Annual Global Research: 2016 Report

BITCOIN

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1 Bitcoin = $964

 

The World’s Strongest Currency in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016

Bitcoin up 121% in 2016 – Lee Banfield

 

$15.7 billion: New All-Time High Market Cap

Bitcoin surges past previous high of $13.8bill in December 2013.

Over the past year while everyone was worrying about the death of Bitcoin, it was quietly & steadily growing stronger. – Michael Goldstein

 

Large Funds Scrambling for Bitcoin

Last 24hrs couple of $10bln+ AUM Funds calling to buy 30k-50k bitcoins.

We were not selling then / not selling now. – George Kikvadze, Bitfury

 

Early Adopters

Bitcoin is still in its early days. It’s easy to fool yourself into feeling late if you’re immersed in it day-to-day.

Most people don’t own any bitcoin… yet. I still often hear: “Oh, bitcoin? They got hacked right? Didn’t the company go bankrupt?” – Stephen Cole

 

Blockchain.info Now at 11 Million Wallets

December 2012: 100,000

December 2013: 1 million

December 2014: 2.7 million

December 2015: 5.5 million

December 2016: 11 million

Lee Banfield

 

LocalBitcoin Volumes Hit All-Time High

LocalBitcoins is doing record volumes. Congratulations boys! Its the simple business models addressing basic needs that will grow huge. – Beautyon

 

 

MINING

Hash Rate More Than Triples in 2016

  • Bitcoin’s hash rate has increased from 0.7 Exahash to 2.5 Exhash so far this year. – Lee Banfield
  • Bitcoin is practically the only production system running at exa-<anything> scale. …the power of well-aligned incentives. – Dan McArdle

 

In China, Energy Companies are Becoming Bitcoin Miners

Joseph Young

 

US Government Contractors

Local miner tells me that govt contractors have been asking questions about mining infrastructure… speculate away as to why that might be. – Jameson Lopp

 

Venezuelan Bitcoin Miner: “I Think the Officers Who Arrested Me Have Started Mining”

Joel Padrón—the first bitcoin miner arrested in Venezuela—was released on July 1 after agreeing to a plea deal.

But the law isn’t the only threat. Violent crime in Venezuela has skyrocketed as the economy has collapsed, and miners must be very careful to hide their wealth.

Padrón’s bitcoin mining computers were confiscated by SEBIN officers when he was arrested in March and never returned. But he had an alert system set up: Whenever the machines are powered up and connected to the bitcoin-mining network, he receives an automatically generated email.

A month after his arrest, a message arrived in Padrón’s inbox. “I think the officers [who arrested me] have started mining bitcoins,” he says. – Jim Epstein

 

 

ALTCOINS

Bitcoin Dominance Index

Bitcoin Dominance Index rises to 87%, up from 76% in March – Lee Banfield

Bitcoin is once in a lifetime event. You are going to have a bad time trying to replicate its success. – Steve

 

Gold

Over the lifetime of Bitcoin, Gold appreciated from $800/oz to just $1100/oz and is heading down. – Oleg Andreev

Many gold bugs *still* shun btc. Gold–>BTC flow hasn’t even started yet. – Dan McArdle

 

July 2016 Report: The Most Legitimate Altcoins

The Dominant Anonymous Coin

Litecoin may be minimally useful as a backup blockchain, but it would make more sense for the number 2 digital currency in the world to be an anonymous coin.

A strong, dominant anonymous coin taking the number 2 spot with litecoin 3rd would seem like a sane world.

Privacy improvements in digital currencies are needed and although I’d prefer it to see it happen in bitcoin, I don’t mind seeing separate currencies working on it too.

Spending bitcoin through mixers is still the most popular way to pay for products on dark markets, but altcoins are accepted on some sites.

At the moment Dash is the most dominant anonymous coin by market cap, and Monero is the most technically advanced.

CryptoNote is an open-source technology that allows the creation of supposedly anonymous cryptocurrencies.

CryptoNote coins are generally regarded as the most advanced in the privacy area.

