my formative years living next to Marine barracks. Are there really enough phrases in Arabic to cover the various ways that you can insult someone's mother? Perhaps, but you do you translate the insult literally or do you choose a comparable Arabic phrase with an equivalent level of insult?

Conference naming


The Jap in me finds this amusing. The poster for this conference has "NIPS" in nice big letters.


FYI: The 2005 conference will be held in Vancouver.

Talk: A Theory of Neocortex


A Theory of Neocortex and its Implications for Machine Intelligence Jeff Hawkins Founder Palm Computing, Handspring Director, Redwood Neurosciences Institute Author of On Intelligence

Neuro fuzzy


Plenty of news to report, which I may get to tomorrow, but for now, enjoy the latest and greatest in AI technology, the super "neuro fuzzy" rice cooker:


Anthropomorphic iPod


My post frequency is down, so I'm going to cheat and mine a post from an e-mail thread.

This New York Times has an article on people and their iPods, and more specifically, how people attribute a higher level of intelligence to their iPods than actually exists. For example,

The iPod "knows somehow when I am reaching the end of my reserves, when my motivation is flagging," Mr. Greist insisted. "It hits me up with 'In Da Club,' and then all of a sudden I am in da club."

People also seem to think that the iPod favors certain artists, and point to the fact that the songs by the same artist will frequently play in proximity to one another. Often this artist will be someone the person likes, so they think that the iPod has learned their music tastes.

Personally, I think this viewpoint may be a result of how humans have a hard time comprehending random.

There is a problem that math/CS majors study called the Birthday Paradox, which asks "given N people, what is the probability that 2 have the same birthday?" It only takes 23 people for the probability to reach 50%. When we did this in class it only took ~15 people before we had two of the same birthdays. (Rubin reminds me that birthdays are not actually distributed evenly throughout the year, so the probability of having two people with the same birthday is actually much higher "since people in certain weather areas always seem to get randy around the same time").

This problem has applications to the iPod shuffling problem. Assuming that you had an equal number of songs from 100 different artists, then you would need 12 songs for there to be a 50% probability of at least two songs by the same artist (100 different artists). This doesn't mean that the songs by the same artist are 12 songs apart; it just means within that span of 12 songs there are at least 2 songs by the same artist, which means on average they will be a lot closer than 12 songs apart. If there are only 50 artists, then it only takes 9 songs, and for 200 artists it takes 17 songs.

However, like the Birthday Paradox, these assumptions are unrealistic: there are definitely artists that we have a lot more songs of, and soundtracks also inflate the number of artists. We also, as the article points out, buy more music of the kind we like. Putting this all together, even if the iPod is being completely random, it should be the case that you frequently hear songs by the same artist close together, and that artist will likely be someone you like. Thus, through complete mindless randomness, the iPod has 'learned' all about your preferences.

(I didn't verify any of the math I used in this entry)

AAAI Photos: Maze of Carnage


I forgot who set this booth up. I assume it was an obstacle course for search and rescue robots, but as I gazed across the scene and witnessed the disembodied limbs sticking up in the air, waving back and forth, and the mannequins ripped in half in various trapped positions, I couldn't help but think that with a little more red paint they might have a good haunted house for Halloween.


AAAI Photos: Personal Rover


Although the conference floor was rather sparse with booths, there were two booths that caught my attention: NASA and a Maze of Carnage. The NASA booth had a small playpen with one of their personal rovers that I thought was pretty neat. Its head has a tilting camera that can be programmed to take panoramic photos. Granted, the resulting photo is stitched together horribly, but you forgive the robot for its cuteness.


Peter Norvig, Google

AAAI Summary


I don't expect anyone other than myself to actually go through all the talk notes I've been posting, but I will point to three in particular that I enjoyed and thought were useful. The first was a tutorial on Automating the Design of Visualizations, which was a great blend of cognitive science, computer science, and user studies to help try and foster better computer-generated visual designs (target audience: people with Tufte on their shelves).

Two of the invited talks, AI and the New Exploration Vision (NASA) and If Not Turing's Test, Then What? are high-level enough to be approachable. The NASA talked a lot about the technologies they are using/will use/want to use in their Mars and future lunar missions. The Turing talk discusses some of the grand challenges for AI and was also a meta talk about the properties of grand challenges.

I find myself drinking from the fire hose here -- many of the talks were topics that I knew little or nothing about, nor had any mathematical background for. If you don't understand my notes, rest assured that I may not understand them little, though being at the conference is rather like learning a foreign language in a foreign country, with the immersion making for quick study.

Update: Added to photo entries
- Mars Personal Rover
- Maze of Carnage

Multi-robot task allocation

A Case Study from Artificial Life Matthias Scheutz, Notre Dame

Brian Magerko, John E. Laird, Mazin Assanie, Alex Kerfoot, Devvan Stokes

Information on a storytelling environment built in Unreal Tournament.

Talk: Real Robots for the Real World


Sebastian Thrun, Stanford

This talk was mostly over my head in terms of the math, but the work is interesting.

Talk: AI and the New Exploration Vision


Dan Clancy, NASA

I enjoyed this talk -- it was a survey of NASA's current AI-based missions, including current and future Mars missions (Sojourner/Spirit/Opportunity). metamanda would have liked at least one point the talk made, which was that NASA is working on a personal rover robot to create/inspire kids, and in particular, girls. They have found in their exhibits that robots are more engaging to girls than boys, who enjoy the embodied interaction, so they see in it an opportunity to bridge a gender gap as well as inspire a future generation in NASA's vision. It was interesting how the Personal Exploration Rover pictures really did look like baby versions of the Spirit/Opportunity rovers, i.e. there was a certain amount of anthropomorphism to the vehicle, and it appeared child-like that could help engender a care-taker relationship between a kid and the robot.

Read on for notes.

Maneesh Agrawala, Julie Heiser, and Barbara Tversky Tutorial session at AAAI

Two implemented systems explored for automated design of visualizations: map routes and assembly instructions. Map routes system (LineDrive) used by MapBlast (now

Three parts to talk: cog sci/CS background, map routes, assembly instructions.

Notes: Stochastic Local Searches


Tutorial session at AAAI


AI in computer games


I like video games. I work in an AI lab. I am compelled to post this: AI in Computer Games - Can Computer Games Employ AI Artfully? (ACM Queue)

QotD: Artificial "Intelligence"


INS officer: "'American Association for Artificial Intelligence'? What's that? Sounds...subversive."

INS officer: "'American Association for Artificial Intelligence'? Does that have anything to do with 'intelligence'? Co-worker: "No"

(Courtesy of two co-workers who have recently dealt with the INS)