Intelligent Cloud Services from the Basement

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What is geekier than talking tech in the the basement? From Lyle’s workshop we discuss virtual assistants (Alexa & Google Assistant) and artificial intelligence. Why are smart people so worried about a pending robot apocalypse?

Brian Cordan Young (@BrianCYoung) | Twitter

Brian Cordan Young
iOS programmer, artist, podcaster and elven archer.

CloudKit - NSHipster

A good writeup about CloudKit

Apple iCould Contact Syncing Woes

During the show Lyle argues that Brian should have given up on Apple iCloud contact syncing years ago. This article from Daniel Jalkut (MarsEdit developer) describes his own woes and how to recover your contacts.

Google Home – Made by Google

Google Home is a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own Google, always ready to help. Just start with, “Ok Google”.

Police ask Alexa: Who dunnit?

Police in Bentonville, Ark., asked Amazon for audio and other records from an Echo digital assistant in the home of James Andrew Bates after Victor Collins was found dead in Bates’ hot tub last year, The Information reported Tuesday.

Amazon declined to provide the data.

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Additional Reading: Alexa - Amazon's Operation System

Ben Thompson writes about technology, business and strategy. He is always insightful. Although most posts require a subscription, this free post outlines why Alexa is in a good position to be voice assistant to succeed.

Rachio Smart WiFi Sprinkler Controller - Automate Your Watering

The ultimate sprinkler controller is at hand. Introducing Rachio, the Smart Sprinkler Controller that gives you control of your sprinklers and watering bill, right from your smart phone.

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 16 Zone 1st Generation, Works with Alexa

Kasparov with Sam Harris

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Garry Kasparov about the problem of waning American power, the rise of Putin, the coming presidency of Donald Trump, computer chess, the future of artificial intelligence, and other topics.

Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People

Observe that in these scenarios the AIs are evil by default, just like a plant on an alien planet would probably be poisonous by default. Without careful tuning, there’s no reason that an AI’s motivations or values would resemble ours.

For an artificial mind to have anything resembling a human value system, the argument goes, we have to bake those beliefs into the design.

AI alarmists are fond of the paper clip maximizer, a notional computer that runs a paper clip factory, becomes sentient, recursively self-improves to Godlike powers, and then devotes all its energy to filling the universe with paper clips.

Pregnancy alters woman's brain 'for at least two years' - BBC News

Pregnancy reduces grey matter in specific parts of a woman’s brain, helping her bond with her baby and prepare for the demands of motherhood.

IBM's Watson supercomputer discovers 5 new genes linked to ALS

The computing system then ranked the nearly 1,500 genes in the human genome and predicted which could be associated with ALS. Barrow’s research team examined Watson’s predictions, and found that eight of the 10 genes proposed by the computer were linked to the disease. Of those, five had never before been associated with ALS

Foveated Rendering for VR

NVIDIA Research has demonstrated a method of foveated rendering which the company says is nearly invisible to users. Researchers behind the new approach say the method can drastically reduce rendering workload, allowing for more detailed virtual reality scenes.

Daydream by Google

Introducing Daydream
Simple, high quality virtual reality.