Google’s Artificial Intelligence Masters Atari Video Games

atari-brainDeep learning, one of the hottest topics today in artificial intelligence (AI), has taken another leap forward with DeepMind’s latest announcement.

Source: Google’s Artificial Intelligence Masters Atari Video Games

Think you’re good at classic arcade games such as Space Invaders, Breakout and Pong? Think again.

In a groundbreaking paper published yesterday in Nature, a team of researchers led by DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis reported developing a deep neural network that was able to learn to play such games at an expert level.

What makes this achievement all the more impressive is that the program was not given any background knowledge about the games. It just had access to the score and the pixels on the screen.

It didn’t know about bats, balls, lasers or any of the other things we humans need to know about in order to play the games.

But by playing lots and lots of games many times over, the computer learned first how to play, and then how to play well.

A Machine That Learns From Scratch

This is the latest in a series of breakthroughs in deep learning, one of the hottest topics today in artificial intelligence (AI).

Actually, DeepMind isn’t the first such success at playing games. Twenty years ago a computer program known as TD-Gammon learned to play backgammon at a super-human level also using a neural network.

But TD-Gammon never did so well at similar games such as chess, Go or checkers.

In a few years time, though, you’re likely to see such deep learning in your Google search results. Early last year, inspired by results like these, Google bought DeepMind for a reported $400 million.

Many other technology companies are spending big in this space. Baidu, the “Chinese Google”, set up the Institute of Deep Learning and hired experts such as Stanford University professor Andrew Ng. Facebook has set up its Artificial Intelligence Research Lab which is led by another deep learning expert, Yann LeCun. And more recently Twitter acquired Madbits, another deep learning startup.

The Secret Sauce of Deep Learning

Geoffrey Hinton is one of the pioneers in this area, and is another recent Google hire. In an inspiring keynote talk at last month’s annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, he outlined three main reasons for these recent breakthroughs.

First, lots of Central Processing Units (CPUs). These are not the sort of neural networks you can train at home. It takes thousands of CPUs to train the many layers of these networks. This requires some serious computing power.

In fact, a lot of progress is being made using the raw horse power of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), the super fast chips that power graphics engines in the very same arcade games.

Second, lots of data. The deep neural network plays the arcade game millions of times.

Third, a couple of nifty tricks for speeding up the learning such as training a collection of networks rather than a single one. Think the wisdom of crowds.

What Will Deep Learning Be Good For?

Despite all the excitement about deep learning technologies, there are some limitations to what it can do.

Deep learning appears to be good for low-level tasks that we do without much thinking. Recognizing a cat in a picture, understanding some speech on the phone or playing an arcade game like an expert.

These are all tasks we have “compiled” down into our own marvelous neural networks.

Cutting through the hype, it’s much less clear if deep learning will be so good at high level reasoning. This includes proving difficult mathematical theorems, optimizing a complex supply chain or scheduling all the planes in an airline.

Where Next for Deep Learning?

Deep learning is sure to turn up in a browser or smartphone near you before too long. We will see products such as a super smart Siri that simplifies your life by predicting your next desire.

But I suspect there will eventually be a deep learning backlash in a few years time when we run into the limitations of this technology. Especially if more deep learning startups sell for hundreds of millions of dollars. It will be hard to meet the expectations that all these dollars entail.

Nevertheless, deep learning looks set to be another piece of the AI jigsaw. Putting these and other pieces together will see much of what we humans do replicated by computers.

If you want to hear more about the future of AI, I invite you to the Next Big Thing Summit in Melbourne on April 21, 2015. This is part of the two-day CONNECT conference taking place in the Victorian capital.

Along with AI experts such as Sebastian Thrun and Rodney Brooks, I will be trying to predict where all of this is taking us.

And if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to try your hand out at one of these games, go to Google Images and search for “atari breakout” (or follow this link). You’ll get a browser version of the Atari classic to play.

And once you’re an expert at Breakout, you might want to head to Atari’s arcade website.

Europe’s Top Digital-Privacy Watchdog Zeros In on U.S. Tech Giants – The New York Times

NY TimesPARIS — The latest standoff between Europe and American tech companies runs through a quiet street just north of the Louvre Museum, past chic cafes and part of the French national library, to the ornate office of Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

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From here, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has emerged as one of the most important watchdogs for how companies like Facebook and Google handle the billions of digital bits of personal data — like names, dates and contacts — routinely collected on Europeans. Since 2011, she has been France’s top privacy regulator, and for the last two years, she has led a group of European data-protection officials. In those posts, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has regularly agitated companies to better safeguard people’s data.

Her role will come into even sharper focus in the coming weeks. Ms. Falque-Pierrotin, empowered by Europe’s highest court, will be at the heart of efforts to police how digital data is transferred outside of the European Union, a central aspect of many European and American businesses. That role will be amplified even further if, as is now widely expected, American and European negotiators fail to reach a new data-transferring deal by Feb.

Read more: Europe’s Top Digital-Privacy Watchdog Zeros In on U.S. Tech Giants – The New York Times

How YouTube Extends the Reach and Engagement of Your Video Advertising – Think with Google

A recent study suggests 18% of the total population has never signed up for cable. By 2025—just a decade from now—Forrester predicts half of U.S. viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service.

