Episode 178 – L33T Learning Siri

 

Just say no to enabling autonomous bots & drones with the ability to apply lethal force.  Following on last week’s episode 177, Michael & Michael start off with a continuation of the discussion on the Pandora’s Box of armed robots.

Moving on to a happier topic, while still staying on the machine learning concept, the pair talks about how Siri and other voice interactive systems have been improved with deep learning.  Not just recorded scripts, but actual intelligence, and more natural interaction is apparent when you listen to how far things have come since the earliest days of Siri — listen to the examples from the Apple Machine Learning Journal article, and we think you’ll agree.

Understanding that you’re talking with a bot vs a human is important to help avoid the uncanny valley where the interaction becomes weird vs expected — perhaps this is why Michael R preferred the Australian accent reminiscent of J.A.R.V.I.S, and how in Star Trek and other science fiction, interaction with the computer was prefaced with “computer!” before issuing a request.

Feedback loops getting faster & faster, which is really evident in machine learning examples applied to games.  When the machine — the program — is experimenting with the game to learn, and figure out what is rewarded, what is not rewarded, and determine a heuristic model for playing the game, which for a human is for fun and for the machine learning example is to maximize the outcome.  The example from the O’Reilly article was particularly intriguing to Michael M who wondered why the AI playing the game did not scoop up each and every present while playing the game.  Michael R made the interesting point that if the machine learning algorithms assume that there’s an infinite number of presents ahead, it makes more sense to quickly move forward and grab the presents because there are more ahead of you than behind.  The screenshot above is from a machine learning model playing Super Mario Kart, where it is easy to see how machine learning quickly gets better and better with successive plays of the game.

Closing out this episode, Michael and Michael include David Ma’s videos of food imagined in the style of  famous directors, a funny song about waffles and a discussion on Zork.  Hope you enjoy these tasty treats!

Selected links 

last week’s show, E177 — What could possibly go wrong? — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/08/31/episode-177-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/

An open letter to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons — https://futureoflife.org/autonomous-weapons-open-letter-2017

We don’t have long to act — https://qz.com/1058280/we-do-not-have-long-to-act-teslas-tsla-elon-musk-and-others-warn-the-un-about-autonomous-weapons

Six Colors article:  Deep Learning Improves Siri’s voice — https://sixcolors.com/link/2017/08/deep-learning-improves-siris-voice/

Apple’s Machine Learning Journal:  Deep Learning for Siri’s Voice: On-device Deep Mixture Density Networks for Hybrid Unit Selection Synthesis — https://machinelearning.apple.com/2017/08/06/siri-voices.html

Uncanny Valley — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

J.A.R.V.I.S. — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Jarvis#J.A.R.V.I.S.

O’Reilly article:  Bringing gaming to life with AI and deep learning — https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/bringing-gaming-to-life-with-ai-and-deep-learning

YouTube:  Super MarI/O Kart Commentary — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9Y_I9vY8Qw

Food by Favorite Directors (Sort Of) — https://www.subtraction.com/2017/08/14/food-by-famous-directors-sort-of/

YouTube:  What if Alfonso Cuaron made pancakes?  — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_hpJHNt4IE

Do You Like Waffles?  By Parry Gripp — https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/do-you-like-waffles/id468568946?i=468568983

MIT Technology Review — The Enduring Legacy of Zork — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608670/the-enduring-legacy-of-zork/

MIT Technology Review article:  Siri for Business — https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600990/siri-for-business/

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Episode 162 – Seeing is Believing

Michael and Michael are excited that it is that special time of year again, the one where you can buy Thin Mints, and Caramel deLites, and all manner of Girl Scout cookies.  And they are even more excited about the kickstarter game being developed by the Girl Scouts where the cookies take center stage, and the scouts learn all about the various development platforms: MIT’s Scratch, iOS & Android to create the game.  Nice touch, by the way, that the Kickstarter video uses virtual audio reality with positional sound.

