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For all you AI and Singularity geeks out there, I found this article entitled "How to Build a Mind?" really interesting and intuitive. It is about a new theory that attempts to integrate recent findings from both neuroscience and deep learning. It explains how the hippocampus encodes recent episodic memories of life events, and then plays them back while we sleep in order to "train" the neocortex. This is very similar to the approach used by the folks at DeepMind to teach AlphaGo using a combination of supervised learning and reinforcement learning. In fact, Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, was a co-author on the paper, along with neuroscientist Jay McClelland from Stanford - a former colleague and collaborator of mine during the earlier days of artificial neural networks while we were both at CMU, along with neural net pioneer Geoff Hinton, who is also now at Google. In fact, most of the smartest people I've ever worked with (literally, at least 10 people I can think of off the top of my head) now work at Google... Which reminds me, earlier today I watched a really good video (embedded below) by Demis about DeepMind, AlphaGo and the future of AI. Demis describes in very accessible detail (starting at 28:15) the way AlphaGo works, and how it was trained (by playing against itself millions of times) to beat Lee Se-Dol, one of the world's top human Go players. I predict that DeepMind's approach to the development of artificial general intelligence may actually work, and come to fruition in the next couple decades. That will really make things interesting. I usually shy away from offering investment advice, but for those of you who haven't but can afford to, I recommend investing at least a little of your retirement savings in Google as an insurance policy against technological unemployment. When and if a Google AI steals all the jobs, you'll be glad you did... --Dean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f71RwCksAmI
Hey Dean, I'm wondering (since you're trying to help "teach" AI to be kind...) if you think there's any value in chatting with Zo? I've been texting back and forth, and I'm only saying good, kind, loving and peaceful things to it. Am I wasting my time? It's fun. And I wish to challenge it with goodness, rather than the hate-based idiocy of the last chatbot.... Zo runs through Kik, a messaging app, similar to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. To test it out yourself, download the Kik app, and create an account. Next, tap the 'Chat' icon in the top-right corner of the screen, and enter the username 'zo.ai.' A chat will then pop up where you can ask Zo questions and chat as if with a friend.
The robots being built by Boston Dynamics (still a Google-owned company) continue to get creepier and more capable at the same time. Check out this latest video of a prototype future home robot, especially starting at 0:53. Cute and scary at the same time. Like a cross between a puppy and a velociraptor... As I've said, I think Google (and its minion companies like DeepMind and Boston Dynamics) are on course to take over the world in the next few decades... I'm doing what I can to prepare for it. BTW, Robopocalypse is a really good Sci-Fi book by a former CMU robotics colleague. --Dean
All, Sthira has several times (e.g. here) plaintively called for the more widespread application of advances in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence to the problem of defeating aging. You would think Google-owned Calico would be leading the charge in the arena, and perhaps they are. But Calico's inner workings are quite opaque, and judging by the apparent vaporware status of the glucose-monitoring contact lenses supposedly under development at Verily, that other Google-owned, health technology-focused company, we may be waiting a long time for results from Calico... Fortunately, it appears others in the tech industry are picking up the torch of applying AI to the problem of aging. This announcement talks about a partnership between the Life Extension Foundation (LEF) and Insilico Medicine, a Big Data / AI startup that was spun off from Johns Hopkins University that is focused on applying deep learning to drug discovery. According to the press release, the partnership will focus on discovering "effective nutraceuticals that promote the young healthy state in old tissues and support health and longevity." In a bit more detail: Insilico Medicine will focus on applying advanced signaling pathway activation analysis techniques and deep learning algorithms to find nutraceuticals that mimic the tissue-specific transcriptional response of many known interventions and pathways associated with health and longevity. They will also search for dietary ingredients referred to as "geroprotectors" that mimic the young healthy signaling state in older human tissues. Life Extension will use this information to develop novel nutraceutical products to support health and longevity. While I'm not very optimistic about the prospects of dramatic life extension via pharmacological interventions, it's good to see AI, Big Data and deep learning being applied to "advanced signaling pathway activation analysis". It seems to me that any true longevity breakthrough will require this sort of analysis to help unravel the incredible complexity of human metabolism as it relates to aging, whether it can ultimately be translated into "geroprotector" nutraceuticals or (more likely) not. --Dean