The Future Will See You Now

Have This Artificially Intelligent Travel Agent Book Your Next Vacation

(Wikimedia)

Just when we were all convinced that travel agents had become obsolete did we find out they’ve actually just gotten a hi-tech revamp for the next century.

A link on Reddit tipped us off this morning to Dobby, a service claiming to be an artificially intelligent travel agent that will take care of all of your flight accommodations for you. Simply send Dobby an email telling him where and when you want to go, and he’ll reply with three itineraries in five minutes or less. All that’s left for you to do is choose. Read More

the robots are coming

Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself

Are we closer to AI? (Wikipedia)

In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science.

One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to fear, as computers will always need a programmer to tell them what to do.

Today’s news brings us to the Neural Turing Machine, a computer that will combine the way ordinary computers work with the way the human brain learns, enabling it to actually program itself. Perhaps my CS friends should reevaluate their position? Read More

The Singularity is Nigh

Elon Musk Calls For Regulation of ‘Demonic’ Artificial Intelligence

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Not much scares intrepid entrepreneur Elon Musk — not outer space, exploding rockets, supersonic air travel or disappointing us with unfulfilled promises. Robots, on the other hand? Elon Musk does not like smart robots.

While speaking on stage at MIT’s Centennial Symposium last week, Mr. Musk was asked if he had any thoughts on artificial intelligence. Read More

Planet Google

We’ll All Have Self-Driving Cars Long Before We Can Actually Use Them

Doesn't matter if the tech is ready, you still need to map every road before the cars are worth anything. (Photo by Jakob Montrasio)

Every other week, some automotive CEO or founder you’ve never heard of will make news and keep their stock prices stable by guessing at the future of self-driving cars. Late Wednesday night, the robot-fearing space explorer and transportation tycoon Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX took his turn when he told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla would have self-driving cars ready in six years.

“The big car companies have been a lot slower than I thought,” he said.

Mr. Musk is fond of making fanciful predictions and projections about the future of transportation, but saying that he’ll have a self-driving car in six years isn’t as far fetched as, say, a bullet-speed interstate monorail in the sky. After all, Nissan says that they’ll have self-driving cars ready by then, too. Read More

the robots are coming

Study: People Are More Likely to Open Up to a Talking Computer Than a Human Therapist

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It only takes five minutes with Siri to realize that robots are miserable replacements for help from a real person. But artificial intelligence researchers haven’t given up on making robots that can do something more useful than answering basic trivia and telling us where to hide a body.

A team of researchers created an artificially intelligent robot psychologist named Ellie who can ask probing questions, read emotions with 3D cameras and get through a basic therapy session, the Economist reports. Early experiments are showing that people are more likely to be candid and emotional when they think no one is sitting there judging them. Read More

the robots are coming

V.C. Firm Names Robot To Board of Directors

Make way for one computer! (Wikimedia Commons)

In case you needed more proof that all our jobs will one day be occupied by robots, a Hong Kong V.C. firm has just named an artificial intelligence tool to its board of directors. The company’s also insisting the tool will be treated as an “equal” to the other board members.

Sure, it’s all probably a bid for press — but it’s still pretty funny.

A press release from Aging Analytics UK, a company that conducts research on biotechnology and regenerative medicine, made two announcements this morning: first, that they’ve launched an new A.I. tool called VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences); and second, that they’ve licensed VITAL to Hong Kong V.C. firm Deep Knowledge Ventures, where the tool will become an “equal member of its Board of Directors.” Read More

Investments

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Ashton Kutcher Mysteriously Invest in Artificial Intelligence Company

Mr. Zuckerberg has teamed up with Mr. Musk and Mr. Kutcher to invest in an artificial intelligence company because WHO KNOWS WHY? (Getty)

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Ashton Kutcher — a veritable tech trifecta — have quietly come together and invested $40 million in a “secretive artificial-intelligence company,” the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The company is called Vicarious FPC, and its goal is to create a computer program that functions like the neocortex in a human brain. Read More