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Friday, July 29, 2016

Computer Art Vs. Human Art

There Is No Difference between Computer Art and Human Art (+Video)

Sam Dresser | July 20, 2016

In December 1964, over a single evening session in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, John Coltrane and his quartet recorded the entirety of A Love Supreme. This jazz album is considered Coltrane’s masterpiece – the culmination of his spiritual awakening – and sold a million copies. What it represents is all too human: a climb out of addiction, a devotional quest, a paean to God.
Five decades later and 50 miles downstate, over 12 hours this April and fuelled by Monster energy drinks in a spare bedroom in Princeton, New Jersey, Ji-Sung Kim wrote an algorithm to teach a computer to teach itself to play jazz. Kim, a 20-year-old Princeton sophomore, was in a rush – he had a quiz the next morning. The resulting neural network project, called deepjazz, trended on GitHub, generated a buzz of excitement and skepticism from the Hacker News commentariat, got 100,000 listens on SoundCloud, and was big in Japan.

[Click on link to view video] "Emily Howell is a computer program. A 1990s creation of David Cope, now a professor emeritus at the University of California at Santa Cruz, ‘she’ was born out of Cope’s frustrating struggle to finish an opera of his own. (Howell’s compositions are performed by human musicians.)" Source:
"Gilles Tran – Blowing in the wind" Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Four fundamentals of workplace automation. November 2015) and (Some aesthetic questions on computer-based art and design. Harold J. McWhinnie. Computers & Graphics. Volume 15, Issue 1, 1991, Pages 139-142. doi:10.1016/0097-8493(91)90040-O. [Abstract: This paper will report on an exhibition held in 1988 in Baltimore on the use of the computers in the arts. It will review work of significant artists who were in the show and will address some of the philosophical questions that seem to pertain to the use of the computer as a design apprentice. This work will be discussed also in relation to the growing interest in multi-media presentations that use the microcomputer as a way to present a variety of realities or possible worlds to students in school. Aesthetic questions and educational implications will be discussed in detail.])

Do Animals Understand Ignorance?

Are We the Only Animals That Understand Ignorance?

Two psychologists argue that while apes and monkeys can think about the minds of others, they lack one crucial ability that only humans have.

Ed Yong | July 28, 2016

You’re holding a surprise party for a friend. The door opens, the lights flick on, everyone leaps out... and your friend stands there silent and unmoved. Now, you’re the one who’s surprised. You assumed she had no idea, and based on that, you made a (wrong) prediction about how she would react. You were counting on her ignorance. This ability to understand that someone else might be missing certain information about the world comes so naturally to us that describing it feels mundane and trite.
And yet, according to two psychologists, it’s a skill that only humans have. “We think monkeys can’t do that,” says Alia Martin from Victoria University of Wellington.


<more at; related articles and links: (Humans not smarter than animals, just different, experts say. December 4, 2013) and (What Cognitive Representations Support Primate Theory of Mind? Alia martin and Laurie R. Santos. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Volume 20, Issue 5, p375–382, May 2016. DOI: [Summary: Much recent work has examined the evolutionary origins of human mental state representations. This work has yielded strikingly consistent results: primates show a sophisticated ability to track the current and past perceptions of others, but they fail to represent the beliefs of others. We offer a new account of the nuanced performance of primates in theory of mind (ToM) tasks. We argue that primates form awareness relations tracking the aspects of reality that other agents are aware of. We contend that these awareness relations allow primates to make accurate predictions in social situations, but that this capacity falls short of our human-like representational ToM. We end by explaining how this new account makes important new empirical predictions about primate ToM.])>

Using The English Of Non-Native Speakers In Order To Make Smarter Computers

The English of Non-Native Speakers Could Make Smarter Computers

Researchers create first major database of non-native English in an effort to improve machine learning

Amar Toor | July 29, 2016

Researchers at MIT have created a database of annotated sentences written by non-native English speakers, the university announced in a press release Friday, in an effort to improve the ways in which computers process written or spoken language.
Most natural language processing (NLP) technology is based on machine learning, whereby computers identify patterns in large datasets. The problem, though, is that these systems are based on standard English, and therefore might not be able to pick up on the quirks and subtleties of non-native speakers.

