The AI Conf 2018 : The Artificial Intelligence Conference – New York

Underneath all the hype, real breakthroughs are happening in AI adoption and technologies as obstacles to applied AI are falling. The Artificial Intelligence Conference brings the growing AI community together to explore the most essential issues and intriguing innovations in applied AI.

Do you have AI experience to share? We’re looking for groundbreaking business applications, compelling use cases, rock-solid technical skills, tear-downs of successful AI projects and dissections of failures–and maybe one or two truly crazy ideas that just might change the world.

Send us your best ideas for a chance to be on stage in front of the brightest minds in AI. We’re seeking both technical and non-technical presentations in these key topic areas:

AI in the enterprise: Executive Briefings, case studies and use cases, industry-specific applications

The impact of AI on business and society: automation, safety, regulation

Implementing AI projects: applications, tools, architecture, security

Interacting with AI: design, metrics, product management, bots

Models and methods: algorithms, vision/speech/emotion, deep learning, data, training

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Stats or Psych Minor?

So I’m at a point where I will be entering kind of the "point of no return" in choosing my minor. I find psychology of more interest, but am willing to do whatever I need to better my potential future career in AI. So I know stats is better for AI but is it necessary (to a certain extent), I’m asking this only because I’m quite behind (and close to failing) calculus right now in University and taking a stats minor would mean more Calc courses in the future (I would be learning the Calc probably either way on my own time, but taking psych allows me to learn at my own pace without as much of a workload).

I’d like any of your inputs! Thank you in advance.

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How to Get Rid of Ants – GoodHousekeeping.com


GoodHousekeeping.com

How to Get Rid of Ants
GoodHousekeeping.com
There’s a lot to like about ants: They work together, they eat other pests and they made pretty adorable stars in A Bug’s Life. Some people even keep them as pets! But when there’s an infestation crawling all over your pantry? Not so great. Ants can

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Efforts aim to limit the spread of fire ants in the US – Washington Post – Washington Post


Washington Post

Efforts aim to limit the spread of fire ants in the US – Washington Post
Washington Post
They sting, damage crops and wildlife, and are extending their range in the United States.

and more »

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Mad Ants counting more on veterans – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Mad Ants counting more on veterans
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Whereas the Mad Ants‘ last two seasons were filled with up-and-coming rookies such as Alex Poythress, Stephan Hicks, Jarrod Uthoff and Jordan Loyd, the team is heading into its season opener Saturday against the Long Island Nets with more of a veteran …

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Enormous Ants On the Loose in Full ‘It Came from the Desert’ Trailer! [Exclusive] – Bloody Disgusting


Bloody Disgusting

Enormous Ants On the Loose in Full ‘It Came from the Desert’ Trailer! [Exclusive]
Bloody Disgusting
In the horror-comedy, giant mutated ants wreak havoc in the New Mexico desert. Raven Banner shared with Bloody Disgusting the full trailer that opens with a hilarious faux PSA about enormous ants before diving into the insane, over-the-top, and wild …

and more »

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The Promise of Transparent Solar Cells—Turning the World’s Glass Surfaces Into Solar Panels

Sunlight is everywhere, but so far our efforts to harvest its energy have been restricted to solar farms and rooftop panels. A new analysis shows that transparent solar technologies that can be applied to windows, display screens, and cars could supply 40 percent of energy demand in the US.

Transparent and semi-transparent light harvesting materials have only started to emerge in the last five or six years, but there are already some commercial examples, and experimental demonstrations are reaching impressive performance, according to a recent review in Nature.

The authors estimate there is somewhere in the region of 5 to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the US, and coating this with transparent solar cells with similar efficiencies to today’s solar panels could generate an additional 100GW of power, which approaches the nationwide potential of rooftop solar installations.

That’s ignoring the possibility of integrating these materials into the non-glass siding of buildings, and also the potential to install them in handheld electronics or the windscreens of cars.

“Traditional solar applications have been actively researched for over five decades, yet we have only been working on these highly transparent solar cells for about five years,” Richard Lunt, an associate professor at Michigan State University who works on transparent solar technology and is one of the authors of the review, said in a press release.

“Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route to inexpensive, widespread solar adoption on small and large surfaces that were previously inaccessible,” he added.

There’s still some way to go, as current transparent solar technologies are only at about a third of their realistic potential, with power conversion efficiencies in the region of 5 percent compared to around 15 to 20 percent for standard silicon photovoltaic panels. But there are a variety of different approaches to creating transparent and semi-transparent solar cells, all making solid progress.

