Computer generates all possible ideas to beat patent trolls (News Scientist)
“Alex Reben came up with 2.5 million ideas in just three days. Nearly all of them are terrible – but he doesn’t mind. He thinks he has found a way to thwart patent trolls by putting their speculative ideas in the public domain before they can make a claim.”
“Bots, which promise to make us more godlike, are instead revealing our all-too-human shortcomings and pettiness. This was on full display when Microsoft tried to show off the prowess of its A.I. in March with a chatbot named Tay, a virtual buddy you could talk to on messaging services like GroupMe and Twitter. Almost immediately, the demonstration turned into a public-relations nightmare as online pranksters taught Tay to mimic hate speech.”
“In fact, over the years, Mr. Gross has consistently asked one question of prospective employees: What drives you?
The twist is that they must pick one of three answers: money, power or fame.
Strangely to him, no one has ever picked fame.
“It is the one thing I have always wanted,” he said. “When I was starting out at Pimco in 1972, I told my mother and father that I was going to become the most famous bond manager in the world.”
We may all happily follow our robot overlords to disaster (Ars Technica)
No Great Technological Stagnation (Nintil) Interesting look at the progress of technology from a long term engineering perspective.
We are going to have lots of autonomous systems, but they are often going to be just “mostly autonomous”. And “mostly autonomous” is “slightly human-operated”.
The main reason for them being only mostly autonomous is that it is much, much, much easier to automate (and verify) 97% of the required behavior than it is to automate 100%.
Take, for instance, future assistive robots (which assist the disabled / elderly, as I described here). They will be able to take the customer downstairs, take her to the movies, help her with some medical procedures and so on. This covers the vast majority of the time.
However, in some cases (e.g. the customer faints, or some policeman across the street hollers incomprehensible stuff at the robot, etc.) this mostly-autonomous robot should alert an operator.
[Image credit: Chicago Tribune]
Three-quarters of employees say their companies should change their performance management practices, according to a report this month from Accenture.
At Accenture, where 72 percent of employees are millennials, the move to the new system began 18 months ago with a crowdsourcing exercise in which feedback was solicited from thousands of current and potential employees, said Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer.
A message that rang loud and clear was that people didn’t like the infrequent, backward-looking reviews that didn’t feel personalized around their individual development, Shook said.
The new system includes a strengths-based assessment, coaching and an app for giving and getting real-time feedback that users can make public if they wish, Shook said.
“It is transparent and social,” she said.
10 IT giants who recently changed their appraisal system (Times of India)
Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy (The Atlantic)
On the one hand, we are hard-wired to focus more on negative things. But at the same time, we are also all hard-wired to be seeking a sense of happiness and the desire to flourish, and to be the best we can be. Ultimately, what we need in order to be happy is at some level pretty simple. It requires doing something that you find meaningful, that you can kind of get lost in on a daily basis.
When you observe children, they are very good at this. They don’t get distracted by all those extrinsic yardsticks. They go for things that really bring them a lot of enjoyment. In my book I talk when we got my son a little mechanical car when he was about 3 years old, because he saw a neighbor get that car. He was into the car for about three days. After that he wanted to play with the box in which the car came. It was just a box. He didn’t have any idea that the car cost more, or was more valuable, or more technologically advanced. He was into the box because he saw a character on a TV show called Hamilton the pig, who lives inside a box. He wanted to replicate that life for himself.
The Case Against Reality (The Atlantic) A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
And for something a bit different; see humanity’s monuments to work, life, and death through a drone’s eyes: