Artificial Intelligence

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
In an old school gaming party to end all parties, Google's new deep Q-network (DQN) algorithm is likely to mop the floor with you at Breakout or Space Invaders, but maybe take a licking at Centipede. Provided with only the same inputs as a human player and no previous real-world knowledge, DQN uses reinforcement learning to learn new games, and in some cases, develop new strategies. Its designers argue that this kind of general learning algorithm can crossover into discovery making in other fields. 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
Images of ourselves recorded through cameras on smartphones and laptops can be a welcome addition to communication with friends or professional interactions, or just a bit of fun. But this powerful combination of hardware and software is being tapped into by scientists for other purposes as well. A team of researchers at the University of Rochester has developed a computer program that can help health professionals monitor a person`s mental health through the images from selfie videos the patient records while engaging in social media activity. 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
Modern pharmaceuticals are a wonder of our age, but they also take years to develop at incredible cost. To shorten development time and increase economy, scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester have built Eve, an artificially-intelligent "robot scientist" that is not only faster and cheaper than its human counterparts, but has already identified a compound that could be used to fight malaria. Read More
Robots and other mechanical beings are cropping up in the most unexpected places. Case in point: Pay a visit to the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and you'll find yourself greeted in the lobby by a human mechanical surrogate. Operated by a human in a remote location, the surrogate is not intended to put Walmart greeters out of a job, but is part of a program by the Office of naval research (ONR) to create robots, avatars, and animatronic surrogates for military training. Read More
New York startup Robotbase is turning to Kickstarter to build a highly ambitious robot that would serve as a smart personal assistant for your home. Referred to simply as "Personal Robot," this device is set to combine image recognition, natural language comprehension and other advances in artificial intelligence into a single device that can converse with you, serve as a personal stylist, and even tell bedtime stories to your kids. 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