Episode 173 – Babel Fish

Computer to computer communications protocols used to start with a high pitched whine & crackle over a telephone line, using a modem – a modulator / demodulator – to establish a handshake.  Computer to computer interactions are nothing new — but AI to AI interfaces are becoming more and more common.  We discussed some of the ramifications in earlier episodes of the podcast — links below for those — and now we turn to how artificial intelligences create optimized methods of communication between themselves.  Like the Twitch example of two Google Home bots talking with one another, the first few articles tell the story of how Facebook and Google AIs created a new way to communicate more effectively by negotiating with one another.

The Google example for the translation services reminded Michael and Michael of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Babel Fish translation concept of a fish that fits in your ear to automatically translate one language to another.  The Bragi Dash in ear headphones are designed to do just this.  Pretty futuristic stuff.

Riffing on what our friend @epredator tweeted, the team discusses the ramifications of knowing what people are looking at in VR in the YouTube Creator Blog.   And the last item deals with gamification to improve cyber defense.  What would you think could benefit from a blue team vs red team gamified process?

Selected links 

The Atlantic article:  An Artificial Intelligence Developed Its Own Non-Human Language — https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/artificial-intelligence-develops-its-own-non-human-language/530436/

Tech Crunch article:  Google’s AI tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language — https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/22/googles-ai-translation-tool-seems-to-have-invented-its-own-secret-internal-language/

The Atlantic article:  What an AI’s Non-Human Language Actually Looks Like — https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/what-an-ais-non-human-language-actually-looks-like/530934/

Twitch: C:>Bots Chat — https://www.twitch.tv/seebotschat

Edelweiss Little Singers of Armenia — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JMHXbxZYf4

Wired article:  Bragi’s Fancy New Earbuds Translate for You in Real Time — https://www.wired.com/2017/05/bragis-fancy-new-earbuds-translate-real-time/

Babel Fish, probably the oddest thing in the galaxy — http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Babel_Fish

Games At Work Episode 51:  Tea.  Bojangles.  Hot. — http://gamesatwork.biz/2013/06/30/episode-51-tea-bojangles-hot/

Games At Work: Episode 159:  Virtually Secure — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/01/22/episode-159-virtually-secure/

Games At Work Episode 163:  Chat Me Maybe — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/02/27/episode-163-chat-me-maybe/

YouTube Creator blog:  Hot and Cold: Heatmaps in VR — https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2017/06/hot-and-cold-heatmaps-in-vr.html

Mind over Machines blog: Symphony of Big Data — http://mindovermachines.com/blog/a-symphony-of-big-data/

Security Intelligence:  Game Over: Improving Your Cyber Analyst Workflow Through Gamification — https://securityintelligence.com/game-over-improving-your-cyber-analyst-workflow-through-gamification/

What are the co-hosts playing these days?

Michael R:  TechCrunch article:  SEGA’s new SEGA forever collection brings classic games to mobile for free — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/21/segas-new-sega-forever-collection-brings-classic-games-to-mobile-for-free/

Michael M:  Yoga Studio — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yoga-studio/id567767430?mt=8


Episode 172 – Shining a light on AR

Michael and Michael are back — and take a long careful look at the newest capabilities that Apple is bringing to light in augmented reality with the new iOS 11 operating system.  Michael R has already downloaded the development framework, and has started bringing into mixed reality the digital test objects, to great effect.  The pictures included in this post are from Michael R’s experiments with the framework thus far, and it is quite amazing to see the fidelity of the objects, as well as the recognition by the software of the planes, shadows & angles of placement.  There much to be very excited about here, and once the digital augmented reality experience is not through the screen of an iPhone, but in a more natural way (dare I even bring up the possibility of contact lenses again?) — then, then we are really onto something.  Until that point, this version of augmented reality is an interesting step in the right direction, but the consumption cannot be via holding a phone at arm’s length or wearing a ski goggle-esque contraption that distances the person from the reality they are looking to more deeply engage with.

Robots are not just for vacuuming your floor — they are also quite useful for teaching ballroom dancing, and in determining the skill level of the human student, the artificial intelligence can quickly adapt the lessons to be challenging for whatever level the student is at.  And speaking of  AI, the recent Microsoft acquisition Maluuba has crushed Ms. Pac-Man using a new method called Hybrid Reward Architecture to more effectively manage the very difficult problem of balancing the multiple rewards (and threats) in a game like Ms. Pac-Man to achieve the maximum score.

