historian


The Evil Robots of the Ancient World

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This week, Oxford University announced that American billionaire and philanthropist Stephen A. Schwarzman had gifted the university with its largest cash donation ever--£150 million--to fund (among other things) an institution to investigate the ethics of artificial intelligence. Mr. Schwarzman said that universities need to serve as advisers on the ethics of artificial intelligence and technological advances. While it is certainly true that the technology has moved rapidly ahead of the legislation that patrols it, this is hardly the first time people have thought about the ethics of AI. As any sci-fi buff will tell you, we have been mulling over the ethical ramifications of technologies we didn't possess for a century. What they might not know, however, is that people have been thinking about the potentials and pitfalls of the robot world for thousands of years.


Can machine learning predict history?

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Machine learning tools can be useful for historians to analyse large volumes of data and minimize noise, suggests a new study. How do we know if an event is historic? An event's historical significance depends on how it affects subsequent events in the future. But predicting this can be difficult: what may seem historic now may be deemed trivial by future generations. New research suggests that, even with machine learning tools, determining historical significance is difficult but these tools can still help historians.


Scientists Reveal Ancient Social Networks Using AI--and X-Rays

WIRED

Folded and sealed with a dollop of red wax, the will of Catharuçia Savonario Rivoalti lay in Venice's State Archives, unread, for more than six and a half centuries. Scholars don't know why the document, written in 1351, was never opened. But to physicist Fauzia Albertin, the three-page document--six pages, folded--was the perfect thickness for an experiment. Albertin, who now works at the Enrico Fermi Research Center in Italy, wanted to read the will without unsealing it. In a 2017 demonstration, Albertin and her team beamed X-rays at the document to photograph the text inside.


Greek myths have some scary ideas about robots and A.I. - Futurity

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You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license. Thousands of years before machine learning and self-driving cars became reality, the tales of giant bronze robot Talos, artificial woman Pandora, and their creator, the god Hephaestus, filled the imaginations of people in ancient Greece. Historians usually trace the idea of automata to the Middle Ages, when humans first invented self-moving devices, but the concept of artificial, lifelike creatures dates to the myths and legends from at least about 2,700 years ago, says Adrienne Mayor, a research scholar in the classics department in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. These ancient myths are the subject of Mayor's latest book, Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology (Princeton University Press, 2018). "Our ability to imagine artificial intelligence goes back to the ancient times…" "Our ability to imagine artificial intelligence goes back to the ancient times," says Mayor, who is also a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.


Ancient myths reveal early fantasies about artificial life

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Thousands of years before machine learning and self-driving cars became reality, the tales of giant bronze robot Talos, artificial woman Pandora and their creator god, Hephaestus, filled the imaginations of people in ancient Greece. Historians usually trace the idea of automata to the Middle Ages, when the first self-moving devices were invented, but the concept of artificial, lifelike creatures dates to the myths and legends from at least about 2,700 years ago, said Adrienne Mayor, a research scholar in the Department of Classics in the School of Humanities and Sciences. These ancient myths are the subject of Mayor's latest book, Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology. "Our ability to imagine artificial intelligence goes back to the ancient times," said Mayor, who is also a 2018-19 fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. "Long before technological advances made self-moving devices possible, ideas about creating artificial life and robots were explored in ancient myths."


Machine learning can offer new tools, fresh insights for the humanities

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Truly revolutionary political transformations are naturally of great interest to historians, and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century is widely regarded as one of the most influential, serving as a model for building other European democracies. A paper published last summer in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers new insight into how the members of the first National Constituent Assembly hammered out the details of this new type of governance. Specifically, rhetorical innovations by key influential figures (like Robespierre) played a critical role in persuading others to accept what were, at the time, audacious principles of governance, according to co-author Simon DeDeo, a former physicist who now applies mathematical techniques to the study of historical and current cultural phenomena. And the cutting-edge machine learning methods he developed to reach that conclusion are now being employed by other scholars of history and literature. As more and more archives are digitized, scholars are applying various analytical tools to those rich datasets, such as Google N-gram, Bookworm, and WordNet.


Machine learning can offer new tools, fresh insights for the humanities

#artificialintelligence

Truly revolutionary political transformations are naturally of great interest to historians, and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century is widely regarded as one of the most influential, serving as a model for building other European democracies. A paper published last summer in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers new insight into how the members of the first National Constituent Assembly hammered out the details of this new type of governance. Specifically, rhetorical innovations by key influential figures (like Robespierre) played a critical role in persuading others to accept what were, at the time, audacious principles of governance, according to co-author Simon DeDeo, a former physicist who now applies mathematical techniques to the study of historical and current cultural phenomena. And the cutting-edge machine learning methods he developed to reach that conclusion are now being employed by other scholars of history and literature. As more and more archives are digitized, scholars are applying various analytical tools to those rich datasets, such as Google N-gram, Bookworm, and WordNet.


Why AI and deep learning are the perfect tools to help us understand the past

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The world of academia is generally not known for being on the cutting edge of technology. However, as technology rapidly advances, historians and researchers can utilize both artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to make their jobs easier. Artificial intelligence is the ability for a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Deep learning, a subset of machine learning, is the intermediary between machine learning and neural networks. Deep learning provides a fast and relatively easy way to process massive amounts of data, much of which would be tedious and time consuming for a human to process; because of this, pattern recognition is one of deep learning's greatest strengths.


Yuval Noah Harari: Could Big Data Destroy Liberal Democracy?

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Yuval Noah Harari says data is the new source of political power, and he worries that big data and AI technology threaten to destroy liberal democracy. Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, lecturer, and author. He is the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, as well as Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Harari received his PhD from Oxford. He is currently a lecturer in the history department at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Artificial Intelligence First Predicted in Ancient Greece. Or Was It India?

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When we think of ancient Greece we generally imagine ruthless highly-trained warriors or cloth clad philosophers pondering the schematics and perimeters of geometry, geography, architecture and the like. But a new book is about to present them as "skilled forecasters, accurately predicting the rise of artificial intelligence, killer androids and driverless cars." More than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythologists, according to American historian Dr Adrienne Mayor of Stanford University, "envisioned many of the technology trends we grapple with today including Killer androids, driverless technology, GPS and AI-powered helper robots." According to an article about Mayors finding in Greek Reporter, in her forthcoming book Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology the creations of Hephaestus, the god of metalworking and an invention in Homer's Iliad, were "predictions of the rise of humanoid robots." Dr Mayor, who according to the Stanford University website is an independent folklorist/historian of science investigating natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions, claims Hephaestus crafted'mechanical maid's from gold that were designed to anticipate their master's requests and act on them without instruction, much like modern machine learning software.