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Old 11-17-2017, 09:39 PM
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What's new, Atlas? (AI, Robotics and tech thread)

That's the title of this video showing the latest development in robotics: the bipedal robot Atlas can now not only jump from place to place, both vertical and horizontally, it can also do stationary backflips!

These fields are moving fast, and I propose that the Straight Dope could use a place to inform about and monitor developments. For one, I think it'll be interesting to be able to look back in a few years and see what things have come to fruition, what has languished and what has been supplanted by something that hasn't even been developed yet.

It's a subject that interests me enough that I spend some time most days at sites like futurism.com and wired.com and ieet.org trying to learn about what's happening in these and other fields; surely I'm not alone amongst Dopers in my fascination with these things, right?

I'm hoping that this can be an informative and entertaining showcase; in addition to the above video, I'll start us out with:

Goliath the carpenter robot
Bender's Dream
Amazon Warehouse Robots
Old Glory Insurance
  #2  
Old 11-17-2017, 09:53 PM
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Have you seen this one where he's having a bad day? (possibly NSFW=language)

It's just fascinating how he/it keeps its balance, even in the snow.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:00 PM
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My favorite Atlas video so far: The swearing voiceover from 2016.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:12 PM
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Very funny voiceover; I may have to start using "what the fuck, Kevin?" in my day-to-day.

And yeah, the balance is amazing. I thought it was amazing when they were trying to kick the various Big Dogs over, and those things had 4 legs, and were huge and noisy.

Meet Spot, the robot dog that can run, hop and open doors. Spot is very cool and the hand tech is wicked amazing. But the video also features a good recap of previous robots and includes footage of Handle, which is an Atlas/Spot hybrid with wheels (it's freaking amazing). Then they really look at Spot in depth for a few minutes and then there's a Q&A.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 11-17-2017 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:00 PM
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It would serve no purpose, but do you think Spot scratches fleas?

I'm sure there's a practical answer, but why was there a bannister on the steps during the one sequence (where they're trying to interfere with it going upstairs)?

Every "interference" motion in that TED clip made me hear, "WTF, Kevin!"

Was I seeing things, or does Atlas have a sway in the torso (obviously for balance) as well as a "bob" (also for balance) when walking? Scary how natural the walking looks.
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Was I seeing things, or does Atlas have a sway in the torso (obviously for balance) as well as a "bob" (also for balance) when walking? Scary how natural the walking looks.
I noticed that too. You can see it in how it balances itself after the backflip too. It's almost looked like a waldo drone with some gymnast remotely performing the moves that the robot did, but I know that isn't the case.

Getting real close to that uncanny valley, eh.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:16 PM
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That backflip HAD to be a CGI effect! Notice how the nearest leg shook slightly just after landing? Just amazing. (Though he might lose a tenth of a point in Olympic scoring )

What's a waldo drone? I tried to Google it and got a bunch of hits about central Florida (Waldo is a speed trap town down here.)
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:30 PM
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What's a waldo drone? I tried to Google it and got a bunch of hits about central Florida (Waldo is a speed trap town down here.)
"Waldo" is the more correct term for machines that are directly operated by a remote human ("robots" are autonomous once programmed--if there is a person pulling the strings, it ain't a robot.)
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:36 PM
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Much obliged, Mr. Garrison.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
"Waldo" is the more correct term for machines that are directly operated by a remote human ("robots" are autonomous once programmed--if there is a person pulling the strings, it ain't a robot.)
Aye. I used the made-up phrase "waldo drone" because typically waldos are hard-wire controls, not wireless remote controls, and because we don't yet think of drones as anything other than a flying machine without an onboard operator.

I was imagining someone in a full body suit with sensors, similar to a green screen suit worn by actors, that wirelessly controlled the robot, because it is seriously uncanny how human the movements of Atlas can be.

Perhaps I should have coined the portmanteau waldrone earlier, but there; I've gone and coined it now anyway.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:39 PM
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^ Works for me.

How awful would it be if Mr. Motion Capture, offstage, whiffed his backflip and Atlas go SPLAT? ("F***!")
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:43 PM
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There's a goof in the post-credits; didn't you see that one? [ETA: Start at :50]

And yeah, it too looks like a waldrone in action, it's so lifelike in ways.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 11-18-2017 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:51 PM
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I missed that the first time around; the first recovery is not bad at all, by gum! The second was obviously Kevin screwing around (going for a "Jackass" vibe, or something). Thanks for mentioning that.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
There's a goof in the post-credits; didn't you see that one? [ETA: Start at :50]

And yeah, it too looks like a waldrone in action, it's so lifelike in ways.
Are you sure Peter Weller isn't inside that thing?
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:53 AM
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Robot Doctor

Okay; not quite
Quote:
A robot has passed the written test of China's national medical licensing examination, an essential entrance exam for doctors, making it the first robot in the world to pass such an exam.

