Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Now showing: Documentary about DeepMind’s “AlphaGo”

AlphaGo” looks really interesting:

The documentary, which currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100% and an IMDb score of 8.5, sees South Korea’s Lee Sedol (a Go world champion) take on an algorithm in a five match tournament in Seoul. He expects to beat the machine 5-0 or 4-1 at the very least but he loses every game of the match but one, leaving him completely bewildered.

On a related note, DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to science and technology”:

He said he was “very proud” of his team at DeepMind.

Earlier this month DeepMind software beat other programmes in chess within hours of teaching itself the game from scratch.

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[YouTube] [Via John Lin]

“Heeey, Googoo!” An Italian Grandma talks to Google Home

Heh—a Googler gave her boyfriend’s 85-year-old Italian grandma a Google Home Mini for Christmas, with charming results:

Having spent December in a Sisyphean struggle alongside my brother to drag my mom up the learning curve of having her first iPhone, I’m heartened by bits like this. My boss runs a wing of Google Research, and yet even he has to battle his parents’ confusion with their new phones. Hopefully they won’t repay his kindness by being annoying with WhatsApp. 😜

And all this brings to mind Alexa Silver:

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[YouTube 1 & 2]

“You know the liquid metal guy in T2? Yeah, my teammate wrote him”

I used to enjoy busting out that humblebrag on Google Photos (and before that, at Adobe) where I got to work with John Schlag. Troubles in the VFX industry yielded a windfall of imaging talent for Google (which occupies the former LA office of Rhythm & Hues, FWIW), and we had a real murderer’s row of talent from DreamWorks, PDI, Sony, and other shops. (There’s so much potential yet to realize… but I digress.)

I mention it because I happened across a fun oral history of Terminator 2’s technology, featuring interesting recollections from John & the team (which, I’m very belatedly realizing, included longtime After Effects engineer turned chef/blogger (!) Michael Natkin).

“I’d point to a page and say, ‘Oh, well that looks interesting. How are you going to do that?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, we don’t know yet.’ I’m like, ‘You people are batshit!’” – John Schlag

Enjoy, and see also “Re-visiting the freakin’ T-1000 walking out of the fiery truck crash.”

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An incredible 10-minute freestyle rap

OT for this blog, sure, but who cares, it’s just a pleasure to see what gifted humans can do:

Warning: this is the best thing you’re going to see today, even if you already saw it yesterday.

In this clip, The Roots’ MC dishes out an album’s worth of rhymes from memory, while hardly stopping to breathe.

The transcript has disappeared from Genius.com, but Kottke’s pulled some great bits, like:

“As babies, we went from Similac and Enfamil
To the internet and fentanyl
Where all consent was still against the will”

and

“Been a million places
Conversation is how beautiful my face is
People hating on how sophisticated my taste is
Then I pulled up on these mofos in a spaceship”

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[YouTube]