Will computer mimic humans?


What will tomorrow’s computers look like? Nothing like today’s

Decades from now, how will we communicate with our smart devices? Probably the same way we communicate with the real people in our lives today. USC computer scientist Andrew Gordon predicts human-computer relations in the next few decades could actually bear a striking resemblance to how 1960s-era sci-fi filmmakers imagined them. Remember Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey? “The whole spaceship is the computer in this model,” says Gordon. “You don’t type into it; you talk to it as if it were a person.” (Ideally, it won’t be prone to psychotic malfunctions.) A research associate professor with USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, Gordon is an expert in storytelling and machine intelligence. In a recent lecture titled “Mind-Reading for Robots,” he argued that human-computer interaction of the future will look a lot like the human-human interactions of today. ….[READ]

Virtual environments are not real for our brain


Brains Aren’t Fooled By Virtual Reality

The scenes and the environments in World of Warcraft games appear so real that, for a moment, you forget you are staring at the screen. Technology has advanced so much that we can not only recreate reality but also engage with it. But however real the virtual may seem, the brain knows the difference! According to the recently published findings, the neurons in the brain react differently when they perceive a virtual environment than when they are in the real world. The GPS Cells in Our Brains.The clue to the brain’s varied responses to different environments lies in the “GPS” or place cells. These neurons in the hippocampus create and control cognitive maps by taking input from the environment. ….[READ]

The slope of enlightenment


When Are New Technologies Ready For Business Development?

Exponentially advancing technologies (networks and sensors, infinite computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic biology, 3D printing, etc.) are producing disruptive growth and have begun transforming our world. However, the “expert only” nature of their interfaces and their stratospheric price tags have kept them primarily in the hands of billion-dollar companies. But this is starting to change. Decreasing prices, increasing performance, and the development of far friendlier user interfaces are making these platforms available to any and all. Thus each of these technologies hover on the verge of widespread adoption, and for those entrepreneurs able to stay ahead of this curve, the opportunities are considerable. If we want to stay ahead of this curve, it helps to understand a little more about the nature of exponential deception. That starts with understanding the powerful biases that inform the Gartner Hype Cycle. ….[READ]

The virtual reality camera


Lytro raises $50 million to shift from still cameras to virtual reality

Lytro plans to bring its unique camera technology to video and virtual reality, giving the tech new opportunities to catch on. According to Recode, Lytro is raising money and cutting jobs in order to facilitate the transition. It’s raised $50 million in funding in a round led by GSV Capital that bumps the company’s valuation 5x. At the same time, Lytro is cutting 25 to 50 jobs from its current roster of 130. “We are going to have to make some cuts in some areas so we can staff up in some new ones,” Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal tells Recode. Rosenthal tells Recode that he believes Lytro’s light-field technology is the “perfect solution” to recording video for virtual reality. ….[READ]

Can you play better than robots?


Artificial Intelligence Goes to the Arcade

A shaky video, recorded with a mobile phone and smuggled out of the inaugural First Day of Tomorrow technology conference, in April, 2014, shows an artificially intelligent computer program in its first encounter with Breakout, the classic Atari arcade game. Prototyped in 1975 by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, with assistance from Steve Jobs, the other co-founder of Apple, Breakout is a variant of Pong, in which a player knocks bricks from a wall by hitting a ball against it. After half an hour of play, the A.I. program is doing about as well as I would, which is to say not very—but it is trying to move its paddle toward the ball, apparently grasping the rudiments of the game. After another thirty minutes, two hundred rounds in, the A.I. has become a talented amateur: it misses the ball only every third or fourth time. The audience laughs; isn’t this cool? ….[READ]

Can artificial intelligence be creative?


AI: Artificial Imagination?

Most of us are fascinated by creativity. New ideas in science and art are often hugely exciting – and, paradoxically, sometimes seemingly “obvious” once they’ve arrived. But how can that be? Many people, perhaps most of us, think there’s no hope of an answer. Creativity is deeply mysterious, indeed almost magical. Any suggestion that there might be a scientific theory of creativity strikes such people as absurd. And as for computer models of creativity, those are felt to be utterly impossible. But they aren’t. Scientific psychology has identified three different ways in which new, surprising, and valuable ideas – that is, creative ideas – can arise in people’s minds. These involve combinational, exploratory, and transformational creativity. The information processes involved can be understood in terms of concepts drawn from Artificial Intelligence (AI). They can even be modelled by computers using AI techniques. ….[READ]

Is there augmented reality in your future?

CastAR made a video imagining the future of augmented reality

It’s been almost two years since we got to try out an early version of CastAR’s mixed reality glasses. They were a crude prototype back then, specked with hot glue and bare chips that took one engineer 40 hours to solder. Since then, its founders have cleaned up their design, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, and have just sent out CastAR’s first shipments. CastAR started as the pipe dream of two ex-Valve employees, Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, who began work on the project after getting laid off in 2013. The CastAR concept is different than Oculus or Google Glass, because it beams out a miniature virtual reality that users can interact with in the real world. ….[READ]