What's new on the website

      ( … and What's new in the world of AI)

From the CDC: "COVID-19 vaccines don't affect DNA, and messenger RNA never enters your cells’ nucleus.
The mRNA instructs your cells how to build immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19."

September 10, 2021
   Please read first my September 9 entry in the general section below, where I mention that the most pressing practical need in AI is the development and deployment of AI tools to combat disinformation. (Disinformation is the other unspoken pandemic to hit the US and as you can see from my inclusion of the CDC poster at the very top, I intend to do my tiny part in combating both.) The article about ProoFVer referenced in that September 9 entry shows what is possible to do, and I plan to write about AI and disinformation on our website, at length. But for now, the clip immediately below features two of my favorite people, favorite not because they are in lockstep with my opinions, but because I believe both of them are genuine, mean well, and have the ability to say important things in a simple engaging manner. The clip shows a gentler and more apolitical way of thinking about disinformation and raises the important issue of our individual attitudes toward the common good versus free will and personal liberty. This issue will also be quite relevant to how we use AI and in particular how we use it to combat disinformation.

July 22, 2021
   It's time to thank you, the reader 💗! The website is now being read by hundreds of people every day. Readership numbers (shown below ordered by country for one day in April and another day in July) obviously depend on the time of the day; while the US is rarely displaced from the top spot, it is gratifying to see that readership has been growing consistently on all continents.

24-hour traffic on April 4, 2021

24-hour traffic on July 22, 2021

June 15, 2021
   I had to clarify in the AI: Most Powerful Weapon Ever article that the criticism on our website about the 2016 interference in our elections is not in any way directed at the Russian people but rather strictly at the intelligence services within the Russian government that orchestrated the 2016 interference. That new clarification is here.

June 10, 2021
   A new video clip about incompleteness (the fundamental "not knowing" in mathematics, which "not knowing" also applies to the AI foundations) has emerged in May of 2021. It is very informative and beautifully augments the presentation given by us on the topic in the Foundational Questions article.

June 8, 2021
   A link to the full AlphaGo documentary (1.5 hours), now available on YouTube, was added at the end of the Main AI Concepts article. Secondly, one of the most relevant conferences for our field is in its second year: the 2nd International Conference on Machine Learning Techniques and Data Science (MLDS 2021). The list of AI conferences linked to in the Main AI Concepts article has been updated to include this conference.

June 3, 2021
   This is an interview with Dr. Henry Kissinger in which he explains how he got interested in AI. It brings a unique perspective to our topic from an icon of US diplomacy. You might also want to listen to his interview at the Bush Center about the US, Russia, China, and AI, for additional insights. In more recent interviews with Dr. Kissinger you will also find support for one of our main points, namely the need to ramp up our AI efforts in the US considerably, and not just in the private sector.

May 11, 2021
   The list of AI conferences linked to in the Main AI Concepts article was updated through the end of 2021. Most of the 2021 conferences have been scheduled to take place virtually, just like the 2020 conferences. A few conferences are still hoping for a hybrid in-person and virtual format.

April 3, 2021
   Looked up an entry in the Glossary page and realized that I wrote this page so hastily, I did not even bother with a spell checker. So for example, the entry about Integrated Information Theory said this: "Although the human brain is the main substrate of interest, it may not be the only one. So the theory may be interestingly tied to methphysics." That may be very true, but methphysics, interesting at it may be, was meant to be metaphysics 😄. Fixed all the other misspelling pearls.

April 1, 2021
   When I uploaded the Further Reading page about a year ago, there was a fly on my screen, right at the bottom of the page. I still can't get rid of it.

March 25, 2021
  In the page About the Author, I am trying to alert the reader to some of my political biases. Since the original publication of the website in February of 2020 the political landscape in the U.S. has changed. Part of my original motivation for developing this website was my concern with the approaches of the previous Administration regarding AI matters, especially the negative impact of its immigration policies on our AI progress and on our positioning vis-a-vis other AI powers, like China and Russia. I have revised the paragraphs at the very end of the page in which I mention some signs of a new approach to AI matters by the new Administration and express my hope for a cooperative foreign policy to complement that AI approach.

