Author: Peter Rudin

From Covid-19 back to the Future with AI

Posted by Peter Rudin on 4. December 2020 in Essay No Comments

According to the WHO about 8.5% of the world’s population are currently infected or have died because of Covid-19, compared to 30% who were infected or died due to the Spanish Flu. The application of AI such as the rapid development of new vaccines have so far played a major role in preventing a global disaster.

Yet the Covid-19 pandemic has left serious scars both individually as well as economically. The massive rise of unemployment due to corporate closings severely threatens the foundation of our socioeconomic balance.

To heal the scars and to restore trust in our democratic culture we need a creative mindset of solving problems by fostering the cooperation between humans and intelligent machines.

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Synthetic Biology: The Xenobot Future Is Coming

Posted by Peter Rudin on 27. November 2020 in News No Comments

A new field of science called “synthetic biology” aims to digitize genetic manipulations. Xenobots are living robots, made up of masses of cells working in coordination, that can help unlock the mysteries of cellular communication.

These living robots can undulate, swim, and walk. They work collaboratively and can even self-heal. They are tiny enough to be injected into human bodies, travel around, and—maybe someday—deliver targeted medicines.

Soon, how we reproduce, repair ourselves, prevent disease will be the result of intentional choice, not chance. But the ability to recode cells, de-extinct species, and create new life forms will come with ethical, philosophical, and political challenges.

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US Democracy in Trouble, what about AI?

Posted by Peter Rudin on 20. November 2020 in Essay 2 Comments

Manipulative messaging at an emotional level is Donald Trump’s approach to gain public support. The ‘Terror Management Theory’ assumes that existential terror and anxiety is always residing below the surface of one’s awareness. To manage this terror, humans adopt views, like religions, political ideologies, and national identities,  far from any rational arguments.

Moreover, studies conducted by the Pew Research Center in October 2020 show that Democrats and Republicans largely disagree on key values.

Hopefully, the upcoming US administration will be successful in reducing frustration and hate under the slogan of ‘Making Democracy Great Again’.

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AI trying to Diagnose Depression from Brain Waves

Posted by Peter Rudin on 13. November 2020 in News No Comments

An estimated 17.3 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But with 1,000 possible symptom combinations, depression manifests differently in different people. Today’s assessments mostly rely on conversations with clinicians or surveys.

X, Alphabet’s experimental R&D lab, recently detailed Project Amber, which aimed to make brain waves as easy to interpret as blood glucose. The Amber team sought to marry machine learning techniques with electroencephalography (EEG) to measure telling electrical activity in the brain.

It took three years for the Amber team to create a low-cost, portable, research-grade system designed to make it easier to collect EEG data.

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AI and our Capacity to Think about Thinking

Posted by Peter Rudin on 6. November 2020 in Essay No Comments

Our minds have evolved to think so that we can better adapt to our environment and make smarter decisions on how to survive. At a biological level, our thoughts are millions of neurons firing off in our brains. These brain cells working together create concepts  and knowledge that arises in our consciousness.

In 1985, AI-Pioneer Marvin Minsky pointed out that the question is not whether intelligent machines can have any emotions, but whether machines can be intelligent without emotions.

As neuroscience and related behavioural analysis are accelerating intelligence research, the functionality of the human brain is seen as guide in advancing AI towards human-like intelligence. Along this process the human capacity to think and to rethink has become an important design factor in AI development.

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The Evolution of Modern Intelligence

Posted by Peter Rudin on 30. October 2020 in News No Comments

For about 300,000 years after Homo sapiens first appeared, tools and artifacts remained surprisingly simple. Starting 50,000 to 65,000 years ago, more advanced technology started appearing: complex projectile weapons, sewing needles, ceramics etc.

This sudden flourishing of technology is called the “great leap forward” supposedly reflecting the

evolution of a fully modern human brain. But fossils and DNA suggest that human intelligence became modern far earlier.

Culture can evolve even if intelligence does not. Humans in ancient times lacked smartphones and spaceflight, but we know from studying philosophers such as Buddha and Aristotle that they were just as clever. Our brains did not change, our culture did.

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Collective Intelligence for Regional Business Development

Posted by Peter Rudin on 23. October 2020 in Essay No Comments

The major challenge for building collective intelligence is to combine knowledge from different sources and to customize this information for the specific needs of individual users and local organisations.

Two types of assets are of increasing importance: data and people. Adding AI to the equation sets the stage for merging human and machine intelligence, taking advantage of the assets that both bring to the table.

A principal feature of innovative regions is their capacity to create environments favourable to turning knowledge into new products and services

An AI-Collaboration Platform is the prerequisite for forming and supporting regional intelligence with modules covering the entire innovation process.

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AI has Limits because it lacks a Physical Body

Posted by Peter Rudin on 16. October 2020 in News No Comments

We are witnessing the emergence of a new commercial industry with tremendous potential. There are no areas that are beyond improvement by AI – no tasks that cannot be automated, no problems that cannot at least be helped by an AI application.

But is this strictly true? Research in the new field of developmental robotics is now exploring how robots can learn from scratch, like infants. The first stages involve discovering the properties of passive objects and the “physics” of the robot’s world.

So, while disembodied AI definitely has a fundamental limitation, future research with robot bodies may one day help create lasting, empathetic, social interactions between AI and humans.

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Mental Health a Rising Concern, what about AI and Education?

Posted by Peter Rudin on 9. October 2020 in Essay 1 Comment

Anxiety is the reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It is the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event.
The risk of anxiety causing depression can, in the worst case, lead to self-destructive actions. Existential concerns are one the most mentioned reasons for anxiety as the potential loss of jobs due to digital transformation and automation has become a highly publicized issue.

Creativity is expected to become more valuable than technical skills as artificial intelligence outpaces human cognition. Fostering creative thinkers must become a primary focus of educators. Expanding the horizon of individual’s awareness, the study of humanities must resurge as cognitive skills to solve technical problems will gradually be automated.

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Finally, much improved AI-Features for Alexa

Posted by Peter Rudin on 2. October 2020 in News No Comments

Starting in the coming weeks, Amazon says that Alexa will ask questions of users to help the assistant better understand what they mean. Alexa will also soon be able to change intonation depending on the context of back-and-forth conversations, building on Amazon’s advances in neural text-to-speech technology.

In Follow-Up Mode Alexa will let multiple people join conversations with without having to use a wake word for every utterance. Called Natural Turn Taking — Alexa will leverage acoustic and linguistic cues to determine whether a request is directed towards it.

Alexa’s sound detection is expanding as well, with recognition of things like a baby crying, barking dogs, and the sound of snoring. Later this year, customers will be able to choose to set up routines that can kick off when Alexa detects one of those sounds.

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