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Posted By Peter Bentley

I'm asked to comment about various stories that apear in the media, and recently I had a very brief appearance on ITV News again. This time AI in the form of a fictional home assistant as depicted by a certain CEO of Facebook got the media in a stir. Clearly it's time I also started hiring movie stars to be the voice of my AIs - Morgan Freeman makes a great robot voice, but who should we use? 

ITV interview

Posted By Peter Bentley

Today we have a story in The Economist describing the work of one of my PhD students Haitham Baomar. The research focuses on the use of multiple neural networks for the control of aircraft. Unlike methods such as Deep Learning which are more suitable for vision-based classification tasks, this approach breaks the problem of flying aircraft under difficult conditions into smaller components, with a different neural circuit focussing on each aspect. It's a very effective method that learns the skills directly from human pilots. It's very fast to learn, and it's also much more suitable for safety-critical applications compared to black box methods such as Deep Learning, for it can be shown very clearly how each neural circuit controls each component. I'm always amazed how well the intelligent autopilot works. I have fun turning it off and putting the (simulated) aircraft into a nosedive in a storm with an engine fire - then activiting the intelligent autopilot, which immediately brings the plane under control and performs all necessary procedures. I'd trust this system long before I'd trust an autonomous car today.

Check out the article here. And Haitham's research page here.

Intelligent Autopilot

Posted By Peter Bentley

AI is becoming very fashionable again and I'm being asked to appear on various documentaries and news items. Not so long ago AP filmed a piece about robots in sports with me. More recently I was interviewed for Inside Science on AI.

inside science


Posted By Peter Bentley

While I may not always mention it, I have been a regular writer for BBC Focus Magazine for quite a while. You can find my little articles in the Q&A section every month, where I answer readers' questions relating to computers and technology. (You tell they're mine if they end with a "PB".) If you keep a look out, you will also see some longer articles on AI that I have been commissioned to write more recently.

BBC Focus article

Posted By Peter Bentley

My original illustrated title, The Book of Numbers, has been doing very well around the world. It's now been translated into so many languages that I am not sure I have a copy of each version of my own book.

Because of its success, the publisher asked me to produce a revised paperback edition, which we have decided to title, The Invention of Numbers. This version is a smaller pocket-sized version that retains the key diagrams but allows the reader to read the material in a rather more portable format than the original large volume.

It's taken several months to get it right, and I'm pleased to say that the first books are now hitting the shelves. Click here to see The Invention of Numbers on amazon.

On a similar topic, I've also had a nice message from a reader who also maintains a gorgeous website that illustrates numbers. Check it out.

Please allow me to draw your attention to our internet project Aim of the site is the build-up of a collection of number pictures from all around the world and hence to show the beauty of numbers in their everyday use beyond their practical importance. You can find a lot of samples from different applications and countries on the site.

We are hoping that the visitors will also be interested in supplemental information regarding numbers in general and have included a link to one of your books on the English and German versions of the site (which also includes lots of beatiful number pictures itself). Probably there are also students or employees at your faculty who like to travel and would be willing to contribute pictures to the collection. Having three kids in school, we are unfortunately not able to tour the world ourselves looking for beautiful number motives.

Invention of Numbers