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Emergent // Future Weekly: The Cyber, the Zerg, the Ethics, and more

Frontier Technology NewsletterIssue 30
This week we check out the
the government’s open source projects, how Google DeepMind is learning to play StarCraft II, and what CMU is doing to improve the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Plus, our top projects to try at home, and our favorite articles from the past week.

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The Cyber 🌐

The White House launched Code.gov, a repository of federal open source projects.

The goal is to improve access to the government’s custom-developed software, like the We the People app, the White House Facebook chatbot, and Data.gov.

The site currently has 50 repos from 10 federal agencies. Get the Code.gov project Repo here.


The Google vs. The Zerg 🕹

Google’s DeepMind and Blizzard are working together to open up StarCraft II to AI and machine learning researchers.

The goal is to test DeepMind and see if it can learn to play the complex real-time strategy game. The game will also be modified so researchers can build artificial intelligence systems for the purpose of learning to play StarCraft 2.

Related, Facebook released TorchCraft, a library for machine learning researchers working on real-time strategy games.

Why? Games are a perfect environment to develop and test smarter, more flexible AI algorithms, because they provide instant feedback through scores.


AI Ethics. ⚡️

Carnegie Mellon is set to open a research center focused on the ethics of artificial intelligence after receiving a $10 million endowment. The funds will be used for undergraduate students and to host a biennial conference on AI ethics.

The IEEE recently launched an initiative to examine ethical considerations in the design of autonomous systems.

These initiatives echo the Obama administration’s new report on the future of AI, which puts a strong emphasis on ethics.


What We’re Reading 📚

  • The Lost Civilization of Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems. A former systems operator logs back in to the original computer-based social network. (The Atlantic)
  • An Introduction to Deep Learning. Companies are turning to deep learning to solve hard problems, like speech recognition, object recognition, and machine translation. (Algorithmia)
  • 12 Observations About Artificial Intelligence From The O’Reilly AI Conference. At the inaugural O’Reilly AI conference, 66 artificial intelligence practitioners and researchers from 39 organizations presented the current state-of-AI: From chatbots and deep learning to self-driving cars and emotion recognition to automating jobs and obstacles to AI progress to saving lives and new business opportunities. (Forbes)
  • Web Pioneer Tries to Incubate a Second Digital Revolution. Twenty years ago, Brian Behlendorf helped kick-start the Web—now he’s betting the technology behind Bitcoin can make the world fairer. (MIT Technology Review)
  • Using Microservices to Encode and Publish Videos at The New York Times. We needed a system that could continuously scale in both capacity and features while not compromising on either quality or reliability. (New York Times)
  • Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Startup Changing Computing Forever. All these wonders are illusions, conjured into being through the lenses of a “mixed reality” headset–the arcane invention of the startup called Magic Leap. (Forbes)

Try This At Home 🛠


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Man hacks Alexa into singing fish robot, terror ensues


Emergent Future is a weekly, hand-curated dispatch exploring technology through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. Subscribe here.

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