Source: How YouTube Extends the Reach and Engagement of Your Video Advertising – Think with Google

Generation X | Latchkey to Success

Squeezed between baby boomers and millennials, smaller in number – Generation X has surprisingly and silently been changing the world for over a decade now.

Before coming of age this generation had been labeled the “Slacker Generation” underachievers and doomed to be lost. If there’s one word or label that Generation X has lived up to it is “misunderstood.”

 

Slacker

 

 

Who is Generation X?

  • Gen-Xers were born between 1965 and 1983
  • They were raised during the dark days in a post-Vietnam America.
  • They experienced high crime rates, urban decay, a country in decline, recession and inflation.
  • They became of age in a period of transformation, seeing America’s return to greatness.
  • They were of voting age by the end of the Cold War.
  • They witnessed the fall of the former Soviet Union,symbolized by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall
  • They have worked through two recessions.
  • They have served voluntarily in our military through two wars.

Gen-Xers launched companies like Google, Amazon and Dell Computers in the late 90’s. By the late 90’s they were called the”Start-up Generation.”

Sergey Brinimages-1Jeff Bezos

 

 

 

Today, Bloomberg refers to Generation X as the “Entrepreneurial Generation”

Findings from a recent EY study named “Younger managers rise in the ranks / EY study on generational shifts in the US workplace” revealed the following:

  • 80% of respondents selected Gen X as the generation best equipped to manage in current economic conditions, followed closely by boomers (76%) and Gen Y (27%).
  • Gen X also outpaced boomers and Gen Y at 65% vs. 27% for boomers and 51% for Gen Y as the generation perceived as best equipped to manage in 2020.
  • A majority (56%) of respondents felt that members of Gen X displayed each of the survey’s positive characteristics.
  • The only negative Gen X attribute identified by more than half (51%) of respondents was “entitled and concerned primarily about individual promotion.” This was also a characteristic of members of Gen Y (68%) and, to a lesser extent, boomers (32%).

Gen-Xers today are best described as being eclectic, disenfranchised with corporatism, suspicious of government, hungry for change, and entrepreneurially motivated.

 

For more information on Generation X go to:

 

PRC-Logo

 

 

Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’

Some video clips follow:

“GenXers are doing the quiet work of keeping America from sucking.” Jeff Gordinier pleads his case on YouTube

Gen X

 

 

 

 

Generation X – Alive and kicking

Squeezed between baby boomers and millennials, smaller in number – Generation X has surprisingly and silently been changing the world for over a decade now.

X GenerationBefore coming of age this generation had been mislabeled as the “Slacker Generation” – underachievers and doomed to be lost. If there’s one word or label that Generation X has lived up to it is “misunderstood.”

 

Slacker

 

 

Who is Generation X?

  • Gen-Xers were born between 1965 and 1983
  • They were raised during the dark days in a post-Vietnam America.
  • They experienced high crime rates, urban decay, a country in decline, recession and inflation.
  • They became of age in a period of transformation, seeing America’s return to greatness.
  • They were of voting age by the end of the Cold War.
  • They witnessed the fall of the former Soviet Union,symbolized by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall
  • They have worked through two recessions.
  • They have served voluntarily in our military through two wars.

Gen-Xers launched companies like Google, Amazon and Dell Computers in the late 90’s. By the late 90’s they were called the”Start-up Generation.”

Sergey Brinimages-1Jeff Bezos

 

 

 

Today, Bloomberg refers to Generation X as the “Entrepreneurial Generation”

Findings from a recent EY study named “Younger managers rise in the ranks / EY study on generational shifts in the US workplace” revealed the following:

  • 80% of respondents selected Gen X as the generation best equipped to manage in current economic conditions, followed closely by boomers (76%) and Gen Y (27%).
  • Gen X also outpaced boomers and Gen Y at 65% vs. 27% for boomers and 51% for Gen Y as the generation perceived as best equipped to manage in 2020.
  • A majority (56%) of respondents felt that members of Gen X displayed each of the survey’s positive characteristics.
  • The only negative Gen X attribute identified by more than half (51%) of respondents was “entitled and concerned primarily about individual promotion.” This was also a characteristic of members of Gen Y (68%) and, to a lesser extent, boomers (32%).

Gen-Xers today are best described as being eclectic, disenfranchised with corporatism, suspicious of government, hungry for change, and entrepreneurially motivated.

 

For more information on Generation X go to:

 

PRC-Logo

 

 

Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’

 

 

Generation X

 

Some video clips follow:

“GenXers are doing the quiet work of keeping America from sucking.” Jeff Gordinier pleads his case on YouTube

Gen X

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Polls: Social Media Usage

Please cast your vote on the following five polls and don’t forget to bookmark this page to monitor results. These polls will remain open through December 31, 2014.

Generation Gap

Social Media Logos

Computer or Mobile

Social Influence Animation

Social Strategy Drawing

 

Don’t forget to bookmark this page to monitor our results.

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