IBM’s Watson, the artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in the natural language, gained a good deal of popularity after participating in the TV game show Jeopardy!, where he trumped several contestants last year.
But now, another AI wants to make its mark in the human world by participating in a crossword competition.
Matt Ginsberg, an artificial intelligence scientist, software developer, and cruciverbalist – creator of crossword puzzles, who constructed several dozen puzzles that ran in the New York Times created Dr. Fill – an AI with the expertise on solving crossword puzzles.
Dr. Fill will play alongside human competitors, not actually competing, at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament on March 16-18. Dr. Fill participated in 17 previous tournaments and came out on top several times, ranking respectably on a regular basis.
Ginsberg’s point is not to create panic by inciting that computers can think on their own as many people believed that after Watson’s win in Jeopardy!
“We’re not crossing the barrier from non-thinking to thinking machines, but it provides another example of computers dealing with uncertainty; dealing with a messy world rather than a neat world,” Ginsberg said.
“Because of the complexity of the English language, the breadth of subjects covered in puzzles and the playfulness of crossword themes, I’ve always thought that a human brain would be better than a computer at solving crosswords,” Ginsberg said in a statement. “Maybe I’ll be proved wrong.”
Robot Comedian Does Improvisation
A talking robot is nothing new, but a robot that tells jokes and does improv is definitely novel. Social roboticist Heather Knight developed Data with a funny bone, able to to tell jokes like stand-up comedians when they take center stage. but the thing unique about Data is the ability to improvise. He will begin his act by saying a few jokes, then based on the audience’s applause and which colored cards were flashed, he will tweak his humor to better relate to his audience. The colored cards, red and green, were given before the performance started, and if the audience likes Data’s jokes, they flash the green card, and red if not.
We can’t really say that Data actually learns or adapts to the audience’s reaction because Data’s improv is based on data gathered from sensors in Data’s eyes and sound sensors. Through the data collected on the flash cards and the applause, Data will be able to analyze which jokes work well with that particular crowd so he will know which jokes to tell on his next act.
AI for Smartphones
Advanced Intelligent Networks Corporation recently released David, a highly extensible operating system for cell phones, TVs, modems, routers, set-top boxes and all manner of digital communication appliances.
David, named from its creator David Roland, uses AI techniques to LEARN personal requests and creates user profile based on factors such as age, interests, knowledge, etc. David keeps the data locally and serves social media, pictures, content and email, providing personal information only to whom the user designates.
David enables a live avatar who, with the assistance from the Hive of other David devices, provides VoIP Unified Messaging, web and text communications, conferencing and multimedia streaming, as well as energy management and home controls. The Hive shares information and protects the collective against cyber-attacks. David provides anti-piracy content services and enables the collection of usage fees and honors encryption agreements for information rental.
David uses only 200K bytes of firmware storage and can manage a device on its own or co-exist with Linux. Its built-ins enable running applications from anywhere on the planet on any David node which gives us the true definition of could computing.
“David bypasses the Java bloat of Android in order to be directly connected As the Cloud,” says Roland.
And the cherry on top of AI’s sundae is DARPA’s Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program being named as one of the best innovations in 2011.
SyNAPSE was recently featured in Scientific American as one of 10 World Changing Ideas, and in The Washington Post as one of the Best innovation moments in 2011. IBM researchers working on DARPA’s SyNAPSE program were cited for unveiling a “new generation of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.”
“If we’re successful,” said Jay Schnitzer, director, Defense Sciences Office, “we’ll have access to flexible hardware capable of learning without reprogramming for various control, information processing and decision-making applications. An on-board, neuromorphic computer chip could tremendously improve the capabilities of unmanned ground and aerial vehicle platforms.”