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Last May, when Gizmag first featured the "truly, horrifyingly fast" Lightning LS-218, I ended by saying: "If I could take any bike in the world out for a test today, this would be the top of the list." Well, after a 17-hour flight halfway around the globe, I have now ridden the Lightning. I have also nearly fallen off it, twice, like a complete idiot. With three times the horsepower and some 70 percent more torque than the Zero SR, which is in itself an extraordinary motorcycle, the LS-218 is the king of a new breed of electric motorcycles – one designed to take on the world's best petrol bikes and beat them on performance, not just emissions figures. Riding it was one of the most extreme experiences of my young life. Read More
We've covered a lot of ground in this series. We went from algorithmic music to procedurally-generated games (and an AI game developer), then onto computers writing stories and robots painting portraits and abstract art or constructing buildings like the craftsmen of old. Now, in this final part of our deep dive into the world of computational creativity, we turn to the underlying ideas and the future challenges that face the field as a whole. Read More
Over time we have gotten used to machines assuming certain roles in society, but even at the dawn of the the age of robotics, some types of skilled labor still seem beyond their reach. After all, how does a machine wield a hammer and overcome the perpetual problem-solving involved in putting together a house or a high-rise? While we might be some ways off from watching buildings sprout out of the ground at the push of a button, flying robots are already carrying out surveying and mapping tasks on construction sites from the US to Japan. But leading researchers are adamant that when it comes to automating the building industry, these machines have more to offer. Read More
Computers have transformed architecture in remarkable ways. They've made it possible to visualize designs in fully-rendered 3D graphics and to automatically check designs against building codes and other standard specifications. And they've made designs possible that were unthinkable or unimaginable 50 years ago, as they can crunch the numbers on complex equations and even generate plans or models from high-level requirements. Architecture, like music, art, games, and written stories can be created algorithmically. Read More
Creating a new 118-km (73-mile) rail route with 10 new stations and 42 km (26 miles) of new tunnels is no mean feat. The logistics of doing so in one of the world’s major cities, however, are staggering. That is the task for the UK's Crossrail line. Major tunneling ends in May, so Gizmag went to take a look. Read More
Painting might be the last thing you'd expect computers to excel at. It's abstract, expressive, and tied to cultures, psychology, and subjectivity, whereas computers are objective, precise, and governed by the rules of mathematics. Painting, with its emotional reasoning and unclear meanings, appears to be the antithesis of a feeling, logical computer. But they aren't so far apart as they seem. Painting and other forms of visual art owe much to areas of mathematics such as geometry and perspective, and the algorithms that computers adhere to can in fact be made to generate images as varied and subtle as a human painter. Read More
We humans are obsessed with storytelling. We tell stories to people we meet and people we love. We can't get enough of the stories that drive movies, video games, television, and books. We communicate with stories, and now we're training our computers to do the same. By writing sets of rules and instructions of varying complexity, artificial intelligence experts can enable computers to write stories both real and fictional. Some of these algorithms, as you'll see shortly, produce articles or reports with the sort of flair you'd think only a human could provide, which has fascinating implications for the future of publishing. Read More
Regular readers will know I'm a bit of a fan of Zero's electric motorcycles – as the market leader in performance electric two-wheelers, Zero offers a glimpse into a future where gasoline engines feel frankly archaic. So I was very excited to score myself an invitation to come and visit Zero's head office and factory to see where the company is at, get to know the Zero team, and ride the company's entire 2015 range through the breathtaking mountain ranges of California. It was a great chance to talk about batteries, production lines, the 2015 Zero range and how America's fast-charge infrastructure is letting riders down. Read More
Owing perhaps to the difficulty and extreme cost of building virtual worlds that can be seen, heard, explored, and interacted with in multitudes of other ways, video games have long made use of procedural content generation and computation creativity. Epic space-faring BBC Micro game Elite generated its own star systems on the fly way back in 1984, for instance, while the likes of Minecraft, Diablo, and the SimCity series all similarly sport environments sculpted by algorithms. But artificial intelligence research is opening new avenues in the ever-evolving dance between human game developers and their algorithmically-intelligent tools. AIs can now create entire 2D and 3D games from scratch, unassisted, and that could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read More
You've probably heard music composed by a computer algorithm, though you may not realize it. Artificial intelligence researchers have made huge gains in computational – or algorithmic – creativity over the past decade or two, and in music especially these advances are now filtering through to the real world. AI programs have produced albums in multiple genres. They've scored films and advertisements. And they've also generated mood music in games and smartphone apps. But what does computer-authored music sound like? Why do it? And how is it changing music creation? Join us, in this first entry in a series of features on creative AI, as we find out. Read More
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