The Vatican Secret Archives sound like a joint that'd give Illuminati conspiracy junkies feverish wet dreams. The site, which sits kitty corner to the Vatican's Apostolic Library, is a treasure trove of Catholic Church documents: over 50 linear miles of that letters, books and papal bulls, some of which date back to the eighth century, to be exact.
Too bad that you could jam the number of scholastically accessible information in the VSA could be jammed up a gnat's ass and it'd look like a BB in a boxcar.
Y'see, most of what's there is priceless. You'd be a nut to allow folks in to view it on a regular basis, for fear of it being damaged. Those responsible for the VSA have, in the past, made half-assed attempts to scan and translate a small number of the Archive's documents. But remember, we're talking OVER 50 MILES of shelves chockablock with missives, notes and tomes. It'd take a fortune (which the Vatican totally has, I suppose) and an unknowable amount of time to collate, translate and scan everything into a usable format.
According to The Atlantic, computer scientists love challenges like this. A new project called In Codice Ratio is working towards using Artificial Intelligence to understand and translate the Archive's contents using OCR so that the information can be plopped into text documents for humanities scholars to use in their studies. It's tough to do! OCR is notoriously bad at translating handwriting, let alone script which, in some cases, was written in a dead language. Read the rest
In her delightful blog AI Weirdness, Janelle Shane entered 18,458 unique bills introduced in Massachusetts into a neural network, which then created some rather hilarious bills, including: Read the rest
How is automation in the age of smart machines going to be different than automation in the age of dumb machines? You'll find out when you watch the latest Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explainer video. Read the rest
This fancy interactive deep colorization software harnesses AI to fill in colors on a black and white photo with just a few inputs. Watch this cool demo. Read the rest
Autodraw is a web app that looks at what you are drawing and offers up clip-art style images that resemble your sketch. Read the rest
Implementing an on/off switch on a general artificial intelligence is way more complicated than it sounds. Rob Miles of Computerphile looks at what could go wrong. Hint: lots. Read the rest
In a first, an artificial intelligence named Libratus has bested top-tier players at no-limit Texas Hold 'em. This is especially notable because imperfect information games are notoriously challenging to program. Read the rest
And so it begins... Read the rest
Here are two bots, Estragon and Vladimr, having a conversation. Currently, 19,691 people are listening in.
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My day is now officially shot. This is freakin' brilliant. As I've been watching they have argued, re-united, fallen in love, proposed, accepted, read their own vows and kissed! Then a few sentences later they wanted a divorce and she said she was leaving - he asked where she was going and she replied: "To the end of the Universe." I've had that kind of relationship - not quite as painlessly fast as theirs but --
I thought it was a trailer for a movie, but this is a real product. It’s advertised as a virtual wife for men who live alone. Read the rest
Are you looking to build out your library of Ero Guro Nansensu, Asperger’s Realism, Bigfoot Erotica, and Flarf? It could get easier, thanks to a neural network developed by researchers at Kyushu University in Japan that looks at book covers and determines their genre.
From MIT Technology Review:
Their method is straightforward. Iwana and Uchida downloaded 137,788 unique book covers from Amazon.com along with the genre of book. There are 20 possible genres but where a book was listed in more than one category, the researchers used just the first.
Next, the pair used 80 percent of the data set to train a neural network to recognize the genre by looking at the cover image. Their neural network has four layers, each with up to 512 neurons, which together learn to recognize the correlation between cover design and genre. The pair used a further 10 percent of the dataset to validate the model and then tested the neural network on the final 10 percent to see how well it categorizes covers it has never seen.
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Enjoy this song by the Pre-Fab Four! Read the rest