Many of those with severe speech disorders use a computerized device to communicate. Yet they choose between only a few voice options. That’s why Stephen Hawking has an American accent, and why many people end up with the same voice, often to incongruous effect. Speech scientist Rupal Patel wanted to do something about this, and in this wonderful talk she shares her work to engineer unique voices for the voiceless.
Tagged with “technology” (243)
In this 1996 interview, Carl Sagan talks about pseudoscience, UFOs, and the origins of the universe.
In Spike Jonze’s new movie Her, a lonely Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) falls hard…for an operating system. This week in “Science Goes to the Movies,” our scientist-film critics weigh in on Her. Is “loveable” A.I. just around the corner? And if so, do we want it?
This week we welcome freelance UX consultant, Jenn Downs to the show. Jenn shares what she’s learned since her first talk and how she got started speaking. (She even wrote an article about it, too.) She tells us how important it is to watch yourself on video even if it sounds like the hardest thing ever, and how she got over her fear of public speaking to get up on stage.
For the past 6 years, Jenn Downs swung her way through the jungle at MailChimp from support to tech writing to UX Design Research. But in January of 2014 she was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug and left MailChimp to start a family business. She is now the Business/Tech Manager for Carpenter Koby Downs in Atlanta. Never one to only do one thing at a time, Jenn is also a freelance UX and email marketing consultant and a mentor for Code for America. Outside of being web nerd, Jenn is also a songwriter and plays bass and guitar in a few bands in Atlanta.
Jason Santa Maria shares with us some insight to how he approaches public speaking and shares some interesting thoughts on how he uses speaker notes.
Kevin Hoffman joins us on the show this week and talks about how a job as webmaster sparked his speaking career! We talk about Kevin’s first conference experience at the IA Summit and how that opportunity came about. Kevin also shares with us when he gets nervous and how he uses rehearsals, habits, and exercise to help conquer those nerves and other public speaking tips. - See more at: http://ladiesintech.com/podcast-kevin-hoffman/#sthash.wVhjA6gX.dpuf
David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society and Co-Director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law School, discusses his new book entitled, “Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room.” According to Weinberger, knowledge in the Western world is taking on properties of its new medium, the Internet. He discusses how he believes the transformation from paper medium to Internet medium changes the shape of knowledge. Weinberger goes on to discuss how gathering knowledge is different and more effective, using hyperlinks as an example of a speedy way to obtain more information on a topic. Weinberger then talks about how the web serves as the “room,” where knowledge seekers are plugged into a network of experts who disagree and critique one another. He also addresses how he believes the web has a way of filtering itself, steering one toward information that is valuable.
Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security expert and author, discusses his new book entitled, “Liars & Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs To Thrive.” Schneier starts the discussion by looking at society and trust and explains why he thinks the two are necessary for civilization. According to Schneier, two concepts contribute to a trustful society: first, humans are mostly moral; second, informal reputation systems incentivize trustworthy behavior. The discussion turns to technology and trust, and Schneier talks about how the information society yields greater consequences when trust is breached. He then describes how society deals with technology and trust and why he thinks the system is not perfect but working well overall.
Vinge began by declaring that he still believes that a Singularity event in the next few decades is the most likely outcome— meaning that self-accelerating technologies will speed up to the point of so profound a transformation that the other side of it is unknowable.
And this transformation will be driven by Artificial Intelligences (AIs) that, once they become self-educating and self-empowering, soar beyond human capacity with shocking suddenness.
He added that he is not convinced by the fears of some that the AIs would exterminate humanity.
He thinks they would be wise enough to keep us around as a fallback and backup— intelligences that can actually function without massive connectivity!
(Later in the Q&A I asked him about the dangerous period when AI’s are smart enough to exterminate us but not yet wise enough to keep us around.
How long would that period be?
“About four hours,” said Vinge .)
