Machines learn new ways of learning - CIFAR


Intelligent machines have learned to read and write, recognize images, and predict dangerous mutations. But how does a machine learn to learn in the first place? The art of'learning to learn' (or meta-learning) is now widely recognized as a cornerstone of artificial intelligence research. Over the last few years, the idea of using data to learn the learning algorithms has gained momentum -- and massive computational resources and datasets have made it possible. In 2016, Nando de Freitas, a Senior Fellow in CIFAR's Learning in Machines & Brains program, demonstrated a novel approach to learning to learn.

Boston area stakes Amazon HQ pitch on technology talent

Boston Herald

In the high-stakes contest to land Amazon's new headquarters, many consider Boston to be a serious contender competing against other big technology hubs around the United States and Canada. But it's also competing against its neighbors: Several smaller Massachusetts cities -- along with Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire -- are each submitting their own pitches to Amazon, using proximity to Boston's tech talent as a major draw. "Talent really is the unquestionable, huge priority," said Brian Dacey, president of the Cambridge Innovation Center and a former Boston economic development director who says the region could make a strong case for luring the Seattle e-commerce company. Local research strengths -- such as in artificial intelligence and robotics -- are important to Amazon's business model, he said. The Seattle company is promising $5 billion of investment and 50,000 jobs in whichever North American region it chooses to build a second headquarters.

Dyslexia link to eye spots confusing brain, say scientists

BBC News

French scientists say they may have found a potential cause of dyslexia which could be treatable, hidden in tiny cells in the human eye. In a small study they found that most dyslexics had dominant round spots in both eyes - rather than in just one - leading to blurring and confusion. UK experts said the research was "very exciting" and highlighted the link between vision and dyslexia. But they said not all dyslexics were likely to have the same problem. People with dyslexia have difficulties learning to read, spell or write despite normal intelligence.

Motorola's newest mod puts an Alexa speaker on your phone


Ever wanted to have an Amazon Echo speaker with you wherever you are, rather than relying on your phone's built-in voice assistant? Motorola is betting you do. As promised, it's releasing an Alexa-powered Moto Mod (the Moto Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa, to be exact) that slaps an Echo-like device on the back of compatible phones like the Moto Z2 Force or Z Play. The key, as you might guess, is that it delivers that across-the-room voice control in a way your phone can't by itself. The large dedicated speaker is clearly one advantage, but there are also four mics to make sure it picks up your voice in relatively noisy environments.


Los Angeles Times

While football fans and labor experts ponder whether Colin Kaepernick found a smoking gun to bolster his collusion case against the National Football League, the still-unemployed quarterback is pointing to a central figure in the case: President Trump. Trump, according to the text of Kaepernick's grievance complaint, "has been an organizing force" in the joint decision by the league's 32 owners to deny the quarterback even a tryout. "Owners have described the Trump administration as causing paradigm shifts in their views toward NFL players." The complaint was originally made public by ABC News. Kaepernick may have a point, since Trump injected himself personally into the case and openly denigrated NFL players who supported Kaepernick.

AlphaGo Zero Goes From Rank Beginner to Grandmaster in Three Days--Without Any Help

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

In the 1970 sci-fi thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project, a computer designed to control the United States' nuclear weapons is switched on, and immediately discovers the existence of a Soviet counterpart. The two machines have become one, and it has mankind by the throat. Development work takes a lot longer than that. Today DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of Google, announced that it has developed a machine that plays the ancient Chinese game of Go much better than its predecessor, AlphaGo, which last year beat Lee Sedol, a world-class player, in Seoul. The earlier program was trained for months on a massive database of master games and got plenty of pointers--training wheels, as it were--from its human creators.

This More Powerful Version of AlphaGo Learns On Its Own


At one point during his historic defeat to the software AlphaGo last year, world champion Go player Lee Sedol abruptly left the room. The bot had played a move that confounded established theories of the board game, in a moment that came to epitomize the mystery and mastery of AlphaGo. A new and much more powerful version of the program called AlphaGo Zero unveiled Wednesday is even more capable of surprises. In tests, it trounced the version that defeated Lee by 100 games to nothing, and has begun to generate its own new ideas for the more than 2,000-year-old game. AlphaGo Zero showcases an approach to teaching machines new tricks that makes them less reliant on humans.

Topic is First Look Media's big online video effort. But don't call it a pivot


Wyatt Cenac's most recent project is weird. It's not really a TV show, but it's also not a film. It's kind of a web series. It's about a regular dude who works as a vigilante crime fighter -- albeit a relatively low-level one who deals with the same daily minutiae as everyone else. It's good, though, and it's the kind of thing the internet tends to facilitate, or at least was supposed to.

The 'Google of China' is working on a driverless bus for next year and fully self-driving cars by 2021


Chinese search giant Baidu has some bold new targets for its self-driving auto plans. Baidu CEO Robin Li outlined company's self-driving vehicle goals for the next few years onstage at the Wall Street Journal's D.Live technology conference, touting a plan to roll out driverless busses in China next year, semi-autonomous vehicles by 2019, and fully autonomous cars by 2021. Li also revealed that Baidu spends about $1.5 billion on self-driving R&D efforts annually, which amounts to about 15 percent of the company's revenue. The driverless bus will be manufactured by an unnamed Chinese bus maker, with plans to run one predetermined route when its ready for service. Baidu will partner with Chinese automaker BAIC Motor to make the self-driving vehicles, since the tech company has focused primarily on developing its autonomous platform, rather than actually making cars.

Baidu to hit the road with self-driving bus

Daily Mail

Baidu chief executive Robin Li on Tuesday said the Chinese internet giant will have a self-driving bus on the road soon as it races for a lead in autonomous vehicles. Baidu is collaborating with an array of companies on autonomous cars, and is working with a large bus maker in China to have a self-driving bus running a route by next year, Li said in an on-stage interview late Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal D.Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. Most major automakers and technology titans including Google-parent Alphabet have been stepping up efforts on autonomous driving in recent years, convinced that these systems could eliminate most road accidents. Baidu's search engine dominates the Chinese internet, and online ads are a key revenue stream. But since a crackdown by authorities on Baidu's online advertising business after a much-publicized scandal over promoting a fake medical treatment, 'China's Google' is seeking to focus on artificial intelligence and is investing heavily in the sector.