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Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 11:22:45 -0800 (PST)

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Subject: AAAI AI ALERT Full-Text 8 March 2007

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8 March 2007

Welcome to the </aitopics/articles&columns/aialerts.html>AI ALERT, a service from the </>Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, showcasing an eclectic subset from the </aitopics/html/current.html>AI in the news collection in </aitopics/html/welcome.html>AI TOPICS, the AAAI sponsored pathfinder web site. As explained in our </aitopics/html/notices.html>notices & disclaimers, the AI ALERT is intended to keep you informed of news articles published by third parties. The mere fact that a particular item is selected for inclusion does NOT imply that AAAI or AI TOPICS has verified the information (articles are offered "</aitopics/html/notices.html#alert>as is") or that there is endorsement of any kind. And because the excerpt may not reflect the overall tenor of the article, nor contain all of the relevant information, you are encouraged to access the entire article.

The Headlines:

<#feb25a>Author, author! Computer takes a bow - The Philadelphia Inquirer

<#feb25b>Case's Dexter (the robot car) steers toward fame, fortune - The Plain Dealer

<#feb25c>Millions of Videos, and Now a Way to Search Inside Them - The New York Times

<#feb26a>Surveillance cameras get smarter - The Associated Press (plus one related article)

<#feb28f>New Profiling Program Raises Privacy Concerns - The Washington Post (plus two related articles)

<#feb28h>Seller of Software Used in Bankruptcy Petitions Held ‘Preparer’ - Metropolitan News-Enterprise (plus one related item)

<#mar00d>A Digital Life - Scientific American

<#mar2d>Practice makes perfect - Baltimore Business Journal (plus one related article)

<#mar5bb>Protesters wage war on CMU military contracting - The Tartan Online

<#mar6c>Faster Hotter Sooner - Financial Post (plus related archived articles)

<#mar6d>Jeff Hawkins and the Brain - Business 2.0 Magazine (plus 2 related articles and one related item)

<#mar7a>Robotic age poses ethical dilemma - BBC News (plus four related articles and one podcast)

<#mar8a>Carnegie Mellon to celebrate accomplishments of robotics pioneer - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

<#slot>The Expansion Slot - just a few more articles: <#feb23b>A political agenda for multilingualism | <#feb23d>Lawrence Fogel, 78; artificial intelligence theorist (obit) | <#feb24c>The next generation of threats | <#feb26c>Face of the future | <#feb27y>Microsoft to Buy Health Information Search Engine | <#feb27c>European research goes for gold | <#feb27b>Courses - Artificial Intelligence | <#mar1c>It's 2001. Where Is HAL? | <#mar2c>Search and rescue robots team up for tricky tasks | <#mar5a>Microsoft Prize of $10,000 to Promote Xbox Games | <#mar5b>Carnegie Mellon hosts national linguistics olympiad | <#mar6a>Digital world isn't so infinite

The Articles:

February 25, 2007: </mld/philly/entertainment/performing_arts/16776314.htm>Author, author! Computer takes a bow. By Katie Haegele. The Philadelphia Inquirer ().

"[I]t could be that there are certain underpinnings to the act of story creation itself. Computer systems that generate stories might give us a better understanding of the nature of creativity. MEXICA, created by Rafael Pérez y Pérez at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City, is a new artificial- intelligence-based model that generates original stories about the ancient inhabitants of that city, known as the Mexicas. Given basic details, MEXICA produces very short stories about knights, kings, princesses, love and violence. Computerized storytellers similar to this one have been in existence since the 1970s. ... 'We human beings always have employed tools to help us to conceptualize new ideas,' said Pérez y Pérez, who has composed music and written his own short fiction. 'For example, think of how an architect employs blueprints and scale models to build a tower. Those are external tools that help the creative people to see and better understand their own ideas. Computers are the same: They are tools that help us visualize complex systems. ... [I]f we can build a system that generates adequate short stories, that means that we have understood better how the creative process works.'"

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February 25, 2007: </business/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/business/117240678148430.xml&coll=2>Case's Dexter (the robot car) steers toward fame, fortune. By John Mangels. The Plain Dealer ().