[Click to Enlarge] Source;

"The Top 30 most common mistakes Non-Native English Speakers use." Published May 23, 2016. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (First major database of non-native English. Resource could yield linguistic insights, practical applications for non-native English speakers. July 29, 2016) and (Essays in English yield information about other languages. Grammatical habits in written English reveal linguistic features of non-native speakers’ languages. July 23, 2014)>

British English Is Losing Out To American English

The Future Is Gray for British English: How American Spellings Are Taking over the World with Flavor, Center and defense Becoming the Norm (+Video)

English language publications began to prefer American spelling in 1880s. After World War I, the American versions became even more popular. Charts show trend for American and British English from 1800 - 2000.

Cheyenne Macdonald | July 27, 2016

British English may have come first, but around the world, the American way of spelling is now far more popular.
A recent examination of these two variants of the English language show that publications now largely use the American version, swapping words like ‘centre’ for ‘center’ after the 1880s.
According to the data, this shift was further strengthened around the time of World War I – and as the language evolved, even the British have ditched the spelling of some words for their trans-Atlantic counterparts. 



<more at; related articles and links: (British / American) and (British Vs American English: 100+ Differences Illustrated)>

Teaching Computers To Recognize Visual History

How One Company Is teaching Computers to Recognize the World’s Visual History

Hillary Grigonis | July 28, 2016

[...] one newly re-branded company is working to ... identify historical figures from centuries before the word “artificial intelligence” was even thought of.
Project Gado first began as a way to develop new technology for quickly digitizing visual history through scanning hardware, from images to sheet music. Six years later, they’ve accomplished that goal and set out on another challenge — making sense of all that visual data, quickly and efficiently.
Now re-branded as Gado Images ...



<more at; related articles and links: (Gado Images website) and (Gado Images at>

Digital Healthcare System In Rwanda

Rwanda: Babyl Launches Digital Healthcare System

Solomon Asaba | July 29, 2016

A new digital health care system for patients to access doctors through their mobile devices was introduced yesterday at the opening of this year's trade exhibition in Gikondo, Kigali.
The service will allow smart phone holders to download an app while those with feature phones access the service through a USSD code. [USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is similar to Short Messaging Service (SMS), but,unlike SMS, USSD transactions occur during the session only. With SMS, message scan be sent to a mobile phone and stored for several days if the phone is not activated or within range.]




<more at; related articles and links: (In Rwanda, Health Care Coverage That Eludes the U.S. July 3, 2012) and (UK-based Babylon raises $25M for its app-enabled, remote healthcare service. January 18, 2016)>

Researching Cameras 'To See Around Corners'

Plumbing the Possibilities of a Camera That 'Sees around Corners'

Brian Mattmiller | July 28, 2016

The Morgridge Institute for Research and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are working to optimize a camera capable of a slick optical trick: Snapping pictures around corners.
The imaging project, supported by a new $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will work over four years to explore the limitations and potential applications of scattered-light technology that can recreate scenes outside human line of sight.

‘Seeing around corners’ technology could help emergency personnel identify people in danger during fires or natural disasters. Source:
"Using a highly sensitive camera that can take 20 billion frames per second and an infrared laser, researchers have developed a way of seeing around corners (pictured). They said they can track people and moving objects with the system, which could find uses in the real world in rescue operations or in cars." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (A camera that peers around corners. A new imaging system could use opaque walls, doors or floors as 'mirrors' to gather information about scenes outside its line of sight. March 21, 2012) and (The spy camera that peers around CORNERS: System can track people who are out of sight and spot cars at blind junctions. The camera detects laser light reflected off objects hidden around a corner; it can track people or objects that are out of sight as they move in real-time; the camera is capable of taking images at 20 billion frames per second; scientists said it could be used in rescue missions or to make cars safer. December 7, 2015)>

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Virtual Reality (VR) Is Evolving: Where To Next?

Artificial Realities: How VR has Evolved and Where It Goes Next

Andrew Lucas | July 27, 2016

Virtual reality is concept borne, perhaps aptly, out of the world of science fiction. In a world where colour photographs and moving images on film were only just becoming known by the general population, already there was a desire to go one step further, to step inside the painting and visit the world being depicted before the viewer’s eyes.
Stanley Weinbaum’s fantastical short story, which depicts a man undergoing a strange experience after putting on a pair of goggles and entering another world, reads somewhat naively to an audience that understands the nature of modern-day virtual reality. At the time, however, it was pure make-believe; it would be two decades after the story’s publication before research started in earnest on the first head-tracking devices.