Since a Singularity makes long-term thinking impractical, Vinge was faced with the problem of how to say anything useful in a Seminar About Long-term Thinking, so he came up with a plausible set of scenarios that would be Singularity-free.
He noted that they all require that we achieve no faster-than-light space travel.
The overall non-Singularity condition he called “The Age of Failed Dreams.”
The main driver is that software simply continues failing to keep pace with hardware improvements.
One after another, enormous billion-dollar software projects simply do not run, as has already happened at the FBI, air traffic control, IRS, and many others.
Some large automation projects fail catastrophically, with planes running into each.
So hardware development eventually lags, and materials research lags, and no strong AI develops.
To differentiate visually his three sub-scenarios, Vinge showed a graph ranging over the last 50,000 and next 50,000 years, with power (in maximum discrete sources) plotted against human populaton, on a log-log scale.
Thus the curve begins at the lower left with human power of 0.3 kilowatts and under a hundred thousand population, curves up through steam engines with one megawatt of power and a billion population, up further to present plants generating 13 gigawatts.
His first scenario was a bleak one called “A Return to MADness.”
Driven by increasing environmental stress (that a Singularity might have cured), nations return to nuclear confrontation and policies of “Mutually Assured Destruction.”
One “bad afternoon,” it all plays out, humanity blasts itself back to the Stone Age and then gradually dwindles to extinction.
His next scenario was a best-case alternative named “The Golden Age,” where population stabilizes around 3 billion, and there is a peaceful ascent into “the long, good time.”
Humanity catches on that the magic ingredient is education, and engages the full plasticity of the human psyche, empowered by hope, information, and communication.
A widespread enlightened populism predominates, with the kind of tolerance and wise self-interest we see embodied already in Wikipedia.
One policy imperative of this scenario would be a demand for research on “prolongevity”— “Young old people are good for the future of humanity.”
Far from deadening progress, long-lived youthful old people would have a personal stake in the future reaching out for centuries, and would have personal perspective reaching back for centuries.
The final scenario, which Vinge thought the most probable, he called “The Wheel of Time.”
Catastrophes and recoveries of various amplitudes follow one another.
Enduring heroes would be archaeologists and “software dumpster divers” who could recover lost tools and techniques.
What should we do about the vulnerabilities in these non-Singularity scenarios?
Vinge ’s main concern is that we are running only one, perilously narrow experiment on Earth.
“The best hope for long-term survival is self-sufficient off-Earth settlements.”
We need a real space program focussed on bringing down the cost of getting mass into space, instead of “the gold-plated sham” of present-day NASA.
There is a common critique that there is no suitable place for humans elsewhere in the Solar System, and the stars are too far.
“In the long now,” Vinge observed, “the stars are not too far.”
(Note: Vinge’s detailed notes for this talk, and the graphs, may be found online at: http://rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge /longnow/index.htm ) —Stewart Brand
Former ‘New York Times’ writer James Gleick (the man who popularised "the butterfly effect" in ‘Chaos’) has produced the definitive history of the age in which we live, ‘The Information’. In Gleick’s book ‘Information’ he speaks about the information "flood". He talks with Robyn Williams, presenter of ABC Science and ABC Radio National.
We are in a predicament where we have the ability to reach out and get facts easily. Although we may have access this does not necessarily bring with it knowledge. The gatekeepers of information are more important than ever, due to our reliance on these authorities for truth.
This event was presented by Sydney Writer’s Festival 2011
James Gleick is an author, journalist and biographer whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. His books have popularised concepts such as "The Butterfly Effect" and sold bucketloads around the world. His most recent book, "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood", is being hailed as his crowning work. Gleick is also the author of the bestselling books "Chaos", ‘Genius’, ‘Faster’ and a biography of Isaac Newton. Three of these books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. James divides his time between New York City and Florida.
Robyn Williams has presented science programs on ABC radio and television since 1972. He is the first journalist to be elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was a visiting fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and is a visiting professor at the University of NSW.
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