"Dexter (a nod to 'dexterous') is an autonomous vehicle. Bristling with sensors, crammed full of computers, it's designed to operate completely on its own, with the goal of driving at least as well as a person would. Dexter will make its public debut this weekend at the Cleveland Auto Show. Later this year, Dexter's creators -- a brash, overachieving young team of more than 50 engineering and computer-science students and professors from Case Western Reserve University -- aim to win an international contest. To do so, their car must navigate a 60-mile mock urban course filled with unfamiliar roads, oncoming traffic and unexpected obstacles. If they succeed, the members of Team Case will snare a $2 million prize and respect in the highly competitive world of automotive robotics. They also may have a hand in designing future military transports whose drivers would lose only circuit boards, not limbs or lives, if hit by a roadside bomb. Eventually, the technology sh ould make its way into commercial vehicles. ... Deciding how to program Dexter, the team confronted a fundamental schism in the artificial-intelligence community. It involves differing views of what intelligence is and how to try to re-create it in machines. The classic AI approach, with its roots in the earliest computer chess-playing programs written in the 1950s, attempts to assemble sets of logical rules that define any possible condition. ... New-wave AI accepts that rules can't cover everything. Its marching orders are more general: 'Do the right thing.'"

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February 25, 2007: </2007/02/25/business/yourmoney/25slip.html>Millions of Videos, and Now a Way to Search Inside Them. By Jason Pontin. The New York Times.

"[S]earch engines -- like Google -- that were developed during the first, text-based era of the Web do a poor job of searching through this rising sea of video. That’s because they don’t search the videos themselves, but rather things associated with them, including the text of a Web page, the 'metadata' that computers use to display or understand pages (like keywords or the semantic tags that describe different content), video-file suffixes (like .mpeg or .avi), or captions or subtitles. None of these methods are very satisfactory. Many Internet videos have little or obscure text, and clips often have no or misleading metadata. Modern video players do not reveal video-file suffixes, and captions and subtitles imperfectly capture the spoken words in a video. The difficulties of knowing which videos are where challenge the growth of Internet video. 'If there are going to be hundreds of millions of hours of video content online,' [Suranga Chandratillake , a co-founder of Blinkx] said, 'we need to have an efficient, scalable way to search through it.' ... Mr. Chandratillake’s solution does not reject any existing video search methods, but supplements them by transcribing the words uttered in a video, and searching them. This is an achievement: effective speech recognition is a 'nontrivial problem,' in the language of computer scientists. Blinkx’s speech-recognition technology employs neural networks and machine learning using 'hidden Markov models,' a method of statistical analysis in which the hidden characteristics of a thing are guessed from what is known. Mr. Chandratillake calls this method 'contextual search'...."

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February 26, 2007: </tech/news/techinnovations/2007-02-26-surveillance-smarter_x.htm>Surveillance cameras get smarter. By Stephen Manning. The Associated Press / available from .

"Look around -- You might not be the only one watching. The never-blinking surveillance cameras, rapidly becoming a part of daily life in public and even private places, may be sizing you up as well. And they may soon get a lot smarter. Researchers and security companies are developing cameras that not only watch the world but also interpret what they see. Soon, some cameras may be able to find unattended bags at airports, guess your height or analyze the way you walk to see if you are hiding something. ... For example, cameras in Chicago and Washington can detect gunshots and alert police. Baltimore installed cameras that can play a recorded message and snap pictures of graffiti sprayers or illegal dumpers. ... Intelligent surveillance uses computer algorithms to interpret what a camera records. The system can be programmed to look for particular things, like an unattended bag or people walking somewhere they don't belong. 'If you think of the camera as your eye, we are using computer programs as your brain,' said Patty Gillespie, branch chief for image processing at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. Today, the military funds much of the smart-surveillance research."

Also see: </2007/03/04/arts/design/04hart.html>Big Brother, Armed With a Spotlight. By Hugh Hart. The New York Times (February 4, 2007). "A robot named Mojo will beam a spotlight on strollers in San Pedro later this month, whether they like it or not. What originated as a drawing titled 'Curious Lightpost,' sketched by the artist Christian Moeller on a scrap of tracing paper in 2004, has evolved into an interactive sculpture that will soon go live in this harbor area 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. ... Mojo is the latest twist in Mr. Moeller’s nearly two-decade exploration of human-machine interactivity.... After Mr. Moeller heard about 'emotion recognition' software being developed at the Machine Perception Laboratories at the University of California, San Diego, he collaborated with Pietro Perona, director of Caltech’s Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering, to put his o wn sardonic twist on the research. ...The resulting video installation, shown in 2003 in Pasadena...."

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February 28, 2007: </wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/27/AR2007022701542.html>New Profiling Program Raises Privacy Concerns. By Ellen Nakashima and Alec Klein. The Washington Post (page D03).

"The Department of Homeland Security is testing a data-mining program that would attempt to spot terrorists by combing vast amounts of information about average Americans, such as flight and hotel reservations. ... Bearing the unwieldy name Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE), the program is on the cutting edge of analytical technology that applies mathematical algorithms to uncover hidden relationships in data. ... The issue lies at the heart of the debate over whether pattern-based data mining -- or searching for bad guys without a known suspect -- can succeed without invading people's privacy and violating their civil liberties."

