Google’s DeepMind Defeats Legendary Go Player Se-dol Lee in First of Five Games

[ The Verge ] From South Korea, Sam Byford:

Go is an ancient Chinese board game that has long been considered one of the great challenges faced by AI. While computer programs now best the world’s leading human players of games like checkers and chess, the high level of intuition and evaluation required by Go has made it tough for computers to crack. DeepMind’s AlphaGo program is the most advanced effort yet, using a complex system of deep neural networks and machine learning; it beat European champion Fan Hui last year, but Lee Se-dol is another proposition entirely.

“I don’t regret accepting this challenge,” said Lee. “I am in shock, I admit that, but what’s done is done. I enjoyed this game and look forward to the next. I think I failed on the opening layout so if I do a better job on the opening aspect I think I will be able to increase my probability of winning.” Lee was surprised both by how strong AlphaGo’s opening was, and by some unexpected moves.

Neural networked machine learning versus a human player. I not sure if that is a fair setup. What would be fair is AlphaGo versus Se-dol Lee and the top 100 Go players in the world, connected to one another, sharing what might be the best move and then having Se-dol Lee make the final decision. That would be fair. Another way would be for AlphaGo to not have an Internet connection.

Nonetheless it’s still impressive to watch a software algorithm beat a Go master, something that has never happened before 2015.

This Go tournament is best 3 out of 5: Alpha Go beat Se-dol Lee again in game 2. 2:0 AlphaGo. Commentary on the second game:

“Yesterday I was surprised but today it’s more than that — I am speechless,” said Lee in the post-game press conference. “I admit that it was a very clear loss on my part. From the very beginning of the game I did not feel like there was a point that I was leading.” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis was “speechless” too. “I think it’s testament to Lee Se-dol’s incredible skills,” he said. “We’re very pleased that AlphaGo played some quite surprising and beautiful moves, according to the commentators, which was amazing to see.”

Apple’s Craig Federighi: Washington Post Op-Ed About iPhone Security

[ The Washington Post ] Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at Apple Craig Federighi:

That’s why it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies. They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013. But the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers. What’s worse, some of their methods have been productized and are now available for sale to attackers who are less skilled but often more malicious.

The FBI, the Department of Justice, and other law enforcement organizations think it’s okay for iPhone users to have security that can be easily hacked. That’s messed up.

Amazon On-The-Job Theft Deterrent

[ Bloomberg Businessweek ] Josh Eidelson & Spencer Soper:

In an effort to discourage stealing, Amazon has put up flatscreen TVs that display examples of alleged on-the-job theft, say 11 of the company’s current and former warehouse workers and antitheft staff. The alleged offenders aren’t identified by name. Each is represented by a black silhouette stamped with the word “terminated” and accompanied by details such as when they stole, what they stole, how much it was worth, and how they got caught—changing an outbound package’s address, for example, or stuffing merchandise in their socks. Some of the silhouettes are marked “arrested.”

Deep down most of us want to be better human beings today than who we were yesterday. Instead of shaming, Amazon should try inspiring: inspire warehouse workers to be people of integrity. That’s hard, but worthwhile. This? Isn’t.

Individual Fit Over Average Fit

[ The Star ] The U.S. Air Force had a problem writes Todd Rose:

In the late 1940s, the United States air force had a serious problem: its pilots could not keep control of their planes.

The cockpit was designed with the “average pilot” in mind. Pilots were uncomfortable in one way or another and had difficulty reaching with their arms and/or feet. Lt. Gilbert S. Daniels figured out the problem:

There was no such thing as an average pilot. If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.

The solution:

By discarding the average as their reference standard, the air force initiated a quantum leap in its design philosophy, centred on a new guiding principle: individual fit. Rather than fitting the individual to the system, the military began fitting the system to the individual. In short order, the air force demanded that all cockpits needed to fit pilots whose measurements fell within the 5-per-cent to 95-per-cent range on each dimension.

