The pace of AI increasing?

Google's AlphaGo AI recently beat the world champion of Go - a feat many didn't think was possible for some number of years. It's possible the pace of AI - at least gaming AI - is picking up. Much like any industry, more developers produce better and more rapid results.

This will become very exciting if this quickening pace carries over to robotics.

Click here to read the "Go" article.

Click here to read my primer on AI.


Please Welcome Our Computer Overlords

plutoOr not...

Artificial Intelligence has come a long way, but enormous hurdles must be overcome to create 'true' AI. Being a former software engineer, I've tried my hand at creating simple AIs - ones that are no threat to the world, are simpletons, and generally have no desire other than to happily live out their digital lives inside a tiny digital box. However, it's quite difficult to do and once you try it, all of the problems we face in creating digital life comes to the forefront.

Here's another tidbit for you: the very best chess program in the world - you know, the ones that handily beat the world's best chess players - don't actually know how to play a lick of chess.

Want to know why? Click artificial intelligence chess ai chinese room argument to read all about it in my latest article, entitled "Artificial Intelligence: Solving the Chinese Room Argument".


Pluto: To Catch an Icy King

plutoWe've finally arrived - and left - the Pluto system with the New Horizons mission. The images returned have been spectacular. It's as if we've finally come to introduce ourselves to this elusive Kuiper belt object after staring at it from across the room for nearly a century. Now we know what it looks like up close and Pluto didn't disappoint.

Did you know that travel beyond Jupiter was considered impossible before 1961?

It was during that year that a young grad student named Michael Minovitch discovered 'gravity assist' which lets us use the energy of a planet's gravity to boost the speed of our spacecraft. Planets like Jupiter and Saturn really give us a nice boost of velocity - all for free. That's how we were able to reach Pluto and beyond.

For more details on this trip as well as Pluto and its station in the Kuiper belt, click Pluto: To Catch an Icy King.


The Benefits of Coworking

I often do my work at coworking spaces. While in Memphis, I go to Cowork Memphis, located in the diverse Cooper-Young district. Not only is the space large, but the staff will promote their members, which they did recently with me. It's always nice to be promoted and Cowork Memphis exemplifies this.

You can read the article here.


Bradley Wiggins and the World Hour Record

Bradley Wiggins World Hour RecordOn June 7, 2015, Bradley Wiggins will attempt to go farther than anyone else in history in one hour on a bicycle. It's an incredibly difficult task, but if anybody can do it, it's him.

Click here to read my latest article about his attempt and the history behind this brutal event.


Review of tornado probability graph

Found this article on Digg. There are two graphics on there: 1) Time of day heat map, and 2) U.S. geographical choropleth map. Combined, this allows for a nearly instantaneous idea of when/where tornadoes are most likely to hit.

It would have been nice to see a month heat map here as well. I'm curious how many tornadoes, if any, hit in December for example. I'm also curious about the strength of a tornado vs time of day, but that was probably out of scope for this article.

In my opinion, this is an excellent data visualization. Instead of using rainbow colors, these graphs show variation by scaling a single color which is much more effective. Further, each map uses the same colors for the same purposes. Even more impressive, the colors tend to match what severe weather looks like (severe = dark, less severe = light). Lastly, although there are no illustrations within the graphs, they aren't needed here at all.


What Killed the Infographic? - a Response

In Mark Wilson's excellent piece ("What Killed the Infographic?) about the state of infographics, he mentions that the industry is 'growing up'. In many ways, that's a good thing as it might reduce some of the 'noise' out there. Google 'infographics' and you'll be inundated with both well-designed pieces and those that are nothing more than colors splattered on a page interspersed with random numbers. I would like to see the industry 'grow up' as well, in hopes that the overall quality and design of infographics would increase.

He goes on to imply that the industry is becoming more standardized. When referencing tools like Tableau, he says: "Now, it might not be the world's most creative data visualization. But that's one of the tradeoffs." This is where I begin to see problems.

If the industry ends up being 'codified', then most infographics will look the same. That, to me, is boring and sterile. I want to see real creativity, real genius in this industry - that's what got it going in the first place. For the true, highly-talented creators out there, they will never use software such as Tableu - it's far, far too limiting. Instead, they will continue to use whatever tools allow them to produce the most innovative pieces out there.

Thus, while the industry may indeed be 'growing up', I certainly hope that doesn't mean it also becomes sterile. That being said, I'm sure there will always be room for the true creatives out there.


Top 10!

Do you like association football (soccer)? The world certainly does. My feature "Swallowing the Bitter Pill: England, the Premier League and the World Cup" made the Top 10 Features list for Statistics Views. Many thanks to the readers for making it possible.


2015 Cricket World Cup

Top Five Cricket World Cup Feats 2015Did you watch the 2015 Cricket World Cup? Were you aware that such a thing exists and that it's the third-most watched event in the world (behind the Association Football World Cup and the Summer Olympics)? A lot happened in this year's edition.

Click here to find out the Top 5 feats from the event.


Interview with Session College for Professional Design

Recently, Sessions College conducted an interview with me about some recent artwork of mine that is being displayed. There is some practical advice in there as well as some real-world experience stories. Click here for a transcript of that interview.

For those that are interested in a career in graphic design, Sessions College is a good place to go, especially if you require your education to be internet-based. I graduated in December of 2014 and feel that it was a very good experience. Going in, I knew very little about graphic design and coming out, I knew a great deal - with practical experience.

Like any other endeavor, you get out what you put into it. So, if you give Sessions a try, put your heart and soul into it and you'll be rewarded accordingly.

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