In July 2014 Bytecoin was number 1 ($8.2mill market cap), almost double the value of 2nd place Monero ($4.4mill market cap).

Over the last couple of years Monero has performed very well compared to the premined Bytecoin scam and is now the number 1 CryptoNote coin with a market cap of $19mill compared to Bytecoin’s $7.4mill.

Unfortunately there are suspicions of scams surrounding many of the CryptoNote coins (although not Monero).

DREADz: If you were to buy $100 of one anon coin would you choose Dash or Monero or another I’m not aware of?

Peter Todd: Without a doubt I’d choose Monero over Dash – the latter is snakeoil, the former genuine crypto. – Sunday 26th July 2015

Monero was forked from Bytecoin. Unlike most CryptoNote coins it was not premined.

Monero is a slightly inflationary currency (below 1%, eventually settling at 0.37%). This is low enough to not be a major concern (and the rate of loss of the currency will probably offset the slight inflation)

Technical innovations include Monero’s invention of RingCT, which allows for Greg Maxwell’s Confidential Transactions scheme to work with Monero’s ring signatures, effectively hiding all amounts in Monero transactions.

I probably should get around to finally buying some Monero. xmr.to is a pretty clever service.

We’re going to find out the hard way that Bitcoin will get outcompeted by currencies like Monero and Zerocash if we don’t act to get better anonymity and privacy into Bitcoin itself – Peter Todd

 

Monero has many flaws and limitations compared to bitcoin like lack of network effect and relative security disadvantages. However, it is the number 1 ranked legitimate anonymous coin in the world.

SUGGESTED PORTFOLIO ALLOCATION

Bitcoin 99%
Monero 1%

It really is all about Bitcoin. It’s just phenomenal compared to the alternatives. The opportunity cost of investing in something else is so high.

Monero is a worthy small addition as the most advanced privacy altcoin. Also, look to add a very small amount of Litecoin (smaller than Monero) when the price is historically low.

Lee Banfield, July 2016 Report: The Most Legitimate Altcoins

 

 

Monero Market Cap Surges to $185mill

  • 27x increase in value this year.

Image result for monero

It’s been obvious for almost two years that Monero should be a top-5 coin. – Dan McArdle

From what I’ve seen, Monero is the only altcoin with real privacy improvements. – Kyle Torpey

My view on Monero: does offer better privacy, built on some real dev work. Concerns: scalability, security, actual demand, competition. I like that it’s a POW algo. – Tuur Demeester

 

 

PRIVACY / SECURITY / INTERNET

Akamai State of the Internet Report

  • Global average connection speed increased 21% increase year over year.
  • Average internet speed doubled in Vietnam and Indonesia. Good news for digital nomads.

Akamai

 

5G

  • 5G will bring gigabit data, starting in 2018 and scaling in 2019-2020. – WSJD
  • This will be an interconnected world, it will be a world where humans are communicating with each other but also with machines, where machines are communicating with each other, and where people are not really aware of the connectivity anymore, they just are connected. – Philipp Metzger
  • There is nothing I’m looking forward more to then 5G – Mark Brienza

 

China Launches World’s 1st Quantum Communications Satellite. It’s a Big Deal.

  • The Satellite tests out quantum (and quantum-computer-resistant) encryption.
  • Initial results are encouraging. A quantum channel has been well established between the ­satellite and ground stations.
  • “Quantum teleportation” operates outside of space and time because the connection between entangled pairs exceeds the normal speed limit for information: the speed of light.
  • The University of Vienna’s Mr. Zeilinger said the satellite puts China and the field of quantum mechanics on the verge of a significant technological breakthrough. “In the long run, there is a good chance that this will replace our current communications technology. I see no basic reason why it won’t happen.” – Josh Chin

No biggie. It’s just a quantum satellite the Chinese plan to use for teleporting information in mathematical subspace using Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.” That distance being 1,200 kilometers.

The satellite is the first of an intended global system of 20 such satellites in China’s QUESS (“Quantum Experiments at Space Scale”) program. The point of the project is to create uncrackable encryption keys.

