AlphaGo
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This Go student has become the Go master—and it’s a computer

If Go is mentioned in the US, it’s in the context of complicated games, or hard games, or games with some element of “purity.” It’s just white stones and black stones on a nineteen by nineteen board. You play by putting stones down, not moving them, if you surround your opponent’s stones they are “captured,” and that’s more or less it. Ostensibly, no game could be simpler. But if you’ve ever tried to learn how to play Go, you’ll know it feels a lot more like the spoiled-for-choice paralysis of staring at a blank page The board has 361 spaces,…

deep
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What is #DeepDream and why is everyone getting so weird with it?

To answer your question, Mr. Dick, yes, androids do dream of electric sheep. Or, at least, artificial intelligence does. And it’s less sheep and more like an insectoid nightmare of sheep as seen through a faint kaleidoscopic filter. We are fascinated and disturbed, Mr. Dick, but the future isn’t quite as horrendous as you might have thought it to be. Not yet. Look! Here’s another of these strange machine dreams, this time featuring US president Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill morphed into an arachnid’s face. Another! This time of one of the most iconic images of 9/11, yet the…

Minimaforms_PettingZoo_000
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These freaky robots haven’t replaced the common cat just yet, but are getting closer

Pet ownership isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. There’s the wear-and-tear on the carpet, the vet visits, the untimely messes. But looking at the alternatives, such as hovering robotic Slinkies, maybe your shedding cat isn’t so bad. That doesn’t mean that these Cthulhu-esque robots created by the design and architecture firm Minimaforms don’t need a little love. (Watch the video for more horrifying details.) To the contrary, they like being petted by you. In fact they like attention so much that “they will ‘perform’ to stimulate engagement between the potential participants,” their creators told Wired. These gentle giants are…

Ai-Weiwei-installation-14
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How Facebook’s scary artificial intellegence could change game consoles

Last week Facebook made public their plans to establish an artificial intelligence lab, a new research center devoted to giving you the content you care about. The new technology, which is purely theoretical at this point, aims to analyze video and voice, delivering to your news feed the cutest kitten videos, while keeping, say, the memoirs of a deer your uncle slayed over the weekend at bay (unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing). See, technology isn’t always scary! In an interview with Wired, the lead researcher on the project explained that while computers are good at picking…

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The eternal futility of two computers playing rock, paper, scissors

A duo of interactive media artists have pitted two Macbook Pros against one another in a never-ending game of rock-paper-scissors. There is an algorithm that picks between paper, scissors, or rock running on both computers, which are connected by an ethernet cable. The winner gets a point.  Going by the moniker WeARE Medienkuenstler, Moritz Schell and Frederic Seybicke are from Weimar, Germany. They got their start in the world of installations not as aspiring artists but trying to have a good time. Their first works weren’t meant for museums but house parties, so those in attendance could visualize their arms…