Researchers made progress enabling a computer to teach itself British Sign Language by analyzing video footage. The scientists from the University of Oxford and University of Leeds first programmed a machine vision algorithm so the computer could identify the shapes of hands in the video. From New Scientist:
Once the team were confident the computer could identify different signs in this way, they exposed it to around 10 hours of TV footage that was both signed and subtitled. They tasked the software with learning the signs for a mixture of 210 nouns and adjectives that appeared multiple times during the footage.
The program did so by analysing the signs that accompanied each of those words whenever it appeared in the subtitles. Where it was not obvious which part of a signing sequence relates to the given keyword, the system compared multiple occurrences of a word to pinpoint the correct sign.
Starting without any knowledge of the signs for those 210 words, the software correctly learnt 136 of them, or 65 per cent, says Everingham. "Some words have different signs depending on the context – for example, cutting a tree has a different sign to cutting a rose." he says, so this is a high success rate given the complexity of the task.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
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