Turning from the savory to the visual, Michael and Michael discuss the OxSight augmented reality solution to help low vision people see better — determine the foreground from the background, improve the contrast, zoom in and more.  A tremendous use for such promising technology.  Be sure to check out the link below to see the videos for yourself.  See if you believe Michael R, that this is Geordi LaForge’s visor.

While traveling to the University of South Carolina School of Engineering, Michael M saw some of the older computing technology on display (picture above) and remembered well using his Dataman a few years ago.

Rounding out the show, Michael R would like to issue a rare personal invitation to see him perform with the Durham Savoyards as they present Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Grand Duke March 30 – April 2.

selected links 

Girl Scout Kickstarter:  Marshmallow Run game — https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/designcodebuild/marshmallow-run-game

Girl Scout cookies — http://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/Meet-the-Cookies.html

TechCrunch article:  OxSight — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/16/oxsight-uses-augmented-reality-to-aide-the-visually-impaired/

OxSight — http://smartspecs.co

Geordi LaForge — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geordi_La_Forge

Low Vision Rehabilitation | Durham Eye Care with Dr. Henry Greene — http://academyeye.com/low-vision-rehabilitation/

Facebook React Native — https://facebook.github.io/react-native/

Achron — http://www.achrongame.com/site/

CodeCadets — https://www.codecadets.com

Girls Make Games — http://girlsmakegames.com

University of South Carolina College of Engineering & Computing — http://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/engineering_and_computing/

Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org

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Episode 157 – Through the 2016 Looking Glass

In their final episode of 2016, Michael and Michael explore themes where sci-fi blends with reality. In the TechCrunch IoT Redux article, Michael and Michael kick off the discussion with the state of affairs on all the data emitted from the things on the internet, and quickly go into the realm of the British Channel 4 television show Black Mirror (available on Netflix). It is simultaneously possible to have so much of your life available to you at your fingertips, and what could go wrong with such technical capability — the Kingsman movie being another example from the entertainment world.

Turning to the skies, the pair talks about a recent patent from Amazon on a creative approach to the last mile logistics of delivery — drones delivering from a platform attached to a zeppelin. Interesting to consider the example of Duracell’s battery delivery in the midwest states — providing over one ton of batteries to prevent the dreaded “batteries not included” scenario from spoiling (or delaying gratification – you pick), and how useful something like a flying drone warehouse could be. One of the commenters on the Twitter stream for this compared this story to the recent movie Storks.

Periscope announced a new 360 degree broadcasting capability — provided of course, you have a 360 degree camera — yet the functionality on the viewing side was fantastic. Panning or swiping, you can see all the way around.

Both Michaels were happy that our Android friends will get their hands on Mario Run, and Michael R was especially pleased with the earlier than anticipated delivery of the AirPods.

We are thrilled to be back for another year, and look forward to engaging with you.

selected links
TechCrunch article: IoT Redux — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/28/iot-redux-this-time-its-personal/
Black Mirror episode Entire History of You — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Entire_History_of_You
Wikipedia: Steve Mann — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Mann
SingularityHub article: Lifelogging — https://singularityhub.com/2014/02/09/lifeblogging-gear-is-small-cheap-and-powerful-so-like-it-or-not-youre-going-to-be-recorded/
New York Times Bits Blog: One on One: Steve Mann, Wearable Computing Pioneer — http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/one-on-one-steve-mann-wearable-computing-pioneer/
Independent article: Gamifying Obedience to the State — http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-has-made-obedience-to-the-state-a-game-a6783841.html
Black Mirror episode Nosedive — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosedive
Kingsman — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsman:_The_Secret_Service
Zoe Leavitt “Death Star of #ecommerce” tweet — https://mobile.twitter.com/zoe_leavitt/status/814212767041331202
United States Patent: 9305280 — http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9305280.PN.&OS=PN/9305280&RS=PN/9305280
Ad Week article: Duracell Express — http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/duracell-saved-lot-tears-delivering-free-batteries-midwest-families-christmas-eve-175309
Storks — http://www.storksmovie.com
MacRumors article: Twitter’s Periscope Now Supports 360-Degree Live Videos — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/28/periscope-360-degree-live-videos/
@Feynwoman’s 360 degree tour of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum — https://www.periscope.tv/w/azUYdjFEWUtYYk5iYXZFZ0x8MWRSS1pYcVpEd1ZKQo71GNCpXWNOcwF2Pj8lTX25w3MNUmA56MLO1oXdSEhq
TechCrunch article: Super Mario on Android — https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/29/you-can-now-register-to-find-out-when-super-mario-run-hits-android
MacRumors article: AirPods Supplier Increasing Production Capacity Due to Strong Demand — http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/30/airpods-increasing-production/