Also see:

</NewsTrack/rights_concerns_over_us_data_scanning/Top_News/20070228-100854-1193r/>Rights concerns over U.S. data scanning. United Press International (February 28, 2007). "The $42.5 million data-mining program uses pattern analysis research to look for similarities from vast amounts of information on individuals including banking and travel records and associations with other people or institutions."

</news/washington/2007-03-07-datatools_N.htm>Feds test new data mining program. By John Yaukey. Gannett News Service & (March 7, 2007). "Lawmakers and privacy advocates are concerned that a powerful new data searching tool being tested by the Department of Homeland Security could pose a threat to Americans' privacy as it sifts through mountains of information for patterns that might reveal terrorists. Called ADVISE -- for Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement -- the program is capable of linking and cross-matching material from websites and blogs to government records and personal data. ... Data mining is a powerful technology used across the government and in business. Credit card companies routinely use it to look for suspicious patterns in customer spending. The GAO used data mining technology to uncover an estimated $1 billion in imprope r federal relief payments after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. At least 52 different federal agencies use data mining technology, and there are at least 199 different data mining programs in use, according to the GAO."

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February 28, 2007: </articles/2007/reyn022807.htm>Seller of Software Used in Bankruptcy Petitions Held ‘Preparer.’ By Tina Bay. Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

"The seller of web-based software used to prepare bankruptcy petitions qualifies as a 'bankruptcy petition preparer' subject to the requirements of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. The court unanimously agreed with a Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel that now-defunct owner and operator Henry Ihejirika violated 11 U.S.C. Sec. 110, which imposes certain obligations on bankruptcy petition preparers and penalizes negligent or fraudulent preparation. The court also affirmed the BAP’s conclusion that Ihejirika had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. ... One of the sites owned and operated by Ihejirika was the 'Ziinet Bankruptcy Engine,' which represented itself to prospective customers as being 'an expert system' and claimed to 'know [ ] bankruptcy laws right down to those applicable to the state' in which the particular user lived."

The <courts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/780E8DE27F08D8A98825728F000085F7/$file/0417190.pdf>Reynoso v. Frankfort Digital Services, Ltd. opinion is avaiable from the <courts.gov/>United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Be sure to see footnote 9: "... we express no view as to whether software alone, or other types of programs, would constitute the practice of law."

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March 2007: </article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=CC50D7BF-E7F2-99DF-34DA5FF0B0A22B50>A Digital Life - New systems may allow people to record everything they see and hear--and even things they cannot sense--and to store all these data in a personal digital archive. By Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell. Scientific American.

"[O]ur team at Microsoft Research has begun a quest to digitally chronicle every aspect of a person's life, starting with one of our own lives (Bell's). For the past six years, we have attempted to record all of Bell's communications with other people and machines, as well as the images he sees, the sounds he hears and the Web sites he visits--storing everything in a personal digital archive that is both searchable and secure. ... Our research project, called MyLifeBits, has provided some of the tools needed to compile a lifelong digital archive. ... Computers can analyze digital memories to help with time management, pointing out when you are not spending enough time on your highest priorities. ... The vision of machine-extended memory was first expounded at the end of World War II by Vannevar Bush, then director of the U.S. government office that controlled wartime research. Bush proposed a device called the Memex (short for 'memory extender').... Guarding the privacy of digital memories will be critical. ... An even bigger challenge will be devising software that can enable computers to perform useful tasks by tapping into this gigantic store of collected knowledge. The ultimate goal is a machine that can act like a personal assistant, anticipating its user's needs. ... Consequently, our research group is very interested in applying artificial intelligence (AI) to digital memories. Although many experts are skeptical about AI efforts, we believe that such software may yield practical results if it can draw on the tremendous stores of data in personal archives."

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March 2, 2007: </baltimore/stories/2007/03/05/focus1.html>Practice makes perfect - Simulation labs and robotics help surgeons hone their skills. By Elizabeth Heubeck. Baltimore Business Journal.

"SimMan is housed in the team training area of University of Maryland Medical Center's (UMMC's) newly launched, multimillion-dollar Surgical Simulation and Technology Center, one of the first of its kind in the nation. ... UMMC's simulation center ...includes an artificial intelligence program called the Maryland Virtual Patient (MVP), a work in progress that includes an exact replica, down to the molecular level, of the esophagus's anatomy and physiology. ... Anne Arundel Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to utilize the latest iteration of Intuitive Surgical's robotic system: the four-arm da Vinci S System. 'The fourth arm holds the lung up,' said Dr. Kenneth Lee, a thoracic surgeon at AAMC and a pioneer of laparoscopic robotic surgery."

