GOOD MORNING, MY LITTLE CYBORGS!
Whoops! Looks like there was a bit of an error in the system yesterday and this review didn’t go out as planned. Apologies if you were eagerly awaiting its arrival on Sunday morning. I hate to disappoint, so here it is, just a day behind, still with all the best AI news of the week. Here you go…
AlphaZero, a more generic version of AlphaGo Zero, has beaten (world champion chess program) Stockfish after just four hours of unsupervised learning. AlphaZero was taught only the rules and no strategy, and still managed to reach “superhuman performance” at a level never seen before. Is it more impressive than AlphaGo Zero’s performance? I’m still trying to work that out.
The enormous amount of data generated by the Human Genome Project is pretty hard to untangle. But Google’s new AI, DeepVariant can do the job!
Yes, I know some people like it, and I’ve even heard that the best of it is wonderfully well-constructed in musical terms, but I’m sorry, black metal has always made me want to tear off my own ears. “At first, the sounds that were produced were “noisy” and “grotesque,” according to the musicians working on the (thankfully only) 5 track algorithmically generated album, which begs the question of where they draw the line between what sort of screaming mess is considered enjoyable and where it becomes “noise”.
Post-truth is truly upon us. Though it’s obvious that there has never been any such thing as objective truth, the idea that the scourge of “fakeness” that’s taking the world by storm could be exacerbated by such convincing AI tools is still pretty disturbing.
This is my favourite piece this week. Writer, Stephen Marche, enlisted the help of an algorithm to help him write a sci-fi story. Driven by the growing momentum of automation coming to help lots of people with their jobs, and wondering how such tools can help the creative writer, he and the algorithm set to work. The result is very quirky but, to my mind, really rather well written and enjoyable. Marche says it was a bit of a slog, but I reckon it was pretty worth it.
As a related aside, I enjoyed playing with this generator this week. The algorithm and I worked together to create a poem inspired by John Keats. I recommend trying it for yourself.