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World-Wide-Web: Rise of technology needs to be balanced with vigilance

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internet

By Gaurav Sharma

The world-wide-web (www), a revolutionary technology that defines our present-day-life, celebrates its silver jubilee today.

Whether we are at home or on the move, at work or on vacation, the Internet has become our new family friend. From easing communication, providing interactive education, speedy and efficient public administration, to increasing our visibility in social circles, the wings of Internet’s penetrating power span across every sphere of life.

Birth

Tim Berners Lee, an English computer scientist, invented the Internet as World Wide Web on 6th August 1991 while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as an independent contractor.

Berners-Lee devised a project based on a hypertext wherein physicists could share information across the globe without using hardware or software. The first proposal having failed, Lee’s proposal for a Hypertext Project succeeded in grabbing the assent of the researchers.

After battling titles such ‘The Information mesh’ and the ‘Mine of Information’, the proposal was christened World Wide Web. In 1990, while working for NeXT Computers (the company where Steve Jobs worked after being thrown out of Apple), Berners-Lee developed the web browser software whose prototype would be run on the CERN server a year later.

Since the users were largely unaware and therefore inept at using the new technology, a user manual was issued to educate them on its proper use.

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Tim-Berners Lee, the father of the Internet

Evolution

The novel technology soon started taking giant strides towards growth. In 1992, Berners-Lee uploaded the first picture on the World Wide Web, an image of Les Horribles Cernettes (a French parodic rock group).

A year later, an epic announcement — that of making the Internet free for everyone to use and develop — was made. This emancipating feature has led to a sea change in the way we look at the world today.

In line with the free availability and accessibility of the World Wide Web, a number of free commercial browsers were also developed, the first one being Netscape Navigator. However, it was Mosaic which brought the non-scientist population on to the web through the launch of Internet Explorer (Compuserve also performed a similar job).

While the web initially consisted of a network of static HTML pages, it has now evolved into a dynamic system wherein media and pages can be streamed real-time.

microsoft-discloses-zero-day-in-all-versions-of-internet-explorer
Internet Explorer, previously one of the most popular web-browsers

Future

The internet is a constantly evolving organism which is exceeding its expectations (if it had one) every day. IT technology is undergoing a sea change with information rapidly moving onto the cloud. The transforming digital environment implies that companies have to be abreast with newer technologies such as the cloud, mobile automation, and the Internet of Things.

Internet of things basically means connecting daily-use appliances and systems digitally. By enabling physical objects to transfer information from the real world to the digital plane, the Internet of things has brought Artificial Intelligence a step closer to reality.

Trains are able to tell their arrival and departure time to our smartphone, imaging has become more precise, and traffic data can be accessed by our smartphones at the click of a button or through vocal instructions. Semantic Web wherein metadata is read by machines rather than by humans will also become a reality.

Indeed, life has become comfortable and convenient because of the internet. Still, the developments do not give a complete picture of the stupendous power the Internet exercises over our lives.

Like a shadow of the bright side, we are becoming precariously dependent on the internet for simple activities. Music, movies, adventure, and travel, among a host of other outdoor activities have become an online entertaining online experience. People read on Kindle, date on Tinder, and marry on Shaddi.com. One’s rise to the corporate ladder is determined by how glossy his profile is on Linkedin.

Networking no longer involves personal physical contact but an exchange of photo-shopped copies of one’s scarred existence. Language itself has become an abbreviated caricature of slangs and acronyms. Interpersonal aesthetics have radically altered.

One wonders if human relationships will now become an online rendezvous whereby gentle gestures such as shaking hands and a warm hug will now take a back-seat to exchange of mechanical whatsup’s. And then there is the ‘extraordinary’ chance of a young child experiencing the entire cosmos in his iPad. By the time he turns 20, there is hardly anything exciting to look forward to. Boredom becomes his companion. Psychological problems are also bound to spiral-up when the number of likes on Facebook start determining our self-esteem.

Not ones to leave behind the dark-side of internet, criminals have also begun working in novel fashions. Social media scams are increasingly being utilized maliciously by cyber-criminals to use people’s inherent trust in the content that friends share on Facebook and other social networking sites.

According to the Symantec Intelligence Report, India is the second most targeted country in the world for social media scams and the highest in Asia-Pacific region. In ransomware, a criminal act wherein a victim’s photos, files, and digital content is hijacked without revealing the attacker’s intention, India records an overwhelming 7 attacks per hour.

Attackers have surely changed the stealthy way of deceiving and duping netizens. As the Internet gets more sophisticated, newer possibilities will open-up, bringing forth both positive and negative consequences. Vigilance is the price we will have to pay for becoming more tech-savvy.

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Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Shut Down After It Creates Its Own Language

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't understand Artifical Intelligence, says Tech Business Magnet, Elon Musk

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Artificial Intelligence Bot
Artificial Intelligence Bot. Pixabay
  • Facebook shuts down AI program after the robot starts developing its own language to decide conclusion of the task
  • Researchers identify this when they find two bots in the lab having a seemingly gibberish exchange, which actually has semantic meanings
  • Tech business magnet, Elon Musk says that The Facebook CEO has a limited understanding of AI technology

New Delhi, August 2, 2017: Researchers at Facebook had to shut down the Artificial Intelligence program after the robot started to create its own language. It developed a system of code words to make the communication more efficient.