Hopes for the project are pinned on two quantum concepts: superposition and quantum entanglement (“spooky action”).

Superposition refers to the idea that quantum particles can be in multiple states at the same time.

You can think of it in simple terms, like being both on and off at the same time, or up and down at the same time. But it’s actually even odder, because quantum particles can behave like waves, meaning they exist in all sorts of shapes at once.

It’s only when a quantum particle is observed that it stabilizes into one single state. This would be handy for an encryption key — if it were intercepted, and thus observed, it would no longer be in superposition and the owners of the key would know it had been compromised.

In quantum entanglement two particles form a single superposition together.

This means that their states are interlocked as if they’re a single entity: Changing the state of one simultaneously changes the state of the other. This exchange of information is called “quantum teleportation.”

Physicists know how to create pairs of entangled photons, sub-atomic light particles, and have observed them operating in sync between two of the Canary Islands. – Robby Berman

Image result for quantum entanglement

Initial results from the quantum satellite that China sent into space are encouraging, the project’s chief scientist said.

A quantum channel had been well established between the ­satellite and ground stations, Pan Jianwei, the nation’s leading ­expert in quantum physics, said at a technology exhibition in Hong Kong.

China had been exploring the military and commercial applications of quantum technology, and successful tests of the satellite ­system would pave the way for the construction of large quantum communication networks, he said.

Pan said his team had successfully passed photons, or particles of light, between the satellite and ground stations in Tibet and Xinjiang province.

The plan is to eventually send a quantum cryptographic key via the satellite from Beijing to Vienna to demonstrate that the technology can be used for unhackable communication.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China would be one of the first outsiders to try the network, Pan said.

Quantum communication is said to be hack-free because anyone who attempts to measure or clone particles will destroy their original quantum states.

China is not the only country trying to blaze a trail in quantum communication and improve data security. A team in Singapore is planning to launch devices into space that can entangle photons and in turn enable the city state to build a secure fibre-optic communication network. – Viola Zhou

 

China Launches World’s Longest Quantum Communication Line

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China has launched a quantum communication line 712 kilometers in length that is meant to safely transmit sensitive information. It is expected to be extended to 2,000 kilometers soon.

It transmitted a secure video conference between Hefei and Shanghai in one of its first test communications.

The line, already three years in the making and yet to be finished, will ultimately connect Shanghai to China’s capital, Beijing, and run through another major city, Jinan, with a total of 32 relay points.

Quantum communication uses quantum entanglement of photons to ensure that nobody taps into the line, as doing so would inevitably corrupt the signal.

The Chinese network is valuable for both research on how the technology can be used, and practical purposes, such as delivering secure messages between the connected cities.

China has already launched a quantum communication satellite that will eventually be connected to the Shanghai-Beijing line via a station in Beijing. – Jose Miguel Gomez

 

 

MARKETS

Deflation

$13 trillion of negative yielding debt and Amazon is selling a tablet for $33.

I was promised a hyperinflationary apocalypse.

Morgan Housel

 

The World Realizing Nvidia’s Potential

Nvidia stock (NVDA:NASDAQ) now $112. Traded at $32 at the start of the year. – Lee Banfield

 

Moore’s Law is Now in NVIDIA’s Hands

  • We’ll soon see the power of computing increase way more than any other period. There will be trillions of products with tiny neural networks inside. – Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA

Intel has long ago ceded leadership for Moore’s Law. And so, understandably, they have trumpeted the end of Moore’s Law for many years. To me, it sounds a lot like Larry Ellison’s OpEd declaring the end of innovation in enterprise software, just before cloud computing and SaaS took off. In both cases, the giants missed the organic innovation bubbling up all around them.

For the past seven years, it has not been Intel but NVIDIA that has pushed the frontier of Moore’s processor performance/price curve.

For a 2016 data point, consider the NVIDIA Titan GTX. It offers 10^13 FLOPS per $1K (11 trillion calculations per second for $1,200 list price), and is the workhorse for deep learning and scientific supercomputing today. And they are sampling much more powerful systems that should be shipping soon. The fine-grained parallel compute architecture of a GPU maps better to the needs of deep learning than a CPU.

