Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘bots

Common Sense AI

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Microsoft announced that it is acquiring conversational AI and bot development software vendor XOXCO, Inc., an Austin-based firm, for an undisclosed amount.

According to a report from ZDNet, XOXCO was founded in 2008, and has been working on conversational AI since 2013.

One of its products, Howdy.ai, has been described as one of the first commercially available bots for Slack that helps schedule meetings.

Though it may be great for scheduling meetings, a new article in WIRED suggests that artificial intelligence and deep learning could stand to gain some common sense:

Deep learning is the reigning monarch of AI. In the six years since it exploded into the mainstream, it has become the dominant way to help machines sense and perceive the world around them. It powers Alexa’s speech recognition, Waymo’s self-driving cars, and Google’s on-the-fly translations. Uber is in some respects a giant optimization problem, using machine learning to figure out where riders will need cars. Baidu, the Chinese tech giant, has more than 2,000 engineers cranking away on neural net AI. For years, it seemed as though deep learning would only keep getting better, leading inexorably to a machine with the fluid, supple intelligence of a person.

But some heretics argue that deep learning is hitting a wall. They say that, on its own, it’ll never produce generalized intelligence, because truly humanlike intelligence isn’t just pattern recognition. We need to start figuring out how to imbue AI with everyday common sense, the stuff of human smarts. If we don’t, they warn, we’ll keep bumping up against the limits of deep learning, like visual-recognition systems that can be easily fooled by changing a few inputs, making a deep-learning model think a turtle is a gun. But if we succeed, they say, we’ll witness an explosion of safer, more useful devices—health care robots that navigate a cluttered home, fraud detection systems that don’t trip on false positives, medical breakthroughs powered by machines that ponder cause and effect in disease.

I look forward to having an argument with a bot…someday.

Written by turbotodd

November 14, 2018 at 11:05 am

Posted in 2018, AI, microsoft, Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Bot to Bot

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Facebook’s been in the news a fair amount this week.

Pivotal Research lowered its rating on Facebook to “sell” from “hold,” according to a report from CNBC, explaining it is “facing digital ad saturation risk as large companies are ‘scrutizing’ their marketing budgets.”

This despite the fact that Facebook has been one of the best-performing large-cap stocks in the market, growing nearly 50 percent year to date.

Earlier today, Fortune reported that Facebook is amping up its artificial intelligence capabilities, buying Ozlo, a small bot specialist based in Palo Alto.

Ozlo focuses on “conversational” bots that talk to users, and most of the company’s employees will join Facebook’s Messenger team.

But the story that really seemed to grab the Facebook headlines this week was the one that indicated two of its bots, instead of just talking to humans, were talking to one another and in a language that the chatbots “invented.”

Before you go all “Westworld” on me, let’s separate the fact from the fiction.

In an account from Karissa Bell at Mashable, Bell provided some much needed background to stifle the hype and get to the actual innovation. Bell wrote that “Facebook’s AI researchers published a paper back in June, detailing their efforts to teach chatbots to negotiate like humans. Their intention was to train the bots not just to imitate human interactions, but to actually act like humans.”

Which humans, we’re not yet sure of. The Mooch? Kim Kardashian? Kid Rock (Soon to be Senator Rock, to you!)

Unclear.

But Bell’s observation was that the narrative wasn’t just about the chats coming up with their own language, but instead this: That not only did the bots learn to act like humans, actual humans were apparently unable to discern the difference between bots and humans.

Where the bot chatter went off the rails was in their use of the English language, the grammar and syntax rules for which the bots were not instructed to use. Hence, some of the shortcut phrases like “I can can I I everything else.”

In the meantime, Elon Musk has cried AI Chicken Little once again, suggesting all this neural networking could be the end of humankind once and for all and that Zuck doesn’t “fully understand” the potential danger posed by AI.

The truth probably rests somewhere in the vast middle ground between the two, a truth I imagine the bots are having a good chuckle over as they create the new digital Esperanto they’ll need to take over the world.

Written by turbotodd

August 1, 2017 at 10:59 am

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