GOOD

Scientist Found The One Job Robots Will Never Be Able To Take From Us

It involves creativity

Image via Pexels

We’ve heard it all before: For every job a human can do, there’s a robot that can do it better, faster, and without posting whiny memes about the Monday struggle. But when a researcher decided to test a robot’s ability to complete one job requiring a specific kind of creativity, she was pleasantly surprised to find the bot was a bit of a failure.


Janelle Shane is a research scientist and electrical engineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego who trains neural networks for fun. Recently, she posted a new experiment to her Tumblr, “Postcards from the Frontiers of Science,” documenting the process of training a neural network to name and create new paint colors. Giving colors appealing names is in fact a real, human job, something that probably doesn’t cross your mind when trying to decide between butterscotch yellow and bone china. But what if a robot could be just as creative as a professional color creator?

That’s what Shane decided to find out. To begin, she fed the neural network (aka a computer that functions similarly to a human brain) a Sherwin-Williams list of about 7,700 hues with their corresponding red, green, and blue color values (that’s RGB for short). After dumping the information into the network and letting it figure out the tasks for itself, Shane found it was actually fairly skilled at combining different values to create new colors. But naming those colors proved to be a more difficult chore.

Here’s what the neural network came up with first:

Tumblr/Postcards from the Frontiers of Science

OK, so “Caae Blae” sounds like a color you might see in a Middle Earth dungeon rather than a living room in suburban Ohio. Language issues aside, the network seemed to prefer neutral tones, mixing gray, brown, and blue shades. After that first test, Shane let the network continue to learn. The longer it processed the data, the closer it got to recognizable labels. Still, the names were pretty abstract and sometimes didn’t match up with the actual color. “Rererte Green,” for instance, matched up with a pinkish red, while it named a periwinkle blue “Conk Green.”

Eventually, Shane amped up the network’s creativity levels. At its best, this is what the network came up with:

Tumblr/Postcards from the Frontiers of Science

Shane concluded two things based on the results of her experiment:

1. The neural network really likes brown, beige, and grey.

2. The neural network has really really bad ideas for paint names.

Perhaps the network isn’t necessarily bad, but just really, really stoned. Based on “Dope,” “Stoner Blue,” and “Turdly,” I might be on to something. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind living in a room painted “Snowbonk.” It looks soothing and makes me think of wintery, woodland creatures. Perhaps what this experiment provides more than anything is conclusive proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet