Alchemical Intelligence

Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t. Without deep understanding of the basic tools needed to build and train new algorithms, he says, researchers creating AIs resort to hearsay, like medieval alchemists. Jeff and Anthony are ready for the 24k gold robots.  More Details/Download MP3 →

The Space Between

In the beginning, the rules of the space bar were simple. Two spaces after each period. Every time. Easy. That made sense in the age of the typewriter. Letters of uniform width looked cramped without extra space after the period. Typists learned not to do it. But then, at the end of the 20th century, the typewriter gave way to the word processor, and the computer, and modern variable-width fonts. And the world divided. Jeff and Anthony try not to space out during this very interesting episode.  More Details/Download MP3 →