There is a poetic beauty to the computational similarity of a processor optimized for graphics processing and the computational needs of a sensory cortex, as commonly seen in neural networks today.

I was going to update the Kurzweil Curve (the meaningful version of Moore’s Law) to include the latest data points, and found that he was doing the same thing.

Here is the preliminary version. The 7 most recent data points are all NVIDIA, with CPU architectures dominating the prior 30 years:

ec

It’s what gives us hope for the future and I think it’s the most important thing ever graphed.

Here is the prior version

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Moore’s Law is now in NVIDIA’s hands. Consider the GTX Titan X for 2016. 11 TFLOPS for $1,200. That would be on the order of 10^13 for the far right side of the graph, perfectly on the line.

Steve Jurvetson

 

Marc Andreessen: If We Were a Hedge Fund We’d Put All Our Money Into Nvidia

Nvidia’s dominance of the GPU sector–it has more than a 70% share–and its expansion into new markets have sent its stock soaring. Its shares are up almost 200% in the past 12 months

There are an estimated 3,000 AI startups worldwide, and many of them are building on Nvidia’s platform. They’re using Nvidia’s GPUs to put AI into apps for trading stocks, shopping online and navigating drones.

“We’ve been investing in a lot of startups applying deep learning to many areas, and every single one effectively comes in building on Nvidia’s platform,” says Marc Andreessen of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. “It’s like when people were all building on Windows in the ’90s or all building on the iPhone in the late 2000s.

“For fun,” adds Andreessen, “our firm has an internal game of what public companies we’d invest in if we were a hedge fund. We’d put all our money into Nvidia.” – Aaron Tilley

 

 

COMPANIES / PROJECTS / PRODUCTS

ProDrone: Dual Robot Arm Drone

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Can’t stop watching this clip of a drone with arms. Can carry 10kg. – Anna Jackman

  • Full ProDrone Video (Link)

 

Full Self-Driving Hardware Becoming Available on All Tesla Cars

This is huge news. It was just a few years ago that the sensors/cameras used on the Google cars were over $100,000 to achieve level 3 autonomy.

To have the hardware component installed on all Tesla cars (including the $35k Model 3) moving forward happened years ahead of when I feel most of us that follow autonomous vehicle tech would have imagined. From a tech perspective, this is mind-blowing news. – Nathan Wright

Musk announced that all Tesla cars being produced as of today, including the Model 3, will have everything they need onboard to achieve full Level 5 self-driving in the future.

The biggest change might be the new onboard computer that provides over 40 times the processing power of the existing Tesla hardware, which actually runs the in-house neural net the car maker has developed in order to handle processing of data inbound from the vision, sonar and radar systems.

Musk said on call discussing the most recent update to the existing driver assistance Autopilot software that it basically stretched computing power to the limit, which is why the upgraded CPU is required for full Level 5 autonomy. The new GPU is the Nvidia Titan, Musk said on the call, though it was a “tight call” between Nvidia and AMD.

The validation required for full autonomy will still take some more time, but Musk said on a call that it’s actually already looking like it’ll be at least two times as safe as human driving based on existing testing. – Darrell Etherington

 

Tesla Model 3 Launch: The Big Bang Moment for Electric Cars

The highest single-day sales of any product of any kind ever in world history. – Tesla

The first week rolled in 325,000 reservations, which corresponds to about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever. – The Tesla Team

That massive number, which far exceeded optimistic forecasts, upends traditional thinking about how to sell cars and is expected to spur the auto industry to shift more dramatically to market electric technology to consumers, analysts said. – Brian Fung and Matt McFarland

Elon Musk confirmed being surprised by the number of reservations and that he was only expecting half as many or even just one-fourth. – Fred Lambert

We’ve never seen anything quite like this in the auto industry. It is unprecedented.  – Jessica Caldwell

“How is Elon Musk going to make all those Tesl…” *breaking news* “Elon Musk lands rocket on floating autonomous platform” – Louis Anslow

 

Huge Improvements as Google Translate Converts to AI Based System

  • The A.I. system made overnight improvements roughly equal to the total gains the old one had accrued over its entire lifetime.
  • The rollout includes translations between English and Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish. The rest of Translate’s hundred-odd languages are to come, with the aim of eight per month.
  • The Google Translate team had been steadily adding new languages and features to the old system, but gains in quality over the last four years had slowed considerably.

