Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christie's auction of Turing offprints fails to achieve reserve price while Apple 1 sells for £110k

Steve Wozniak attended Christie's auction house at their magnificent King Street SW1 venue today and, as I did, witnessed the sale of an Apple 1 computer for £110,000.

Alas, Newman's collection of Turing paper offprints failed to achieve the reserve price of £300,000. This is so surprising, less than a fortnight ago (12 November 2010) a Chinese vase exceeded expectations, sold for £43million.

It was an exciting 1 1/2 hours this afternoon witnessing auction history in Christie's. Definitely, as Professor Max Newman's collection, Lot 60, neared for sale the heart began to pound. Thanks to the 20th century's brilliant mathematician, Alan Turing, I'm getting to enjoy science in many ways. Roll on Turing centenary year, 2012 .....

[pictures from Christie's web site]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skyline: A Confusion of War of the Worlds, Aliens, Predator and Cloverfield

.......... ends as Beauty and the Beast!

Firstly, I thought

David Gandy appeared as the central male character Jarrod, wish he had!

In Arnie Schwarzie/Predator1 mode David Zayas' Oliver character utters something in Spanish (?) at the mother*** uglies, against which mankind's F16s and stealth bombers are simply pathetic! Twist is interesting, not sure sequel will be unique.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Robert Plant, rock god: in his own words

The 'Rock God' tag conjures up images of the long curly blonde locks adorning a bare chested Adonis, Robert Plant:

Fitting that BBC2 presented an evening of Robert Plant last night, Saturday 7 November 2010, read about it here.

Who can forget Plant's vocals on Led Zeppelin's Kashmir:

Rock Gods include Deep Purple's pantheresque Ian Gillan:

.......... and The Door's legendary Jim Morrison

( Photos from the web, 'spirit of Jim Morrison' from here: http://art-canyon.com/2010/09/theme-rooms-spirit-of-jim-morrison-poster/)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Giannis Kotsiras 'Pass the flame unite the world'

Giannis Kotsiras' song 'pass the flame, unite the world' is a beautiful melody and uplifting tune needed at the end of what's been a year of devastating natural disasters: earthquakes, summer fires, floods, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes.

and in English:

Wishing the flame of 2010 passes into a peaceful and less chaotic 2011.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Bryan Ferry's new album Olympia

The seductive Bryan Ferry returns with his latest album Olympia, which includes the sexy You can dance 'padded cell remix' You can dance track:

Wilcox's Suzette ties with Carpenter's Cleverbot but fools one judge in 20th Loebner Prize

From Slashdot:

"....Suzette had easily qualified [for the 20th Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence]over the 3 other competitors (her score 11 pts, the nearest competitor's 7.5). Her design and data naturally gave her an edge over her competitors on the human knowledge test questions of the qualifiers. But human judge chat was an entirely different matter than the qualification test. Still, I felt she could carry on a detailed conversation better than the others and should win.

Initial installation of the programs occurred on Friday. From prechat conversations with the other contestants I learned that A.L.I.C.E. came with 3 redundant disks. Yet all three turned out to be blank! What a scare that must have been. Dr. Wallace managed to install by retrieving the program over the Internet. Cleverbot is now at 45 million lines of memorized user chat (at a rate of doubling every year). And UltraHal is now listening to tweets, so has 300K of user chat it learned and 400K of tweets it has accepted for learning (code decides if the user has had enough responses and doesn't trigger any red flags).

Then we get to the competition. While the CalState organizers had initially planned to have various interdepartmental professors act as judges (like English dept, etc.), they backed out at the last minute, so all the judges were from the Engineering/Computer Science dept. Talk about guys who might know what to expect from chatbots! And all the humans were students from the same departments. What a weird mixture to compete in. And then, each round was 25 minutes. That's bad if you want confuse a judge about who is human. But really, the programs have no chance for that. So it's good because it gives the human time to compare each program against the other. Though it's not clear to me that the judges tried to use their time to do that.

And the students didn't really understand their role. It was merely to BE HUMAN and convince the judges of that. Before startup there was informal chatting between humans and judges, which was obviously inappropriate and it was then pointed out to the humans that since the judges already knew their names, they had best use false ones in the competition.

Round 1. After a few exchanges, somehow Suzettte got stuck into repeating exactly what the judge said for the rest of the round. I have no idea how. The round is a total disaster. I've never seen such a bug before. Maybe it's in my only-lightly-tested protocol for the competition. I have no idea. But it completely derails my hopes for Suzette. She could still win on points only if she outdoes her opponents for every other judge and the other contestants vary all over the place.

Round 2, a great demonstration of Suzette. She should win on this round alone.

Round 3 gets off to a horrible start. Somehow, Suzette can hear the judge but the judge can't hear Suzette. Makes no sense. A couple of restarts of Suzette doesn't fix this. Eventually they restart the judge program, and that clears it (not that that makes any sense either). Then, after a few rounds, it's clear Suzette has the judge from hell. He wants to know who she's going to vote for in the upcoming election (the unspecified California governor's race). And when she has no useful answer he wants her to name a candidate in the race. And when she has no answer to that, he simple keeps repeating the question ad nauseum, insisting she answer it. Suzette gets irritated. Then she gets angry. Suzette then gets bored. Suzette threatens to hang up on him. The judge doesn't back down until the last seconds of the round. I figure that's the end of life as we know it.

Round 4 is a mixed bag. Suzette is ok but not great. It's all over.

When the scores are tallied, Suzette ties with Rollo Carpenter's Cleverbot for 2nd-3rd. Yet, it turns out, the 3rd round judge got the human subject from hell. Poetic justice! The human was all over the place -- confusing, vague. The judge voted irritated/angry/bored Suzette as human. Instant win since no other program swayed the judges."

Loebner's interpretation of the imitation game is not what Turing had in mind, as Jason Hutchens (2008) points out: tournament is now resistible to engineering students no longer serving as an “incentive for post-graduates ... promise of $x000 prize for the creator of the ‘most human-like’ computer program, ... bronze medallion featuring portraits of both Alan Turing and Hugh Loebner” [p. 325].