Its developer iFlytek Co Ltd, a leading Chinese artificial intelligence company, said on Thursday that the robot scored 456 points, 96 points higher than the required marks.

The artificial-intelligence-enabled robot can automatically capture and analyze patient information and make initial diagnosis. It will be used to assist doctors to improve efficiency in future treatments, iFlytek said.

This is part of broader efforts by China to accelerate the application of AI in healthcare, consumer electronics, and other industries.
I though this was interesting:
Quote:
Liu Qingfeng, chairman of iFlytek, said, "We will officially launch the robot in March 2018. It is not meant to replace doctors. Instead, it is to promote better people-machine cooperation so as to boost efficiency."
A short time later the story includes this:
Quote:
"General practitioners are in severe shortage in China's rural areas. We hope AI can help more people access quality medical resources."
I suppose it would be true in one sense that no doctors were being replaced if people with no doctor started using Xiaoyi, right?

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 11-21-2017 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:51 AM
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I have no problem with that, but I would hope a technician of some sort would be there to make sure nothing goze rawng.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:50 PM
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"What's new, Atlas?", he asked. Atlas shrugged.
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Very funny voiceover; I may have to start using "what the fuck, Kevin?" in my day-to-day.

And yeah, the balance is amazing. I thought it was amazing when they were trying to kick the various Big Dogs over, and those things had 4 legs, and were huge and noisy.

Meet Spot, the robot dog that can run, hop and open doors. Spot is very cool and the hand tech is wicked amazing. But the video also features a good recap of previous robots and includes footage of Handle, which is an Atlas/Spot hybrid with wheels (it's freaking amazing). Then they really look at Spot in depth for a few minutes and then there's a Q&A.
The new SpotMini is pretty cool too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgaO45SyaO4
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:45 PM
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"Waldo" is the more correct term for machines that are directly operated by a remote human ("robots" are autonomous once programmed--if there is a person pulling the strings, it ain't a robot.)
Oh cool, is Waldo still the term? Heinlein would be pleased I believe.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:34 PM
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The new SpotMini is pretty cool too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgaO45SyaO4
Aye; this is the same robot mentioned in Post #4. The 15 minute TED Talk is really good and shows older DARPA/BD robots as well as other models, including Atlas.

The one in your video has a nifty yellow shell, tho; I thought that looked sharp.
  #21  
Old 11-23-2017, 06:13 AM
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The 15 minute TED Talk is really good and shows older DARPA/BD robots as well as other models, including Atlas.
Somehow they skipped over the Big Dog beta test.
  #22  
Old 11-23-2017, 10:06 AM
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Somehow they skipped over the Big Dog beta test.
Couldn't find their Pantomime Horse costume, huh?

Cool User Name/subject combo. Isn't "gremlin" the PC term for Machine Elf?

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 11-23-2017 at 10:07 AM.
  #23  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:12 AM
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So, uh, here's a thing: Google's Deep Mind AI built another AI called AlphaZero. AZ is similar to AlphaGo Zero: AGZ was made to master the game of Go, AZ was made to master chess.

Which it did in 4 hours, without any human interaction.
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After being programmed with only the rules of chess (no strategies), in just four hours AlphaZero had mastered the game to the extent it was able to best the highest-rated chess-playing program Stockfish.

In a series of 100 games against Stockfish, AlphaZero won 25 games while playing as white (with first mover advantage), and picked up three games playing as black. The rest of the contests were draws, with Stockfish recording no wins and AlphaZero no losses.

“We now know who our new overlord is,” said chess researcher David Kramaley, the CEO of chess science website Chessable.
Mr. Kramaley can see beyond the chessboard, however:
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Originally Posted by David Kramaley
It will no doubt revolutionise the game, but think about how this could be applied outside chess. This algorithm could run cities, continents, universes.
Oh, and here's the actual paper that's being peer-reviewed.

Even Kurzweil thinks the singularity is less than 40 years away.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:57 AM
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For anyone who didn't see it:

Soft robots that are strong

This is quite important for robots that can safely interact with humans. It may also be useful for making them lighter.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:34 AM
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Ref AIs taking over chess, here's a (only sorta serious) bit about robot delivery vehicles taking over a city: http://loweringthebar.net/2017/12/sf...-uprising.html
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:57 AM
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Behold! The AI that can make fake videos!

