Researched and compiled by Bob Clarke
31 July 2015
Bob Clarke is a recent Film and Television graduate from the University of York. He intends to further his studies with a Masters in Computer Science.
Today it’s possible to go out and dance to algorithms. The ‘algorave’ sees programmers – playing the role of the DJ – writing algorithms live to generate musical patterns.
Soon we will all be able to wear our very own algorithm! Fabienne Serriere has developed KnitYak – unique scarves made from algorithmically-generated knitting patterns.
THE EVER OMNIPOTENT COMPUTER
“… it’s not a refrigerator with a computer, it’s a computer that keeps food cold. Just like that, everything is turning into a computer. Your phone is a computer that makes calls. Your car is a computer with wheels and an engine. Your oven is a computer that cooks lasagne. Your camera is a computer that takes pictures.” http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/17/sold-our-souls-and-more-to-internet-giants-privacy-surveillance-bruce-schneier
TOP 10 MOST DOMINANT ALGORITHMS
Here is a list of ten of the most widespread and prevalent uses of algorithms in daily life…
And a rebuttal of the ‘real’ top ten algorithms (i.e. the technical mathematics behind the above list)…
The controversial toy Hello Barbie is an internet-enabled doll that records and remembers conversations it has with children.
Samsung caused a scare with its smart television that could record conversations in the family home. It warned that sensitive information “will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition”. Samsung later clarified that recordings will only happen when the user activates the microphone. However, this still goes to show the potential capabilities of the algorithm.
Google uses algorithms to predict flu trends around the world!
However it has met with some failures, which shows the risk of relying too heavily on algorithms.
PSYCHOANALYSING WINE DRINKERS
Even wine manufacturers E&J Gallo are making use of algorithms for a campaign for their Apothic Red brand. They have developed a psychoanalysis tool on Twitter to reveal the ‘dark side’ of users.
Deep Knowledge Ventures have added an algorithm – called Vital – to its board of directors. Publicity gimmick though it may be, algorithms are being used to make important decisions for companies.
Researchers have found that Google is far more likely to advertised higher-paid CEO jobs to men than to women. http://news.nationalpost.com/life/is-the-google-algorithm-sexist
BIG DATA IN THE LAW
Technology is developing far quicker than the law is, and it is at risk of eclipsing longstanding civil rights protections.
Algorithms can be used to choose a company’s potential employees. This is not just for low and mid-tier vacancies but even CEO-level positions.
CREDIT-BASED AD TARGETING
What are the ethical implications behind targeting advertising towards people based on their bank balance?
It is easy to assume that computers are objective and unbiased. However, they are produced and maintained by humans, so run the risk of reinforcing human prejudices.
A case of a ‘Fitbit’ user’s data being compared to other users in the testimony of a court hearing.
With Google leading the way, driverless cars are not such a distant dream any more. Algorithms are helping these vehicles ‘learn the road’ and a lot of progress is being made.
Google is in the process of developing an algorithm to take still images, taken from varying vantage points, and joining them together into a seamless animation.
An algorithm is being used to judge the character of loan applicants, to permit lending to them even if they have bad credit histories.
Science professors from the University of Toronto are developing an algorithm that analyses photographs and makes suggestions about the fashion choices it observes.
An algorithm is helping the development of an artificial pancreas to better manage and detect insulin and glucose levels in the body.
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center are using an algorithm to gain a better understanding of how drugs work inside the body.
Algorithmia is an algorithm marketplace! Algorithm creators and software developers are brought together to create a whole range of weird and wonderful algorithms.
IS IT NUDE?
Not sure whether an image will flag up obscenity filters on a website? There is an algorithm that analyses pictures to detect whether they contain nudity or not. http://www.geek.com/apps/is-it-nude-algorithm-wants-to-find-out-whos-naked-on-the-net-1626678/
A Finnish developer has created an algorithm to generate rap lyrics with the highest density of rhyming possible. http://www.usatoday.com/videos/tech/2015/07/02/29640211/
This algorithm is able to detect cancer with a greater accuracy than humans.
Columbia University researchers are creating an algorithm to investigate a plankton-like species that is disturbing the local sea-life food chain.
HUMAN VS ALGORITHM
While algorithms are in many cases far better, more efficient, quicker and cheaper than the performance of humans, there will always be a need for human creation, creativity and emotion.
HUMAN OR COMPUTER? QUIZ
Far more of what we read is written by algorithms than what we may expect. Try this quiz to see just how difficult it is to distinguish who has written what!
Algorithms are composing music for games, films, apps… and they can even replicate certain styles of music.
An advertising poster, part of the so-called “first ever artificially intelligent poster campaign”, is able to take in the reactions of its viewers and modify and improve itself accordingly.
There are concerns that algorithms, created by humans, can reinforce human biases and prejudices. However, there are algorithms being created with the specific aim of reducing discrimination.
FACES IN THE DARK
Facial recognition algorithms are getting more and more sophisticated, and will soon be able to identity faces in darkness using infrared technology.
THE ALGORITHM OF WRITING
Software has been developed to assist struggling writers, by analysing an example of their writing and offering feedback to improve writing quality.
An algorithm has been used to help predict whether a child’s skull fracture is the result of abuse or not.
THE ECONOMICS OF EMOTIONS
Emotions are the key driver behind purchasing and consumption decisions:
how to collect and effectively use the dta?
Fast developing technological reading of emotional states both as a mode of behavioral feedback and behavioral economics
Computers are learning to read emotions, which are projected to revolutionize modes of consumption
“Can an Algorithm Determine Art History’s Most Creative Paintings?”
Two computer scientists have developed an algorithm that measures creativity in visual art.