Entering The Oxford English Dictionary

Over the past few years, I’ve coined a bunch of words that may serve as some use to the English language. However, unlike words in a standard language, these coined words of mine are purely bound to my mind. By writing this entry, I hope to liberate these words so that perhaps it in the off-chance that it may slip into someone’s acceptance speech, or novel, or academic writing.

If these words spreads by means of memetic propagation, then I’m sure it will have a strong chance of being accepted in the Oxford English Dictionary. I’m pretty serious. So arms akimbo, here we go:

Continue reading

Lingual DNA

Learning the Korean language has been next to impossible for me. Always.

I suppose most of it has to do with how poorly it is romanized (or represented in the English language). But it’s no wonder since, Korean and English are almost completely unrelated in the vast lingual family tree.

The languages that could match Korean’s “DNA” is either Japanese or Chinese. Since I do not know the latter, but can just about get away with Japanese* I think i’ll use Japanese as a good base point.

Continue reading

Can Artificial Intelligence Truly Exist?

Suppose that a library of the universe exists. One that contains an accurate historical account of all matter that ever was. Where would one find any mention of intelligence, reason, or thought? How can these conscious states exist in a universe that is all but material?

Many have pondered on this question for centuries, long before the understanding of matter. If we consider the brain as a causal-machine, could one say that it cannot possibly contain consciousness? Be it artificial or natural, the problem still persists; can machines ever posses the ability to gain true artificial intelligence? According to John Searle, the answer would be a resounding ‘no’. Searle claims that the reason lies within a famous thought-experiment called ‘The Chinese-room Experiment (which was composed by himself).

Continue reading

Roboscience with Kevin Warwick

Tonight, I had the wonderful pleasure to be in the presence of a key figure in British cybernetics & neuroengineering research, Dr. Kevin Warwick (University of Reading). Warwick gave a fascinating talk at the University of Westminster on Biohacking, sensory substitution, culturing neurones, deep brain learning, implant positioning, and how multi electrode arrays (MEA) can give rise to hebbian learning.

What shocked me, was when I saw small robots with ‘biological brains’ learning to detect the environment (albeit rudimentarily), enough so that the robots would not collide with the walls. After 2 months, the same robot was seen to have gotten better at not colliding. That was shocking, a machine that is capable of learning.

Warwick, then proceeded to douse us with his effervescent and humorous personality, whilst presenting us the futures of cybernetics. He mentioned how humans would soon be superceded by ‘cyborgs’. This is of course, transhumanism (H+) and this is something that Warwick expressed as his wish list in being a part of.

Another aspect which took me aback was the use of electrode implantation to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, where a patient had electrodes implanted on his chest. A small amount of electricity was discharged into the electrodes, which sent electrical signals to the brain. Much to the surprise of the audience, his symtoms (tremors) of Parkinson’s disease was all but gone! However, the problem with this treatment is that the electrodes run out of batteries after a few months and must be either recharged, or replaced. Which often involves surgery.

I was about to make a point of new research by MIT, where fuel cells that are powered on glucose may be used, possibly.

All in all, it was a very thought provoking evening and although I did not get a change to have a chat with the man himself, I hope to meet him not as a student, but as a colleague. Perhaps.


Robotics: ITK Japan’s ‘Handroid’

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending one of ITK Japan’s talk (during Hyper Japan Christmas 2012) which focused around their new update on their flagship product; Handroid (a remotely-operable five-finger movable robot hand)

Led by Shintaro Iwata, ITK Japan took to the stage to introduce the history of the development of handroid. They also highlighted the current issues with the latest 3d finger tracking software. I had a chance to speak with them after the show, and they mentioned that ITK Japan was concieved after a project with Louvre (which involved applying Louvre’s research into Shintaro et al’s technology). After this, ITK Japan had been formed and the handroid was the lovechild of a research collaboration with Tokyo University. I shook their hand and wished them all the best of luck in their handroid project. I hope to see them again next year!

Proprioception and locomotive sensory information within robots have always been incredibly complex, and it was certainly evident during the live stage demo of the handroid. However, as new neuroscientific research into proprioception unravels itself over the next coming decade or two, the science of robotics will be refine itself over time.

via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ykktpEUir0

via  http://www.hyperjapan.co.uk/whats-on/technology/robotics-by-itk.html

via http://www.itk-pro.com/en/index.html

What I Learnt This Week #1: Magpie’s English

I was once told that the English language is a lot like a Magpie. Since, the Magpie will eat any animal food it can find within it’s environment.We can probably relate it to the English language. How English is now seeded in many and most cultures, to so much of an extent that English is a common “second language” (or “lingua franca”). This can only be done by the English language loaning bits and pieces off other languages….
Of course, we all know this.
But how much foreign influence the English language had, was truly unknown to me until I researched the etymology of certain words. For example, Algebra always sounded odd. Where did it come from? Well, this is what I learnt this week. I’ve managed to compile all the foreign loan words into the English language in alphabetical order. Yes, i’m now an etymologist who’s made a mini dictionary. I hope you enjoy, because this took me ages.