Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagAutomation

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T-shirt made in Bangladesh. Customer looking at the origin and import country of a cheap fashion product in clothes store or shop. Ethical consumer behavior. Woman holding label and price tag with tex

What Do Robots Find Hard? Sewing a T-shirt, For One Thing

Humans automatically and constantly adjust hand movements to the ever-changing alignment of cloth. Robots just freeze

Menswear entrepreneur Harris Quinn wrote a thoughtful piece at Wired recently on the mixed success of efforts to automate sewing via Sewbots, for example, developed by SoftWear Automation CEO Palaniswamy Rajan: One reason that sewing lends itself so well to the grinding labor of sweatshops is that it is very difficult to automate. That’s because cloth is pliable and constantly moving. The Sewbots face unexpected hurdles: But no two batches of cotton are exactly alike, often varying from harvest to harvest; variations in the fabric and dyes further complicate matters. Each variation can necessitate recalibrating the system, interrupting operations, and SoftWear has to train its machinery to respond accordingly. “The biggest challenge we have faced getting to a production system…

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Is Technology Running Backward?

Technology isn't adding value anymore. It's adding expense.

I’ve been a computer nerd since I was a young child. My dad bought the family a TI 99/4A before I even went to Kindergarten, and I basically started programming when I learned to read. As I grew up, the thing that fascinated me most about technology was the ability to automate.  Automation, in theory, is supposed to make people’s lives better. It’s supposed to take the drudgery out of work, to leave people to focus on the more creative aspects of their work. With a word processor, I can type, correct, spellcheck, rewrite, and reorganize in an instant. I can even maintain old drafts easily. With a spreadsheet, I can keep track of all my income, expenses, grades, goals,…

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Video call. Online zoom conference. Business team gathered for an online meeting in zoom app. On a computer monitor a group of people online

COVID-19: Technology Trends That Are Sneaking Up on Us Faster Now

Most of these changes, for better or worse, are probably here to stay

We knew big changes were coming. And that COVID-19 has ramped them up. But when experts expound grand generalities and wave their hands a lot, it can be hard to clearly see what a change means where we live and work. One writing teacher, for example, learned how to massively adapt all of a sudden: Each spring, I teach Writing about Oneself, a class on first-person reading and writing, to 12 Yale undergraduates chosen from 100 or so… Every year I fill out the registrar’s Pedagogical Needs Request Form, leaving 14 of the 15 “Technological Needs” boxes unchecked. (No, I don’t need a SMART board. No, I don’t need a digital projector. No, I don’t need a Blu-ray player.) The…

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Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Promote Mass Automation?

Caution! Robots don’t file for benefits but that’s not all we need to know about them

I understand the panic many business leaders experience as they try to stay solvent while customers evaporate. Panic, however, is a poor teacher: AI-based automation will not only not solve all their problems, it may very well add to them. AI is not a magic box into which we can stuff them and make them disappear.

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Student guy is buying tickets for train trip on weekend in tickets vending machine. Bearded male with backpack on his back is choosing the ticket type on a display of self service tickets automat.

Random Comments on the Passing Scene: Carbon Computing and Much More

Child porn traffickers arrested despite their attempts to hide using high tech and Bitcoin

Also, McDonald’s doubles down on self-ordering kiosks, acquires automation firm.

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Pizza Robots Get the Pink Slip

True, the doughbots didn’t make good pizza. But is the message about them or something else?

I have nothing against robots. (I am against bad pizza.) I do, however, get very tired of the science fiction-fantasy of humanity-squashing robots. And that’s all it is: A fantasy.

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Boeing Workers, Please Don’t Kick the Robot on Its Way Out

The jetliner manufacturer’s decision to give the robots’ job back to machinists underlines the hard realities of automation. For example, it doesn’t always work

Robot error turned out to be a bigger problem than human error.

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Should AI-Written News Stories Have Bylines? Whose?

Like it or not, AI is here to stay. So, how do we make the best use of it in writing?

Automation can help some aspects of writing. But media outlets get tech “google”-eyes and too often fail to ask the hard questions about what they are automating, how, and why.