Image result for google brain

Late one Friday night in early November, Jun Rekimoto, a distinguished professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Tokyo, was online preparing for a lecture when he began to notice some peculiar posts rolling in on social media.

Apparently Google Translate, the company’s popular machine-translation service, had suddenly and almost immeasurably improved. Rekimoto visited Translate himself and began to experiment with it. He was astonished. He had to go to sleep, but Translate refused to relax its grip on his imagination.

Rekimoto promoted his discovery to his hundred thousand or so followers on Twitter, and over the next few hours thousands of people broadcast their own experiments with the machine-translation service.

As dawn broke over Tokyo, Google Translate was the No. 1 trend on Japanese Twitter, just above some cult anime series and the long-awaited new single from a girl-idol supergroup. Everybody wondered: How had Google Translate become so uncannily artful?

Image result for google translate

Google Translate’s side-by-side experiment to compare the new system with the old one. 

Schuster wanted to run a for English-French, but Hughes advised him to try something else. “English-French,” he said, “is so good that the improvement won’t be obvious.”

It was a challenge Schuster couldn’t resist. The benchmark metric to evaluate machine translation is called a BLEU score, which compares a machine translation with an average of many reliable human translations.

At the time, the best BLEU scores for English-French were in the high 20s. An improvement of one point was considered very good; an improvement of two was considered outstanding.

The neural system, on the English-French language pair, showed an improvement over the old system of seven points. Hughes told Schuster’s team they hadn’t had even half as strong an improvement in their own system in the last four years.

To be sure this wasn’t some fluke in the metric, they also turned to their pool of human contractors to do a side-by-side comparison. The user-perception scores, in which sample sentences were graded from zero to six, showed an average improvement of 0.4 — roughly equivalent to the aggregate gains of the old system over its entire lifetime of development.

In mid-March, Hughes sent his team an email. All projects on the old system were to be suspended immediately.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The Great AI Awakening

 

 

KNOWLEDGE / LEARNING

Image result for spiral galaxy

  • Ten thousand years ago, we would throw a stone as far as our arm allowed. Today, we throw a rover into the cosmos, as far as our knowledge allows.
  • The reach of human knowledge is unlimited. We are completely central to any understanding of the universe. The Scientific Revolution was an event that changed the universe (or so we should hope).
  • Base metals can be transmuted into gold by stars, and by intelligent beings who understand the processes that power stars, but by nothing else in the universe.

David Deutsch

 

The Singapore Math Question: IQ as Inherent “Intelligence”

  • Yes, it’s complicated, but it’s not complicated like the English language. The English language is unbelievably complex. Thousands of words, using them all in different ways, inflection, and we all do that effortlessly. – Joe Rogan
  • Most teachers – and indeed our culture generally – explicitly endorse the bad idea of “intelligence”. The false and damaging idea that certain people have mental inherent capacities over and above others. Intelligence is a rather useless word. Whatever it is, it’s no more “innate” than speaking english is.
  • All universal computers – including ourselves – are bounded only by memory and speed and can do *literally anything* that any other computer can do. This is what computational universality is. Because humans are universal computers we must be able to do whatever any other of us can.
  • Don’t set arbitrary limits to human knowledge – Brett Hall

Picture

Here is the problem “for school children” that it is claimed has “stumped the world”.

Being able to do this, or not do this question – or this type of question is a measure of nothing more than how interested you are in doing this question – or questions like it.

Logic is actually a subject all its own. It is a learnable thing, taught at schools and universities. Like French. Or Chinese. Or the piano.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it – you would if you were really, genuinely interested. Which means – you would sit down for (literally) many minutes – probably hours – doing this problem and ones like it until it just became second nature. People do this! And weirdly lots of the people that do it say “I find logic puzzles so easy” and they do well at them. Because they have fun doing them. And so do well in tests with logic puzzles.