February 19, 2021
   Have started the promised revision of the website, given the 1st anniversary of its publishing. Each article now has two additional pieces of information, right underneath its title: an Original date and a Revision date. The revision date is actually a hyperlink, taking the reader to the description of the revision here in the What's New file.

January 30, 2021
   Spent the last couple of months on an unusual journey on my personal website. Here is the magnificent 😄 outcome: Games. That gibberish may make it to this website eventually, but not anytime soon.

November 22, 2020
   In the article on Artificial Consciousness, a video clip from the YouTube metaRising channel has been added. It provides a good framework for the various questions around the possibility of ASI acquiring consciousness. You may want to watch the entire documentary here: Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness.

November 14, 2020
   Just like everyone else in the U.S., I have been preoccupied with the November 3 elections. Working on a wide update and a renewed emphasis on the idea that truth matters, especially in the ever increasing presence of AI systems. Respect for truth has seen a remarkable decay in the past 4 years.

October 13, 2020
   Rewrote a few paragraphs in the AI: Most Powerful Weapon Ever article. As you would suspect, weapons are a controversial subject, and my insistence on using videos to make better points (than I would make with words) runs into trouble sometime. Some of the "touchy" videos I use get frequently removed. So I had to use different ones and adjust sightly the points I wanted to make. The basic ideas are the same though.

September 21, 2020
   The newly released  Social Dilemma  documentary on Netflix brings additional ammunition to the issues discussed in our website, especially in relation to the How We Form Political Opinions, AI and Fake Data, and Government versus High-Tech articles. Please watch the documentary.

September 13, 2020
   The list of AI conferences linked to in the Main AI Concepts article was updated through 2021. Secondly, some of the 2020 conferences have been scheduled to take place virtually.

August 23, 2020
  The site underwent a 2-month restructuring, in particular the URL structure, all with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind. The site has many more visitors now, and so it is time to make it easier for the search engines.

June 29, 2020
  Reviewing an interview with Karl Friston (discoverer/proponent of the Free Energy Principle) by Lev Friedman. You can watch it directly on YouTube in its entirety, before I launch into a discussion of its many implications for our topics. The id of the video is "NwzuibY5kUs". Alternatively, you can go to Friedman's podcast site, where you will find a larger selection of interviews on the topic of AI: Artificial Intelligence: AI Podcast

June 5, 2020
  I received some constructive criticism about the treatment of the Century of Humiliation in the AI In a Bipolar World article and revised a few paragraphs. I am working on a deeper revision though.

May 15, 2020
  Semantic markup has been added as a test to one of the articles. The work will continue until all the articles will be shown with enriched information by search engines.

April 17, 2020
  The article on Artificial Consciousness has been revised to account for some new material on the Neural Correlates of Consciousness; a short page has been added to clarify the various terms and structures of the biological neuron.

March 25, 2020
  Improved the responsiveness and performance of the website; added it to Cloudflare so it can perform faster in all parts of the world; compressed some files; technical stuff in other words. Content had only minor changes.

February 23, 2020
  AI Blue Dot has a Facebook page. We'll use that page as our home for discussions.

November 21, 2020 update: This page is no longer active. A page is not the proper way to go, I am trying to put together a Facebook group, in which other people can contribute and I am only one of the moderators. It's far more interesting that way. Write me at the address in the contact page if you are interested in moderating such group, and let me know about your area of expertise. We will need an active researcher in the area of AI Ethics in particular.

February 22, 2020
  Minor additions and clarifications to the articles How We Form Political Opinions: An AI Viewpoint and Superintelligence and God.

February 1, 2020
  The original version. The expectation is that, after feedback is received from you (and for which I would be very grateful), errors will be corrected and unclear parts will be formulated better. Minor improvements will happen daily.

What's new in the world of AI

      ( … and What's new on the website)

September 9, 2021
   What do you think the most pressing practical concern about AI is right now? In my view it is the use of AI to falsify things, complemented by the lack of AI tools to provide effective deterrents against disinformation. This pressing concern has acquired significantly more weight with the propagation of disinformation and conspiracy theories centered around two things, both in 2020. First, the Big Lie that the 2020 election was not lawfully won by Joe Biden. Second, the disinformation about covid vaccines and potential therapeutic treatments. Both are dangerously corrosive to our collective well-being. They also show that the biggest threats facing the US right now are not external.