Also see: </servlet/story/LAC.20070306.SRINNOFACES06/TPStory/Business>Look, ma, no scalpel - Software designed for plastic surgeons gives users a virtual nip-and-tuck while its creators learn about artificial intelligence. By Terrence Belford. The Globe and Mail (March 6, 2007). "Alireza Rabi decided to borrow some of the facial-recognition software created by his professor, Parham Aarabi, the renowned head of UofT's Artificial Perception Laboratory, write some new code of his own, and develop a program that might revolutionize plastic surgery. The goal was a software program that would use an actual photo to show a person, realistically and in advance, what he or she would look like after having cosmetic surgery. Such a system could put an end to disappointed patients and also help surgeons refine their craft, Mr. Rabi says. ... The current version of Modiface is actually the result of 10 years of research into facial-recognition software and about $1-million in research funding, explains Dr. Aarabi, the 30-year-old Canada Research Chair in Internet video, audio and image search. ... Both he and Mr. Rabi see spin-off benefits already from the current version of Modiface. For example, the program is helping to advance the understanding of artificial intelligence itself. Dr. Aarabi says the system actually learns from each attempt at reconstructing a face, slowly gaining the ability to correct its own errors (such as putting eyes in the wrong place) and refining its processes. Every three to four weeks the researchers fine tune the system to remove glitches caused by users who might, for example, submit a photo of a dog instead of a person. 'Essentially the software amends and updates its own algorithms automatically as it gains more experience,' Dr. Aarabi says. 'By seeing how it deals with learning, we, in turn, get insights into artificial intelligence.' ..! . To use the Modiface site (), users upload digital photos...."

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March 5, 2007: </2007/3/5/news/protest>Protesters wage war on CMU military contracting. By Annika Rosenvinge. The Tartan Online (Volume 101, Issue 19).

"Last Friday, approximately 50 anti-war protesters gathered in front of Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Lawrenceville at 5 a.m. to protest the development of federal goverment-commissioned military technology. ... Since opening in 1996, the NREC has undertaken projects in unmanned vehicle design, autonomous vehicle technologies, operator assist technologies, innovative mechanisms, sensing and image processing applications, and machine learning applications. Many of the center’s robotic systems are geared towards applications such as automated crop harvesting, industrial material transport, or semi-automated paint removal. The NREC is also working with the federal government to develop technologies geared toward offensive and defensive military actions, such as unmanned combat vehicles and mobile surveillance technologies named 'Crusher' or 'Gladiator.' Many of these projects are designed for use by the Marine Corps in rugged or dangerous areas."

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March 6, 2007: </nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=40f5c16e-09a6-4ca0-a347-c90b84dd83a0&k=0>Faster Hotter Sooner. By Joanna Pachner. Financial Post ().

"The importance of speed has risen in parallel with that of the drive-thru, which now accounts for two-thirds of fast-food sales. That means any improvement in this area will boost the bottom line faster than at the counter. The big players know that: In a QSR survey last year, 82% of industry respondents reported launching programs over the previous year to improve speed at the drive-thru. The initiatives range from the decidedly low-tech -- such as staffers walking up to drivers waiting their turn in lanes -- to The Jetsons-like HyperActive Bob, a system developed by a Pittsburgh company that uses artificial intelligence to predict the upcoming orders based on the number and kind of vehicles the rooftop cameras spy entering the lot."

Also see these </aitopics/html/archvG6.html#june16f>related archived articles.

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March 6, 2007: </magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/02/01/8398989/index.htm>Jeff Hawkins and the Brain - The creator of the PalmPilot and the Treo is at it again. But his latest startup, Numenta, isn't just making another gadget. It's attempting to fuse silicon and gray matter to produce the ultimate intelligent machine. By Erick Schonfeld. Business 2.0 Magazine (February 1, 2007 issue) / now available from .

"Hawkins believes that his latest startup, called Numenta, is on its way to creating the first truly intelligent computer - a thinking machine that, in essence, learns the same way the human brain does. ... Numenta, Hawkins stresses, has nothing to do with the field known as artificial intelligence. What he has in mind is far more supple and elegant. Rather than being inspired by biology, AI uses brute computing power and logic to make computers seem intelligent through their behavior. When IBM's (Charts) Deep Blue finally beat chess grand master Gary Kasparov a decade ago, it wasn't because it was smarter than he was. It was just faster. Even today, computers don't have intuition. ... Numenta's approach is radically different. Computers running Numenta software will not be programmed like regular computers. Rather, algorithms that Numenta has come up with allow machines to learn from observation, just as a child learns by observing the world around her. ... The ke y difference between an HTM and a regular computer is that you don't program an HTM ["hierarchical temporal memory" system]. It learns by itself through observation. This could fundamentally change the relationship between the programmer and the computer. 'The programmer's job is no longer to tell it what to do,' [Bill] Atkinson notes. 'An HTM can deliver more intelligence than the programmer has because it can learn things the programmer does not understand.' ... For Hawkins, the ultimate applications will be those that allow us to acquire new knowledge in areas of science such as quantum mechanics and biology. 'What is exciting to me,' he says, 'is the prospect of building intelligent machines that sit comfortably in the realms of science where we have difficulty thinking. It will be like having a dedicated Einstein working around the clock on these problems.' ... Moreover, there are deep moral dilemmas inherent in Hawkins's vision of intelligent machines, starting with th! e primal fears behind plots for everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Terminator:...."