And they think, and other people think, it is somehow an inherent (i.e: not learned) capacity. That it is something about their brains. But it’s not. It’s just a skill of their minds. Like speaking Chinese. Or playing the piano. Or dancing. Or any one of a million other things human beings can do. It’s not a measure of intelligence. It’s just a certain kind of learned skill.

But it is a learned skill that is quickly, and highly, rewarded in schools because schools value this kind of thing and some students value getting gold stars or good marks or whatever. And so they do well and the cycle continues.

Image result for site:weeklyglobalresearch.wordpress.com the singularity

It’s like if you cannot read music and don’t really want to learn how. It probably won’t help if someone really articulate tries to explain it to you: you probably still won’t understand because you won’t really pay attention. But that doesn’t mean you lack some capability someone else has, or have a lower IQ – it means you are not interested.

Truly, some people are interested in, for fun, doing lots of logic type puzzles of the sort they ask in IQ tests. That doesn’t make these people smarter than someone who teaches themselves how to speak Mandarin or Russian – it just gives them different interests.

Would you think someone who learned how to speak Mandarin completely fluently was really smart? Well every child in mainland China (more or less) learns this to a very high level of proficiency.

If people were rewarded socially for doing IQ tests in the way they were for learning languages, we would all do really really well in IQ tests. We’d all be “fluent” in IQ testing questions and their answers. Instead, only some of us are ever interested in in doing lots of silly little mathematical and logical puzzles – because we find it fun and rewarding.

Brett Hall

 

 

THE SINGULARITY

The Singularity is Here: World GDP in Trillions

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From Nick Bostrom’s Book Superintelligence

 

Tech Moguls Declare Era of Artificial Intelligence

  • What we’ve seen in the last four years is breakthrough after breakthrough after breakthrough. – Marc Andreeseen
  • The Dream Is Finally Arriving. This Is What It Was All Leading Up To. – Bill Gates

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted a profound impact on society over the next 20 years.

“It’s really early but I think we’re on the edge of a golden era. It’s going to be so exciting to see what happens,” he said.

Amazon has been working on artificial intelligence for at least four years and now has 1,000 employees working on Alexa, the company’s voice-based smart assistant software system, he said.

Big tech companies including Amazon have an edge at present because they have access to large amounts of data but hundreds of AI startups will hatch in the next few years, he said.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the company has been working on artificial technology, which she calls a cognitive system, since 2005 when it started developing its Watson supercomputer. “I would say in five years, there’s no doubt in my mind that cognitive AI will impact every decision made” from healthcare to education to financial services, Rometty said. – Liana B. Baker

 

Google’s AI Takes Historic Match Against Go Champ

  • Machines have conquered the last games. Now comes the real world

Image result for google deepmind

Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system has claimed victory in its historic match with Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol after winning a third straight game in this best-of-five series.

Go is exponentially more complex than chess and requires an added level of intuition—at least among humans. This makes the win a major milestone for AI—a moment whose meaning extends well beyond a single game.

Just two years ago, most experts believed that another decade would pass before a machine could claim this prize. But then researchers at DeepMind—a London AI lab acquired by Google—changed the equation using two increasingly powerful forms of machine learning, technologies that allow machines to learn largely on their own.

The machine learning techniques at the heart of AlphaGo already drive so many services inside the Internet giant—helping to identify faces in photos, recognize commands spoken into smartphones, choose Internet search results, and much more. They could also potentially reinvent everything from scientific research to robotics

The machine plays like no human ever would—quite literally.

Using what are called deep neural networks—vast networks of hardware and software that mimic the web of neurons in the human brain—AlphaGo initially learned the game by analyzing thousands of moves from real live Go grandmasters. But then, using a sister technology called reinforcement learning, it reached a new level by playing game after game against itself, coming to recognize moves that give it the highest probability of winning.

The result is a machine that often makes the most inhuman of moves.

