GOOD

Can a Robot Create Something Beautiful?

A creative alternative to Alan Turing’s famous test gauging a computer’s capacity for human-like intelligence

Photo courtesy of Weinstein Company

This week, one British genius will impersonate another in The Imitation Game, a newly released drama about mathematician Alan Turing. Turing was instrumental in cracking the Nazi's Enigma code during World War II, helping the Allies win the war; he was later prosecuted for homosexuality (a criminal offense in the United Kingdom in the 1950s) and sadly, died just before his 42nd birthday from cyanide poisoning. His emotional ups and downs will be brought to life by everyone’s favorite internet sex god, Benedict Cumberbatch, who has perfected the quizzical eyebrow as the star of BBC’s Sherlock.


Alan Turing statue. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Besides his wartime achievements, Turing is also famous for coming up with what is now known as the Turing Test, which assesses a machine’s ability to think like a human. In the test, first proposed by Turing in 1950, a human asks two participants a set of written questions. One participant is human; the other is a machine. If the “judge” asking the questions can’t reliably tell which participant is human and which is not, then the machine has passed the assessment. This is what Turing called “the imitation game”; since then, different versions of the Turing Test have become the benchmark for determining machine intelligence.

Now, a researcher at Georgia Tech has proposed an alternative: a test that assesses a computer’s capacity for human-level intelligence through its ability to create rather than converse.

Mark Riedl, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, believes that creating certain types of art requires intelligence that only humans possess, leading him to wonder if there could be a better way to gauge whether a machine can replicate human thought. His Lovelace 2.0 Test of Artificial Creativity and Intelligence measures how well a machine can create a “creative artifact” from a subset of artistic genres set by a human evaluator. The machine passes if it meets the set criteria, but the final product does not actually have to resemble a Rembrandt.

Mark Riedl, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech

“It's important to note that Turing never meant for his test to be the official benchmark as to whether a machine or computer program can actually think like a human,” Riedl said. “And yet it has, and it has proven to be a weak measure because it relies on deception. This proposal suggests that a better measure would be a test that asks an artificial agent to create an artifact requiring a wide range of human-level intelligent capabilities.”

Riedl will present his paper at an Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence workshop in January

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