Quick and Dirty Self-Hosted Alexa Skills (2019)

by @edent | # # # # # # | 1 comment

I hate creating Alexa skills. What should be a 3-click process inevitably ends up requiring trips to multiple websites, to set up weird parameters, and reading outdated tutorials for obsolete libraries. So this is how to create a self-hosted Skill, using PHP. It runs on your own server and doesn't require any interaction. The Skill… Continue reading →

Book Review - Hello World

by @edent | # #
A book cover which looks like a flow chart.

You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm?
An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgement. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence.

Welcome to the age of the algorithm.

"I, Robot" - the 3 laws considered harmful

by @edent | # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~1,996 times.
A metal face with glowing eyes stares at you.

What happens when a robot begins to question its creators? What would be the consequences of creating a robot with a sense of humour? Or the ability to lie? How do we truly tell the difference between man and machine?

Nudity detection in AI - why diverse data sets matter

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~501 times.
Three blonde women.

One of my first jobs was as a nudity moderator for Vodafone. People would send in photos and videos and I'd have to manually classify whether they featured nudity or were otherwise unacceptable. It was a bizarre job - one I've discussed before - but today, wouldn't we just throw an AI at it? I… Continue reading →

Knowledge Illusions

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~287 times.
Screenshot of the Alexa app. She thinks Tim Roth played Doctor Who.

Optical Illusions trick your brain into seeing something that isn't there. Whether it is spirals which don't exist, movements which don't occur, or faces in curved lines - our optic centres are trivially easy to fool. Humans are not alone in this cognitive deficiency. Other animals are also conned into believing something which isn't true.… Continue reading →

Reconstructing 3D Models from The Last Jedi

by @edent | # # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~2,843 times.
Different depth maps of various accuracy

A quick tutorial in how to recover 3D information from your favourite 3D movies. In this example, we'll be using Star Wars - The Last Jedi. tl;dr? Here's the end result (this video is silent): Grab the code on GitHub. Let's go! Take a screenshot of your favourite scene. Something with a clearly defined foreground… Continue reading →

Artificial Intelligence is a Horseless Carriage

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~245 times.

I've been thinking about words. The Chinese word for "train" - the mode of transport - is 火车. Which literally translates as "fire chariot". Long gone are the days when trains were pulled by a fire-breathing engine at the front, and yet this linguistic skeuomorph hangs around. English is not immune from this. The television… Continue reading →

A Turing Test For Self-Driving Cars

by @edent | # # # | Read ~332 times.

Imagine that you are sat, blindfolded, in the back of a taxi. How could you tell if you were being driven by a human or an autonomous vehicle? If you've not read Alan Turing's The Imitation Game, I can highly recommend it. The paper is short, well written, and contains a whole world of ideas.… Continue reading →

How to Hypnotise an Artificial Intelligence

by @edent | # # # | Read ~448 times.

Last week I attended a talk by Dr Irina Higgins from Artificial Intelligence company DeepMind. It was a fascinating look at how their AI works, and how it is trained. If you've ever played a video game online, it is likely you've been training an Artificial Intelligence agent without realising it.Ethical? — Terence Eden (@edent)… Continue reading →

The Robot Had A Nose

by @edent | # # # | Read ~814 times.

C-3P0 doesn't have a schnoz. The degloved terminator has a bleak hole where his snout should be. Both the Jetson's Rosie and Futurama's Bender are arhinotic. The robot sat in front of me was different. The RoboThespian is an imposing chunk of metal. LEDs blink as servomotors whine. The exposed wiring twists as the arms… Continue reading →