"Pygmalion’s Spectacles was first published in 1935 in the aptly named Wonder Stories magazine. Four years after it’s first publication it was reprinted in Startling Stories as a “classic” and it was placed in their “Scientifiction Hall Of Fame.” It was reprinted again in Fantastic Story magazine in the Spring 1955 issue. Three magazine publications is a rare occurrence for any SF story. So, what makes this story special? Well, this tale of utopia, immortality, and romance, is also, most probably, the very first story to feature the concept of virtual reality." Source;

[Click to enlargge or navigate to link] Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Where is Virtual Reality Headed? March 1, 2015) and (3 Things To Know About the Future of Virtual Reality. May 12, 2016)>

Amazon's Kickstarter Project Page

Amazon Launches a Page Dedicated to Kickstarter Projects

Kickstarter Collection now available on Amazon Launchpad

Amar Toor | July 28, 2016

Amazon this week launched a page dedicated to Kickstarter projects, collecting more than 300 products under a single hub. The new Kickstarter Collection is now available at Amazon Launchpad, the company's digital storefront for hardware startups and crowdfunded projects. Successful Kickstarter projects available on the new page include Piper, Zivix, and Prynt, and they cover a wide range of products.
Amazon announced Launchpad last year with more than 200 products, including those from successful Kickstarter campaigns. In a press release announcing the Kickstarter Collection, Amazon said that more than 1,000 startups have now introduced products on Launchpad.

[Click to Enlarge] Amazon Kickstarter Page. Source:

[Click to Enlarge] From the Amazon Kickstarter Page. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Amazon Kickstarter page) and (Amazon partners with Kickstarter to sell crowdfunded products on Launchpad. July 27, 2016)>

Crime Prediction Algorithms Are Used In Sentencing

Secret Algorithms That Predict Future Criminals Get a Thumbs Up from Wisconsin Supreme Court

Etahn Chiel | July 27, 2016

There’s software used across the country that predicts whether people are likely to commit a crime. It’s not quite Minority Report, but the same basic idea is behind it: The software assesses various data points about a person and then gives him or her a risk score; the higher the score, the more likely they are to commit a crime in the future. The scores are used by judges in a number of different jurisdictions for sentencing people convicted of crimes.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued an opinion in his case: It rejected Loomis’s request to be sentenced again, and said the lower court which sentenced him didn’t violate his due process rights by using risk-assessment software because it didn’t rely on the risk score alone.

We also turned up significant racial disparities, just as Holder feared. In forecasting who would re-offend, the algorithm made mistakes with black and white defendants at roughly the same rate but in very different ways.
The formula was particularly likely to falsely flag black defendants as future criminals, wrongly labeling them this way at almost twice the rate as white defendants.
White defendants were mislabeled as low risk more often than black defendants.
Could this disparity be explained by defendants’ prior crimes or the type of crimes they were arrested for? No. We ran a statistical test that isolated the effect of race from criminal history and recidivism, as well as from defendants’ age and gender. Black defendants were still 77 percent more likely to be pegged as at higher risk of committing a future violent crime and 45 percent more likely to be predicted to commit a future crime of any kind. (Read our analysis.)

"U.S. Courts Are Using Algorithms Riddled With Racism to Hand Out Sentences." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Machine Bias. There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks. May 23, 2016) and (U.S. Courts Are Using Algorithms Riddled With Racism to Hand Out Sentences. May 28, 2016)>

New 3D Printed Gun Laws In California

California Passes New 3D Printed Gun Laws

Katie Armstrong | July 27, 2016

While 3D printing metal firearms isn’t necessarily the most cost effective way of obtaining a gun, it is objectively easier. Without those pesky security checks (which, let’s be honest, aren’t really doing much anyway), basically anyone can get their hands on 3D printed gun. And while their non-metal counterparts are a bit cruder, they still function and are much cheaper to produce.