I know the resolution is pretty bad (like a dashcam from 10 years ago), but the images are amazing. If this was offered as evidence in a court case, I doubt the jurors would be able to tell which was real and which was fake. Something like this could make for some troubling developments in the future.
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:21 AM
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Behold! The AI that can make fake videos!

I know the resolution is pretty bad (like a dashcam from 10 years ago), but the images are amazing. If this was offered as evidence in a court case, I doubt the jurors would be able to tell which was real and which was fake. Something like this could make for some troubling developments in the future.
The night one has some strange shadows on the ground, but I only noticed it because I could see the original at the same time.

Keeping a careful and well documented chain of custody for videos may soon cease being a thing that only the police do or care about.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:23 AM
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In a weird sort of way, the faster we transition through crappy fake pix & vids to high quality fake pix & vids the faster we'll learn to discount anything that may have flowed through a computer.

With all that discounting being applied both in our personal lives and in courts of law and of public opinion.

Once enough of us understand that "seeing (through a computer) is totally NOT believable" we'll be fine. It's the transition time from "seeing is believing" to then that will be scary.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:53 PM
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I worry about mass unemployment. I think that will be a huge issue in the 2020s but especially the 2030s.

On the bright side, maybe economic growth will pick up with all the robotics, and that can be used to fund UBI. But that'll be a hell of a fight because politicians and the rich will fight UBI tooth and nail. Divide and conquer has been highly effective at keeping those at the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic totem pole divided so far, I fail to see why it'd stop working just because we have robots everywhere.

Sadly, I worry we will enter some kind of cyberpunk future where there are robots and machine intelligence everywhere, but tons of us just live third world dirt poor lifestyles and a small minority of people are rich.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:20 PM
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I worry about mass unemployment. I think that will be a huge issue in the 2020s but especially the 2030s
I was thinking about that. Say you can buy a general purpose labor robot for about the price of a leisure toy ( quad, snow mobile, bass boat) and with the right software upgrades or packages, it can do anything from working at a bakery to working on an automotive line. So now you lease it out to a brick and mortar company to do what ever is required as long as the software is available.

What do you charge for hourly labor, concidering its going 24/7.
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Old 12-10-2017, 05:51 PM
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I was thinking about that. Say you can buy a general purpose labor robot for about the price of a leisure toy ( quad, snow mobile, bass boat) and with the right software upgrades or packages, it can do anything from working at a bakery to working on an automotive line. So now you lease it out to a brick and mortar company to do what ever is required as long as the software is available.

What do you charge for hourly labor, concidering its going 24/7.
Well, that's part of the problem's being explored both by IRL economists and tech people (and on this board in our What happens when the robots (peacefully) take over? thread over in GD.

The transition to a post-scarcity civ is going to be, in part, rocky, bumpy and ugly. Post-scarcity is the exact opposite of what we know as the norm for the universe (and what our biology evolved in response to).

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-10-2017 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:12 PM
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Without sounding like a total nšif, or a smart-ass (I'm not nearly into tech/SF as much as you guys), what is the purpose of having humanoid-like robots (other than swearing)?
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:09 PM
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Without sounding like a total nšif, or a smart-ass (I'm not nearly into tech/SF as much as you guys), what is the purpose of having humanoid-like robots (other than swearing)?
A big consumer product will be sex robots: people prefer having sex with something which looks like a human being than a piece of machinery.

Last edited by PastTense; 12-10-2017 at 08:14 PM.
  #34  
Old 12-10-2017, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Without sounding like a total nšif, or a smart-ass (I'm not nearly into tech/SF as much as you guys), what is the purpose of having humanoid-like robots (other than swearing)?
So many things are designed to be used by human beings, it just makes sense to think about also making a robot that can use our same tools, to some extent. Mostly tho, I think it's because when we think of doing something, we think of how a person would do it. It's where all our firsthand experience lies, after all, and the vast majority of tasks throughout history have been done by humans so we have an entrenched historical culture of using humanoid-shaped beings to do stuff as well.

So mostly bias reasons, at the moment.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:05 PM
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Without sounding like a total nšif, or a smart-ass (I'm not nearly into tech/SF as much as you guys), what is the purpose of having humanoid-like robots (other than swearing)?
I'm not quite sure where this is coming from. Why are you thinking there's some major goal for humanoid robots? There's plenty of interest in non-humanoid robots too.

As Bo says, humanoid robots have the inherent advantage that the built environment is already humanoid-friendly because it's human-friendly. Recall the metal monster assassin-bot in Robocop that fell down the staircase because it wasn't humanoid, whereas Robocop himself, being humanoid did just fine on the same stairs. Consider all the BS it takes to make a "handicapped friendly" hotel room or house or office. And that's for a real human whose only difference from you or me is being 4ish feet tall and 3ish feet wide. But otherwise has the same hands, arms, eyes, mouth, etc.

