Co-Founder of Siri: Assistant launch is a “World-Changing Event”

9to5Mac: Is this Siri ‘Assistant’ a big deal?

Norm: Let me first say I have no knowledge of what Apple plans to do with the Siri purchase. I read the rumors just like everyone else and it appears that Apple is getting ready to reveal what it has done with Siri over the past year and a half (we were actually expecting it at WWDC). Make no mistake: Apple’s ‘mainstreaming’ Artificial Intelligence in the form of a Virtual Personal Assistant is a groundbreaking event. I’d go so far as to say it is a World-Changing event. Right now a few people dabble in partial AI enabled apps like Google Voice Actions, Vlingo or Nuance Go. Siri was many iterations ahead of these technologies, or at least it was two years ago. This is REAL AI with REAL market use. If the rumors are true, Apple will enable millions upon millions of people to interact with machines with natural language. The PAL will get things done and this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking another technology revolution. A new computing paradigm shift.

Watching the keynote, I was pretty disappointed, until the final reveal of the Siri Assistant. I happened to be one of the regular users of Siri before it got picked up by Apple last year, and although it was buggy and clearly called out for deep integration with other apps, the experience was fun and generally produced good results.

I can’t wait to see the Apple-tuned version of this already powerful, exciting application.

Gamers Help Scientists Solve Molecular Puzzle That Could Lead To AIDS Vaccine

“Following the failure of a wide range of attempts to solve the crystal structure of M-PMV retroviral protease by molecular replacement, we challenged players of the protein folding game Foldit to produce accurate models of the protein”, the University of Washington research team said in its findings. “Remarkably, Foldit players were able to generate models of sufficient quality for successful molecular replacement and subsequent structure determination. The refined structure provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs”.

In this MSNBC report, the gamers describe the way in which they were able to work together cooperatively to solve a puzzle that has confounded scientists for more than a decade. And what’s so cool is that, while some of the most important progress in the game was made by those with biomedical academic backgrounds, the majority of active players playing with FoldIt did not have this kind of scientific background. Many of them were just average gamers like you and me.

The power of the cloud! I participated in one of these collective, distributed computing networks, at the time used to help map the galaxy by giving users access to a small chunk of the large puzzle to set their computers to work on. Multiplied by a few million people, even small changes can become enormous.

Of course, this is also what makes BotNet networks so damn powerful.