Monthly Archives: December 2012
Most of you, have probably heard about Dr. Marvin Minsky , one of the most influential authorities inside Cognitive Science. Co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies AI laboratory. In my opinion, he is one of the most intelligent thinker I have ever heard.
This is a talk in 2009 in which Marvin Minsky tries to explain why we need intelligent machines and what we can expect from them. His research group has been working on cognitive architectures trying to develop better intelligent machines using AI. Although it is a few years old, it is one of the most interesting and funny talks I have experienced so far, and I was able to find it recently on iTunes.
Education is no good, unless you teach them to question it. And it is not popular.
Sarcastic Marvin Minsky begins talking about why we need intelligent machines. He claims that if we knew how to build a machine that could think more or less the same way that people can, we should surely understand its behaviour, being capable in the future to know how to fix and replace all of this machines parts and equally all of the the brain’s ones to. In his own words “Immortality would be easy to obtain” This way we would be able to make backup copies of our brains and download and upload them into this machines.
One thing he points out and which I can not do anything but totally agree, is that in the Universities, high-schools and collages, people are developing again and again the same kinds of robots. In his own words” You can learn a lot from doing this, like that if you step on connectors …. they brake.” 🙂 People should be working on something more useful. For example, robot-soccer might be beautiful to watch for a few minutes but it is useless and has not much value for humanity. Why not try to research on robots that do something more useful?
The best is the enemy of the good. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to find the best way. Find six good ways, it will take you half the time and your machine will be six times better when the environment changes
Dr. Minsky remarks that the ambiguity of language is really a useful tool we use to learn, as it is possible to obtain a better result at the end by misunderstanding what you where initially told. As when somebody realises a different idea from something you have read before, but you didn’t thought of that at that moment. But now, that you have been told about it, the idea seems really plausible. It is clear that people learn in various ways, and that people develop different ways to learn. I agree with Dr. Minsky, that we should focus our efforts not on education as we are doing it right now, but more on understanding ways to learn and improving old commonly used techniques as reinforcement by reward. Instead, we should better ask ourselves why some kids learn more from the same experience than others and improve our ways of teaching how to learn.
If you can tell yourself what you did, you might misunderstand it and do something better next time
Talking about AI, Dr. Minsky gives a brief history description through the first AI to symbolic calculation. How this development has provided powerful tools for mathematic integration using Matlab or Mathematica. But right now, computers can only solve logical formulated problems and can not operate by analogy. He explains that there are not enough people researching on example based reasoning, which he believes will be the future of computer programming and instead that to much effort and money is spent on neural networks, statistical learning, genetic algorithms…which will inevitably pass away and become obsolete.
Thousands of people are doing something because they see thousands of other people doing it, so therefore it must be good. I know only about twenty or thirty people in the hole world who are working on how to get computers to do anything like ordinary common sense reasoning and thats where I think, the future lays.
Through the whole lecture Dr. Marvin gives his point of view on a bunch of different topics and problems of society, science, education, politics, even sports, in a very sarcastic way. Although I do not agree with all of them, I have found them really funny and makes the lecture easy to listen and understand.
On a menu, when you have a choice I always order chicken this days, because your children won’t have any chicken to order
For anyone who is interested in reading Dr. Minsky: The Emotion Machine
I came across the other day a really interesting project named FIONA. Maybe some of you have heard of it. You can check out its cool web here.
Project Fiona or The community for the creation of the artificial mind, aims as their developers explain, to be an online platform to create the next generation of virtual avatars. Many blog and internet users knows what an avatar is, basically we could define it as a personalized graphic file or rendering that represents a computer user.
By what The community calls sparks which trends to be something like little applications that can contribute to the platform uploading their killer feature, a specific behavior, an amazing character or the best of their knowledge in a topic.
With this type of technology we can expect in the near future a new generation of avatars which might be able to export your own ideas, knowledge even your personality in ways only science fiction visionaries dreamt about. Virtual teachers could attend to virtual classes, this technology could change the way we understand meetings, they could be used as interfaces for waiters, sellers and I can imagine more and more other possibilities…
I have not been able to test the platform, neither the interface or the sparks programming, I hope to have some time in the near future to test it (it looks it has a nice and friendly interface to work with, see second video) so I’m not able to judge right now if FIONA’s avatars can really manage complex tasks and develop real, clear conversations and interactions, but I believe that this project can be a great platform to test if this are real actual possibilities or only steps towards future technologies, time will tell.
You are able to find a few tutorials for beginners on their website and youtube like this one: