Posted on August 1, 2018 by staff

AI Briefing: Give yourself an (extra) hand


Elon Musk’s non-profit AI company is keeping its finger on the pulse of innovation with the release of an eerily realistic robotic hand.

The hand, produced by UK company Shadow, has been combined with an AI brain and asked to teach itself how to hold and manipulate a small cube.

To give the AI the upper hand, it knuckled down for the equivalent of 100 years in a simulation.

The system, known as ‘Dactly’, then got to lay its hands on the real thing over the course of a few days.

Although it’s impressive, OpenAI says that it’s unlikely to palm off actual factory workers or violinists just yet. It has ‘limited results in the real world’ according to its latest blog.

The Eyes Have It

You can tell a lot about someone from the way they look, but a new AI can tell just as much about you from the way you see.

In a joint project between the University of South Australia and the University of Stuttgart, researchers have correctly identified participants’ openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism just by tracking the way their eyes move.

The goal of the project is to improve natural human-machine interactions by teaching robots the difference between timid and outspoken people.

Or, in a much bleaker future, determining which of the human race would be best suited to do our robot overlords’ bidding.

The Naked Truth

A team of researchers from Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul have trained an AI to dress images of naked women.

Similar tech already exists for identifying and removing nudity, and is used by the likes of Facebook (along with human moderators).

But the AI detailed in their research paper, titled ‘seamless Nudity Censorship’ first identifies pictures of women going au naturel and then, rather than removing them, adds ‘appropriate clothing’ like a tasteful bikini.

The team say that the AI is “capable of automatically generating bikinis that cover the sensitive parts”, though these ‘parts’ currently only belong to women, with no news of a similar tech for males in the buff.

Forget the monkeys and typewriters

Whilst Shakepeare’s back catalogue is impressive, it’s not getting any bigger.

Fear not, though, because IBM Research Australia, the University of Toronto, and the University of Melbourne have teamed up to give us effectively endless sonnets from the UK’s oldest export.

The AI, which mimics the iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of Shakespeare’s writing style, can now create endless sonnets which are, personally speaking, about as comprehensible as any by the man himself.

Here’s one of its latest creations:

“yet in a circle pallid as it flow by this bright sun,
that with his light display roll’d from the sands,
and half the buds of snow and calmly on him shall infold away”

What your customers are really saying about you

With 80 per cent of the world’s data in text format, the idea of reading through even a tiny slice of it is too much for any human. Added to that, everyone has their own internal biases.

So trying to turn a mountain of reviews or tweets into data that you can interpret might seem impossible – but not with AI!

Read our interview with wordnerds’ director of linguistics as he explains how they are using AI to find meaning through the torrent of text that makes up our internet.