Efforts to lend solar cells transparency have tended to focus on three main tactics: integrating spaced out opaque solar cells in transparent materials, reducing the thickness for opaque materials to the point where they allow light through, or using materials that absorb infrared and ultraviolet light, but let the bulk of visible light through.

There’s also a related approach that coats glass in materials that redirect light from the surface of the glass to the edges,where it can be collected by conventional photovoltaic cells, called solar concentrators.

Integrating standard silicon-based solar cells into transparent materials takes advantage of the ubiquity of the technology and relevant manufacturing process, but the authors note that achieving decent transparency means having a considerably reduced energy harvesting area.

In contrast, thin films of opaque light-absorbing semiconductors cover the entire area, and there are examples with efficiencies as high as 14 percent, say the authors. These materials are already being commercialized by companies like Onyx Solar and Polysolar.

However, in general these approaches only let around 50 percent of the visible light through, and they tend to give the windows a fairly strong colored tint. This color can be easily tuned using different materials. In some cases this can be useful, for instance for those wanting tinted glass for decorative reasons.

The authors warn, though, that thought needs to be given to the effect that colored light can have on humans’ circadian rhythm–the bundle of physiological processes that govern our sleep cycles. Blue light triggers the release of melatonin by the brain to wake us up, because sunlight is shifted to the blue end of the spectrum at dawn.

Any glass that predominantly lets through blue light could have a major impact on the physiology of those spending long periods inside the building. There may be other physiological and psychological effects of long-term exposure to other colors too, so this will have to be carefully investigated before using transparent solar cells that create a considerable tint.

One way to sidestep this problem is to create truly transparent solar cells that don’t interfere with the visible light spectrum. There are a variety of technologies that selectively absorb light from the ultraviolet and infrared ends of the spectrum, leaving them “visibly transparent.”

Despite progress, there are a number of challenges facing the technology, the authors note. Many of the approaches work well at small scale, but scaling them can be a challenge. This is often due to the properties of the photoactive material, but the transparent electrodes required to transport generated electricity are also a limiting factor due to their higher resistivity. Indium-based electrodes hold promise for solving this bottleneck, but this element is in high demand, which may impact its affordability.

There’s also the issue that in reality most glass surfaces are not optimally positioned for sunlight harvesting, often being vertical, and at higher and lower latitudes being north or south facing can have dramatic effects on the amount of light they receive.

Finally, many of these technologies rely on organic materials that are highly sensitive to oxygen and moisture, which could limit their lifetimes. For systems that are meant to be integrated into buildings, short lifetimes are not really an option, and at present most technologies are only predicted to last a few years.

One option the authors suggest is that these transparent solar cells could be installed and replaced as laminates on the inside of windows, which would make replacing them every couple of years a less daunting task.

But despite these challenges, the enormous potential of turning every glass surface in the modern world into a solar panel is a hugely promising one. There is still considerable work to be done on efficiency, durability, and commercialization, but the authors point out that the path is fairly well mapped out.

Glass manufacturers already employ systems to deposit a variety of coatings on their glass, so adding a thin film solar cell shouldn’t be too much of an extra step. And even preliminary demonstrations already exceed the performance metrics required for application to architectural glass or charging low-power mobile electronic devices like smart watches and e-readers. Indeed, there is already a solar-powered watch being touted on Kickstarter.

A future where all of your gadgets can charge themselves using sunlight might not be too far away.

Image Credit: estherpoon / Shutterstock.com

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Horror fiction by numbers: my not-so-shocking AI collaboration

Cue a lightning flash and some portentous music: I have written with a robot.

The robot is Shelley, who isn’t really a robot, but actually an artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Over the past couple of weeks, Shelley has been posting on Twitter the start of a horror story, and inviting users to continue it.

So, in the time-honoured question directed at any writer, where does Shelley get her ideas? No lofty explanations of the author’s craft here; Shelley has been trained to scour the Reddit online community sub-forum /r/nosleep, where users share their own spooky stories.

Learning the language of terror, Shelley – named and gendered for the godmother of horror, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley – puts together eerie little vignettes and, crucially, aims to continue them from the replies posted by Twitter users in a kind of round-robin collaborative writing exercise.

With a new story started every hour, you certainly can’t doubt her prolificness. But are the stories actually any good? Here are a couple of Shelley’s recent efforts:

I was standing right across the street, when a ghost stood behind me. I was so scared I couldn’t move. I couldn’t move. I wasn’t able to move my eyes, I was screaming.

