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 78 – The Show is Already in Progress

We join the show already in progress as Michael M has finally read Kill Decision and convinces Sandy that she should go read it immediately! This week’s show becomes a bit of a review show including books, movies and games. What is your favorite? What do you think gaming will be called in 10-15 years? Will it still be gaming, will it be work, will it be something else? In the age of free culture, open source, and makers, how do we ensure that we continue to meet the basic needs of the individual to allow for the value creation of open culture?

We then flip over to a discussion of Flappy Bird and how it is the ultimate realization of the one more move game. We also discuss what games are we playing now. Threes, Disco Zoo (continues to feed Michael M’s 8-bit addiction), Real Racing 3, Tiny Tycoons, PvZ, PvZ2, etc. At what point do the games no longer give you enough dopamine to keep playing? We look back fondly at a few games that have slowly fallen off our rotation. We decide to do a bit of a game walk thru of Tiny Tycoon so you all can decide how much fun it is – NOT!!

Show Links:
Daniel Suarez’s Site
Kill Decision – By Daniel Suarez
Ant behavior and pheromones
Influx – By Daniel Suarez
Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products
The Lego Movie
Dan Pink’s = What motivates you
If you build it…Design Thinking
Flappy Bird – Flap
Buffalo Wings
Threes
Disco Zoo
Real Racing 3
Tiny Tycoon
Simpsons Tapped Out
1Password
Zork Adventures on iPad
Plants verses Zombies
The Roaming Gnome
Clumsy Ninja

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Episode 35 — Pirates of Pizzazz

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport.  The thrill of choose your own adventure, and the agony of crafting for hour upon hour.  The human drama of gaming competition.  This is Games at Work’s Wide Virtual World of Games.

For the first time in a long while, the co-hosts are all together virtually, while physically in Raleigh, North Carolina, San Francisco, California, and Budapest, Hungary.  Michael M, inspired by an @ibogost tweet, spent 15 minutes (and it shows!) to create the Games at Work Podcast Game using Twine, and walks Michael and Phaedra through one of the branches.  You can play the game yourself!

The team talks about Minecraft — it’s got a crafting part, it’s got a mining part, it’s got a farming part, it’s got an electrical engineering part and oh, so much more.  With the generation playing Minecraft and other such building games that are focused on the player’s imagination,  rather than the game designer’s / author’s imagination, Michael R observes that today’s creativity and content will place new demands on the appropriate laws governing the technology.  Phaedra brings up the similarities to Lego, and after the recording was long over, Michael M learned a little more about Youth Digital Studios for app and game design classes for kids in Durham and elsewhere.

Michael R was looking forward to Fred Armisen’s talk on the use of technology and the creative process at Macworld.

Michael R is practicing for his role with Durham Savoyards, celebrating their 50th anniversary with their production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance March 14-17 and 22-24th.

Phaedra is excited about the upcoming East Coast Game Conference April 24-25 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

This episode was brought to you by the letters X,Y, ZZ and Y.  Was one smart dressed, rockin’ recording, this was…

Show links:

Twine — http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/
Lost Treasures of Infocom — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lost-treasures-of-infocom/id577626745?mt=8
Minecraft — http://minecraft.net
Twitcraft on TWiT — http://mc.twit.tv
Tekkit Minecraft Mod — http://www.technicpack.net/tekkit/
Rube Goldberg — http://www.rubegoldberg.com
Minecraft computer built using Minecraft — http://www.geekosystem.com/minecraft-16-bit-computer/
Minecraft on iOS — https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/minecraft-pocket-edition/id479516143
Eden — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/eden-world-builder/id405743220?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
Lego — http://www.lego.com/
Lego Mindstorm — http://mindstorms.lego.com/en-us/Default.aspx
Futurehunting — will.i.am and Brian David Johnson — http://www.macworldiworld.com/special-events/futurehunting/
Macworld/iWorld — http://www.macworldiworld.com
Michael Rowe blog — http://triangleappshow.com/2013/02/final-day-future-visions/
Crazytalk for Mac at the show — http://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk/
Durham Savoyards — http://www.durhamsavoyards.org
East Coast Gamers Conference — http://www.ecgconf.com

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