Cognitive Era: AI (Accessible Intelligence) Comes of Age

These are the latest articles and videos I found most interesting.

  1. Cognitive Era: AI (Accessible Intelligence) Comes of Age
  2. Electric propulsion: the future by Airbus and Siemens
  3. Automatic Motorist (1911)
  4. Faraday and Electromagnetism

Cognitive Era: AI (Accessible Intelligence) Comes of Age

ECE Distinguished Lectureby Bernard S. Meyerson
Conversation with Dr. Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM

Bernard Meyerson, fellow and chief innovation officer at IBM, will deliver a talk, “The Cognitive Era: AI (Accessible Intelligence) Comes of Age,” focused on a new phase of information technology that he calls the “Cognitive Era.”

The world is entering a new phase of information technology, the “Cognitive Era.” As a result, expectations for the function of information technology, previously couched in terms of computing horsepower, memory capacity, and storage capabilities, will need to be re-imagined. This stems from tremendous recent strides in rendering systems “intelligent,” perhaps more accurately described as “accessible.” With the maturation of natural language front ends, vast and dense data stores, machine learning and scoring capabilities, the first cognitive systems have emerged.

Systems now interpret unstructured queries, curate and self-correct data, and provide answers along with a confidence level and traceable logic underlying the outcome. Thus emerges “accessible intelligence.” The natural interaction possible with such systems opens a new era of man-machine collaboration, or the Cognitive Era.

In this talk, Meyerson will explore both the technical impetus that drives us to explore this emergent space, as well as examples of man-machine collaboration and how such systems, according to many, represent the beginning of a fourth industrial revolution.














Electric propulsion: the future by Airbus and Siemens

Video by Airbus

Airbus and Siemens have partnered to make electric propulsion a reality. Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus General Manager, Electrification, and CEO of Siemens, Frank Anton, discuss flying demonstrators and how electric propulsion can fundamentally change the future of aviation.



Automatic Motorist (1911)

BFI National Archive

A bride, a motorcar, a robot chauffeur and a policeman – what could possibly go wrong? Fantasy and ‘trick’ film pioneer W.R. Booth uses cut-out animation and models to create a truly out-of-this-world sci-fi adventure. The mad-cap plot sees a newlywed couple transported from a country lane to outer-space (via St Paul’s Cathedral), where the policeman encounters some pretty feisty Saturnians… W.R. Booth was a stage magician turned filmmaker, whose hand-drawing techniques pointed the way towards animated cartoons. His taste for fantastical imagery and Jules Verne-style journeys echoes the work of fellow illusionist Georges Méliès: the grinning moon in The Automatic Motorist is a definite nod to Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902).


Robocar Movie From Pre-Talkie Days

By Philip E. Ross

This short silent movie, called “The Automatic Motorist,” imagines an old-timey car, running boards and all, being driven by a robot chauffeur. And the film came out in 1911, apparently providing the first sustained vision of our robocar future.

Of course, robocars are still in our future, 106 years later.  

The clinking, clanking humanoid is much like the Tin Man, but with a temper. And as in our own day, the first roadblock to its progress is the law, which here takes the form of a preening policeman. 

Cineastes had long known of this little bauble, but I must tip my hat to Atlas Obscura, which unearthed it just a few days ago.

Like countless sci-fi movies yet to come, the plot was framed around the available special effects, not the other way around. Like many films that were to follow, it is a nearly point-by-point remake of a movie done five years before, by the same director. The main innovation is the robotic chauffeur.

Some 13 years before this movie came out, Nikola Tesla patented a remote-control system for vehicles—drones of sea and land, as it were. He predicted they would make war so dreadful as to be unthinkable, thus paving the way to universal peace. Two years after the movie’s release, H. G. Wells wrote a rather more pessimistic novel about the coming of nuclear weapons and the collapse of civilization.

The car fulfills a clutch of motorhead fantasies beyond robotic drive. It serves as an airplane, rocket ship, boat, and submarine, going first to London, then the moon, and finally Saturn. At that far flung stop, the car’s occupants—notably a newlywed couple—meet extraterrestrials who look like Munchkins, but with spears.

Hmmm. Could “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), with its Tin Man and Munchkins, have been cribbed from Mr. Booth? No, of course not—when moviemakers steal, they call it homage.


Faraday and Electromagnetism

The Genius of Invention – Earth Lab

Building on the two critical discoveries of Volta (Electric Battery) and Oersted (Magnetic Fields), Faraday took it one stage further and tapped into the Universes own power supply. Recreating some of Faraday’s famous experiments we learn how Electromagnetism and motion are all firmly linked.

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