The equivalent in the automotive space would be: telescoping steering wheels, adjustable mirrors and seats. (Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something like an ‘auto-adjust’ feature where the steering wheel, mirrors, and seats automatically and optimally adjust to our physical dimensions, every time we get in the driver’s seat?)

There are many other products that would be much better if they were designed for individual fit rather than average fit. One obvious product is the keyboard, especially for children who have smaller hands. Smaller keys for smaller hands? Sounds like a crazy idea, but sounds like we’ve been living in a crazy world where little kids learn how to type on keyboards designed for adults with much larger hands.

IHS: 2015 TV Shipments Fell 4% Y/Y

[ IHS ]

The abrupt weakening of global demand for TV sets, combined with continued LCD capacity expansion, caused an oversupply in the market in the second half of 2015. This shift to oversupply has resulted in extremely steep LCD TV panel price declines, but it has been difficult to pass the savings along to consumers, as inflation and currency depreciation in emerging markets have offset the cost reduction. As a result, total annual TV shipments fell to 226 million units in 2015, a 4 percent year-over-year decline […]

I think a lot of us are waiting for 4K TVs, to be cheap, US$499 for a 55-inch cheap. We are almost there.

According to IHS, 4K TV shipments grew 173% Y/Y to 32 million units in 2015; that’s 14% of the overall TV market. The most likely reason 4K TV shipments rose is because 4K is still the new thing and prices fell 30% Y/Y.

I expect 4K TVs prices to continue falling. I don’t know exactly when but 55-inch 4K TVs by the major brands — VIZIO, Samsung, LG, etc. — will hit $499 this year. Black Friday 2016 might be a good time to upgrade to a 4K TV.

Note: If you have a lot more money than time you might want to check out 4K OLED TVs, which are 4x more expensive than 4K LCD TVs, but also 4x cooler. If you’re ever at Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics — or whichever store sells nice TVs in your neighborhood — focus on how deep the blacks are. Prices should fall to about $2000 for a 55-inch by the end of this year. These price predictions are absolutely not based on big data machine learning algorithmic analytics, just my gut.

A Short Video of How BioLite Designed the PowerLight Mini

BioLite PowerLight Mini Video Cover

[ YouTube ] Senior Product Engineer at BioLite Tim Connelly on his biggest challenge designing the PowerLight Mini:

Getting the light guide pattern to its highest efficiency took multiple tooling samples. Each time we had a new sample, we’d have to remodel the light guide, but we finally got it!

BioLite’s PowerLight Mini acts as a personal light, a lantern, a bike light, and even a portable battery for your gadgets. Very useful, and the design is nice and simple. A comment on the light guide: hundreds if not thousands of brilliant engineers have been perfecting light guides in the display industry for over 20 years. I would be surprised if a light guide solution for a single LED light source did not already exist for something as small as the PowerLight Mini.

Industrial Designer at BioLite Mindy Abbruzzi on the biggest success while making the PowerLight Mini:

To me, our biggest success was when we turned on PowerLight Mini for the first time and saw how well the light guide worked. The light was so even and impressively bright, even to the Product Development team who had high expectations. We had applied a lot of learnings from developing PowerLight to developing PowerLight Mini and seeing those insights pay off was rewarding because it meant we truly had a better understanding of how to improve and perfect edge lighting systems.

Simply look at all the smartphones, tablets, notebooks, monitors, and TVs. They all use light guides to evenly distribute light toward the front of the display. I agree and believe companies like BioLite should either own or know better than anyone else technologies and knowledge that make them competitive, but in the case of light guide technology it might have led to better performance requiring less engineering resources if BioLite had taken advantage of light guide technology from the display industry.

I could be completely wrong; maybe the good folks at BioLite invented a much better light guide the display industry should take notice of. Not likely, but definitely possible. The BioLite PowerLight Mini is sold at a slightly uncomfortable price of US$44.95.

Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Bentley Mulliner


[ Bentley ] The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is created by the Mulliner division of Bentley and features electrochromic glass for the first time in the company’s line of luxury vehicles. With the press of a button passengers can darken or lighten the electrochromic glass windows. Fabulous. (Many if not all luxury vehicles will follow suit.)