• By Sin Mei C
  • June 13, 2014

Week in Context – Why the Turing Test is Passé, Mad or Math Men, Alpha Apps & Futuristic Football

On Eugene and why the Turing test is passé, artificial intelligence in the cloud, Alpha Apps, and randomising MAC addresses to dodge tracking. Bonus content: what might happen when technology takes over football, and Joren’s take on data science, black magic and the Curse of Dimensionality.

This Week in Context

Your Weekly Update on All Things Context, June 13 2014

A chatbot pretending to be a 13-year-old boy convinced enough judges to pass the Turing test, almost every news outlet reported.  Bennie Mols, one of the judges, explains the test set-up, and why Turing himself probably would not have rooted for Eugene: “The Turing Test is outdated. Artificial intelligence has so much more to offer than chatbots fooling people with tricks. Ultimately, the Turing Test is more for fun than for science.”


” I don’t think Turing himself would have been very pleased with the way Eugene passed his test. Turing had a vision of teaching computers the same way we teach our children, and after some period of time, the computer would start to learn by itself. Programmers of chatbots, however, try to fool people with simple tricks.”

– Bennie Mols (@BennieMols)
Judge weights in on chatbot’s Turing test performance, Communications of the ACM

On the NY Times’ Bits Blog, Steve Lohr explains how the recent surge in data of all kinds, rapid progress in software to find patterns and insights in data, and advances in the technology of data processing, storage and communication have transformed the concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ away from one supercomputer to the cloud. “Now, computing intelligence can be dispersed globally, marshalled and aggregated as necessary, from far-flung data centers in the digital cloud,” Lohr writes in Intelligence Too Big for a Single Machine.

Seventy-five percent of WWP’s $19 billion projected revenue is through “stuff that Don Draper in the ’60s would not have known off,” Sir Martin Sorrell, WWP’s Founder & CEO says in this interview. With three quarters of their business in digital, media planning and buying, and data, it is not unsurprising Sorrell talks enthusiastically about the ‘merger’ between mad and math men.

Yet, a hidden feature in iOS 8 might make the ‘math’ (well, data) part a tad tricker though. It allows for randomising your iPhone’s MAC address when scanning for wifi networks, making  it almost impossible for marketing companies to track your patterns. The more cynical amongst us would say it is all about hiding your identity from everybody who is not using iBeacons. (via Maarten)

iOS 8 also introduced Apple Extensions, a feature that allows you to use apps-within-apps. Gizmodo looks at how this is different from Android’s Intents approach, and ponders if this will lead to a happy few Alpha Apps, with all others servicing these dominant apps as mere plug-ins.

With Salesforce Wear, Salesforce is trying on wearable computing, as it bets on enterprises’ desire to get their data delivered to Google Glass, Pebble and other small-screen devices. It supplied sample applications for the Pebble Smartwatch, Google Glass, the Samsung Gear, Android Wear, the Myo armband and Nymi. More on ZDnet and Fast Company.

Don’t fancy wikipedeing offside, yet near-desperate for some #WK2014 talking points? Go with “the future of football”, and check out the Winning Formula project. A futuristic view on data and football, in the form of a 2018 (oddly) print newspaper. Think real-time algorithm-generated tactics, personality vs metrics, high-frequency betting, sensors, and headlines such as “Hack attack was retribution for refusal to fix the match.” (Not too far fetched, as referees are already being alerted about goals by smart watches, and Google is crunching the data of WC2014 related searches for their Trends special.)

Interesting papers and research

  • Personality, Gender and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach (paper). Applied here on 3,019 words from my Facebook feed. To be honest, the personality assessment given to me by EmotionSense to be more accurate.
  • Not all fitness bands are equally accurate (article) covers the Validity of Consumer-Based Physical Activity Monitors paper (abstract).
  • And for the font-fans there’s Seeing typeface personality: Emotional responses to form as tone (abstract). Not relevant? Think about what this means for the lettertype choice of your mood, emotion & personality questionnaires and apps.
  • Tweets and Machine Learning Reveal Surprising Patterns of Happiness (article)

Argus Out and About

Our CEO our founder was invited to the prestigious Founders Forum to present on the Rising Stars stage. A memorable quote from a memorable event: “The age of empathic AI & devices is upon us, and we’re leading it.”  If you’re at Internet World 2014, make sure not to miss Filip’s talk When smart-phones sense how you feel: The era of intelligent mobile devices at the Mobile Theatre.

Meet up with us at the following events:

  • Internet World 2014 – Mobile Theatre – June 17, London (United Kingdom)
  • The Connected Conference – June 18 – 19, Paris (France)
  • Cannes Lions – June 15 – 21, Cannes (France)
  • RE.WORK Technology Summit – June 19 – 20, Berlin (Germany)
  • Beyond Fusion Conference 2014 – June 23, San Francisco (US)

Last week we’ve promised you a Q&A with Joren van Severen, who is joining the Argus Labs data division, and we’re delivering. You can read our Head of Deep Learning Vincent Spruyt ‘s interview with our newest data scientist here on the Argus blog. I particularly loved Joren’s reply regarding small data and the Curse of Dimensionality:

“If only it were that simple; call every problem ‘black magic’, and avoid solving it. It may be called the ‘Curse of Dimensionality’, but it does not mean the end of the world, and there are definitely ways around it.”

Enjoy the weekend!



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