Universal paperclips

Tom Personal, Science, Tech 6 Comments

A weekend diversion for geeks. It is a very satisfying browser-based mostly text game with hours of gameplay (cleverly mostly unattended). Bear with it. It starts slowly but you will not guess how lunatic it goes. Leave it running in a browser when you tire of it.

Cat Litter Box with DRM

Tom Reading, Tech Leave a Comment

A salutary tech tale (sorry about the lack of cats). Just how many electronic gadgets are we effectively renting, not owning? It isn’t necessarily a massive problem, but we should at least have a feeling for what the scale and shape of our ownership is. I bought a litter box and involuntarily signed up to a never ending subscription service. Source: …

Oh Go on

Tom Reading, Tech Leave a Comment

More on AlphaGo. Such respect to Sedol for choosing to play the last match against what he views as the stronger incarnation of the machine. It didn’t help, of course. Fan Hui, the 3-time European champion has improved from number 600-ish in the world to be in the 300s while playing AlphaGo as part of its training. It’s been emotional, mostly sad, …

AlphaGo and cyborg rats

Tom Personal, Reading, Science, Tech Leave a Comment

So much sci-fi coming to earth this last week. AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol and convincingly. It’s important because the game was thought to be too “big” for traditional computer strategies based on simulating playing the game forward a few rounds and seeing what happens (like chess programs often do). Go has 10^761 possible games compared to the estimated 10^120 for chess. For me the most astonishing …

Go. Gone?

Tom Reading, Tech Leave a Comment

Everyone expected computer domination of Go to be “ten years” away. It looks strongly like it’s nearly with us. A European master was defeated 5-0 and a match up with a world champion match is due in March. Once again, the human player described the computer as “a wall”: it doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t spend too much time on particular …