February is here, and even if it’s only the second month of 2016 technology already seems years ahead of its time. Artificial intelligence breaks the headlines as we approach valentines day. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure the message is we should learn to love our new robotic overlords. This week on Tech Weekly:
Human Master of Ancient Game “Go” Defeated by Google’s AI AlphaGo
Google researchers announced Wednesday that AlphaGo has become the first artificial intelligence capable of defeating a human at the ancient game of “Go”.
Go is an ancient and relatively simple game, with little rules. However, the game itself is so simple that it’s considered to be the hardest board game mankind has created. To put it into perspective, Chess has about 20 possible moves one can make at any time, Go has relatively 200 possible moves. Meaning that there are more possible positions in go than atoms in the universe.
This kind of complexity has made it nearly impossible for computers to comprehend and play Go.
AlphaGo has defeated 499 of 500 top Go softwear programs, and last october beat european reigning champion Han Hui 5 to nothing. This March 2016 AlphaGo will face off with the five time world champion Lee Sedol, in a five game match.
There is controversy if this can truly be considered Artificial Intelligence, as this type of networking has more to do with brute computing power rather than learning from past mistakes and correcting yourself.
However there is still hope that Skynet might actually come into being as AlphaGo is able to learn moves from players. Its not quite the advanced learning behaviors of a child, but its a step in the right (wrong?) direction.
DARPA Looking for Link Between Man and Computer
The program, amply named the Neural Engineering Systems Design program requires proposals to design, build, demonstrate and validate a human-computer interface. This would require an interface able to record from more than 1 million neurons and simulate more than 100 thousand neurons in real time from the brain.
Researchers who demonstrate an innovative, not simply incremental, ideas and proposals are able to secure up to $60 million in funding. Of course this requires the successful achievement of milestones and the availability of funds.
The research is geared towards the human auditory, visual and somatosensory cortex. The devices created are hoped to help those with hearing, visual, and other deficits.
The device(s) in question must be no more than a single cubic centimeter, the size of two nickels stacked.
These devices must be secure from spoofing, tampering, or denial-of-service attacks, this is critical for the security of the device and the user against cyber threats.
Even if this fantastical device could be constructed (of which the chances are high), there remains the problems of implementation and adaption. The main hurdle to cross at that point would be training users to use the device and interpret the signals it’s sending your neurons.
DARPA looks to interface human brain with digital world, Military Embedded Systems
DARPA Challenges Researchers to Link Human Brains With Computers, Tech News World
POTUS Pledges $4 Billion to Computer Science in US Schools
Last week President Obama pledged $4 billion in funding (over three years) towards US school districts that are able to provide a well designed five year plan to increase computer science access in classrooms. The idea is to get $100 million to each school district.
Not only does this deal come with billions of dollars, the plan comes in a package deal. Multiple of the country’s largest tech companies have teamed up with the president to help increase opportunities for computer science training.
The reason behind the actions is the ever increasing need of computer engineers and scientists.
It is one of the fastest growing job markets in the new economy, and is expected to have 1 million more jobs than graduates qualified to fill them by 2020.
Despite all of the need schools still find it hard to prioritize this field of study, with only 28 states even allowing computer sciences to count towards high school graduation requirements. even that number shrinks when we find that only about 1/4th of schools in the United States even offer such classes.
Part of the plan is to test multiple models of teaching this field with the goal being, to expose the most children possible to the computer sciences. Once the best model of teaching is found, the White House wants to make it the standard for the country.
Companies like apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others are seeking to put regulations and requirements into place. To create a new generation of qualified technicians for our world of computers.
While it’s not exactly a direct investment into the development of Artificial Intelligence, this could pay off big for the field in the long run. Seeing as at least a few of these young men and women are bound to work on the artificial intelligence products these large companies are developing.
Computer Science For All, The WHITE HOUSE
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