(TMU) — One of the biggest global players in artificial intelligence (AI) is Google and their high-tech Brain division has been pushing the envelope for years.
Now scientists working for their AutoML project have a new paper in which they claim to be developing algorithms that can evolve on their own without human input. Even more stunning is their claim that they can induce “mutations” into new generations of algorithms, which mimics principles of Darwinian evolution, namely “survival of the fittest.”
The team started with one of the most basic ideas in modern AI: machine learning. Machine learning tools allow us to use algorithms to search through massive troves of data and quickly identify patterns. But the traditional problem with this method is the element of human bias.
As the team paper states: “Human-designed components bias the search results in favor of human-designed algorithms, possibly reducing the innovation potential of AutoML. Innovation is also limited by having fewer options: you cannot discover what you cannot search for.”
To bypass this problem, the team wanted to develop a system by which AI can grow on its own.
The team used simple math equations to develop machine learning algorithms that author 100 “candidate algorithms.” These candidates compete using basic machine learning tools like neural network image differentiation tests and the best-performing algorithms then mutated, or evolved, via random code alteration.
The system can cull through tens of thousands of algorithms each second in search of a solution while dismissing “evolutionary dead-ends” and duplicates. Over multiple generations, the process grows a library of high-performance algorithms. According to the Google team, these new algorithms have already reproduced decades worth of human-led AI discoveries in only days.
Perhaps most astonishingly, the new AI algorithmic evolution is able to eliminate the problem of human bias that is often introduced during data input. The AutoML-Zero can essentially “automatically discover” unknown algorithms and develop new previously undiscovered AI programs without any human intervention, using only basic mathematical concepts.
Haran Jackson, the chief technology officer (CTO) at Techspert, explains why the new paper is so interesting:
“As exciting as AutoML is, it is restricted to finding top-performing algorithms out of the, admittedly large, assortment of algorithms that we already know of. There is a sense amongst many members of the community that the most impressive feats of artificial intelligence will only be achieved with the invention of new algorithms that are fundamentally different to those that we as a species have so far devised.
“This is what makes the aforementioned paper so interesting. It presents a method by which we can automatically construct and test completely novel machine learning algorithms.”
As noted before, the scientists say the AI programs can improve upon each previous generation, producing a kind of “survival of the fittest” that resembles Darwin’s view of evolution in natural biological systems.
While much testing and review still await the Google team, their new paper, titled “Evolving Machine Learning Algorithms From Scratch,” suggests the tantalizing, albeit unnerving likelihood that AI of the future will be designed by other AI machines.
One can only impishly guess at what self-replicating AI algorithms evolving on their own will mean for the future of life on Earth.
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.