DeepMind Artificial Intelligence [Video]

I stumbled on this interesting video the other day. DeepMind is a company founded to create general artificial intelligence (“general” meaning that the AI can understand all kinds of different things, like a human being can). Most AI is “narrow” – which means it it specifically created to solve one problem (like play chess very well).

The whole video is interesting, but you can jump ahead to 10:00 to see the AI learn to play 1980s video games. It does a surprisingly good job at playing Space Invaders and Breakout. It doesn’t do so well with more complicated games like PacMan, though. The amazing thing is that the only information they feed the AI is the screen image. The AI slowly learns to play the game by trying to maximize his score.

“How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views”

I agree with all of this. The quick version, for people who don’t want to take time to watch the video is this:

Creators put videos on YouTube, and they get ad-revenue based on views.

Other people/companies/etc take popular videos from YouTube and post them (in Facebook video format) onto their own Facebook page.

Creators don’t like this, because it deprives them of ad-revenue, popularity, and allows other people (on Facebook) to get the benefits of their videos (growing their own brand, increased popularity of their Facebook page, allowing them to sell other products, etc).

Here’s the Frank Green article mentioned at the end of the video:

Southpark Explains Freemium Mobile Games

Yup. I agree with all of this. Southpark does a good job of explaining how freemium works. Recently, I heard a guy explain how much money he earned from various business models (free but with advertisements, pay for the app, freemium), and he said that freemium was the clear winner when it came to earning revenue, so I can’t entirely blame creators for using that business model.

Bro Force!

I’m posting this because I just think the idea behind this game is hilarious. It’s a side-scrolling shooter like Metal Slug or Contra, except you’re playing as an famous hypermasculine action hero (Rambo, Mr.T, etc). I also think it’s a good lesson in how a good game concept can be viral.

It also reminded me of this video, which is also pretty cool. (It gets progressively more surreal.)

SMBC Sisyphus [Webcomic]

This comic by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal pretty much nails Facebook games. It reminds me of Cow Clicker – which was designed to be a parody of shallow Facebook games, but ended up becoming inexplicably popular.

To be fair to Facebook games, one of the reasons I never got into MMOs is because they seemed like complex versions of this same story: “What does a higher level get me? Better weapons and tougher baddies.”

Keloid and Artificial Intelligence [Video]

I do enjoy gritty sci-fi and AI. I love the trailer for this movie.

It seems like the real-world is starting to look more and more like this. Here’s a Boston Dynamics Video:

I have to admit, even as a software developer, that there are some things that worry me about the advances in artificial intelligence. The Terminator movies provide an example of machines becoming intelligent and turning on humans, but a more important danger is the fact that machines obey their master. With computer viruses and coups, there’s the danger of shutting down an entire army or someone taking control of a mechanized army. At least with humans, there was a person who would decide whether or not to open-fire on civilians. Soldiers could decide for themselves whether or not to support a coup.

On a related note, I’ve been working on the AI of Empires of Steel lately.