Also see:

</wired/archive/15.03/hawkins.html>The Thinking Machine - Jeff Hawkins created the Palm Pilot and the Treo. Now he says he’s got the ultimate invention: software that mimics the human brain. By Evan Ratliff. Wired (March 2007; Issue 15.03).

</Article.aspx?a=21530&hed=Intelligently+Promoting+AI&sector=Industries&subsector=Computing>Intelligently Promoting AI - Numenta eyes computers that think just like humans -- if others don’t beat it to the punch. By Eydie Cubarrubia. Red Herring (March 5, 2007).

</Conferences/AAAI/2005/aaai05speakers.pdf>AAAI-05 Invited Speakers brochure: From AI Winter to AI Spring: Can a New Theory of Neocortex Lead to Truly Intelligent Machines? Jeff Hawkins, Founder, Numenta, Inc.

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March 7, 2007: <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6425927.stm>Robotic age poses ethical dilemma - An ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa, is being drawn up by South Korea. BBC News.

"The Robot Ethics Charter will cover standards for users and manufacturers and will be released later in 2007. It is being put together by a five member team of experts that includes futurists and a science fiction writer. The South Korean government has identified robotics as a key economic driver and is pumping millions of dollars into research. ... The new guidelines could reflect the three laws of robotics put forward by author Isaac Asimov in his short story Runaround in 1942, [Park Hye-Young] said. Key considerations would include ensuring human control over robots, protecting data acquired by robots and preventing illegal use. Other bodies are also thinking about the robotic future. ..."

Also see:

</article/dn11334-south-korea-creates-ethical-code-for-righteous-robots.html>South Korea creates ethical code for righteous robots. By New Scientist Tech and AFP. news (March 8, 2007).

<.au/pm/content/2007/s1867107.htm>Experts develop robot ethics charter. Mark Colvin presents PM (March 8, 2007). ABC Radio [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]. "Mark Colvin: A team of experts in South Korea is putting together a code of ethics to stop humans abusing robots, and to prevent robots from taking control of humans. The Robot Ethics Charter will apply to manufacturers and users of increasingly sophisticated robots. Robot experts and futurists in Australia say it's a good time to start a debate over how we treat and protect robots, as Emily Bourke reports. ..." Listen to the podcast via sidebar links.

</mar07/4948>A Robotic Sentry For Korea's Demilitarized Zone. By Jean Kumagai. IEEE Spectrum Online (March 2007). "Go ahead, make its day. A new gun-toting sentry robot, developed by Samsung Techwin Co. for the South Korean government, may soon be coming to a disputed border near you. The SGR-A1 robot uses a low-light camera and pattern recognition software to distinguish humans from animals or other objects and, if necessary, can fire its built-in machine gun -- a Daewoo K3. ... Should it detect an intruder, 'the ultimate decision about shooting should be made by a human, not the robot,' says [Myung Ho] Yoo, who led the team that designed the robot. But the robot does have an automatic mode, in which it can make the decision. ... By deploying the robots, Yoo thinks his government may be able to significantly reduce the mandatory two years of military service that all young Korean men no w serve."

</Israel+unveils+portable+killer+robot/2100-11394_3-6165443.html>Israel unveils portable killer robot. Reuters / available from CNET (March 8, 2007). "An Israeli defense firm on Thursday unveiled a portable robot [named Viper] billed as being capable of entering most combat zones alone and engaging enemies with an onboard armory that includes a machine-pistol and grenades."

</aitopics/assets/AIalerts/alert.1.25.07.html#jan16b>Ethics dilemma in killer bots: reported in the 25 January 2007 AI ALERT.

