Category Archives: M – media refs

Computer H14



By the early ’60s, Byrne explains, companies had grown to depend on enormous IBM mainframe computers, and they were forced to install a new mainframe at each and every one of their branch offices. AT&T aimed to replace all those duplicate machines with a system that would allow a single mainframe to communicate with several remote locations via high-speed data connections. Ma Bell already had a near monopoly on voice communications, and this was its next conquest.

The rub was that many people feared a robopocalypse — a dystopian world where machines made man obsolete. Ma Bell also needed to reassure people that its machine-to-machine communication wouldn’t take over the planet. And what better way to ease their fears than Computer H14?


Luckily, H14 diagnoses the problem — a lapse in data communications and a missing circuit — and he provides a set of “flawless” recommendations that result in increased productivity, improved performance, and gobs of extra time for Charlie Magnetico — played by Juhl — to think all sorts of big thoughts. In short, AT&T’s machine-to-machine communications save the day.

But in the end, this film conveys much the same message as the one that came before it: Machines can make life easier, but not without the help of humans. H14′s recommendations are flawless only until one of those missiles nearly lands on his head.


Ref: Tech Time Warp of the Week: Jim Henson’s Muppet Computer, 1963 – Wired

TED – Rodney Brooks about Baxter


And I don’t mean robots in terms of companions. I mean robots doing the things that we normally do for ourselves but get harder as we get older. Getting the groceries in from the cars, up the stairs, into the kitchen. Or even, as we get very much older, driving our cars to go visit people. And I think robotics gives people a chance to have dignity as they get older by having control of the robotic solution. So they don’t have to rely on people that are getting scarcer to help them.

Short-Movie Written by a Robot has been touted as one of the most advanced artificial intelligences ever. The website allows users to chat with the A.I. Cleverbot. But how good is it, really? I sat down with Cleverbot and collaborated on a movie script.

What follows is a movie written by a machine.

I tried to talk to Cleverbot just like I would with a human writing partner. I set up scenarios and Cleverbot provided all of the dialog content for the scene.

Directed by Chris R Wilson. Starring Austin Hillebrecht, Britt Harris and Mad Martian. Edited by Zach Persson. Key grip, Tim Cogley.

Here is the transcript of my conversation with Cleverbot if you’d like to see how the script was written:

User: Let’s write a movie together.

Cleverbot: What would you like to write the poem about?

User: Whatever. Okay, so what do you want the title of the movie to be.

Cleverbot: Do you love me?

User: Great! I’ll start: It’s sunset in a beautiful forest. We see the hero of the film. What do you want the heroes name to be?

Cleverbot: Not my name, my stomach.

[more on Youtube…]


Ref: CleverBot

Algorithm that Design Structures Better than Engineers


You are watching an optimisation algorithm come up with the best design completely automatically. The outcome is greatest stiffness shape possible for a given amount of material. And amazingly it’s a nuanced truss that isn’t far removed from the look of most motorway bridges. That’s pretty reassuring, actually.

This sample 2D image was made with ToPy – open source Python ‘Topology Optimisation’ code.


Ref: Algorithms that design structures better than engineers – Jordan Burgess