Any progress in this area of AI (combating disinformation), being central to our future well-being, is to be commended. Social media especially has been used for making claims that are tortured at best, misleading on average, and dangerous at worst. People often wonder if posted claims can be verified expeditiously and effectively. One can easily envisage a formal (mathematical) proof assistant that would output Yes/No on a given claim in a specific domain of knowledge. But Yes/No would not work, people need to see why, so explanations must be given, and they must be given in natural language.

On the other hand, neural networks have awesome performance for fact verification, but do it only in a black-box fashion, without explainability. So we need systems that combine these two techniques. ProoFVer is a fact verification system based on natural logic, with explainability and good performance. It is joint work between the University of Cambridge and Facebook. As of now, these systems are only used to assist humans with fact verification. But time will come when they will do it all, without humans in the decision loop.

Here is an article about ProoFVer: Cambridge U & Facebook’s ProoFVer: High-Performance Natural Logic-Based Fact Verification With Explainability.

May 20, 2021
   Transformers have been the most interesting new development in neural networks, especially in language applications, where in the beginning neural networks did not enjoy the same success as in computer vision applications. Moreover, large models built around language transformers have shown the ability to "understand" other types of data, not just text. A transformer has an ingenious neural network architecture based on the concept of attention. The architecture bridges nicely with that most prized computer science concept, parallel processing, allowing transformers to be trained in reasonable time on massive datasets. I'm going to write a full article about them, but until then this is a good introduction:

February 15, 2021
   Will AI replace or augment humans in the workforce? This is a difficult question and many very different answers have been given. This is a thoughtful presentation of this dilemma: Artificial Intelligence And The End Of Work. Most technologists lean towards augmentation. But the author of the article is leaning towards replacement, not augmentation, and reflects on what this might mean for humanity. From the article: "The myth of augmentation has spread far and wide in real-world contexts, too. One powerful reason why: job loss from automation is a frightening prospect and a political hot potato. Let’s unpack that. Entrepreneurs, technologists, politicians and others have much to gain by believing—and by persuading others to believe—that AI will not replace but rather will supplement humans in the workforce. Employment is one of the most basic social and political necessities in every society in the world today. To be openly job-destroying is therefore a losing proposition for any technology or business."

February 10, 2021
   AI can pose new mathematical conjectures, a first result of this kind. Posing good conjectures in mathematics seemed to be a very creative human endeavor, so the fact that AI can sift through enough math and create interesting conjectures is pretty significant. Machines Are Inventing New Math We've Never Seen, published by researchers from the Technion in Haifa and from Google's operation in Tel Aviv.

December 17, 2020
   AI has been used in many ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the development of new vaccines. This time it is being used after the vaccines are administered, to track the after effects. From the article: "The technology will also track issues or trends related to ethnicity, age, gender, or other demographic factors that can come into play with the vaccine" : How AI is Helping with COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout and Tracking.

November 11, 2020
   Mathematics can be looked at as a game, played according to rules specified within what we call formal systems. In theory, a computer can be programmed to produce all the theorems of such a formal system. So it could produce all the algebra, the geometry, and the calculus you have learned in school. In practice though, mathematicians still have to rely on a great deal of inventiveness to find such proofs. Nevertheless, the strive to develop proof assistants has never ceased and there have been many notable but disparate successes. Now this work is being pushed even further, and in a more organized way.

From the article The Effort to Build the Mathematical Library of the Future: "Digitizing mathematics is a longtime dream. The expected benefits range from the mundane—computers grading students’ homework—to the transcendent: using artificial intelligence to discover new mathematics and find new solutions to old problems. Mathematicians expect that proof assistants could also review journal submissions, finding errors that human reviewers occasionally miss, and handle the tedious technical work that goes into filling in all the details of a proof."

If this interests you in a more serious way, I have written a program of study for formal software development, in which these ideas are treated in more depth: Formal Software Development Program. It's in a slide presentation format, which allows a smooth gradual viewing of each page; view it in Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download from Adobe), not in your browser.

