Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 160
We all know the future is filled with robots, so it should come as no surprise that the University of Science and Technology of China is showing off its impressively realistic robot, Jia Jia.
Jia Jia looks more human than previous robots, and is capable of interacting with real humans, and can make realistic facial impressions. Jia Jia can tell you if she senses that you're taking unflattering pictures of her, where she'll say: "Don't come too close to me when you are taking a picture. It will make my face look fat".
The researchers spent three years designing Jia Jia to make sure that her mouth moves when she speaks, and that her eyes glance around the room naturally. Jia Jia can't laugh or cry just yet, and her hands still don't look super realistic, yet. The next version of Jia Jia will look better, with the researchers continuing to work on the robot without any plans of mass production. Team leader Chen Xiaoping said they hope to give her deep learning and facial recognition in the near future.
I didn't think we'd see this for at least another 10 years, but the world's first cyborg Olympics (or Cybathlon) will happen in Zurich in October, this year. The event was created as a way of creating innovation in the industry, where only a few eligible for prostheses actually use them. A trial event took place last year, and was a success.
The Cybathlon will measure the performance of the latest developments in technology that assist people with disabilities in everyday tasks. The modifications done to humans are encouraged at the Cybathlon, compared to the normal Olympics where athletes with enhancements are considered to have an unfair advantage - and as I write this, it feels like I'm explaining some future DLC of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) is organizing the event where in a cycling race (as an example) paraplegics will be pushed forward using electrical stimulation systems that will move their legs by stimulating the muscles. If competitors have prosthetic arms, contests will see them slicing loaves of bread and opening jars of jam. Other events will include people climbing up and down stairs, or walking across stepping stones.
Skynet has begun its takeover, of the library. Future University of Hakodate researchers have announced that their artificial intelligence has co-written a short-form novel, and it's been accepted by a Japanese story competition.
The short-form novel co-written by the AI has been accepted by the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award, and while the story didn't win the competition, its acceptance is a huge win for AI systems becoming more capable of reaching human-like creativity.
The team was led by computer science professor Hitoshi Matsubara, who worked closely with their AI during the writing process. The team assigned a gender to the protagonist in the novel, and then developed a rough outline of the plot. The team created a list of words, phrases, and sentences to be included with the story. The AI has the job of assembling the distinct assets into a unified text that was just intelligible, but compelling, as well.
New Zealand robotics company Rex Bionics is on a mission to make wheelchairs a thing of the past. Its 'Rex' project -- which lets disabled persons walk with the use of a robotic leg device -- is already in the prototype stage and is impressive.
It does more than simply let you walk, too: sitting in a wheelchair so often on a daily basis is a lot of pressure on the body and reduces bone density, but due to its design, none of this is an issue with the Rex.
The device is slow and somewhat bulky, but represents a remarkable feat and a great starting point for the company and others in the industry to work from.
Yesterday Microsoft launched its teen girl 'Tay' Twitter AI. It's designed to interact with followers and become smarter for it, so naturally it was doomed to fail. Within 24 hours, the Internet transformed it into a pro-Hitler sex robot, as the Internet is wont to do.
The tweets in question are deleted now, but screencaps like those below give you a healthy idea of what occurred. Warning: they're not for the easily offended.
Google parent company Alphabet Inc. have decided its robotics outfit Boston Dynamics isn't likely to produce marketable products anytime soon and as such, have put it up for sale, two sources familiar with the matter say.
The rumor is in line with accidentally leaked e-mails which indicate Google's concern with the viability of the company. The public reaction to the Atlas robot revealed last month could be a factor in the decision as well; the e-mails do well to show Google's worry.
"There's excitement from the tech press, but we're also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans' jobs," wrote Courtney Hohne, a director of communications at Google and the spokeswoman for advanced research group Google X.
The AlphaGo AI created by Google's DeepMind division yesterday lost its first Go match to world champion Lee Sedol in a five-game series. Commentator Song Taegon remarked that Sedol had developed a better understanding of his opponent, making for a highly anticipated game 5. Sedol was beaten again, although it seems to have been a much tighter game, with commentators going back and forth right until the end about who was on top.
"It was difficult to say at what point AlphaGo was ahead or behind," said Michael Redmond, 9-dan, American commentator. "A close game throughout. AlphaGo made what looked like a mistake with move 48, similar to the mistake in Game Four in the middle of the board. After that AlphaGo played very well in the middle of the board, and the game developed into a long, very difficult end game."
With victory in hand, Google DeepMind will donate $1 million to UNICEF, science, technology, engineering, and math charities, and Go organizations.
Microsoft is turning to a very interesting platform to help improve research in artificial intelligence. Minecraft is being used by researchers at Microsoft, and by select academic researchers through a private beta program, in its unstructured mode, as a sort of testing ground for testing AI theories and programming.
Now how would they go about doing that? The AIX platform which is being developed by a Microsoft lab in Cambridge, U.K., that they're using can potentially be programmed to learn in a similar and, well, general way that humans do, to program the Minecraft avatar to go forth and do stuff. It's a closed environment where researchers can look easily observe what the character is doing, and in a safe environment. The constructible world allows for a number of different variables that let them test in a lot of different conditions. All without actually sacrificing real, and expensive, robots.
"Minecraft is the perfect platform for this kind of research because it's this very open world," Katja Hofmann, the platforms developer, said. "You can do survival mode, you can do 'build battles' with your friends, you can do courses, you can implement our own games. This is really exciting for artificial intelligence because it allows us to create games that stretch beyond current abilities." Even trying to get your character to do simple tasks, like walking, is very beneficial to AI research.
After dominating the five-game Go tournament series 3-0 and looking invincible in the process, Google's DeepMind AI has finally fallen to its human opponent; world Go champion Lee Sedol made the series 3-1 over the weekend after seeing weaknesses in Deepmind's game and mounting a surprising comeback. The match was described as "long and complicated."
The fifth and final match will begin late tonight or early tomorrow morning depending where you live, and can be viewed here. It's highly anticipated, and for good reason.
Yesterday, Google's DeepMind AI took the first game against Go world champion Lee Sedol, to the shock of many. You might think it's just one game and Sedol could just as well come back to trounce 4-1, but today DeepMind did it again, putting itself up 2-0. Sedol, who after yesterday's loss commented he was still very confident he could beat the AI, is now very much on the backfoot.
"Yesterday I was surprised but today it's more than that - I am speechless," Lee remarked after the game. "I admit that it was a very clear loss on my part. From the very beginning of the game I did not feel like there was a point that I was leading."