Making robots fit in where we live is probably easier than building a new world for them to live in.

For factory production purposes robots will be every shape imaginable. Humans are certainly not the optimal shape or size for building either small stuff like ICs or big stuff like tanker ships.

AIs have no shape at all. They think. They shuffle virtual paper and "talk on the phone" to each other. And actually talk on the actual phone to humans.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 12-10-2017 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:56 PM
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I'm not quite sure where this is coming from. Why are you thinking there's some major goal for humanoid robots? There's plenty of interest in non-humanoid robots too.

As Bo says, humanoid robots have the inherent advantage that the built environment is already humanoid-friendly because it's human-friendly. Recall the metal monster assassin-bot in Robocop that fell down the staircase because it wasn't humanoid, whereas Robocop himself, being humanoid did just fine on the same stairs. Consider all the BS it takes to make a "handicapped friendly" hotel room or house or office. And that's for a real human whose only difference from you or me is being 4ish feet tall and 3ish feet wide. But otherwise has the same hands, arms, eyes, mouth, etc.

Making robots fit in where we live is probably easier than building a new world for them to live in.

For factory production purposes robots will be every shape imaginable. Humans are certainly not the optimal shape or size for building either small stuff like ICs or big stuff like tanker ships.

AIs have no shape at all. They think. They shuffle virtual paper and "talk on the phone" to each other. And actually talk on the actual phone to humans.
I don't understand where your first paragraph is coming from: I asked a straight-forward question and didn't wish to come off sounding like a wise-guy or a complete novice. I got a decent answer from PastTense (unless I'm being whooshed) and especially from Bo--thank you, guys.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:08 PM
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Sorry to create confusion. I hope I didn't sound hostile; that wasn't my intent.

It seemed to me that your question implied some upstream assumptions that weren't stated and weren't obvious. Or at least not to me. I was trying to get at what those were. With the intention of adding whatever I or we could to filling in the gaps you said you had.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:24 PM
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Actually, I was trying to list, in my head, situations where a humanoid robot would be "put to work," instead of some other kind of automation (I was thinking of Detroit, in particular--they wouldn't replace the present "robots" they're using with the one Kevin was screwing with; or would they?). Now, if you're saying Atlas would eventually be cheap enough to have around the warehouse toting boxes, I can get behind that.
  #39  
Old 12-11-2017, 01:30 PM
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"What's new, Atlas?", he asked. Atlas shrugged.
I saw what you did there.
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:14 AM
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I just read an interview with the Top Gear/Grand Tour guys, and I love this part:
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Originally Posted by Jeremy Clarkson
ARE DRIVERLESS CARS AROUND THE CORNER?

I don’t see those happening in my lifetime, probably not even in the lifetime of my children. For 40 years we’ve been promised robots. Nobody has built a robot than can make a sandwich or boil an egg or even climb a flight of stairs or open a door. And yet somehow we’re expected to believe we’re on the cusp of a car that can negotiate Manhattan or drive around a U.K. ring road or handle Rome.
This is a classic case of someone being an expert in one field and having absolutely zero knowledge of other fields. We have robots that can make sandwiches, boil eggs, climb stairs and open doors. FFS, we have some that can do standing backflips.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-15-2017 at 11:19 AM. Reason: and I not an dI
  #41  
Old 12-15-2017, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I just read an interview with the Top Gear/Grand Tour guys, and I love this part:This is a classic case of someone being an expert in one field and having absolutely zero knowledge of other fields. We have robots that can make sandwiches, boil eggs, climb stairs and open doors. FFS, we have some that can do standing backflips.
Well damn, why am I still making my own sandwiches? Where can I get one of these sandwich-making robots for my house?
  #42  
Old 12-15-2017, 11:40 AM
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Well damn, why am I still making my own sandwiches? Where can I get one of these sandwich-making robots for my house?
http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/baxter/

$22,000 for Baxter

$29,000 for Sawyer

Kind of expensive for your house, but if you eat a lot of sandwiches, maybe it'd be worth it.
  #43  
Old 12-15-2017, 11:59 AM
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http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/baxter/

$22,000 for Baxter

$29,000 for Sawyer

Kind of expensive for your house, but if you eat a lot of sandwiches, maybe it'd be worth it.
Well damn It's cheaper to get married again.

(kidding)

  #44  
Old 12-16-2017, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Behold! The AI that can make even more interesting fake videos!
  #45  
Old 12-16-2017, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
There was a good article at Motherboard earlier this week*: AI-Assisted Fake Porn Is Here and We’re All Fucked
Quote:
There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet. But it’s not really Gadot’s body, and it’s barely her own face. It’s an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video.

