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Archive for the ‘Portfolio’ Category

Conversational AI and the rise of the chatbots

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 8:29 pm


You can hardly turn on the television news, pull a magazine off a rack in a doctor’s office, or check out your social media without being confronted by a discussion about artificial intelligence. Whether the writer or talking head is decrying the imminent robot apocalypse or celebrating our deep-learning-based salvation, most of the coverage has one thing in common: an imprecise definition of AI. AI is, at its base, nothing more than software that simulates intelligence.

One specific type of AI is cropping up all around the Internet: conversational AI, mostly in the form of chatbots. The most recent and high-profile news about AI was Google’s announcement that its AI, called Google Assistant, beat the Turing test—150 times. The Turing test evaluates a machine’s ability to successfully mimic human intelligence by presenting as indistinguishable from human communication.

Given the fact that we are already interacting with this sort of AI daily—in the form of our phone’s digital assistant or mapping software or a help bot on a website we use, for instance—it’s important to understand what conversational AI is, why it’s become so popular, the obstacles to its adoption, and its likely future.

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How to make the business case for blockchain

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 8:24 pm


You would be forgiven if you thought the first blockchain to ever be developed was the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. While Bitcoin is the highest profile use case of blockchain—a transparent, immutable ledger platform—it is far from the first.

“Blockchain is just a shared database with time stamping,” says Stuart Haber, the man behind Surety, the first blockchain, which was first published in 1995. “It is a data structure and doesn’t have to be linked to a volatile currency.”

While confusion between the two technologies may still exist, some experts believe it’s only a matter of time before the blockchain ecosystem develops beyond Bitcoin.

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An oral history of The Machine

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm


The Machine is a computing architecture so radically different than any which has come before that it will affect everything we do in the future. Hewlett Packard Labs has spent the last five years developing the memory-driven computing, photonics, and fabric that has gone into The Machine and which have made the impossible inevitable.

We spoke to several dozen researchers – programmers, architects, open source advocates, optical scientists, and others – to construct a ten-part oral history of the years-long process of innovating the most fundamental change in computing in 70 years.

These men and women are not only scientists, they are also compelling story tellers with an exciting history to relate. If you’re interested in how differently we will be gathering, storing, processing, retrieving, and applying information in the near future, or you just enjoy good stories about science and discovery, read on.

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Systems medicine: The cure for Alzheimer’s may come from a leap forward in high-performance computing

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm


It would be an overstatement to say the days of bubbling beakers and test tubes in medical research labs are gone. But today, you’re as likely to see a supercomputer in the laboratory as you are racks of tissue samples.

Advanced modern medical research has become computational. Nowhere can you see this better than in the work the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is doing on Alzheimer’s research.

According to Prof. Joachim Schultze, funding director of DZNE’s Platform for Single Cell Genomics and Epigenomics (PRECISE), the computing demands of just one aspect of Alzheimer’s research—genomics—are enormous.

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Moore’s Law is ending. Now what?

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm


In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every other year for the foreseeable future. His prediction, now known as Moore’s Law, has proved remarkably durable but is nearing the end of its useful life.

As a result, the world will need new technologies to keep pace with exploding data volumes and insatiable demand for the insights that data contains. “Can we continue to kick the can down the road?” asked Kirk Bresniker, chief architect for Hewlett Packard Labs, at the company’s recent Discover conference in Las Vegas. “No, we really need to have this conversation now.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has invested significant resources in developing three primary alternatives to traditional computing architecture: neuromorphic computing, photonic computing, and its keystone technology, Memory-Driven Computing (MDC). All three technologies have been successfully tested in prototype devices, but MDC is at center stage.

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The Ethics of AI

In Portfolio on May 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm


The development and adoption of the technology has been so rapid that what we can expect from AI—or how soon we’ll get there—no longer seem clear. And it’s forcing us to confront a question that hasn’t dogged previous computer-research efforts, namely: Is it ethical to develop AI past the point of consciousness?

The proponents of AI call out the ability of self-regulating, intelligent machines to preserve human life by going where we cannot safely go, from inside nuclear reactors to mines to deep space. The detractors, however, who include a number of high-profile and influential figures, assert that improperly managed, AI could have serious unintended consequence, including, possibly, the end of the human race.

To begin untangling this moral skein, and possibly sketch a path toward policies that could help guide our path, we talked to five experts—a scientist, a philosopher, an ethicist, an engineer, and a humanist—about the implications of AI research and our obligations as human developers.

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