• "We’re more willing to grant intelligence to things that we’ve built ourselves than to non-human species, even though it’s increasingly obvious that primates, cephalopods and trees have forms of intelligence that we should maybe be listening to. So how do we take this sudden decentring of the human with regard to AI? It’s like a Copernican moment when suddenly we have to acknowledge there are other forms of intelligence present. And then suddenly go, “Oh shit, there have been incredible amounts of intelligence here all along, and we’ve completely ignored them." This is very good.
  • "In this way, Dynamic Yield is part of a generation of companies whose core technology, while extremely useful, is powered by artificial intelligence that is roughly as good as a 24-year-old analyst at Goldman Sachs with a big dataset and a few lines of Adderall."

    This is good – and largely well written, bar an unnecessary cheap shot at one point. It overlaps with lots of what I have to teach students about AI: namely, those letter have become this huge suitcase concept for anything from gnarly machine learning problems and recurrent neural networks down to applied statistics and a splash of arithmetic. And meanwhile, everyone just keeps adding to this cyclone of nonsense as they try to out-claim one another. It's exhausting, and it pollutes the public sphere, such that inexperts – politicians, policymakers – get themselves tangled up about all the wrong things. Sigh.

  • "From 1950 to 1990, Tinsley had been the world champion of checkers whenever he wanted to be. He’d occasionally retire to work on mathematics or devote himself to religious study, but he’d eventually return, beat everyone and become champion again. In that 40-year span, he lost five total games and never once dropped a match." Brilliant article from Alexis Madrigal on the race to solve draughts/checkers, one man and his computer, and another man and his faith.
  • "Since I got my iPhone 4S, I’ve been intrigued, fascinated and alarmed by Siri’s fast-growing capabilities. I thought it would make sense to introduce her to my psychotherapist, Eliza." Now I think about it, surprised it's taken someone so long to do this (considering all the other Siri 'gags' floating around).
  • "Someone at work recently asked how he should go about studying machine learning on his own. So I’m putting together a little guide." Ooh, useful. Lots of starting points for machine learning in R.
  • "When you look at the dubstep scene you realize quickly that it’s a fairly young genre. Not in terms of its own existence as a named thing, but as a measure of the age of many of its prominent musicians. They’re of the generation that doesn’t know a world before the Nintendo Entertainment System and a lot of the music reflects that… If you had a giant Venn Diagram of dubstep and 8-bit chiptunes, you’d see a large overlap between the two. Why dubstep is particularly prone to this, more than other electronic styles, I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with its relatively lo-fi, home studio feel of the genre? … There’s a hidden, untold history there, but it’d be best told by someone that knows the genre, and its players, better than I do. In the meantime, I’ll continue enjoying it until it’s pillaged and destroyed for all its worth." Mike on the overlap between dubstep and chiptune culture.
  • "All artworks have been created using data from the game "Unreal Tournament". Each image represents about 30 mins of gameplay in which the computers AI plays against itself. There are 20-25 bots playing each game and they play custom maps which I create. Each map has been specially designed so that the AI bots have a rough idea of where to go in order to create the image I want. I log the position (X,Y,Z) of each bot, every second using a modification for the game, I also log the position of a death. I then run my own program written in Processing to create printable postscript files of that match."