The video was created with a machine learning algorithm, using easily accessible materials and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together.
Quote:
It's not going to fool anyone who looks closely. Sometimes the face doesn't track correctly and there's an uncanny valley effect at play, but at a glance it seems believable. It's especially striking considering that it's allegedly the work of one person—a Redditor who goes by the name 'deep fakes'—
Quote:
Instead, deepfakes uses open-source machine learning tools like TensorFlow, which Google makes freely available to researchers, graduate students, and anyone with an interest in machine learning.
Quote:
Artificial intelligence researcher Alex Champandard told me in an email that a decent, consumer-grade graphics card could process this effect in hours, but a CPU would work just as well, only more slowly, over days.

“This is no longer rocket science,” Champandard said.

The ease with which someone could do this is frightening. Aside from the technical challenge, all someone would need is enough images of your face, and many of us are already creating sprawling databases of our own faces: People around the world uploaded 24 billion selfies to Google Photos in 2015-2016. It isn’t difficult to imagine an amateur programmer running their own algorithm to create a sex tape of someone they want to harass.
Add in Adobe's new software that let's you make people say things via an algorithm that takes less than 20 minutes to mimic anyone.

Now add in the software that can make anywhere be anytime.



I think our definitions of privacy and trust are about to change a lot.



*ETA: I see on re-read that that article links to the Motherboard article; nice!

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 12-16-2017 at 10:29 PM.
  #46  
Old 12-17-2017, 10:00 PM
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I jut found out about Lyrebird (Liar Bird; get it?), a company that says their algorithm can mimic a person's speech with only a 1 minute sample. The examples at that site are pretty convincing, but no way in hell am I giving them a sample of my voice to try it myself, just in case it is that good.
  #47  
Old 12-31-2017, 04:59 PM
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AlphaZero AI beats champion chess program after teaching itself in four hours

Quote:
AlphaZero, the game-playing AI created by Google sibling DeepMind, has beaten the world’s best chess-playing computer program, having taught itself how to play in under four hours.

The repurposed AI, which has repeatedly beaten the world’s best Go players as AlphaGo, has been generalised so that it can now learn other games. It took just four hours to learn the rules to chess before beating the world champion chess program, Stockfish 8, in a 100-game match up.

....

“Starting from random play, and given no domain knowledge except the game rules, AlphaZero achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in the games of chess and shogi [a similar Japanese board game] as well as Go, and convincingly defeated a world-champion program in each case,” said the paper’s authors that include DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis, who was a child chess prodigy reaching master standard at the age of 13.
Thought y'all would find this interesting.

Last edited by JohnT; 12-31-2017 at 04:59 PM.
  #48  
Old 12-31-2017, 05:38 PM
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We did. Ref post #23.
  #49  
Old 01-17-2018, 11:09 PM
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AIs have out-scored humans on Stanford's reading comprehension test:
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Chinese retail giant Alibaba has developed an artificial intelligence model that’s managed to outdo human participants in a reading and comprehension test designed by Stanford University. The model scored 82.44, whereas humans recorded a score of 82.304.

The Stanford Question Answering Dataset is a set of 10,000 questions pertaining to some 500 Wikipedia articles. The answer to each question is a particular span of text from the corresponding piece of writing.

Alibaba claims that its accomplishment is the first time that humans have been outmatched on this particular test, according to a report from Bloomberg. Microsoft also managed a similar feat, scoring 82.650 — though, those results were finalized shortly after Alibaba’s.
Also, we now make prostethics that feel.
Quote:
A woman who lost her arm over 20 years ago has received the first portable bionic hand, which through a series of tiny electrodes and sophisticated sensors, has restored her sense of touch.

The technology unites the portable bionic hand with a computer that translates the information coming from the artificial fingers into a language the brain can understand, which it then sends back to the body through the electrodes.

This breakthrough is the result of many years of robotic research carried out by teams in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. Even though she’s central to this amazing innovation, Almerina Mascarello, who was chosen to test the prototype for six months, doesn’t feel like a superhuman. Instead, she told BBC that the prosthetic limb gave her back some of life’s simple pleasures, such as getting dressed or tying her shoes with no help. “All mundane things, really, but important. You feel complete,” she said.
Things are moving fast, eh.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 01-17-2018 at 11:09 PM.
  #50  
Old 01-18-2018, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Quoth Snowboarder Bo:

I jut found out about Lyrebird (Liar Bird; get it?)
No, that's Lyrebird. Which isn't even named for its vocal abilities: Its tail plumage looks like the harplike instrument.
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