My body was pulled into the room by the presence of someone who was standing somewhere in the hallway. I looked around once and there they were, standing in the corner of the room, as they stared at me, unmoving.

The screen flickered, and everything went black. I closed my eyes, and sat up. The darkness had subsided, and the page was the same as the one before, and the one in the middle of the message. I clicked the link, and the first few minutes, then black. I woke up this morning, screaming and crying.

Nothing, perhaps, to give Stephen King sleepless nights, but you can – and probably have – read far worse on the internet written by flesh-and-blood beings. The real magic of Shelley is more apparent when people reply, using the hashtag #yourturn to indicate to the bot to put her thinking cap on and continue the story. The tale Look Away, co-authored by Shelley and several Twitter users, hangs together enough to make you forget that one of the participants isn’t human.

So would Shelley play with me? It’s actually more difficult than you’d think to get involved: Shelley’s algorithms look for replies from Twitter users that have collected favourites or retweets to help her decide who to respond to. Mine didn’t get many thumbs-ups … either that, or Shelley just didn’t like me.

I tried to follow up on several of her stories, at one point throwing my takes on every story she posted on the hour. She has deigned to work with me once, so far. The story begins:

I started to breathe again. The chains in my ankle twitched and the shadow continued to stare. A silent cry and a few signs of life began to form.

Didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me, but I had a go: “But the chains! The chains! How was I to get myself free?”

Shelley duly responded: “I was losing my mind! I couldn’t move. The creature was there with me. What was it doing?”

Which, to be honest, I didn’t feel moved the narrative on much. Still, I had another go: “Then I noticed something. The beast was chained also. We were both prisoners in this place. But why? Who was responsible for this?”

We will perhaps never know. Shelley has decided to work on new material rather than conclude our short-lived story together. Does the experiment work? I suppose she can make a decent fist of continuing narratives with a measure of logic. While some of her efforts make little to no sense at all, some of them, like the aforementioned Look Away, do actually stack up in a basic fashion. Perhaps Shelley’s available database of the Reddit forum is too limiting; the MIT boffins should give her access to the entire body of horror literature. Or maybe that way madness lies …

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There Are Three Kinds of Consciousness, and Computers Have Mastered One, Says Study

By ScienceAlert

October 30, 2017

Comments

Sean Young as a replicant in the movie "Blade Runner."

A small group of neuroscientists tried to determine if we are anywhere near the holy grail of artificial intelligence: artificial self-awareness. The short answer is no.

Credit: Warner Brothers

A study by neuroscientists offers insights into whether computers may become conscious by deconstructing consciousness into three categories.

The researchers describe the first category (C0) as encompassing problem solving by the brain without awareness, and computers already can achieve this level, as manifested in the advent of driverless vehicles.

The researchers say the second category (C1) “refers to the relationship between a cognitive system and a specific object of thought.” On this level, that object is chosen for global processing, transferring it from a narrow relationship into one that can be manipulated under various contexts.

The third category (C2) covers “meta-cognition,” or a sense of knowing what we know, and the researchers note although C1 can occur without C2, and vice versa, neither system as yet has a machine-intelligence equivalent. They suggest C2 technology could be developed by applying probability to decision-making, or by retaining a meta-memory to establish a connection between what is and is not known.

From ScienceAlert
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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Why the Customer Is the Center of Everything in the Membership Economy

http://img.youtube.com/vi/7fOK-ut9N1s/0.jpg

In an interview with Lisa Kay Solomon, chair of Transformational Practices at Singularity University, at SU’s Global Summit in San Francisco, Robbie Baxter described the concept of the membership economy, a business model that’s shaking up multiple industries. Baxter is the founder of management consulting firm Peninsula Strategies and author of The Membership Economy.

The idea of a company offering membership is nothing new, but unique factors of today’s world are changing the dynamics of these relationships.

“Technology has extended the infrastructure that enables trusting relationship. We’ve always wanted to have these long-term relationships with the companies that serve us, but now it’s possible,” said Baxter. “Financial capital is also giving entrepreneurs a longer runway to build relationships with their customers before they actually have to generate revenue.”

Watch the interview and learn how technology is driving a move from ownership to access and from one-way communication to an open and ongoing conversation with customers, and even among them.

Image Credit: maverick_infanta / Shutterstock.com

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