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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usagi Miyamoto wrote:
Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
Hey dro, was that your company on the front of the Register Guard a few days back?

You mean this one? I really doubt it. I'm pretty sure Dro's company has something to do with gene sequencing. Come to think of it, he may have more than one company that he's mentioned, but I think the other one also had something to do with gene sequencing, not EEGs.


well, he needs to get in on the eeg stuff immediately because that helmet thingie looks _awesome_.
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Dro



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been encouraging everyone in my lab to wear similar helmet thingies, but have had no takers. And no, not my company. My first company is doing fine, although seems to be only slowing growing at the 6-employee level. I'm starting a second one any day now doing related stuff but with a newer approach. Pretty excited to launch it!
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mouse



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dro! so glad that life as a business magnate is working out for you.

....although i can't help but notice how quickly you appear once mentioned. one would suspect you are spending your time refreshing the sinfest forums, waiting for a mention.

or maybe you have intern for that. i hear that's the sort of thing you use interns for.

you could get the intern to model the helmet thinking, i'm sure once everyone saw how cool it is, they would all wear them.


and then you can download all their ideas directly.
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Dro



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh, I thought I've been participating semi-regularly lately. I guess not! And Monkey mentioned me yesterday and even though I was reading threads several times since yesterday I missed that one since I haven't been reading the... what is this... dead pool thread so much so didn't expect me to mentioned in here. Creepy.

edit: oh, random news stories. Not so portent-full and less creepy.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The monkeys now have Intel inside:

Assault on Writers From Automated Software
Gini Graham Scott

Quote:
Professional writers today are in a crisis. Between millions of writers who are writing books and articles for free, celebrities with million dollar book deals (often written by an unknown ghostwriter), e-books transforming traditional publishers and reducing advances, and consolidations and disappearances of many book, newspaper, and magazine publishers, there are fewer paid writing opportunities -- and those that exist are often paying less. After all, there are many more non-professional writers and fewer opportunities, so it's simple supply and demand market economics.

And now there is still another assault on writers that is already here and will only get worse. The assault comes in the form of automated software that writes books and articles, further eliminating the potential jobs for writers. Sure the advantage of the software is that it can do a lot of routine writing tasks much faster and more cheaply, and as the software gets better and better -- just a matter of time, it can do more and more sophisticated writing, and the more it sounds like a real writer is writing the book and article, the more writers will be displaced. Consider the writer just another casualty of the technology revolution -- much like outsourcing and automation has eliminated many factory and service jobs to other countries, especially in Asia, or an army of helpful robots.

I became intrigued by this topic when as an author with two dozen e-books on Smashwords I read founder Mark Coker's "2013 Book Publishing Industry Predictions -- Indie Ebook Authors Take Charge," Among other things, Coker noted that "If Amazon could invent a system to replace the author from the equation, they'd do that," and went on to describe how one innovative publisher, ICON Group International has already patented a system that automatically generates non-fiction books, and he worries that as the field of artificial intelligence increases, "how long until novelists are disinter-mediated by machines." While Coker notes that over 100,000 titles by ICON are already available for sale on AMAZON, in fact, ICON's website boasts the company has published over 250,000 titles. And two other software developers, Narrative Science and Automated Insights are already doing this for clients. Right now the software is primarily used to turn large amounts of data, such as sports scores, medical research, and business stats, into insightful narratives. But it could be only a matter of time before the software starts taking over the work that journalists, non-fiction book writers, novelists, and other kinds of writers do.

So how does this all work? And I assure you, I'm writing this article! I checked out a series of articles and websites to find out.

First, take ICON International, founded by Professor Philip M. Parker, who calls himself "the most published author in the history of the planet," who as of April 2008 had already written 200,000 books, according to Noam Cohen's New York Times article "He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work").

Basically, Parker has developed computer algorithms that collect information on a subject which is already publicly available with the help of 60 to 70 computers and a half-dozen programmers to create books in a variety of genres. The typical books include health publications which provide information on over 700 diseases and conditions, such as The Official Patient's Sourcebook, the world outlook for different types of products such as The 2003-2008 World Outlook for Wrapped Cakes, country outlooks, such as The 2007-2012 Outlook for Deli Foods in the United States, competitiveness studies, such as the relative performance and productivity across 230 countries, trade studies of exports and imports, and company benchmarks for financial and labor productivity. But the company has also created crossword puzzles, simple poetry books, and a series of Webster's Quotations, Facts, and Phrases and is developing the software to produce romance novels, which are often written based on a popular formula. Plus now a company called EdgeMaven, is using the databases and the patents of Professor Parker to create paperback books, ebooks, games, and video titles, including TV segments, features, and mixed-media titles) for other clients by compiling information to draw basic conclusions, applying a formula to a genre, or preparing a report, film, or game as a specialist in that field might, such as writing a econometrics report.

Meanwhile, Narrative Science has created its own software to turn data, such as sports statistics, company financial reports, and housing starts and sales and turns it into articles which sound like they are written by a real writer, such as in this opening sentence featured in a New York Times article by Steve Lohr: "In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column."

As the computer generated article starts off: "WISCONSIN appears to be in the driver's seat en route to a win, as it leads 51-10 after the third quarter."

