Archive for the 'AI' Category

20
Feb
08

Predicting the future

Predicting the Future

Xiong Deng set up a presentation on the floor today showing how to use data mining to make predications about the future . It’s a classic human habit, by observing the past we make predictions about the future. In AI we build systems that consider a whole range of factors before making decisions. Using a technique called ‘data mining’ the influential factors of a situation are isolated and measured leading to predictions about everything from the stock market to sporting events – frequently outperforming human experts!

Although keeping up a constant flow of information proved challenging, Xiong seemed to be really enjoying himself and the challenge of presenting his work to an entirely different audience. 

   

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20
Feb
08

Art, AI and creativity

Detective Spooner: Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a… canvas into a beautiful masterpiece? 

Sonny: Can *you*?  

Could AI create an artistic masterpiece? Gareth Hallberg, from Sussex university is already planning a public engagement activity to investigate this very question. The plan is to set up an exhibition in Brighton sometime around August/September. Bringing together a collaboration of artists and AI researchers they will be questioning the creative process. Focusing on the difference between “p-creatives”, those that can be creative within an existing field of study, and “h-creatives”, those that can define entirely new conceptual spaces, it promises to be a fascinating exhibition.

19
Feb
08

Combine Science and Arts to unravel evolution

The 60-year old Dutch artist Theo Jansen builds gigantic structures that can walk over the beach of The Netherlands. The way he does this is very unique, in that he uses a genetic algorithm to design the best set-up. What this means is that he does not type any code himself, but let the robots walk over the beach and let them combine the best options to find one that is even better, similar as in evolution.

Let’s see how this looks:

All of these creations are made of 375 plastic tubes, costing only 10cents per meter, making it very light and inexpensive. It is held together by cables, nylon strings and adhesive tape. By trial and error the ideal settings are found to walk as stable as possible over the windy beach. All of the creations are driven by energy from the wind.

The first creations were simulated in a computer program, before building the first real one. These required a lot of tuning (through genetic learning) before they were able to stand. Next versions had to learn how to deal with the strong wind.

This way he has designed a new nature, that is able to evolve using survival of the fittest. Eventually he wants a large number of these creatures walking around on the beach, interacting with eachother, without his interference.

More information about Jansen see his website

19
Feb
08

Restricted robots

robothand

The subtle manipulation of objects is a pressing challenge in robotics. To convey the problems researchers face Martin Postler is using this workshop to create a glove to restrict movement. This forces people to think about the complexities present in apparently simple tasks (pictured below) and highlights the importance of good design within robotics.

chart

It also raises the interesting question: To what extent is intelligence embodied? If we could build a robot with the physical senses and capabilities of a human being (artificial muscles, an incredibly sensitive sense of touch etc…), how much intelligence would we need? Personally, I feel that quite a lot or AI within robotics is developed to overcome the robots own physical limitations. As increasingly sophisticated engineering solutions become available we may discover that intelligence is simpler than we realised.