How VUIs change our lives Voice user interface, a great step in mobile-first to AI first transition

A couple days ago Google published the 2017 summary of their voice-first solutions: Google Home (hardware) and Google Assistant (software). And it seems that the new way of how we interact with the technology knocks on our door. With “Google Home usage increased 9X this holiday season over last year’s”, and one Google Home Mini sold in each second since its premiere, it’s become clear that voice interfaces are slowly going out of an early adoption stage and they’ve begun to settle for good in our homes and minds.

But what is so revolutionary in VUIs and what are the real benefits of having voice-controlled devices around?

Continue readingHow VUIs change our lives Voice user interface, a great step in mobile-first to AI first transition

(Book) Einstein: His Life and Universe

Einstein: His Life and Universe is the third book written by Walter Isaacson which I’ve just finished (previously: Steve Jobs and The Innovators). For the 3rd time, I was impressed by the wealth of information about Einstein’s life, relationships, struggles, philosophies and of course the field of science which he dedicated his life to – theoretical physics.

Book tells very detailed story about unnoticed and underestimated genius who proposed the most famous equation: E=mc², Theory of Relativity and many other breakthrough theories. Even if they were just theoretical considerations, based on them we could build GPS system, nuclear energy (and atomic bomb), lasers, modern scientific cosmology and many others.

Einstein doesn’t have to be physics professor (actually he wasn’t even a teacher) to perform the most sophisticated thought experiments in the history. It is undoubtedly that his nonconformist personality, curiosity and passions unlocked limitless creativity which accompanied his whole life.

Einstein: His Life and Universe is really good read about how to achieve the mastery. Einstein did it for sure, changing our lives.

I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration!

(Video) Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

It’s Saturday. Your todo list is full of tasks, you have plenty of plans and dreams about the future. But, yeah, it’s Saturday, so everything can wait until Monday, correct?

If you decided to stay at home and procrastinate a bit, you definitely have to see this TED talk by Tim Urban:

And if you don’t know who Tim Urban is, there is nothing better than reading about hard things (form procrastination to AI) on his blog: Wait But Why.

Fast reading

Today I visited a bookstore and, like many times in the past, the same thing happened again. There were so many great books waiting to be read (The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly, Death’s Acre by William Bass, Jon Jefferson, Console Wars by Blake Harris, The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard) but I couldn’t get them. Not until I finish at least the most important ones which I’ve been reading (Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson).

At the end, I went out with The Inevitable, but there was something else. Finally, I decided to buy a guide for fast reading. Hopefully, when I come back here after a month or a year, I’ll be grateful for this decision.

If not? Well, currently I can’t afford to not try. There are so many amazing written things waiting to be read.

Augmenting the reality

Two days ago Apple released iOS 11 (I wrote about it more in my summary of WWDC 2017). One of the big new features was ARKit – a new framework for augmented reality experiences. If you haven’t had a chance to get familiar with this, either as a developer or end-user, here is an amazing demo showed during WWDC:

Unreal Engine demo by Wingnut AR – Augmented Reality studio led by Sir Peter Jackson

Continue reading “Augmenting the reality”

(Video) Culture of creativity "You cannot force creativity, but you can encourage and facilitate it."

Ben Chestnut, co-founder and CEO of MailChimp – marketing automation tool, talks about the history of the company. But also about management and cultivating creative culture. Video is full of smiles and inspiration, I highly encourage to watch it!

 

@Scale conference

There are hundreds of tech conferences around the world and everyone is different. One of them, @Scale, is a series of events for engineers who build systems working in huge scale. Systems which handle traffic from millions of people, have extremely complex infrastructure or are maintained and developed by tens/hundreds of software engineers.

Not everyone or every company will be there. But some of us for sure. If you want to be ready (or you are just curious), I highly encourage to see video recordings from lates @Scale Conference which took place at San Jose Convention Center, 31st of August.

https://atscaleconference.com/videos-articles/

(Video) Abstract: The Art of Design Best invested binge-watching ever

According to Wikipedia:

Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching television for a long time span, usually a single television show.

It’s Saturday. Sometimes you are simply out of fuel and the only gas station is your couch. So if there is no help for you and you need to spend all day (binge-)watching TV, here is my proposition to not feel guilty about wasted time tomorrow:

Abstract: The Art of Design

It’s always great to see inspiring people. True passion, devotion, purpose, creativity – this is what Abstract is about.

My favorite episode: Tinker Hatfield, the man behind Nike Air Max and Air Jordan.
But to be completely honest, all others are equally good. You won’t regret watching any of them!

Moravec’s paradox

There is a discovery in the field of AI, called Moravec’s paradox which tells that activities like abstract thinking and reasoning or skills classified as “hard” – engineering, maths or art are way easier to handle by machine than sensory or motor based unconscious activities.

It’s much easier to implement specialized computers to mimic adult human experts (professional chess or Go players, artists – painters or musicians) than building a machine with skills of 1-year old children with abilities to learn how to move around, recognize faces and voice or pay attention to interesting things. Easy problems are hard and require enormous computation resources, hard problems are easy and require very little computation.

Researchers look for the explanation in theory of evolution – our unconscious skills were developed and optimized during the natural selection process, over millions of years of evolution. And the “newer” skill is (like abstract thinking which appeared “only” hundreds thousands of years ago), the less time nature had to adjust our brains to handle it.

It’s not easy to interpret Moravec’s paradox. Some tell that it describes the future where machines will take jobs which require specialistic skills, making people serving an army of robotic chiefs and analysts. Others argue that paradox guarantees that AI will always need an assistance of people. Or, perhaps more correctly, people will use AI to improve those skills which aren’t as highly developed by nature.

For sure Moravec’s paradox proves one thing – the fact that we developed computer to beat human in Go or Chess doesn’t mean that General Artificial Intelligence is just around the corner. Yes, we are one step closer. But as long as AGI means for us “full copy of human intelligence”, over time it will be only harder.