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Students, Don’t Let Smart Machines Disrupt Your Future

Three ways you can avoid life in Mom’s basement and the job pouring coffee

At first sight, the number of options might seem bewildering. The key question is: Will you ignore the coming job disruption, fear it, or treat it as an opportunity?

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Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines: Google Gives Away “Free” Cookies…

Also, why AI can't predict the stock market or deal with windblown plastic bags

A good rule of thumb is that unexpected outcomes increase exponentially as a function of AI complexity.

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McPathogens: Are McDonalds’ Order Kiosks Clean? Another Look

Can rebuttals exposing fake news be fake news themselves? Judge for yourself
I snapped a picture of a kiosk screen shown below during a recent visit to a McDonald’s in Waco, Texas. The picture is taken at an angle where smudge leavings are most visible. Read More ›
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Does Workplace Automation Improve Service or Merely Cut Costs?

Chances are, the CEO won’t know there’s a problem until complaints come in. Elon Musk didn’t
Philosopher jay Richards argues that what really distinguishes humans is our capacity for developing creative freedom. If that capacity is automated out of a system, we can expect to hear about many avoidable failures. Read More ›
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Jay Richards: Creative Freedom, Not Robots, Is the Future of Work

In an information economy, there will be a place where the human person is at the very center

The Officially Smart people are telling us two scenarios, good and bad, about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), says Jay Richards, a research professor at the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He disagrees with both.

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A Mind Matters Review: AI Week at DUST, the sci-fi short films channel

Films you have time to see and think about

Looking for a good “robots, AI, ‘n sci-fi” fix to round out your weekend? Mind Matters has you covered for animations and shorts. For starters, check out DUST, a YouTube channel dedicated to short sci-fi. Its recent AI WEEK (February 11–18) offered “A collection of curated short films dedicated to artificial intelligence and its connection with humanity.” When I say “short,” I mean that the longest is about 30 min; the others are much shorter. So if you have just a few minutes to kill while downing a bowl of spicy curry ramen, I would recommend giving them a watch. For AI narratives, they’re not as clichéd as you might fear. Sunspring | DUST AI Week Runtime | 8:15 Cleanliness…

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Military Technology and AI

Past, Present, and Future

Technology, including AI, needs protection. Intellectual property of corporations needs protected from espionage. Military technology needs protection from foreign agents. Show Notes 01:10 | Introduction; Daniel M. Ogden, J.D. 02:20 | Technology in the military history 08:00 | WWII technology; Norton Gun Site 12:20 | Banning AI autonomous weapons 16:48 | Slaughterbots 18:13 | Military AI endgame 18:55 | Other…

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Remember the Luddites!

The Luddites became famous for breaking machinery during the Industrial Revolution. Were they entirely wrong?
People often think that the Luddites were merely anti-technology because they opposed automation during the Industrial Revolution (1760–1840). The story is more complex. As we face increasing automation today, we might want to see what we can learn from their history. Read More ›
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Be Choosy About What You Automate!

Having automated many processes, I can assure you that that is the First Rule of Automation
The worst trap that people who are pursuing automation fall into is the desire to automate everything. That’s usually a road to disaster. Automation is supposed to save time and money, but it can wind up costing you both if you don't carefully consider what you automate. Read More ›
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McDonald's Drive through saying

McDonald’s, Meet McPathogens

What happens when the drive to automate everything meets the Law of Unintended Consequences?
I have a wager with a good friend that the self-order touch screen kiosks at McDonald’s will not last. The kiosks not only take longer to use, but are annoying. The idea of the kiosk may sound good on paper, but is a hassle in practice. And besides… Read More ›
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Quantity vs Quality: Can AI Help Scientists Produce Better Papers?

What happens when scientists simply can't read all their peers' papers and still find time for original research?
Quantity is definitely a solved problem. STM, the “voice of scholarly publishing” estimated in 2015 that roughly 2.5 million science papers are published each year. Some are, admittedly, in predatory or fake journals. But over 2800 journals are assumed to be genuine. Read More ›