 Assembly Bill No. 857, CHAPTER 60
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2018, and subject to exceptions, require a person who manufactures or assembles a firearm to first apply to the department for a unique serial number or other identifying mark, as provided. The bill would, by January 1, 2019, and subject to exceptions, require any person who, as of July 1, 2018, owns a firearm that does not bear a serial number to likewise apply to the department for a unique serial number or other mark of identification. The bill would, except as provided, prohibit the sale or transfer of ownership of a firearm manufactured or assembled pursuant to these provisions. The bill would prohibit a person from aiding in the manufacture or assembly of a firearm by a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The bill would make a violation of these provisions a misdemeanor. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

"The most well-known 3D-printed gun, dubbed the Liberator, is made of plastic, and designed to contain a metal block that lets it get picked up by metal detectors. In doing so, the Liberator does not violate the Undetectable Firearms Act. Thing is, the metal block is completely unnecessary for the gun’s function, and can be removed from the gun entirely. Because of this, concerned lawmakers believe the Undetectable Firearms Act should be amended to require that metal inserts in 3D-printed guns be made permanent." (House extends plastic gun ban, leaves loophole for 3D-printed guns.) Source:

(Shooting a 3D Printed Gun. Published July 10, 2014) Source:
<more at; related articles and links: (AB-857 Firearms: identifying information. July 22, 2016) and (House extends plastic gun ban, leaves loophole for 3D-printed guns. December 3, 2013)>

Robots Conquering Stairs

This Robot Just Conquered Its Ultimate Nemesis: Stairs (+Video)

The robot has 12 'links' that all contain pressure sensors allowing it to detect obstacles in its path

Matt Burgess | July 26, 2016

Robots come in all shapes and sizes: familiar-looking humanoids; riffs on animals; and mundane looking service bots. But they also come in more bizarre forms.
This chain-like motorised creation certainly falls into the latter category.
Dubbed 'Ourobot' the robot, which is made of 12 different motorised sections, has been created by computer engineering students from the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Germany.

(Reinvented wheel: New robot can detect and overcome obstacles (VIDEO). July 27, 2016) Source:
[Click on link to see video] Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (+Video) (Video: Chained robot can climb obstacles. Students at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany have developed a pressure-sensitive chain-like robot that can adapt to the terrain it is crossing. July 28, 2016) and (+Video) (Reinvented wheel: New robot can detect and overcome obstacles (VIDEO). July 27, 2016)>

Nanomaterials In 3D Printing

Nanomaterials Begin to Blur the Lines Between Industrial and Hobbyist 3D Printing

The enabling of 3D printed electronics through nanomaterials is changing 3D printing and electronics

IEEE Spectrum | July 26, 2016

It’s become increasingly clear over the last couple of years that the world of 3D printing is experiencing a paradigm shift. While it has long been the domain of design engineers who have used it to quickly produce prototypes from computer-aided design specifications, there is a movement for change in the market across two fronts: the hobbyist or home users market continues to expand; and, industry is edging closer to using 3D printing for actual commercial products as opposed to merely prototypes.

(Nanosilver Ink Written in Midair for 3-D Printing. May 16, 2016)) Source:
(Little Dripper Builds Better Electrodes for Touch-Screens. January 7, 2016) Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Little Dripper Builds Better Electrodes for Touch-Screens. January 7, 2016) and (Nanosilver Ink Written in Midair for 3-D Printing. May 16, 2016)>

The Flying Chair

This Homemade Flying Chair is the Stuff Dangerous Dreams Are Made of (+Video)

Luke Dormehl | July 27, 2016

Let’s be honest: who hasn’t at some point wished for their own personal flying machine? But while most of us lack the motivation and, let’s face it, the technical know-how to make such fantasies a reality, no such barriers exist for Swedish engineer Axel Borg, a.k.a. the brains behind YouTube channel Amazing DIY Projects.
Using eight petrol-powered heavy duty propellers, a tube lattice frame, a hobbyist R/C controller and a seat, Borg has assembled a pair of home-made flying multirotors. “What I have done is to combine various, easy-to-source parts and materials in order to fulfill the old pipe dream of backyard flying,” he tells Digital Trends.

(Manned multicopter part 11 Expanding the flight envelope -Yaw.) "Fuel consumption is 0.65-0.7 liters per minute." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Manned multicopter part 11 Expanding the flight envelope -Yaw. Published July 19, 2016) and (Man levitates on terrifying gasoline-powered flying carpet. July 25, 2016)>

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Futuristic Campuses Of The Fastest-Growing Tech Companies

Inside the Futuristic Campuses Tech's Fastest-Growing Companies Are Building (AAPL, FB, GOOG)

Biz Carson | July 24, 2016

Amazon has biodomes. Apple has a spaceship. 
Tech's cutting-edge companies are not only building products that will shape our future, but they're also building campuses with a vision to match. 
It's not enough to just have a nice cafeteria or a volleyball court anymore. Today's tech companies strive for architectural showpieces that make a statement. 