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March 8, 2007: </pg/07067/767758-298.stm>Carnegie Mellon to celebrate accomplishments of robotics pioneer. By David Templeton. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Humans don't see well. Just ask any ophthalmologist. But add in the fact that people embrace illusions, harbor delusions and foster confusion. That's why Takeo Kanade, when he began programming robots to see, decided against using the human model. He developed his own theory of robotic vision that included origami, math and geometry. ... Decades ago, Dr. Kanade created the first complete face-recognition system and first direct-drive robotic arm. Both are still in use. Another famous creation was EyeVision, a system used during broadcast of the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa that used 51 cameras plus computer software to provide viewers with 'virtualized reality' of action from any angle. Not one to relax, he's now working on an autonomous helicopter. ... Although robots are absent from everyday life, he said, specialized robotic systems have reached the market faster than he anticipated. Future houses might not have humanoid robots but, rather, embedded sensors that can help people complete daily activities. In time, a house will know where its occupants are, what they're doing and how to help them, he said."

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The Expansion Slot

February 23, 2007: <http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/07/80&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en>A political agenda for multilingualism. Press Release from EUROPA [the portal site of the European Union]. "Linguistic diversity is a daily reality of the European Union. The European Commission is committed to preserving and promoting this key feature. The Commissioner's mandate will have as main objectives defining the contribution of multilingualism.... 1. Contribution to competitiveness, growth and better jobs ... A better understanding of the potential of new technologies to attract and train language learners is needed; hence, a study on new technologies and linguistic diversity will be launched in 2007. Moreover, research in new technologies for language learning and the use of artificial intelligence as a tool for translation and interpretation should be en couraged."

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February 23, 2007: </uniontrib/20070223/news_1m23fogel.html>Lawrence Fogel, 78; artificial intelligence theorist. By Michael Kinsman. The San Diego Union-Tribune []. "Mr. Fogel, who had a background in electrical engineering, challenged conventional thinking about artificial intelligence in 1960s. At that time, the standard way to generate artificial intelligence was to program a computer to mimic what the brain was doing. Mr. Fogel theorized that you could replicate human evolution in the computer and allow it to develop artificial intelligence. ... Mr. Fogel's 1964 doctoral dissertation became the basis for the first book in the field of evolutionary computing, 'Artificial Intelligence Through Simulated Evolution,' which was co-authored with Alvin Owens and Michael Walsh."

Also see: </cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/02-26-2007/0004534744&EDATE=>Dr. Lawrence J. Fogel, Inventor of Evolutionary Programming, Dies at 78. PRNewswire (February 26, 2007). "Dr. Fogel has been described as 'a father of computational intelligence.' Beginning in 1960, he devised evolutionary programming, a radical approach in artificial intelligence that simulated evolution on computers to literally evolve solutions to problems. While a senior staff scientist at General Dynamics/Astronautics in San Diego, he conducted a research study in evolutionary programming to advise management on the technical aspects of man-machine relations within aerospace systems. ... In 1993, Dr. Fogel founded Natural Selection, Inc. in La Jolla, California, which combines evolutionary computation with neural networks, fuzzy systems and other computational intelligence technologies."

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February 24, 2007: </news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/02/24/the_next_generation_of_threats/>The next generation of threats. Op-ed column by Ralph Kaplan and Harvey Silverglate. The Boston Globe []. "Besides chemical and biological weapons, we are now seeing advances in the fields of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (so-called GNR technologies ) that threaten destruction even more horrific than that of atomic devices or climate change. These technologies, often self-replicating, don't need the massive industrial infrastructure required to manufacture nuclear devices, and have the potential to kill tens or hundreds of millions of people in relatively short order. Ray Kurzweil -- a scientist, futurist, and Old Testament prophet of sorts -- has warned of the dangers. An inductee into the Invention Hall of Fame, Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, and the first text-to-speech synthesizer. His warnings have been echoed by Bill Joy, co founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems. ... Why has so little attention been paid?"

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February 26, 2007: <http://www.theengineer.co.uk/Articles/298392/EU+funds+robot+rovers.htm>Face of the future. The Engineer Online. "The congestion charge zone might irk many London drivers but the move towards traffic-free streets in Europe's cities has prompted the EU to fund a project that aims to use robots within urban settings. The programme envisions robots roaming city streets transporting goods to stores or acting as robo-cops, surveying areas for suspicious activity. The three-year project, called Ubiquitous Robots in Urban Settings (Urus), will design and develop a robotic cityscape that accommodates wirelessly networked robots that autonomously perform tasks, which might be too complex, time -consuming or costly for humans to do. The programme's lead researchers from the Technical University of Catalonia will demonstrate this networked robot system in a pedestrian area of a Bar celona city quarter when the project is near completion."

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February 27, 2007: </2007/02/27/technology/27soft.html>Microsoft to Buy Health Information Search Engine. By Steve Lohr. The New York Times. "Microsoft is buying Medstory Inc., a small start-up in Foster City, Calif. Its search software applies artificial intelligence techniques to medical and health information in medical journals, government documents and on the Internet. ... These companies and others are seeking ways to build businesses on the Internet that profit from what is called consumer-driven health care. The notion is that shifts in demographics, economics, technology and policy will inevitably mean that individuals will want to, and be forced to, make more health care decisions themselves. ... In Medstory, Microsoft is acquiring 'some of the best deep technology' in the emerging field of medical search, said Esther Dyson, an industry analyst who is also an investor i n Medstory. That technology, Ms. Dyson said, is 'not so much a search engine, but an ontology engine,' with a capability to find and identify concepts in health and not just sort through words and Web links."

