The weird and wonderful world of UAVs

Recently, my long time friend and colleague Ben Goertzel came to Hong Kong to help advise on the AI project I’m working on. He also happened to bring a “Parrot” quadcopter (warning, this link autoplays a youtube video), which is an awesome wifi controlled toy that has quad rotors. Not much different to a radio-controlled helicopter except it’s much cheaper and also more stable.

There are some vague plans to do autonomous control of these devices using vision processing and voice recognition. Although the actual hardware used maybe different since quadcopter drones have gone hobbyist and you can build your own from scratch.

I will now leave you with two youtube videos of them in action…

Using the Kinect hacked onto a drone to allow it to build a 3d model of the environment and do it’s own path finding:

Other’s have used motion capture to allow tracking of a ball which is then juggled between two quadcopters with trampolines:

International Conference on Advanced Intelligence 2010

The 2nd International Conference on Advanced Intelligence 2010 has just released it’s call for papers, which you can download here: ICAI2010 Call For Papers.

How is “Advanced Intelligence” different from general AI? The release says:

Typical features of Advanced Intelligence include: (1) Close interaction and coordination between Natural Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, (2) Ideas and applications that push the frontiers of both Artificial Intelligence and Natural Intelligence, (3) Large-scale Distributed Intelligence and Web Intelligence

FWIW, I’m not sure I agree with the name, since “advanced” is a relative term, and the field of AGI (artificial general intelligence) is already fragmented enough without adding additional labels. Having said that, I’ve been invited to be an assistant co-chair, so I cordially invite you to submit interesting papers since then they’ll be a greater chance of me getting interesting papers to review 😉

Bits and bobs as we enter 2010

  • OpenCog is getting get a bit of comment on twitter, which might in part be due to it being linked on Hacker News.
  • I’ve started up at Jai Thai Kickboxing, which is just around the corner from where I live so I hope to get 4-5 sessions in a week. After my first session my shins and feet are somewhat bruised, this could indicate that my technique leaves something to be desired. Equally likely however is that my shins just need to harden up!
  • I read in the paper that Avatar is the faster movie to reach a billion dollars at the box office. It was very pretty, but it was also only a passable story. I hope that Avatar’s success will show the movie industry that they need to adapt by making cinema an immersive experience so that they are providing people a reason to go to the cinema instead of watching movies at home.
  • My life experience keeps expanding and it makes me feel alive. I stand by my assertion that the meaning of life is experience.

Notes on PLN

Kaj Sotala has been making his notes on PLN available on LJ as he reads through the Probabilistic Logic Networks book.

Telling stories and priming the mind

As a kid, and even in the first few years of University, I used to have trouble understanding why things needed to be explained in detail. Essays were difficult because I’d take the point I was trying to make and think of it like a logic problem:

This interesting fact and this analysis, thus this is the point.

Except that made for very short essays that were no where near the word limit.

Continue reading →

Irssi and proxy

So I finally got around to setting up an IRC proxy on my server. I do all my OpenCog collaboration via email and IRC, and if I switch off my laptop or go travelling with it, I’ll often miss out on possibly important conversations. I’ve also been wanting to set up automatic uploads of the log to the OpenCog wiki so that others can checked what’s been mention too.

So, enter irssi a console based IRC client which is super configurable and awesome. Of course, because it’s console based and super-configurable, it takes a little bit of learning to understand how to use it properly, but it’s worth it (just like Vim). If you’re on Ubuntu/Debian it’s as easy as:

sudo apt-get install irssi irssi-scripts

irssi has a cool plugin called irssi-proxy, which sits in irssi and pretends to be an IRC server. You connect to it with whatever (and however many) IRC client you like, and it’ll route all IRC messages to you… and also messages from any clients connected. So, to the appearance of everyone else, there’s only one ferrouswheel connected 24/7, but locally I might be connecting to and from my proxy with laptop, work computer, phone.

There’s a reasonably nice guide to getting things set up over here, although I skipped the whole ssh tunnel thing, since I’m connecting over a locally secured wifi and it’s not like I’m discussing topics of national security (at least, not yet! ;-P)

Off to the land of Oz

I’m not a particular regular updater with this particular blog (too many things have been demanding my attention lately), but I thought I’d drop a note to say I’ll be off the radar for a week or so…

I’ll be attending Burning man. I’m immensely looking forward to this as this is the first year in several that’s actually been feasible for me to get there from New Zealand. I’ll be with an Australian theme camp called Straya that a friend of mine put me in contact with, and who’ll also be there.

As well as Burning man, I plan to hang out in Washington D.C with Ben to talk about our work on OpenCog. Then I’ll stay in San Francisco for 5-6 weeks (end of Sep till start of Nov) to attend the Singularity Summit followed by the CogDev Workshop (an OpenCog coding jam, details to be finalised, but likely to be just after the Summit).

If you’ll be at any of these events and want to chat, drop me a line 🙂

Without stimulus the mind is not alive

This is my hypothesis. The mind is not a object but a process, it takes information from the outside world and transforms it into pattern. That pattern is not the mind, it’s just the way the mind sustains itself from moment to moment. That pattern still exists when you die, albeit temporarily until decay sets in, but we aren’t alive because the mind isn’t receiving any new input.

Now that doesn’t mean a consciousness can’t be revived, the pattern is still there, and if the process can be restarted then I suspect the consciousness would continue as if nothing happen. One moment about to die, the next revived. This is essentially what proponents of cryogenics expect to occur.

Did I just contradict myself, by saying that consciousness can be revived from the pattern, even though I claimed the pattern wasn’t the mind? I don’t believe so. The pattern is the painting, the mind is painter. In humans, the painter is the physiological processes that generate the electrical signals shooting through our body and that update the neuronal structure in our brain.

OpenCog in 2008 Google Summer of Code

SIAI and OpenCog are recruiting people for Google Summer of Code. GSoC is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects.

Want to work on AI/language-processing over the Northern Hemisphere summer? Here are some of the ideas for projects proposed. Applications to Google open on the 24th of March.