This happened in Game Two—in a very big way. With its 19th move, AlphaGo made a play that shocked just about everyone, including both the commentators and Lee Sedol, who needed nearly fifteen minutes to choose a response. The commentators couldn’t even begin to evaluate AlphaGo’s move, but it proved effective. Three hours later, AlphaGo had won the match.

This week’s match is so meaningful because this ancient pastime is so complex. As Google likes to say of Go: there are more possible positions on the board than atoms in a universe.

Just a few days earlier, most in the Go community were sure this wasn’t possible. But these wins were decisive. Machines have conquered the last games. Now comes the real world. – Cade Metz

 

Artificial Intelligence: BabyX

  • “I was not expecting this for another 10 years” – Nathanael Ries

BabyX is a project for the creation of a virtual animated baby that learns and reacts like a human baby.

It uses the computer’s cameras for “seeing” and microphones to “listen” as the inputs.

The computer uses Artificial intelligence algorithms for BabyX’s “learning” and interpretation of the inputs (voice and image) to understand the situation.

The result is a virtual toddler that can learn to read, recognize objects and “understand.”

The output is the baby’s face that can “speak” and express its mood by facial expressions (such as smile and show embarrassment). – Wikipedia

 

Simple OpenCog Inference via Hanson Robot

  • We’re undertaking a serious effort to build a thinking machine.

No challenge today is more important than creating Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), with broad capabilities at the human level and ultimately beyond.

OpenCog is an open-source software project aimed at directly confronting the AGI challenge, using mathematical and biological inspiration and professional software engineering techniques.

OpenCog is an ambitious project with many challenges. We are however confident that our design and software is capable of human preschool-level intelligence after years — not decades — of sustained effort along our roadmap.  After that, progress will become increasingly rapid. – opencog.org

This demo showcases aspects of some recently completed systems integration — the Hanson Robotics HEAD software framework controlling robot Han Hanson, and OpenCog’s Probabilistic Logic Networks inference engine connected to OpenCog’s English language comprehension and generation pipelines. – Ben Goertzel

 

Google Turns on DeepMind AI, Cuts Cooling Energy Bill by 40%

  • This alone probably pays for the Deepmind acquisition. Shows how far below Pareto optimal limits even Google was. – Balaji S. Srinivasan
  • The electricity consumption of data centers is on a pace to account for 12 percent of global electricity consumption by 2017. – Dan Heilman

Google Uses AI To Cool Data Centers and Slash Electricity Use

  • DeepMind controls about 120 variables in the data centers. The fans and the cooling systems and so on, and windows and other things. They were pretty astounded. – Demis Hassabis, DeepMind Co-Founder
  • I don’t think most grasp the significance of this. Oil companies have similar systems they pay billions trying to optimize. – iandanforth
  • It’s all about optimization. It can be used in supply logistics, shipping logistics and dynamic pricing in addition to keeping an industrial area at the right temperature. We’ll be seeing AI being applied to a lot more areas. – Dave Schubmehl
  • Honestly, I’m skeptical a generalized AI will go fully conscious in my lifetime. But these specialized AI? These things are going to start changing our lives over the next ten years in unimaginable ways. The energy savings alone is incredible. – tendimensions

The amount of energy consumed by big data centers has always been a headache for tech companies.

Keeping the servers cool as they crunch numbers is such a challenge that Facebook even built one of its facilities on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

Well, Google has a different solution to this problem: putting its DeepMind artificial intelligence unit in charge and using AI to manage power usage in parts of its data centers.

The results of this experiment? A 40 percent reduction in the amount of electricity needed for cooling, which Google describes as a “phenomenal step forward.”

A typical day of testing, including when machine learning recommendations were turned on, and when they were turned off.

The AI worked out the most efficient methods of cooling by analyzing data from sensors among the server racks, including information on things like temperatures and pump speeds.

DeepMind’s engineers say the next step is identify where new data is needed to calculate further efficiencies, and to deploy sensors in those areas.

And the company won’t stop with Google’s data centers. “Because the algorithm is a general-purpose framework to understand complex dynamics, we plan to apply this to other challenges in the data centre environment and beyond in the coming months,” said DeepMind in a blog post.