According to Lohr, Narrative Science, led by two of the company's founders, Kris Hamman and Larry Birnbaum, co-directors of the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University, has developed software based on more than a decade of research to mimic human reasoning so the articles sound like a real human wrote them. For the most part, the technology is being used to help publications with limited budgets provide additional coverage, such for recaps of local sports and the quarterly financial results of local public companies. But the big problem for writers is the potential for these computer generated articles to totally replace them. As Jerry Battiste writes in The Starved Writer "Will Computers Replace Writers? (Looks As If They Already Have),"

"The stories produced by the program designed by the company, Narrative Science, are indistinguishable from those written by living breathing reports. Editors are unable to tell the difference and in tests, usually prefer the prose composed by the computer to those created by human hands and minds." In fact, the computers have gotten so good that they can now write "just about any kind of content, using any kind of data," and they can adapt it to different styles, publication tone, and specialized vocabulary. While a writer may start the process by customizing the existing platform, then the computer takes over to come up with the facts and inferences drawn from the client data, as Joe Fassler notes in an Atlantic article: "Can the Computers at Narrative Science Replace Paid Writers."

And now still another company Automated Insights, based in Durham, North Carolina is doing much the same thing, though targeting companies that want a compelling narrative to enhance their data. They start by receiving data from the customer, public repositories, and third-party data providers, analyze the data, derive and prioritize insights using powerful algorithms that determine significance based on context and uniqueness, create a narrative that tells the story in various forms from a long-form narrative, to bullet-points, tweets, and headlines, and then publish it in real time forms, including web, mobile, Twitter, email, and books.

In short, the basic technology is already there and is likely to increasingly take over jobs once held by writers. Sure writers can always write free articles and celebrity writers -- or writers interviewing and ghostwriting for celebrities -- will always be in demand. But what about other writers? And as this software becomes sophisticated, it can be used to create art, music, virtually any kind of artform, and perhaps it already has. As for me -- I think this could be a signal for taking a long vacation. At least, a computer can't enjoy the vacation for me.


Our species is doomed.
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stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been expecting that for some time. Reminds me of 1984, where machines compose books instead of people.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
Our species is doomed.

What would ever give you that idea?
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Heretical Rants



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wait wait are you telling me I could write a book by first writing code instead


cuz I'm better at coding than I am at writing books


why would you be upset about this
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I so wish slippery slope was a fallacy here . . . wait this is all part of the machines master plan. First they take control of the written word, thereby inserting subtle changes in influence. Then it starts designing our stuff, from buildings to vehicles to clothing to, well everything. Soon we'll just be batteries for the matrix.

No, I don't know of these other movies you speak of.
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Heretical Rants



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm the one who's telling the machines what to do, though. It would be more reasonable to be afraid of me (well, humans in general, really) than to be afraid of software written by me.

Crimes that would be petty misdemeanors or less irl suddenly become felonies once computers are involved. Government is afraid, and government crushes the things it is afraid of.
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Dro



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about the other efforts, but the Icon books have always been fascinating to me. But look at them... they are not really 'books' or 'writing' as we think of them"
Echinacea: Webster's Timeline History, 1843 - 2007 [Paperback]
Webster's bibliographic and event-based timelines are comprehensive in scope, covering virtually all topics, geographic locations and people. They do so from a linguistic point of view, and in the case of this book, the focus is on "Echinacea," including when used in literature (e.g. all authors that might have Echinacea in their name). As such, this book represents the largest compilation of timeline events associated with Echinacea when it is used in proper noun form.

The 2013 Import and Export Market for Portland Cement, Aluminous Cement, Slag Cement, Supersulfate Cement, and Similar Hydraulic Cements in Australia [Paperback]

On the demand side, exporters and strategic planners focusing on portland cement, aluminous cement, slag cement, supersulfate cement, and similar hydraulic cements in Australia face a number of questions. Which countries are supplying portland cement, aluminous cement, slag cement, supersulfate cement, and similar hydraulic cements to Australia? How important is Australia compared to others in terms of the entire global and regional market? How much do the imports of portland cement, aluminous cement, slag cement, supersulfate cement, and similar hydraulic cements vary from one country of origin to another in Australia? On the supply side, Australia also exports portland cement, aluminous cement, slag cement, supersulfate cement, and similar hydraulic cements.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I'm not implying trying to imply oh god machines are taking over. I meant to say I expected it because it is a concept that has showed up before, and it is one I thought someone couldn't resist trying.

A robot can do my job currently, but I'm fascinated rather than horrified.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://gawker.com/5994549/the-virginia-mall-shooting-was-announced-in-advance-on-4chan



So um yeah his profile is here: http://www.nrccstudents.org/macinnisn/

There doesn't seem to be anything indicating he would do this sort of thing. 'A lesson,' say what?
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Felgraf



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
http://gawker.com/5994549/the-virginia-mall-shooting-was-announced-in-advance-on-4chan



So um yeah his profile is here: http://www.nrccstudents.org/macinnisn/

There doesn't seem to be anything indicating he would do this sort of thing. 'A lesson,' say what?


A friend of mine was actually *there* at that college when it happened. (He's okay!)
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, um, what was this "lesson" business about?
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