Tag Archives: ai

Using Spammers to Solve AI Problems

With spammers having already written software to match humans at solving some CAPTCHAs, many are predicting the end of the CAPTCHA. Not so, says Luis von Ahn (developer of the reCAPTCHA system) in a New Scientist article that asks why not set the spammers further AI tasks that they can solve inadvertently.

Software that can solve any text-based CAPTCHA will be as much a milestone for artificial intelligence as it will be a problem for online security. […]

“If [the spammers] are really able to write a programme to read distorted text, great – they have solved an AI problem,” says von Ahn. The criminal underworld has created a kind of X prize for OCR.

That bonus for artificial intelligence will come at no more than a short-term cost for security groups. They can simply switch for an alternative CAPTCHA system – based on images, for example – presenting the eager spamming community with a new AI problem to crack.

via Richard Holden

The Omega Point

The Singularity again, but this time a Gravitational (or Spacetime) Singularity. Specifically the one at the end of existence of the universe.

The Omega Point is the moment during the theoretical Big Crunch when – just before the final, all-ending gravitational singularity – “the computational capacity of the universe is capable of increasing at a sufficient rate that is accelerating exponentially faster than the time running out.” What exactly does that mean?

In principle, a simulation run on [a theoretical] universal computer can continue forever in its own terms, even though the universe lasts only a finite amount of proper time. This theory requires that the current known laws of physics are true descriptions of reality, and it requires there be intelligent civilizations in existence at the appropriate time to exploit the computational capacity of such an environment.

An enlightening read that pushes the bounds on the meaning of the word ‘theoretical’. However, it did lead me to a contender for ‘The Greatest Named Wikipedia Entry‘ competition: The Ultimate Fate of the Universe.

The Meaning of Life. No, Seriously!

This is what started it all. By bringing some interesting philosophical questions to the table, this discussion got me seriously thinking about what impact not following a structured and continuous personal and professional development plan can have on both my quality of life and that of the world directly around me.

The FAQ on the Meaning of Life is an interesting concept and contains ideas from many diverse schools of thought. However, it’s not written for a wide audience: a science background – and specifically, one in computing – is beneficial, possibly required, to understand the concepts discussed.

So what is The Meaning of Life? I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say that it’s not actually 42, and the Technological Singularity will be the key moment in the evolution of our world.

Lambasting nanotechnology and advocating intelligence enhancement through an increase in research of both Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism, it’s an interesting and thought-provoking read whether you believe none of the conclusions, some of them, or believe it devoutly…

If we could reconfigure our neurons and upgrade the signal propagation speed to around, say, a third of the speed of light, or 100,000,000 meters per second, the result would be a factor-of-one-million speedup in thought. At this rate, one subjective year would pass every 31 physical seconds.

The FAQ raises some interesting questions and will make you question – if only for a moment – where you’re going wrong (if you are at all) and what you can improve (if anything). The most important thing is that it makes you think.