According to the Digital Media report, this one incident at Facebook is not first of its kind to have happened while working on AI programs, even in the past, an AI robot has diverged from its training to communicate in English and developed its own language. To a common man, that language may come off as “gibberish” but they contain semantic meaning when deciphered by experts and the AI ‘agents’.

The researchers at Facebook noticed that their AI bot had given up on English and the new language it created was capable of communicating with other AI bots and deciding the future course of action as well. The language which at first appeared unintelligent to the researchers actually represented a task at hand, and a possible conclusion on how to proceed. They noticed this when two bots in the lab began to exchange with each other.

AI developers at other companies have observed a similar use of “shorthands” to simplify communication. At OpenAI, the artificial intelligence lab founded by Elon Musk, an experiment succeeded in letting AI bots learn their own languages.

At Google, the team working on the Translate service discovered that the AI they programmed had silently written its own language to aid in translating sentences.

Also Read: BENEFITS & RISKS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The Translate developers had added a neural network to the system, making it capable of translating between language pairs it had never been taught. The new language the AI silently wrote was a surprise.

This incident with Facebook’s AI failure made more news when Elon Musk, the founder of OpenAI made remarks on Zuckerberg’s AI faux pas. In an altercation at twitter, Elon said in one of his tweets that, Facebook CEO doesn’t have much understanding of the AI technology.

Facebook's AI creates own language; Forces Shutdown Click To Tweet

To which Mark Zuckerberg in a Live Q&A session responded, “Whenever I hear people saying AI is going to hurt people in the future, I think yeah, you know, technology can generally always be used for good and bad, and you need to be careful about how you build it and you need to be careful about what you build and how it is going to be used”.

There is not enough evidence to claim that these unforeseen AI divergences are a threat or that they could lead to machines taking over operators. They do make development more difficult, however, because people are unable to grasp the overwhelmingly logical nature of the new languages. In Google’s case, for example, the AI had developed a language that no human could grasp but was potentially the most efficient known solution to the problem.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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“Seeing AI” : An App by Microsoft Narrates the World Around Blind People

The Seeing AI application is the latest project from Microsoft using its artificial intelligence technology

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Seeing AI application for Blind
Seeing AI app narrates the scene around the blind people. Pixabay

July 14, 2017: Microsoft has released a free iPhone app named Seeing AI, that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tell the blind what is around them. The application can describe how the scene looks like when pointed at the park. Likewise, it can tell the amount in your bill or narrate just about anything it is pointed at.

“With this intelligent camera app, just hold up your phone and hear information about the world around you,” Microsoft said. It aims to turn the “visual world into an emphatic experience.

The app recognises people that it has seen before and even their facial expression to tell how the person is feeling. Additionally, it can also scan barcodes, read US currency and read handwritten documents. It tells you to move your camera if needed for a better view.

Microsoft calls Seeing AI as “a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the low vision community, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text and objects”. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are working on similar projects, as reported by CNET on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: “Epic Health” : New Smartphone App offers Non-Invasive Test for Diabetics

The app is also the latest project from Microsoft built using its artificial intelligence technology. The company also wants to use Artificial Intelligence to handle some of the major problems in healthcare, as visible with its Healthcare NExT initiative and a prototype wearable that helped a woman with tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Seeing AI app is now available to download for free on iOS, but only in the US. There is no statement yet on whether the app will come to other mobile platforms like Android, Windows 10 Mobile or other countries.

– by a Staff writer of Newsgram

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Consumers confused about use of artificial intelligence (AI), reluctant to embrace this new technology : Study

A study that involved 6,000 customers in six countries found that consumers were hesitant to fully embrace AI devices and services

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Artificial intelligence, wikimedia

New Delhi, April 7, 2017: Most customers are confused about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and are, therefore, reluctant to embrace this new technology, a study said on Friday.

Released by US-based software firm Pegasystems, it revealed that these fears are often eased once the users gain firsthand AI experience — which ironically many enjoy without even realising it.

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“Our study suggests the recent hype is causing some confusion and fear among consumers, who may not really understand how it’s already being used and helping them every day,” said Don Schuerman, Vice President (Product Marketing) Pegasystems.

The study that involved 6,000 customers in six countries found that consumers were hesitant to fully embrace AI devices and services.

“Only 36 per cent are comfortable with businesses using AI to engage with them. Almost 72 per cent express some sort of fear about AI,” the study found.

Twenty four per cent of respondents even worried about robots taking over the world.

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Interestingly, 34 per cent of respondents said they had directly experienced AI but when asked about the technologies they used it was revealed that 84 per cent actually used at least one AI-powered service or device.

Seventy two per cent respondents confidently claimed they understood AI but very few could correctly define it.

“Though AI has been around for more than 30 years, it has now evolved to the point that businesses can engage with each individual consumer on a real-time, one-to-one basis,” Schuerman said.

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Businesses need to focus on using AI to develop applications that provide real value for customers to improve their experiences rather than overhyping the technology itself, the findings suggested. (IANS)