• By Sin Mei C
  • May 23, 2014

Week in Context – Paths for the future of AI, conscious machines and accelerometers explained

What’s machine consciousness, and will Google be the first to produce a conscious machine? Will AI lead to a dystopian or a utopian future? And how DO accelerometers work?

This Week in Context

Your Weekly Update on All Things Context, May 23 2014

Facebook now fingerprinting sound. Facebook announced a new feature that will be listening to what music you’re playing, or which TV show you’re watching. If enabled, next time you post a status update, Facebook might add what music is playing, or that you’re just finishing Lilyhammer’s first season. (Suggested by Vincent S)

What’s machine consciousness, and will Google be the first to produce a conscious machine? Andrew Sheehy wrote a great introduction to intelligent, conscious and – maybe even, someday – self-aware machines. (Frank Maene forwarded us this.)

Will AI lead to a dystopian or a utopian future? For the Washington Post, futurist Dominic Basulto has a look at the development of artificial intelligent and the path to the Singularity. (Our votes go to the more optimistic view on which path we’ll take, of course.)

Cue has started accepting pre-orders for its “deep health tracker”, a lab kit to be used at home that will track a person’s health on a molecular level, rather than more remotely monitoring signals like heart rate or blood pressure. (via Joren)

Beaker, is a code notebook that allows you to analyze, visualize, and document data using multiple programming languages including Python, R, Groovy, Julia, and Node. They are currently in early beta, and are looking for people to give it a try and return feedback.

Accelerometers explained. These sensors can be found in our smartphones, and in most of the high-tech fitness and activity trackers as well, but how do they work? Explained, on all three axes, with video and graphs in ‘What Your Activity Tracker Sees and Doesn’t See. (From Filip‘s reading list.)

Internet Week New York: the talks. Missed out on Internet Week NY? No stress, there’s some great panels and talks – such as Inside the $50 Billion Dollar Mindreading Industry, and Convergence: the Future of RTB in Advertising at Scale – available here on their website.

O’Reilly Radar & Intelligence Matters. Radar is kicking off Intelligence Matters, a new series that will cast a critical eye on the exciting developments in the world of AI, including the connection between artificial intelligence, human intelligence and the brain.

Loving AI. Wired in the mean while, wonders if 2014 will be the year you fall in love with cognitive computing. 2014? We’re been affectively eying contextual AI for a few years now already.

More Friendly App Permission. Google implemented style and copy changes for the ‘app permissions’ requests. Most definitely less scary, less tech-babble and more clear. However, also less detailed. Where did, for example, the difference between approximate and precise location go?


TunePix is Instagram for Photos+Music+Mood. This UK-based social service might generate some awesome data about how music, mood and – through image analysis – certain situations relate?

AI gets promoted to Board. At Singularity University NL, astronaut Daniel Barry pointed out we should think of robotics and artificial intelligence in terms of jobs – which jobs will they be better at than humans, and which jobs will be created thanks evolution in technologies. Well, a Hong Kong venture capital firm has appointed an artificially intelligent algorithm to its board of directors. Vital (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences) will act as an “equal member of the board”, with its opinions being given equal weight. (Whilst Google is looking to hire a human Decider In Chief, according to this entertaining spoof job posting.)


“Segmentation isn’t fit for targeting any more than a screwdriver is fit to drive a nail. … Target people who exhibit a behavior, experience a specific situation, exist/arrive in a particular need state or at least are predictively modeled likely to do one of those things. Your customers and your KPIs will thank you.”

– Jessica Kernan
Why Audience Segmentation Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be, AdAge

Interesting papers and research

  • FirstMonday: In the realm of Big Data (article)
  • Emotion Detection using Deep Belief Networks (paper)
  • How are you doing? Emotions and personality in Facebook. (paper
  • The Moment. Bipolar detection mood tracking (paper)
  • Romantic Partnerships and the Dispersion of Social Ties: A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook (paper)

Enjoy your weekend!



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