SpeechKITT — open source flexible GUI for interacting with Speech Recognition in your web app.
The Humanities Majors Designing AI Interactions — who else are you going to get to do it? As in fiction, the AI writers for virtual assistants dream up a life story for their bots. Writers for medical and productivity apps make character decisions such as whether bots should be workaholics, eager beavers or self-effacing. “You have to develop an entire backstory — even if you never use it,” Ewing said.
SCHAFT’s Bipedal Robot — not an Austin Powers reference, but a clever working proof-of-concept. In theory, bipedalism allows robots to go wherever we can (versus, say, a Dalek).
Curriculum For the Future (iTunes) — in game form, you get to figure out how to sell your preferred curriculum (“maker!”) to the parents and politicians who care about different things. Similar game mechanic to Win the White House from Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics.
The 2016 Car Hacker’s Handbook (Amazon) — will give you a deeper understanding of the computer systems and embedded software in modern vehicles. It begins by examining vulnerabilities and providing detailed explanations of communications over the CAN bus and between devices and systems. (via BoingBoing)
More Exoskeletons Seeking FDA Approval — The international group of exoskeleton providers with various FDA or CE certifications is growing and currently includes: Ekso in the US; Cyberdyne in the EU and Japan; ExoAtlet from Russia; and Israel’s ReWalk. Other providers are in the process of getting approvals or developing commercial versions of their products. My eye was caught by how global the list of exoskeleton companies is.
Everything You Know About AI Is Wrong (Gizmodo) — an interesting run-through of myths and claims about AI. I’m not ready to consider all of these “busted,” but they are some nice starters-for-ten in your next pub argument about whether the Matrix is coming.
The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism — The assault on behavioral data is so sweeping that it can no longer be circumscribed by the concept of privacy and its contests. […] First, the push for more users and more channels, services, devices, places, and spaces is imperative for access to an ever-expanding range of behavioral surplus. Users are the human nature-al resource that provides this free raw material. Second, the application of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science for continuous algorithmic improvement constitutes an immensely expensive, sophisticated, and exclusive 21st century “means of production.” Third, the new manufacturing process converts behavioral surplus into prediction products designed to predict behavior now and soon. Fourth, these prediction products are sold into a new kind of meta-market that trades exclusively in future behavior. The better (more predictive) the product, the lower the risks for buyers, and the greater the volume of sales. Surveillance capitalism’s profits derive primarily, if not entirely, from such markets for future behavior. (via Simon St Laurent)
Thunder — Spark-driven analysis from Jupyter notebooks (open source).
Trajectory Data Mining: An Overview (Paper a Day) — This is the data created by a moving object, as a sequence of locations, often with uncertainty around the exact location at each point. This could be GPS trajectories created by people or vehicles, spatial trajectories obtained via cell phone tower IDs and corresponding transmission times, the moving trajectories of animals (e.g. birds) fitted with trackers, or even data concerning natural phenomena such as hurricanes and ocean currents. It turns out, there’s a lot to learn about working with such data!
Search Engine Manipulation Effect (PNAS) — Internet search rankings have a significant impact on consumer choices, mainly because users trust and choose higher-ranked results more than lower-ranked results. Given the apparent power of search rankings, we asked whether they could be manipulated to alter the preferences of undecided voters in democratic elections. They could. Read the article for their methodology. (via Aeon)
An Adaptive Learning Interface that Adjusts Task Difficulty based on Brain State (PDF) — using blood flow to measure cognitive load, this tool releases new lessons to you when you’re ready for them. The system measures blood flow using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Increased activation in an area of the brain results in increased levels of oxyhemoglobin. These changes can be measured by emitting frequencies of near-infrared light around 3 cm deep into the brain tissue and measuring the light attenuation caused by levels of oxyhemoglobin. I think we all want a widget on our computer that says “your brain is full, go offline to recover,” if only to validate naptime.
Deploying Software — Your deploys should be as boring, straightforward, and stress-free as possible. cf Maciej Ceglowski’s “if you find it interesting, it doesn’t belong in production.”
Replicating SQLite Using Raft — rqlite is written in Go and uses Raft to achieve consensus across all the instances of the SQLite databases. rqlite ensures that every change made to the database is made to a quorum of SQLite files, or none at all.
Free Security Advice (grugq) — chap wearies of handing out security advice, so gathers it and shares for all.
TensorFuse — Common interface for Theano, CGT, and TensorFlow.
Draft.js — a framework for building rich text editors in React, powered by an immutable model and abstracting over cross-browser differences.
Dexy — a free-form literate documentation tool for writing any kind of technical document incorporating code. Dexy helps you write correct documents, and to easily maintain them over time as your code changes.
Exoskeletons Must be Covered by Health Insurance (VICE) — A medical review board ruled that a health insurance provider in the United States is obligated to provide coverage and reimbursement for a $69,500 ReWalk robotic exoskeleton, in what could be a major turning point for people with spinal cord injuries. (via Robohub)
New Models for the Company of the 21st Century (Simone Brunozzi) — large companies often get displaced by new entrants, failing to innovate and/or adapt to new technologies. Y-Combinator can be seen as a new type of company, where innovation is brought in as an entrepreneurial experiment, largely for seed-stage ideas; Google’s Alphabet, on the other hand, tries to stimulate innovation and risk by dividing a large company into smaller pieces and reassigning ownership and responsibilities to different CEOs.
Zephyr — Linux Foundation’s IoT open source OS project. tbh, I don’t see people complaining about operating systems. Integrating all these devices (and having the sensors actually usefully capturing what you want) seems the bigger problem. We already have fragmentation (is it a Samsung home or a Nest home?), and as more Big Swinging Click companies enter the world of smarter things, this will only get worse before it gets better.