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February 27, 2007: <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6399157.stm>European research goes for gold. By Jonathan Amos. BBC News. "The European Research Council (ERC) has been given a budget of 7.5bn euros (£5bn) to 2013, and will focus solely on fundamental, or 'blue skies', study. ... [German Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel] said the Council would become 'a champion's league for research', giving scientists the freedom to be creative and innovative. ... [UK's Sheffield University] has put in place an administrative structure it believes can support young researchers who want to set up their own investigation teams - people like Dr Kalina Bontcheva, who works in the university's computer science department. Dr Bontcheva's expertise is in natural language processing: she develops advanced search tools that enable documents and databases to be sifted for the most relevant information. She is pu tting together an ERC application that would allow her to investigate more user-friendly ways of interfacing a computer. This would involve talking to 'virtual characters'."

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February 27, 2007: <dependent.co.uk/magazines/article2309131.ece>Courses - Artificial Intelligence. Independent Online Edition of its Which Course Magazine. "*Who applies? Anyone with an interest (as well as A-levels) in computing, IT and business studies could look to a career in artificial intelligence (AI). Those who are fascinated by complex systems and the technologies evolving to help us create and manage such systems should, perhaps, look to the rising number of courses offered by UK universities in AI-related fields. *What does the course involve? ... *What career options are there when the course is completed? ... *Current student ... I wanted to study AI because the prospect of getting a computer to learn something on its own is really exciting. ... *Recent graduate ... I wanted to study technology because it is a large part of the world that we live in, and helps to make it more fun. ..."

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March 1, 2007: </dept/ai/197700454>It's 2001. Where Is HAL? A Dr. Dobbs podcast (in 3 parts) featuring a talk given by Marvin Minsky in 2001. "To Marvin Minsky, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, it is clear that AI hasn't delivered on the promises made over 30 years ago. What happened? Minsky examines the failures of AI research and lays out directions for future development in the field." When you're finished with Part 1, go to Parts </dept/ai/197700449>2 & </dept/ai/197700447>3. [Also available from InformationWeek: Part </news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700609>1 / </news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700610>2 / <rmat

/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700612>3 ]</dept/ai/197700447>

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March 2, 2007: </article/dn11301-search-and-rescue-robots-team-up-for-tricky-tasks.html>Search and rescue robots team up for tricky tasks. By Duncan Graham-Rowe. news. "A team of search-and-rescue robots capable of collaborating to form a single larger robot when faced with certain challenges have been developed in Germany. ... The challenge is to increase the number of units that can work autonomously, [Henrik] Lund notes. 'We know that there are serious challenges in terms of connectivity, control, coordination and communication when scaling up to many modules.' At the moment, the behaviour of each robot module is entirely pre-programmed, although the team plans to make them autonomous and therefore more flexible."

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March 5, 2007: </2007/03/05/technology/05microsoft.html>Microsoft Prize of $10,000 to Promote Xbox Games. By Seth Schiesel. The New York Times. "Reaching out to millions of aspiring game developers around the world, Microsoft plans today to announce a contest that will award $10,000 and the opportunity to entice millions of eyeballs to the next great digital diversion for the company’s Xbox 360. ... With the new unit, Microsoft will also raise the official size limit on Xbox Live Arcade games to 150 megabytes, allowing enhanced graphics, sound and artificial intelligence.

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March 5, 2007: </2007/3/5/scitech/olympiad>Carnegie Mellon hosts national linguistics olympiad - High school students in four cities will take on linguistics problems for a spot in the international competition. By Jun Xian Leong. The Tartan Online (Volume 101, Issue 19). "The first-ever North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NAMCLO) will be held in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Ithaca, as well as online for students who are unable to attend these venues, on March 29. ... Computational linguistics is the study of natural language from a computational perspective. The field involves studying applications of computers in language interpretation, as well as analysis of languages in a logical and systematic form. ... [Thomas] Payne said that the goals of computational linguistics include machine translation between natural languages, artificial intelligence, handwrit ing and voice recognition, and text analysis and processing. The problems presented during NAMCLO will be representative of the challenges computational linguists face. ... The competition’s goal is to unearth new talents in linguistics among high school students, as well as to heighten student awareness of linguistics. ... The four best students nationwide will represent the United States at the International Linguistics Olympiad, which will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in early August."

