Michael Cook, a 30-year-old senior research fellow at the University of Falmouth, has built an AI capable of imagining new video games from scratch. Cook calls the machine Angelina, a recursive acronym that stands for “A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I’ve Named Angelina” (a joke that Cook says got old pretty quickly). Since its earliest form, in 2011, it has created hundreds of experimental video games, received acclaim in an international game-making competition, and had its work featured in a New York gallery exhibit. READ MORE: AI Is Dreaming Up New Kinds of Video Games | MIT Tech Review
That statement probably requires some explanation. Two researchers named Adam Hammond and Julian Brooke have spent the past few years developing software that analyzes literary databases. Their program can identify dozens of structural and stylistic details in huge chunks of text, and if you give them a collection of great stories—stories that maybe you wished you had written—they are able to identify all the details that those great stories have in common. READ MORE: What Happens When an Algorithm Helps Write Science Fiction | WIRED
Google’s search algorithm appears to be systematically promoting information that is either false or slanted with an extreme rightwing bias on subjects as varied as climate change and homosexuality.
Following a recent investigation by the Observer, which found that Google’s search engine prominently suggests neo-Nazi websites and antisemitic writing, the Guardian has uncovered a dozen additional examples of biased search results. READ MORE: How Google’s search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias | Technology | The Guardian
Over four years, Archer and Jockers fed 5,000 fiction titles published over the last 30 years into computers and trained them to “read”—to determine where sentences begin and end, to identify parts of speech, to map out plots. They then used so-called machine classification algorithms to isolate the features most common in bestsellers. READ MORE: Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing—But Ruin Novels | WIRED
Search engines have become our most trusted sources of information and arbiters of truth. But can we ever get an unbiased search result? Swedish author and journalist Andreas Ekström argues that such a thing is a philosophical impossibility. In this thoughtful talk, he calls on us to strengthen the bonds between technology and the humanities, and he reminds us that behind every algorithm is a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate.
For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company’s search engine have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain, said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company, outlining for the first time the emerging role of AI in search. RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries. READ MORE: Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines | Bloomberg
To make poorly labeled videos easier to discover, Manhattan-based video analysis startup Dextro is launching a platform that analyzes and tags the contents of publicly available videos, using algorithms to identify common scenes, objects, and speech. Mic, a news site aimed at millennials, has partnered with Dextro and will use the platform, called Sight, Sound & Motion (SSM), to discover newsworthy videos that may otherwise be difficult to find. READ MORE: This New Platform Makes The Contents Of Videos As Searchable As Text | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
Remember a few weeks back, when we learned that Google’s artificial neural network was having creepy daydreams, turning buildings into acid trips and landscapes into Magic Eye pictures? Well, prepare to never sleep again, because last week, Google made its “inceptionism” algorithm available to the public, and the nightmarish images are cropping up everywhere.
The “Deep Dream” system essentially feeds an image through a layer of artificial neurons, asking an AI to enhance and build on certain features, such as edges. Over time, pictures can become so distorted that they morph into something entirely different, or just a bunch of colorful, random noise.
Now that the code for the system is publicly available, anyone can upload a photo of their baby and watch it metamorphose into a surrealist cockroach, or whatever. If you need some inspiration, or an excuse to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over your face, and wait for the world to end, just check out the hashtag ‘DeepDream’ on your social media platform of choice. READ MORE: Google’s Dream Robot Is Running Wild Across the Internet | Gizmodo.
When I received the Brooklyn Public Library’s recent email newsletter promoting a new service called BookMatch, I was both delighted and dismayed.
On the one hand, it was a great idea. All I had to do was fill out a short web form letting the librarians know a bit about what I wanted to read and what I liked to read, and one promised to write back with five personalized recommendations tailored to my interests and tastes. On the other, the fact I was so delighted was exactly what was dismaying.
Clearly, the librarians believe that human tastes and discretion are still relevant, even as automated algorithms are influencing an increasing portion of the media we consume, whether in the form of news, books, music, or movies. But are a book expert’s personalized suggestions really better than what I might get from Amazon, a site that hasn’t employed a human editor for its home page in 14 years? It’s very possible my positive feelings about the BookMatch program are sprung from mere sentimentality.
Favorite books are something friends like to share and discuss. A Facebook meme facilitates this very interaction. You may have seen one of your friends post something like “List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.” If not great works of literature, what are the books that have stayed with us?
List of the Top 100: Books that have stayed with us | Facebook