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Episode 53 – Mad (Wo)Men and MOOCs

Michael M with Coca Cola

Michael M with Coca Cola

 

Phaedra and Michael M talk about reaching people in different ways — through advertising, in game purchases, marketing, and education.  Establishing relationships between organizations and people, whether from a brand to a person, a game to a player, and an instructor to a student are all changing and scaling up.

Phaedra and Michael discuss how that specifications for all courseware should be structured so that anything could be plugged into a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course).  Imagine what could be — mobile, social learning, in-course purchases, power ups, gamification, audio, video, and even more!

We are just delighted to have had you dialed our way.  You can find us on G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more.  Please comment, friend, tweet and favorite us with topics you would like to hear more about!

 

 

 

 

Selected show links

 

SuperAwesome Launches Mobile Ad Network — http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/11/kmn/
womengamers.com — http://womengamers.com
more Hungarian Coca-Cola advertising —

Hungarian Coca-Cola ad

Hungarian Coca-Cola ad

Blackboard founders say Online Education to Put Price Pressure on Traditional Schools — http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/11/blackboard-co-founders-says-online-education-set-to-put-price-pressure-on-traditional-schools/
MOOC — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Open_Online_Course
Kahn Academy — http://www.khanacademy.org
Office of Science, Technology and Planning – http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp
Goldie Blox — http://www.goldieblox.com
Mad Men TV show – http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men

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Episode 28 – Dating Flashmob

Michael and Phaedra express their love of martial arts, and how they don’t mind deceiving themselves in the least, by gaining cardio exercise benefits while doing something inherently fun.  “Dirt runs faster than I do” says Phaedra, thinking that zombies chasing her would be a great motivator to run even faster!  Talk about living in the undead moment!

 

Phaedra and Michael talk about a wide variety of alternate reality games (ARGs), from the recently started Google Niantic Project, to the stolen Audi (from 2006 if you can believe that!) to the MIT Game Lab’s Smithsonian game.

 

Then, the concept of applying games to dating is raised, and while you may think that Phaedra and Michael would start thinking about The Dating Game — no, they take it fully in the more modern way, with phones acting as agents and helping to arrange Dating Flashmobs!

 

Concluding this show with saving throws featuring videos from Rhett & Link, Michael and Phaedra agree that if you have a tough problem, call the bacon bot ARG and have a good laugh.  And a hot tip…  if you watch the video in full screen view, there are some hidden videos interviews to find.

 

Selected show notes links

 

TechCrunch article:  Are Games Really That Persuasive?  — http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/10/are-games-really-that-persuasive/

 

Quest Center — http://chquestcenter.com

American Ninja — http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/American_Ninja.mp3/view?searchterm=american%20ninja

 

Zombies, Run — https://www.zombiesrungame.com

 

Niantic Project — Day of Weirdness — http://www.nianticproject.com

 

That’s Niantic — not to be confused with Nyan Cat — http://www.nyan.cat

 

Requesting an invite via Ingress — http://www.ingress.com

 

Audi game — find the stolen Audi — http://kotaku.com/038191/stolen-audi-could-be-viral-marketing-game

 

MIT Game Lab Smithsonian ARG — http://www.fastcompany.com/1748531/mit-creates-one-video-game-youll-be-thrilled-see-your-kid-get-hooked

 

 

saving throws 

Michael M — rub some bacon on it video — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSReSGe200A

Phaedra — the breakup song — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyfNZs2dPto&feature=relmfu

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