Staying on the Microsoft theme a moment longer, the team discuss Minecraft as a platform, his where multiple operating systems and devices are now converging on a common Minecraft environment.

Binky has loomed large in the news this past week — what started as a joke has turned into something more.  In this app, you can experience all the joy of social media likes & shares but not have anyone ever see your posts.  Michael M is reminded of Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker social media game.

Selected links 

Apple ARkit — https://developer.apple.com/arkit/

Apple ARkit WWDC video — https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/602/ 

Ballroom dancing robot — https://twitter.com/qz/status/874061192196534272

Ms PacMan — http://time.com/4819067/microsoft-pac-man-maluuba/

Maluuba — http://www.maluuba.com

Hybrid Reward Architecture for Reinforcement Learning — https://arxiv.org/pdf/1706.04208.pdf

Minecraft — http://www.businessinsider.com/minecraft-unites-all-platforms-2017-6

Binky — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/10/binky/

Cow Clicker — https://cowclicker.com

BikeSphere — http://bgr.com/2017/06/14/bikesphere-michelin-safety/


Episode 171 – Jelly Jelly Bo Belly

Zoolander phone


This episode is chock full of tasty treats, of the cellphone and robotic kinds!  Michael & Michael start off with a conversation about the Kickstarter for the Jelly phone — a 4g cell phone that is running Android Nougat (Michael M still believes it should have been Nutella) and can handle two SIM cards for, wait for it, under $100 unlocked.

The pair talk about the new capabilities expected to be included with Apple’s Swift Playgrounds when announced at WWDC next week.  The ability to code in a simple-to-learn language and have that code execute in real 3d life — in a Sphereo BB-8 or a Lego Mindstorms robot would be just great.

Speaking of robotics, the Draper DragonflEye concept of marrying a live dragonfly with a mind-controlling solar powered backpack brings to mind other variations of insect robotics — from the selfie drone Nixie, to a full cast of drones that will follow you around.

Maximizing screen real estate by extending the MacOS desktop to a nearby iPad Pro captures the attention of the pair, and Michael M gives his thoughts about two solutions that he’s been working with over the past week.

Closing things out, Michael M surprises Michael R with a game he’s playing that is not 8-bit.

Selected links 

Jelly phone — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jellyphone/jelly-the-smallest-4g-smartphone

Nutella — https://www.nutella.com/en/us

Eater article:  America’s First Nutella Cafe Opens With Lines of Chicagoans — https://chicago.eater.com/2017/5/31/15719018/nutella-cafe-chicago-open-lines-michigan-avenue-millennium-park

Motorola’s StarTac phone — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_StarTAC

MacRumors article: Swift Playgrounds Will Soon Be Able to Program and Control Robots, Drones, and Toys — https://www.macrumors.com/2017/06/01/swift-playgrounds-robots-drones-instruments/

Pine64 — https://www.pine64.org

Raspberry Pi — https://www.raspberrypi.org

TechCrunch article: Draper’s DragonflEye cyber-bug takes flight — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/drapers-dragonfleye-cyber-bug-takes-flight/

Business Insider: This Incredible Selfie-Taking Wrist Drone Just Won $500,000 — http://www.businessinsider.com/nixie-wearable-drone-wins-intel-contest-2014-11

Nixie — http://flynixie.com

Airdog — https://www.airdog.com

droneguru.net article: 9 Best Drones That Follow You [Crystal Clear Video] Summer 2017 — http://www.droneguru.net/8-best-drones-that-follow-you-follow-drones/

Episode 150 — Cyber Dementors — http://gamesatwork.biz/2016/10/23/episode-150-cyber-dementors/

Robotic cockroaches — http://www.businessinsider.com/cram-robotic-cockroaches-disaster-recovery-2016-2

Daily Mail article:  Student creates cyborg cockroach that he can control with his thoughts…. — http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3112404/Student-controls-cyborg-cockroach-MIND-Video-shows-insect-guided-maze-powered-thoughts.html

Smithsonian article: A Visit to Seoul Brings Our Writer Face-to-Face with the Future of Robots — http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/visit-seoul-writer-future-robots-180963238/

Quarantine, a Greg Egan novel — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarantine_(Greg_Egan_novel)

Air Display 3 by Avatron Software — https://itunes.apple.com/app/id967502646?ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Duet Display — https://www.duetdisplay.com

Game Michael M is playing 

Mini Metro — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mini-metro/id837860959?mt=8