(NBBJ Proposes Five-Story Biodome for Amazon's Seattle Headquarters) Source:
(Facebook's expanded Campus designed by Frank Gehry) Source:
(Futuristic Google campus proposal.) Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Google's future campuses are as flexible as its technology. February 27, 2015) and (Look Inside Apple’s Spaceship Headquarters With 24 All-New Renderings. November 11, 2013)>

When Artificial Intelligence (AI) Does The Screenplay: 'Impossible Things'

‘Impossible Things’ Is A Movie Written By Artificial Intelligence (+Video)

Tyler Lee | July 26, 2016

Artificial intelligence is capable of many things, and now it looks like AI could potentially given screenwriters a run for their money. There is a movie that has been launched on Kickstarter called “Impossible Things”, and while movies seeking funding isn’t exactly new, what makes this project so unique is that the script was co-written by AI.
According to the project’s creators, “We use something called Natural Language Processing (NLP) to do that. By training our A.I. on thousands of plot summaries and correlating movies to their box office performance, we’ve developed an A.I. that is smart enough to recognize the correct plot patterns that map successful movie box office performance.”

[Click on link for video.] Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (IMPOSSIBLE THINGS-World's First A.I. Co-written Feature Film
by Greenlight Essentials) and (+Video) (Artificial intelligence writes ‘perfect’ horror script, seeks crowdfunding. July 26, 2016)>

A Tech Revolution In Africa?

Can the Internet Reboot Africa?

With smartphone use and web penetration soaring, Africa is set for a tech revolution – but only if its infrastructure can support it

Mark Rice-Oxley and Zoe Flood | July 25, 2016

You can buy sunlight with your phone, conduct an eye test on someone 100 miles away and attend a church service on your iPad. There are apps for investing in cows, for sending parcels and for mapping unrest. And soon you’ll be able to deliver blood and medicines by drone.
There’s free Facebook, mobile banking, and the promise of cashless societies and digitised land records. And from Accra in the west to Kigali in the east, a spray of “tech hubs” talk about “leapfrogging” technology and incubating start-ups.
Such are the giddy promises of Africa’s “fourth industrial revolution” – a giant step forward into the digital world which the Guardian is reporting on for the next two weeks. Some are salivating that it will amount to the renaissance of a marginalised continent, while others soberly warn of the hype.

[Click to Enlarge] Internet Usage in English-Speaking West African countries form 2004 to 2013. Source:


<more at; related articles and links: (Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2015–2020 White Paper. February 1, 2016) and (Watching Technology Trends Emerge In Africa. February 3, 2016)>

Targeting Kids Online With Advertising

Advertisers Are Now Able to Buy Programmatic Ads to Target Kids Online

Lara O'Reilly | July 27, 2016

Rubicon Project, the public ad tech company, has formed a partnership with “kid-safe” marketing platform SuperAwesome to create what they are claiming is the world’s first kid-focused programmatic advertising exchange.
The launch of “REX” means that marketers can now use Rubicon’s automated tools to buy advertising to target children under the age of 13 online — with the guarantee that the ads they buy are safe and legal.

(Rubicon Project website) Source:
[Click to Enlarge] Source;

<more at; related articles and links: (Rubicon Project website) and (Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions)>

Google Glass Is Alive And Well At Boeing

Assembling Airplanes with Google Glass 

Andrew Wheeler | July 20, 2016

Google may not have hit a home run with consumers for its science-fiction-made-reality Google Glass but the Internet giant is not giving up on it entirely.  Google may now be focusing on industrial applications for it.
Google fans may remember that as part of the race to make the most popular smartphone, Google turned its attention to the now-ubiquitous Android platform, which conveniently appeared shortly after Eric Schmidt joined Apple’s board in 2006.

"The Skylight app works by allowing a Glass wearer to scan a QR code, which pulls the wireless harness software, and then scan another code to load the assembly instructions. The app supports Glass voice commands, and also lets users stream what they're seeing to another technician in the event of something unexpected." Source:
[Click to Enlarge] Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Boeing is using Google Glass to build airplanes. At least someone is using it. July 14, 2016) and (Google Glass Comes to Manufacturing Using the MTConnect app, Google Glass can now be used for training and to receive and share machine operating data. July 16, 2013)>