‘More than human’: Wonders of AI on show in London

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An installation entitled Synthetic Apiary, by Neri Oman and The Mediated Matter Group, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An AI robot with a humanistic face, entitled Alter 3: Offloaded Agency, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An installation entitled Personal Food Computer v3.0, by during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An AI robot with a humanistic face, entitled Alter 3: Offloaded Agency, is pictured during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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The robotic arms of the Makr Shakr cocktail maker are pictured as they mix a cocktail during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
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An assistant looks at an installation entitled Myriad (Tulips) by Anna Ridler, during a photocall to promote the forthcoming exhibition entitled "AI: More than Human", at the Barbican Centre in London on May 15, 2019. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
Updated 16 May 2019
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‘More than human’: Wonders of AI on show in London

  • Visitors will be able to take a journey from the long-held dream of creating artificial life to the reality of today’s most cutting-edge projects
  • There are also robots of all shapes and sizes, from Sony’s small dog Aibo to a large mechanical arm that prepares and serves cocktails

LONDON: Managing the health of the planet, fighting discrimination or boosting innovation in the arts; the fields in which Artificial Intelligence can help humans are countless, and an ambitious London exhibition aims to prove it.
Under the title “AI: more than human,” the immense Barbican cultural center brings together more than 200 installations, exhibits and projects by artists, scientists and researchers from all over the world.
From Thursday until August, visitors will be able to take a journey from the long-held dream of creating artificial life to the reality of today’s most cutting-edge projects.
An immersive space by Japanese collective teamLab forms one of the most intriguing exhibits, with art and science combining to let the visitor leave their mark on an evolving digital wall projection.
There are also robots of all shapes and sizes, from Sony’s small dog Aibo — whose first version from 1999 has now evolved into an AI model — to a large mechanical arm that prepares and serves cocktails.
Other exhibits explore the complex systems that keep big cities ticking over and push forward research into medical conditions from cancer to blindness.
The current limits of AI are investigated, including racial bias in some facial recognition software.
Properly designed AI can help prevent harm, Francesca Rossi, head of ethics at IBM Research, told AFP.
“If the machine can understand this concept of bias, then it can alert us if it sees that there is bias in our decision making,” she said.
Although the idea of decoding the human brain and imitating its functions was born in the mid-1950s, AI only exploded in 2010 thanks to very fast state-of-the-art processors that allow the analysis of huge amounts of data.
The machines have since come on leaps and bounds.
IBM’s Deep Blue beat Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 while AlphaGo — developed by Google’s DeepMind team — in 2016 beat Lee Sedol, world champion in the 3,000-year-old Chinese board game known as Go.
Both are present in the exhibition, helping to outline how AI can help solve problems of enormous complexity, such as climate change.
“The thing that we dream about would be, what if a machine could say: ‘here is a clever way of changing how we run our economy that fixes climate’,” explained Swedish philosopher Anders Sandberg, Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford.
But for that, “we need to find a good way of putting human values into machines so they will act without accidentally harming you,” he added, joking that AI could conclude the best solution was to eradicate human beings.
Despite its ambitious scope, the exhibition is only one part of a larger project called “Life Rewired,” which explores the impact of technology on society.
The center recently held a concert of baroque music composed by AI after analizing works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
“We gave the machine-learning algorithm all of Bach’s keyboard works,” explained the project’s architect Marcus du Sautoy.
“That’s a lot of music, but often machine-learning needs millions of data points to learn from,” added the Oxford mathematician.
He hopes to demonstrate that, rather than competing with humans, artificial intelligence can help humans “to think outside of our narrow creative window.”
“Humans get very stuck in ways of thinking, we often end up behaving like machines,” he said.


REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019
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REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.