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The Rise of Artificial Intelligence | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Artificial intelligence is an ever evolving goal for researchers, and the object of endless fascination for writers, filmmakers, and the general public. But despite our best science fiction visions, creating digital intelligence is incredibly difficult. The universe is a very complicated place, and humans have had millions of years to evolve the ability to navigate and make sense of it. Contemporary attempts to create AI have us looking more at how our own brains work to see how a computer could simulate the core activities that create our intelligence. No matter how we get there, it is certain that artificial intelligence will have tremendous impact on our society and economy, and lead us down a path towards evolving our own definitions of humanity.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers and/or the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When it comes to AI, people have ideas of human-like robot that seems to have some degrees of human intelligence and reasoning. I as a programmer think it is just another “tool”. A tool is an object that creates for certain purpose(es) to performance certain task(s) to make our lives easier. Anything that has built-in AI component is a “smart tool”; that is, a tool has sense to detect and respond when the condition is met. Programmers do that all the time (generally speaking :P) – having listeners for different events and making function calls accordingly. There is an argument against AI robots – job loss. I am not too worried about job loss. Even though we know that when the technology advances, there will be job loss, we also know that more new jobs will be created as well. Hence, there will always necessary short-term pain for the greater good. Once we pass the “initial costs of upgrade”, we will not want to look back.
I too share the same view that AI robots do NOT have to have human-like form. They can be in any different shape, size, and form based on their purposes and functions because (design speaking) the form should reflect their functions. Last, I remember the team at IBM that created the computer, Watson which won the Jeopardy game, did an experiment in which they let Watson “learned” urban dictionary. Watson had some interesting (human-like) replies to certain questions – It began to use profanity languages and sometimes replies, “This is BS.” Fortunate unlike human, Watson could easily make unlearned by deleting urban dictionary from its database, so it may not be too good to be too much human-like. Of course, there is a fear that if we create something super intelligent, and without all the human flaws it may one day wipe human off the surface of the earth.

How to Survive a Plane Crash

The odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million (about the same as being attacked by shark and much lower than the chance of being stuck by light), while the odds of dying in an auto accident are about one in 5,000. More than 95 percent of the airplane passengers involved in a crash survive, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Scientific America has an article that gives a few tips that can increase your chances of survival in a plane crash.

  • Dress for survival – Wearing practical shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. (Cover your skin to protect your skin from flames and sharp objects)
  • Choose your seat wisely – Passengers in the rear of an aircraft were significantly more likely to survive, and people sitting behind the wing had a 40 percent greater chance of surviving. Also, try to sit in or near an exit row because most crash survivors moved five rows or fewer before exiting a burning plane. Last, aisle seats are somewhat safer. (Not first class)
  • Takeoff and landing – The most accident-prone times of an airplane flight are the three minutes after takeoff and the eight minutes before landing – keep your shoes on, keep your tray table up, make note of the two nearest exits, placing a carry-on item under the seat in front of you.
  • The 90-second rule – Stay calm and move out of the plane quickly. (Fire can spread very quickly)

After surviving a plane crash, if we can learn from the Flight 214 plane crash at SFO, don’t get run over by emergency vehicles arriving at the scene.
Source: Scientific America – How to Survive a Plane Crash

Last Google Reader Visit

Today is the day when Google officially terminates its Google Reader. A few hours ago, I logged on Google, accessed its Reader, finished up all the posts for the last time, and took some screenshots. Not that I wanted to preserve the memory of Google Reader (it is JUST a tool, I told myself :P), but I found on its Trends page there were some interesting statistics glimpsing into my RSS usages.

The first screenshot shows that I’ve read 300,000+ since April 5, 2012. That is, 300,000 posts / (365 + 30 + 31 + 25) days ~ 665 posts per day. This is slightly higher than the monthly average, which is (19,298 posts / 30 days) at 643 posts/day. Therefore, I can say that on average I read about 650 posts a day, which may explain the reason that I feel I don’t have time to play computer games – there is just so much to learn, and new things, information, and knowledge keep increasing daily.

The second screenshot of a histogram displays a weekly pattern of my RSS consumption. That is, I read most during the weekdays and read less on the weekends beginning every Friday. Websites posts most of posts during the weekdays and fewer posts to read on weekends for the obvious reason.

The last screenshot,the most interesting one I think, indicates (I would call) a pattern of a typical work day. Even though websites put out posts throughout the day, most post items are posted between 4am to 4pm (the East Coast of the US is 3hr ahead of my local time). The time I read posts items also follows a typical schedule of a working individual. Posts are read after dinner time, and few to none of posts are consumed from 12 midnight to 12 noon.

In conclusion, it is okay (a bit sad) if Google Reader has to go, and I can only hope there is an alternative that offers similar statistics. So far, there is none. Oh btw, it is now 1:45am Pacific Time, and apparently Google Reader is still working. I have not logoff the Google Reader yet. I wonder when Google will poll the plug.

Youtube Audio Quality

  • Original: 192kbps
  • 1080p: 192kbps
  • 720p: 192kbps
  • 480p: 128kbps
  • 360p: 128kbps
  • 280p: 68kbps

Note: Original is the resolution of the video that is larger than 1080p

I was curious about audio quality information on youtube video. Here is I found if you also wondered about it. :)

Source: H3XED

Some Astromonical Definitions

Due to the recent cosmic coincidence, I found I (and probably some of people) am confused by some of the terms, so I looked up an astronomical glossary to find out what exactly they meant.

  • Asteroid:
    1. A small rocky body that orbits a star
    2. A small planet-like body of the Solar System
  • Meteor:
    1. Fragment or particle that enters the Earth’s atmosphere and is then destroyed through friction, becoming visible as this occurs as a momentary streak of light.
    2. A “shooting star” – the streak of light in the sky produced by the transit of a meteoroid through the Earth’s atmosphere; also the glowing meteoroid itself.
  • Meteorite:
    1. Object that enters the Earth’s atmosphere and is too large to be totally destroyed by friction before it hits the surface. Meteorites may in some way be connected with asteroids.
    2. A solid-body portion of a meteor that has reached Earth’s surface. Meteorites are divided into three main classes: aerolites (stony meteorites), siderites (iron meteorites), and siderolites (stony iron meteorites). Most meteorites are high-density objects related to asteroids.
  • Meteoroid:
    1. A small particle orbiting the Sun in the vicinity of Earth.

Source: CalTech Astronomical Glossary

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