Sunday, March 31, 2013

What's new in AI? Trust, Creativity, and Shikake

The AAAI spring symposia held at Stanford University in March provide a nice look at the potpourri of innovative projects in process around the world by academic researchers in the artificial intelligence field. This year’s eight tracks can be grouped into two overall categories: those that focus on computer-self interaction or computer-computer interaction, and those that focus on human-computer interaction or human sociological phenomena as listed below.

Computer self-interaction or computer-computer interaction (Link to details)
  • Designing Intelligent Robots: Reintegrating AI II 
  • Lifelong Machine Learning 
  • Trust and Autonomous Systems 
  • Weakly Supervised Learning from Multimedia
Human-computer interaction or human sociological phenomena (Link to details)
  • Analyzing Microtext 
  • Creativity and (Early) Cognitive Development 
  • Data Driven Wellness: From Self-Tracking to Behavior Change 
  • Shikakeology: Designing Triggers for Behavior Change 
This last topic, Shikakeology, is an interesting new category that is completely on-trend with the growing smart matter, Internet-of-things, Quantified Self, Habit Design, and Continuous Monitoring movements. Shikake is a Japanese concept, where physical objects are embedded with sensors to trigger a physical or psychological behavior change. An example would be a trash can playing an appreciative sound to encourage litter to be deposited.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gaming Apps to Unlock Video Archive Footage

One of the leading digital media foundations in the San Francisco Bay Area, GAFFTA, the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, held a hackathon for film-makers and developers March 21-23, 2013. The challenge was to come up with new uses for open-source video archive footage (for example from the Internet Archive).

One idea would be to merge mobile gaming, crowdsourcing, and video archives to make the archives a fun and accessible tool for telling new stories. Here are some app ideas:

App: This is not my story!
In this gaming app, person 1 (whose image or profile photo is shown) selects a video micro-clip that he or she feels is ‘not my story.’ Then person 2, matched randomly from the crowd of the app’s community members, adds a short caption to the video as to why the video micro-clip is not that person’s story. Humor would be tantamount. Other community crowd members could validate the caption (e.g.; police spam), and vote on it with ‘likes’ to determine game winners.

App: PostSecret Video
This gaming app is the video version of the successful, strikingly poignant, and deeply human PostSecret project. PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard which are then posted on the web and compiled and published as books. Instead of sending anonymous postcards with ‘my secret,’ anonymous participants would find a video micro-clip that corresponds to their secret. Other community members would guess what the secret is from the video micro-clip.

App: Exquisite Video Corpse Again taking advantage of the community to create crowd art, this gaming app uses the exquisite corpse technique invented by the surrealists. In a group story telling exercise, the first person selects a video micro-clip. The second selects a second video micro-clip that is the next few frames of the story. The third selects the third, and so on. Each new person selecting can only see the story 1-2 nodes back. Again the crowd could vote on newly created video stories.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Omnivorous Learning

The Learning Mode: Critical Issues in Online Education at UC Berkeley March 15-16, 2013 squarely addressed the future of learning. Most obvious from this examination of the future of learning is that the same transition is underway that has happened in many other industries such as music, publishing, and personal communications, and is still wanting in public health. The effect of technology on the industry is to enable more categories of participation to be defined and a wider spectrum of outcomes to be achieved. Overall this points to an inherently democratizing and empowering influence of technology.

Another theme (as discussed in the book Why School?) is that education systems were developed in a different era when teachers, knowledge, and information were scarce, and that is no longer the case. There are many more choices for self, expert-based, and peer-based learning, in real-time on-demand and time-shifted venues. MOOC (massive open online course) platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX, and Class Central (a MOOC aggregator) have been growing and adding credentialing and course curation functionality. Other learning tools include podcasts, Khan Academy and YouTube videos, and Lumosity’s cognitive performance brain trainer.

A third theme is that the value chain for learning is becoming more granularly stratified. Learners are of all ages and backgrounds and have diverse educational objectives with are being supported with a variety of in-person, online, and mobile instruction tools.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What are the Next Media for Art?

Any prominent societal ‘currency’ is taken up by artists (and technologists and engineers) as an experimental medium. "Every culture will use the maximum level of technology available to it to make art" - Scott Draves, Generative Artist.

Recent societal currencies of prominence and dominance have included technology, information, biology, and raw data. All have been taken up by artists, scientists, laypersons, and other practitioners through the ease of widely available Internet-based tools (Examples in Figure 1).

The question would obviously arise as to ‘What are the next media for art?’ (e.g.; the continually new New Media). One way to answer is to prognosticate upcoming societal currencies. Some advancing societal currencies could be 3D printing feedstock (already starting to be exploited as an artistic medium), and pink goo – having more granularity and diversity of categories in synthetic biology.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

I want my wearables!

The layer of quantified self (QS) gadgetry starting to surround us (but not encircle us in the Heideggerian sense) is driving both the mindset shift (e.g.; disruption in the notion of the identity of the individual) and technical practicalities (e.g.; new health informatics business models and technology tools) required for a next generation of health science and technology innovation.

The adoption of the current cell phone-based QS applications and level-one QS devices (e.g.; Fitbit pedometers, myZeo sleep trackers, and Nike+ and Jawbone UP fitness trackers) could give way to the potentially rapidly arriving era of wearable computing. Mobile phones have been one of the fastest adopted technology platform to date, and the wearable computing platform could have even faster adoption and allow for even more self-quantification.