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March 6, 2007: </apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070306/BUSINESS/703060338/1003/BUSINESS>Digital world isn't so infinite - About 161 exabytes of data was created in 2006 and storage space is running low. By Brian Bergstein. The Associated Press / available from . "A new study that estimates how much digital information the world is generating (hint: a lot) finds that for the first time, there's not enough storage space to hold it all. ... Add it all up and the world generated 161 billion gigabytes -- 161 exabytes -- of digital information last year, IDC [a technology research firm] estimates. That's like 12 stacks of books that each reach from the Earth to the sun. Or you might think of it as 3 million times the information in all the books ever written, according to IDC. .... [T]he amount of stuff generated is expected to jump from 161 exabytes last year to 988 exabytes (closing in on 1 zettabyte) in 2010."

Also see: </tech/news/2007-03-05-data_N.htm>Days of officially drowning in data almost upon us. By Michelle Kessler, USA TODAY (March 6, 2007)."Finding the right document in a huge stash of digital data is like "finding a needle in a haystack," says HP Vice President Mark Hudson. And the problem is only going to get worse as the amount of data increases, he says. HP and others are working on solutions."

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links to </aitopics/articles&columns/aialerts.html#archive>back issues, </aitopics/articles&columns/aialerts.html#faq>

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PLEASE NOTE: Though we have tried to provide you with links that will be active when you receive this ALERT, be advised that news articles have a tendency to quickly relocate or disappear. The good news, however, is that most articles have several incarnations such that an online search will usually lead to another source. For more information, please see our </aitopics/html/springbd.html#newsfaq>News FAQ.

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This issue of the AI ALERT has been archived at -> </aitopics/assets/AIalerts/alert.3.8.07.html>/aitopics/assets/AIalerts/alert.3.8.07.html

3) 2007 AAAI Man vs. Machine Poker Challenge

The program for AAAI-07, to be held July 22-26, is expanding every day, and we have just added a new challenge to the already extensive list of competitions, which include:

Computer Poker Competition


General Game Playing Competition


Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition


Trading Agents Competition


(Workshop: http://tac.cs.umn.edu/tada07/)

Video Competition


Deadline: June 16, 2007

The latest addition is the

2007 AAAI Man vs. Machine Poker Challenge

July 23-24, 2007


Chair: Jonathan Schaeffer (University of Alberta)

AAAI will play host to the first scientific man versus machine challenge in poker. Poker is a game of skill and luck. A "short" match, even one of 10,000 hands, may not be enough to identify the better player. At AAAI, two professional poker players (Phil Laak and Ali Esmali) will play a duplicate match against two copies of the University of Alberta Polaris poker program. There will be four sessions played, each with $5,000 at stake. In a session, each human plays 500 hands against a copy of Polaris. However, the cards dealt in the first match to the human will be dealt to the computer in the second match, and vice versa. The result of session is the sum of the two humans' scores versus the sum of the two programs' scores. This format, inspired by the rules of duplicate bridge, significantly reduces the luck element, increasing the chances that the best team will win based on skill.

The matches will be played in front of an audience, and the human competitors will be encouraged to think out loud. The result will be entertaining, and give insights as to the state of the art in AI technology for a challenging imperfect information domain.

To register for AAAI, please visit our website at /Conferences/AAAI/aaai07.php. We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!


Carol Hamilton

Executive Director, AAAI

4) ACAI-2007

Dear Representatives of ECCAI member societies,

as you know, ECCAI yearly offers travel grants for the ECAI and ACAI

events. Each grant is worth 400 euro.

With the deadline for applications for ACAI-2007 travel grants now past,

ECCAI has received relatively few applications. As a result, we are

extending the application deadline to May 31, and making some extra

efforts to increase the visibility of the ECCAI travel grant program as

well as the ACAI school itself.

As we don't have member lists of the national societies, may we ask you

to forward (or have forwarded) the ACAI announcement included below to

your student members, and stress the fact that travel grants are still

available (and they can still apply for them until May 31)?

Thanking you in advance,

Best regards,

Hendrik Blockeel

for ECCAI and the ACAI-2007 organisation


ACAI-2007: Logic for Artificial Intelligence

August 20-28th 2007, Leuven, Belgium


In collaboration with ECCAI, the European Coordinating Committee for

Artificial Intelligence, BNVKI-AIABN, the Belgian-Dutch Society for

Artificial Intelligence, and SIKS, the Dutch research school for

Information and Knowledge Systems, the University of Leuven is proud to

organize the ACAI-2007 Summer School on Artificial Intelligence.

ACAI, the Advanced Course on Artificial Intelligence, is ECCAI's

two-yearly summer school on artificial intelligence. The 2007 edition

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