Algorithms to watch and nudge sleepy drivers via wsav
Dutch luxury bus company Royal Beuk BV is outfitting vacation bus lines with a system designed by Australian company Seeing Machines that monitors whether a driver is becoming drowsy.
It uses infrared light and a camera to register eye movements to see whether a driver’s gaze is distracted from the road for too long, or if he is blinking progressively more slowly - signs he may be close to nodding off.
If the system’s software algorithms determine there’s a problem, it will first sound an alarm for the driver. Further alarms will pull in human assistance or intervention
"What we see is that drivers learn very quickly not to be distracted from the road," Ken Kroeger, the CEO of Seeing Machines, said in a telephone interview. "However, you can’t train someone to not be tired."
Mercedes and Volvo have both introduced automobile systems that measure drowsiness by analyzing steering wheel movements, while Ford uses cameras to check whether a car is drifting out of its lane.
The 1997 Academy Awards are mostly remembered as the year Titanic won 11 oscars, but at a dinner ceremony separate from the telecast Ken Perlin received an Academy Technical Achievement Award for an algorithm. In 1983 Perlin began work on a pseudo-noise function with the intention of generating organic looking textures that moved away from the TRON aesthetic. Now known as Perlin Noise, the method was widely adopted by various studios and used in films ranging from the Lion King to Titanic; Disney put it into their CAPS system - you can see it in the mists and layered atmosphere in high end animated features like The Lion King.
Perlin’s vase and smoke images are amongst other early images found here. His award reads:
To Ken Perlin for the development of Perlin Noise, a technique used to produce natural appearing textures on computer generated surfaces for motion picture visual effects. The development of Perlin Noise has allowed computer graphics artists to better represent the complexity of natural phenomena in visual effects for the motion picture industry.
The Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm update had a huge influence on web-traffic via The Atlantic
About the middle of October, a number of news organization websites started to see huge numbers of visitors flowing from Facebook. Buzzfeed’s Charlie Warzel reported that Buzzfeed and its partner sites had seen traffic from Facebook surge 69 percent between August and October.
The change wasn’t out of nowhere. In August, a Facebook corporate blog post hinted that the algorithm that controlled the site’s News Feed was changing slightly, such that “stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top […] if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.”
It sounds like a little change, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of the News Feed… And a traffic jump of the size Warzel reported could only come with a change in the News Feed algorithm.
For the past two months, traffic has been surging to news publishers. Facebook dwarfs Twitter—and every other social network—such that an algorithmic change like this quickly makes it the largest referrer to most news sites. A programming change is all it takes to remind publishers who’s boss.
The Guardian experiments with a robot-generated newspaper with The Long Good Read. Guardian developer Dan Catt made a script running on Google App Engine that calls the Guardian’s API for each new item it sees to find out more about it. It rejects things like Galleries, Podcasts, Videos and such like right away. It also gets rid of the “Live Blogs” at this stage. Then does a word count rejecting anything under 1,000 words. Any article that gets past those filters would get queued and blogged.
The technology was then paired up with semi-automated on-demand printing technology from The Newspaper Club to create layouts ready for print. Tom Taylor, who automated the process was interviewed:
It’s a human-robot workflow that makes putting together a customized newspaper a quick process. The Long Good Read is sent to the printer on Friday and delivered fresh on Monday, Taylor said. “It becomes possible to make a paper in an hour that you can put in a coffee shop and have 500 copies.”
Listen To Wikipedia by Hatnote is an audible/ generative sound visualisation of changes being made to Wikipedia. Its worth noting that Wikipedia is maintained by both bots and humans, and its only through these web experiments that we can see or hear that labour force.
Machine-readable socks by XOAB
In pursuit of comfortable and colourful socks, start-up XOAB created an algorithm that automates the once manual job of translating an image into a sock stitch pattern. By hand, the translation would be take days and usually result in a simplification of the image and a sock full of ‘floats’, the loose ends that make socks itchy. The algorithm removes all floats and can calculate much more complex combinations of colours. The algorithm also adds to the weave pattern a machine-readable barcode that embeds that particular sock with metadata, such as its production model, unique size parameters, date of manufacture and origin.
Nonfacial Mirror, 2013 by Shinseungback Kimyonghun is an ordinary household facial mirror that avoids looking at faces by using facial detection software and a servo to face away from the viewer.
GE’s $100,000 prize contest to create an algorithm that will optimise flight plans by crunching data on weather, air traffic, delays, fuel consumption and so on.
Imagine if the pilot could augment their decision-making process with “real time business intelligence” — information available in the cockpit that would allow them to make adjustments to their flight patterns.
Mónica first ran a script to probe the restaurant’s online reservation service for new availability and noticed that space became available at 4am but would be fully booked again by 4.01am. He deduced that at this speed the reservations were being processed by bots.
He then proceeded to write his own bot to compete in what he calls a Bot War Arms Race, similar to the bot wars in High Frequency Trading. He has made the source code available and explains:
I used mechanize to create a simple ruby script that goes through the process of checking for available reservations (in a given time range) and making a reservation under your name.
With this script I was able to start getting reservations again, but I know that this bot war will continue to escalate. Expect future posts on how I will adapt my strategies as the arms race continues to heat up.
The Reddit tic-tac-toe bot via Daily Dot
As on Twitter, courting the bot-making community has resulted in a surfeit of novelty. One user created a bot that plays tic-tac-toe in the comments of Reddit threads; another scans the comments for replies with the proper syllable count, then reformats them as a haiku. When it comes to such playful uses, though, the users who moderate subreddits tend to be less tolerant than the site’s administrators. Because Reddit is oriented around topical subreddits, rather than on the Twitter-like option to follow or unfollow other users, the line between novelty and spam quickly grows thin. Thus, when bot-generated jokes lose their novelty or exhibit a tendency to derail discussion, the usual remedy is to ban them from more and more subreddits, until there’s no place left for them to play.
John Matrix is the Spotify hit artist created by internet security consultant Peter Fillmore. Not being a musician Fillmore generated short midi clips using WolframTones: “WolframTones works by taking ‘simple programs’ from Wolfram’s computational universe, and using music theory and Mathematica algorithms to render them as music." Fillmore’s scripts would then splice these with public domain samples, creating a generative sound unlike anything else.
Then to get these songs to the top of the charts, the engineer created some bot fans that would listen to John Matrix’s music 24/7. Running on Amazon servers, a bash script would automate the act of playing the tunes on Spotify. John Matrix soon had amassed millions of plays and made $1000 in royalties. The high chart positions of these songs prompted human listeners to complain, resulting in the account being shut down after a month.
Fillmore narrates the whole story with technical details at his Ruxcon talk.
Punk Rock 101, 2006 by Cory Arcangel. Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter alongside the Google Ads generated by Google in response to the text.
The Wall Street Code, a documentary by Marije Meerman, follows some of the best quants in algorithmic High Frequency Trading, including HFT whistleblower Haim Bodek. The film is the third in the trilogy by Dutch Public TV show VPRO Backlight. Found via Sam Warnaars
Google has recently patented the Automated Generation of Suggestions for Personalized Reactions in a Social Network; a technology that hopes to be of assistance in sustaining social network etiquette by finding messages and social events worth responding to (such as birthdays) and auto-generating response suggestions that match your customary social behaviour which is machine-learned over long-term use.
There is no requirement for the user to set reminders or be proactive. The system automatically without user input analyzes information to which the user has access, and generates suggestions for personalized reactions to messages. The suggestion analyzer cooperates with the decision tree to learn the user’s behavior and automatically adjust the suggested messages that are generated over time.