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.

(Video) 1% better every day

How to achieve long term goals? Continuously make small steps toward a success. If we use the power of habit, we’ll automate a process of getting better, every single day.

Do you want to decrease the number of times when you open social media from your device? Remove Facebook/Twitter/Instagram from your launch screen and make sure that you need to tap at least a couple of times to get there.
Design something to make your good habits easier to achieve and add more steps between you and bad behaviors.

Do you have 25 minutes more? See these and many more hints from James Clear about how to be 1% better every day.

 

Face Id

Yesterday there was another big day for Apple. During their “Special Event” (The first-ever event at the Steve Jobs Theater) we could see new Apple Watches, TV and iPhones, including the most advanced and desirable – iPhone X.

Among all new awesomeness: edge-to-edge screen, Neural Engine (piece of hardware dedicated for Machine Learning computations) or Animoji, there was something that can be the bigger revolution than we could think.

Face Id

Thanks to Face Id we will be able to unlock our device just with our face. Face recognition will replace Touch ID, fingerprint based authentication method – also for Apple Pay. Really complex hardware powered by machine learning solutions will keep our device and our money safe.

Will it work and be reliable enough? We’ll see in next months.
But there is something else worth noting. For the first time, secure device won’t ask us for authentication. There will be no instruction to place your finger or provide your pin/password. Instead, in most cases, iPhone will do it for us, automatically.
Such a small UX thing, but such a big change. You will need to do absolutely nothing and still, you will feel safe and secure.

Of course, probably there will be hacks and imperfections. But the first step toward password-free future was already made. And again, nature did a job for us, making each person unique.

(Book) The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

Yesterday I published my brief summary of DeepMind’s paper “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence” – publication about how much different fields of AI are inspired by research in neuroscience.

If you are a techie person like me and you don’t know much about the human brain, there is a really great book which I would like to recommend:

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

It’s not only full of information about processes happening inside our heads or roots of our behaviors. It also shows how do we actually know what we know about our brain.

If you have at least general knowledge about AI, you will find a lot of similarities between engineering and biology. Definitely worth reading to broaden your horizons!

 

Google Home at home 🏠

Voice interfaces are slowly showing up in our lives. In most cases, they replace complexity of mobile devices. But there are also new features which do make sense only when they are used just with our voice.

To see quick summary where Google is with its Google Assistant take a look at this video from last Google Developers Day (starting from 33:00):

Continue reading “Google Home at home 🏠”

3 great TED talks about Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is here. Still in its very limited form, but there are more and more places where we, as a humanity are soundly bitten by “intelligent” machines. From the simplest calculators which are hugely smarter than us in maths, to Google Translate which can translate whole sentences, keeping proper grammar and human-like language better than most people in the world.

Yes, AI will take our jobs, it already does. But should we be afraid of it? I believe, we shouldn’t. Instead, we need to adapt to the new reality as it happened many times in humankind history (agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, digital revolution — just name a few).

Some call it another revolution (4th industrial revolution?), some just an evolution which has been happening since the world began. But no matter how you call it, thanks to machines and different kinds of artificial intelligence we’ll for sure reach a new level as a humanity. There is so big potential in us — we all have passion, purpose, dreams.

Now just imagine what can happen to the world when there will be something that can replace us with tedious, repeatable tasks. Or if we could boost our creativity and passion by a help from machines and algorithms which are never distracted and can work unstoppable.

Of course, the transition to “the new world” will be hard. Adaptation will require revolutionary, global changes in how we live. And to start doing this we need to understand where we are and what is coming.
There are already people in this world who are trying to do this. Here are 3 of them, standing in front of us on TED stage and telling us about future of AI and humanity. I highly encourage to invest 45mins to catch-up what they wanted to share with us:

Throwback Thursday – building mobile app

About one year ago I had a privilege to share my experience with mobile dev community at Mobiconf conference in Cracow. Because of my introvert nature, it was a big personal challenge to stand next to a couple meters high screen and talk to the international audience. I also don’t like to watch my video recordings, but having in mind the message which I wanted to share, I believe that it’s good to remind this particular one from time to time.

As developers (and engineering team leaders) it is always good to remember what is the biggest value we can give to the company. In a time of data driven development, where companies constantly learn about their users and try to adjust the product to meet expectations I believe that the most important thing is the ability to iterate fast. To bring new value in the smallest release cycles with a product free of bugs.

And this is what my presentation is about. Why we should test, use dependency injection or automate delivery process. I show Android app as an example, but the same rules can be applied to iOS or any other client side platform.

Here is video recording from my talk:

(Book) Walt Disney

I’ve just finished another great biography: Walt Disney: An American Original.

The book about a great dreamer, creator of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. This is American story about a poor kid living on the farm who became a millionaire, but who never measured his wealth by the amount of collected money. For Walt Disney money was just a tool to accomplish his master plan – to entertain people.

Disney dedicated his life to do it. And there was always something else to do to make the world better. Disney movie production, Disneyland, Disney World and never finished the prototype of the city of tomorrow: EPCOT. He was realizing his plan by the last days of his life.

Walt wasn’t cryonically frozen as the biggest urban legend about him tells us. He’s not coming back. But his legacy will live with us for the centuries, for sure!

Udacity + Google scholarships for digital skills

Today, during Google Developers Day in Kraków, we could see Google Developers + Udacity cooperation announcement which brings us 60 000 seats in their online courses (Web developer and Android developer, 30k seats in each one). The scholarship is dedicated to residents of Europe, Russia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. All accepted students will have an opportunity to learn coding Android or Web during 3-months course with a help from Udacity and Google mentors.

Web and Android Scholarship Program

10% of the best ones will have an opportunity to take a part in Nanodegree program for free, which ends with certification and a great chance to find a real job in the picked area.

As a former student of Udacity Nanodegree program (Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree in my case), I can only say: thank you Google, thank you Udacity! This amazing initiative with high-quality materials will bring tons of value for IT industry all over the world:

  • For students and future developers who will have a chance to learn how to build a real product from experts working with those technologies on daily basis,
  • For employers who will have a chance to hire well motivated junior devs with practical experience and great will to gain new skills,
  • For entire IT industry (including Google, Udacity and others), because more IT specialist means faster growth this area,
  • And for the people all around the world. Online and cheap/free access to knowledge means that there are much fewer limitations for those who have a great will to learn and want to be professionals in the future.

Let’s build bridges, not walls.

The Keyword — Funding 75,000 Udacity scholarships to bridge the digital skills gap.

Daily Writing

This is my second day of the daily writing challenge. Still not sure how far I’ll go but I’m well motivated to give a try. Why? Because I’d like to try if it works, what are the profits and most important – because finally, I can! As non-native English speaker, I spent a lot of time practicing this language (including written form). And It seems that finally in less than 30 minutes, with no (or a little) help of Google Translate, I can produce something meaningful.

Besides various motivations, mostly from medium.com, my biggest motivations are: Tobias van Schneider with his weekly emails and daily blog by Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who’s been writing every day since 2003 (14 years!).

Currently, I have no plan behind this – no reminder, no dedicated time during the day. I would like to see how natural it’s for me.
I’m writing at Google Docs, post by post. Subject? One, the most prominent thing from my head. Goal? Write at least 6 posts per week. If I can’t make it, I’ll think about more strict rules and long term plan.

Quote of the day:

Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate. (source)