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The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech

#artificialintelligence

The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we've had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments -- and gadgets -- arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped. This is the decade we learned that crowdfunded gadgets can be utter disasters, even if they don't outright steal your hard-earned cash. It's the decade of wearables, tablets, drones and burning batteries, and of ridiculous valuations for companies that were really good at hiding how little they actually had to offer. Here are 84 things that died hard, often hilariously, to bring us where we are today. Everyone was confused by Google's Nexus Q when it debuted in 2012, including The Verge -- which is probably why the bowling ball of a media streamer crashed and burned before it even came to market.


AI in the media and creative industries

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Thanks to the Big Data revolution and increasing computing capacities, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made an impressive revival over the past few years and is now omnipresent in both research and industry. The creative sectors have always been early adopters of AI technologies and this continues to be the case. As a matter of fact, recent technological developments keep pushing the boundaries of intelligent systems in creative applications: the critically acclaimed movie "Sunspring", released in 2016, was entirely written by AI technology, and the first-ever Music Album, called "Hello World", produced using AI has been released this year. Simultaneously, the exploratory nature of the creative process is raising important technical challenges for AI such as the ability for AI-powered techniques to be accurate under limited data resources, as opposed to the conventional "Big Data" approach, or the ability to process, analyse and match data from multiple modalities (text, sound, images, etc.) at the same time. The purpose of this white paper is to understand future technological advances in AI and their growing impact on creative industries. This paper addresses the following questions: Where does AI operate in creative Industries? What is its operative role? How will AI transform creative industries in the next ten years? This white paper aims to provide a realistic perspective of the scope of AI actions in creative industries, proposes a vision of how this technology could contribute to research and development works in such context, and identifies research and development challenges.


Hierarchical Modeling and Shrinkage for User Session Length Prediction in Media Streaming

arXiv.org Machine Learning

An important metric of users' satisfaction and engagement within on-line streaming services is the user session length, i.e. the amount of time they spend on a service continuously without interruption. Being able to predict this value directly benefits the recommendation and ad pacing contexts in music and video streaming services. Recent research has shown that predicting the exact amount of time spent is highly nontrivial due to many external factors for which a user can end a session, and the lack of predictive covariates. Most of the other related literature on duration based user engagement has focused on dwell time for websites, for search and display ads, mainly for post-click satisfaction prediction or ad ranking. In this work we present a novel framework inspired by hierarchical Bayesian modeling to predict, at the moment of login, the amount of time a user will spend in the streaming service. The time spent by a user on a platform depends upon user-specific latent variables which are learned via hierarchical shrinkage. Our framework enjoys theoretical guarantees, naturally incorporates flexible parametric/nonparametric models on the covariates and is found to outperform state-of- the-art estimators in terms of efficiency and predictive performance on real world datasets.


Talking to myself: self-dialogues as data for conversational agents

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Conversational agents are gaining popularity with the increasing ubiquity of smart devices. However, training agents in a data driven manner is challenging due to a lack of suitable corpora. This paper presents a novel method for gathering topical, unstructured conversational data in an efficient way: self-dialogues through crowd-sourcing. Alongside this paper, we include a corpus of 3.6 million words across 23 topics. We argue the utility of the corpus by comparing self-dialogues with standard two-party conversations as well as data from other corpora.