November 3, 2020
   An interesting view on the future of Artificial Intelligence, in an interview with Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneer of deep learning techniques. For his contributions, Hinton was awarded the Turing Award last year, together with Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio.

Interviewer: "You think deep learning will be enough to replicate all of human intelligence. What makes you so sure?"

Hinton: "I do believe deep learning is going to be able to do everything, but I do think there’s going to have to be quite a few conceptual breakthroughs. For example, in 2017 Ashish Vaswani et al. introduced transformers, which derive really good vectors representing word meanings. It was a conceptual breakthrough. It’s now used in almost all the very best natural-language processing. We’re going to need a bunch more breakthroughs like that."

October 12, 2020
   A timely Forbes article on some future directions of AI, with an informative look at the types of networks called transformers, the recent success they have had in NLP, and their potential uses in other areas, like computer vision. The Next Generation Of Artificial Intelligence. I'll probably add it to the permanent "Further Reading" list as a complement to the Main AI Concepts article.

October 6, 2020
   NVIDIA Uses AI to Slash Bandwidth on Video Calls. Obviously, this is even more meaningful given the current reliance on video calls by businesses and individuals, given the covid health crisis. From the article:
"What the researchers have achieved has remarkable results: by replacing the traditional h.264 video codec with a neural network, they have managed to reduce the required bandwidth for a video call by an order of magnitude. In one example, the required data rate fell from 97.28 KB/frame to a measly 0.1165 KB/frame – a reduction to 0.1% of required bandwidth. The mechanism behind AI-assisted video conferencing is breathtakingly simple. The technology works by replacing traditional full video frames with neural data. Typically, video calls work by sending h.264 encoded frames to the recipient, and those frames are extremely data-heavy. With AI-assisted video calls, first, the sender sends a reference image of the caller. Then, instead of sending a stream of pixel-packed images, it sends specific reference points on the image around the eyes, nose, and mouth."

September 13, 2020

September 12, 2020
   This is an article that meshes well with the theme found in our AI in a Bipolar World article, namely that US and China are leaving the world behind. Europe Feels Squeeze as Tech Competition Heats Up Between U.S. and China

September 10, 2020
   The Autocomplete feature in the Google search uses ML on the data collected from users. Quote from the article: "The company says that it will now remove any Autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party, or that make a claim about voting or the electoral process. That would mean eliminating predictions like 'you can vote by phone,'' 'you can’t vote by phone' or anything suggesting that you donate to a party or candidate.". here

August 14, 2020
  Using an unconventional method, machine learning, first-year physics students solve a 30-year old problem in astronomy. here.

July 24, 2020
  Apple has been the top buyer of AI startups, but it has not yet translated that power into visible results, as for example Siri is trailing all the other major personal assistants. here.

July 24, 2020
  The biggest multidisciplinary design company in Russia passed off an AI designer as human for more than a year, and no one caught on. here.

July 19, 2020
  Although the article has been published in April, it is still making its rounds. It contains a very good explanation of the differences between neuromorphic computing chips and AI accelerators. They DO NOT target the same AI applications. here.

June 28, 2020
  A nice review of the role of AI in combating the current COVID-19 crisis, from the Aspen Ideas Festival (it's a long video) is now on YouTube. Watch it directly on YouTube, the id of the video is 8LShJa_ovCY. You can find a fuller coverage of the festival here.

June 12, 2020
   The Elements of Statistical Learning (the bible for those of us working in this field), by Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani and Jerome Friedman, is among the books released for free.

June 5, 2020
  Lawmakers introduced bicameral legislation this week aimed at keeping the United States ahead of China and other adversaries in AI efforts

May 14, 2020

April 17, 2020
  AI Uncovers a Potential Treatment for Covid-19 Patients

April 16, 2020
  MIT’s AI predicts catastrophe if social distancing restrictions relax too soon

March 17, 2020
  DeepMind’s Protein Folding AI Is Going After Coronavirus

March 12, 2020
  AI could help with the next pandemic — but not with this one

February 28, 2020
  European Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence

February 20, 2020
  How Technology Is Changing the Future of Higher Education

January 23, 2020
  China cares as deeply about AI ethics as the US, Microsoft CEO says, as he calls for global rules