“Possible applications of this technology include improving power plant conversion efficiency […], reducing semiconductor manufacturing energy and water usage, or helping manufacturing facilities increase throughput.” – James Vincent

 

Artificial Intelligence Better Than Humans at Cancer Detection

  • Machines are now better than humans at detecting cancer both in pictures and in free text documents. What’s next? – Sprezzaturian
  • Japanese doctors have, for the first time in history, used artificial intelligence to detect a type of leukemia. – Jolene Creighton

 

Integrating Artificial Intelligence

We can enhance our brains to multiply our intelligence and creativity.

We’ve been improving our memory capacity and our speed of computation for thousands of years already with the invention of things like writing, writing implements – just language itself which enables more than one person to work on the same problem and to coordinate their understanding of it with each other. That also allows an increase in speed compared with what an unaided human would be able to do.

Currently we use computers and in the future we can use computer implants and so on. In principle it’s easy – it doesn’t violate any law of physics.  – David Deutsch

 

With A ‘Neural Lace’ Brain Implant, We Can Stay As Smart As AI

  • Can we just inject electronic circuits through a needle into the brain, or other tissue, and then connect it, and then monitor? Yes, we can, and that’s where we are today. – Charles Lieber

This summer at Code Conference 2016, Elon Musk stated publicly that given the current rate of A.I. advancement, humans could ultimately expect to be left behind—cognitively, intellectually—“by a lot.”

His solution to this unappealing fate is a novel brain-computer interface similar to the implantable “neural lace” described by the Scottish novelist Iain M. Banks in Look to Windward, part of his “Culture series” books. Along with serving as a rite of passage, it upgrades the human brain to be more competitive against A.I.’s with human-level or higher intelligence.

Smarter artificial intelligence is certainly being developed, but how far along are we on producing a neural lace?

At the conference, Musk said he didn’t know of any company that was working on one. But last year, a team of researchers led by Charles Lieber, the Mark Hyman Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, described in Nature Nanotechnology a lace-like electronic mesh that “you could literally inject” into three-dimensional synthetic and biological structures like the brain. That was a major step.

His team’s paper, published on August 29th in Nature Methods, expands on that earlier work, to show that mesh-brain implants readily integrate into a mouse brain and enable neuronal recordings for at least eight months. “

In science, I’ve been disappointed at times, and this is a case where we’ve been more than pleasantly surprised,” Lieber says.

What does this development really mean for those of us who hope to acquire a neural lace? – Kiki Sanford

The Neural Lace Maker

At the outset no one, and a lot of reviewers of that first paper, believed we could even inject electronics through a needle and then not destroy the electronics. A lot of it was actually not related to anything biological. It was really about the materials science, and also showing that you could literally inject this into other kinds of structures.

Also, other implanted electronics in the brain always cause some type of immune response and damage, probably due to the combination of putting something really rigid into this soft tissue: Whenever you move around and your brain moves, it moves different than this thing. It can destroy cells; but also, because it’s much bigger, it’s apparently easier for the cells or the biological system to recognize it as something foreign and try to attack it.

But our philosophy, it seems, is going to be really rewarding because it solves the immune-response problem, and then allows us now to do measurements and modulate neural circuits.

It’s turned out to work much, much better than we originally thought, and some of the reasons are outlined in our original paper a year ago, and then much more so in this paper: That this mesh-like structure, which can be injected because it has size, scale, and mechanical properties very similar to the neural network, or neural tissue, turns out to have no immune response, which is unheard of. – Charles Lieber

 

Incredible Things Are Happening

Each year is more exciting than the last in the research areas I’m involved in. AI, Robotics, Longevity, Biology… all over the place we’re just seeing new things happening year after year.

The number of breakthrough reports in longevity research in the last few months is incredible. This last year everyone is using CRISPR all of a sudden for gene editing. We see that you’re now able to make mice live much longer than they otherwise would have simply by making them flush out old senescent cells. There’s incredible things happening all around. – Ben Goertzel

 

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