The programmatic activities and interests of an AI hacker.
For those keeping track at home, I’m now working a truly dizzying array of cool things, along with NaNoWriMo, my November is truly booked solid:
My space engineering simulator is still moving forward slowly. The full-time we had on it thanks to SpaceGambit support ended recently, but we’re still getting work done on nights and weekends.
The AI company that I’ve been working on and off for since 2004 has spun off a new research company. The commercial side of things: SmartAction, is doing extremely well, using conversational agents based on our technology to provide millions of call-minutes a month. So our founder Peter Voss has this new research venture to get back to basic AI research and keep moving forward, while the bulk of the employees remain with SmartAction to service all the customers. I’m spending part time with AGI Innovations doing my old research job, which is nice, after the last few years of commercial coding and customer relations.
I’ve been consulting for a friend’s company who is building an entry to the Qualcomm Tricorder Xprize. Quite aside from the hardware (which is an interesting challenge in itself), the tricorder needs some fancy stepping done in designing its expert systems. I suspect the goal of getting non-trained people to use these understandably is what’s going to trip up a lot of the other teams, which are medical equipment manufacturers and similar who are used to trained and demanding users.
Also the requirement of the tricorder keeping records requires some interesting backend works, HIPPA compliance, the use of standardized medical db formats and interfaces. We have team members doing things like putting together the ability to interact with the VA, and various insurance systems. I suspect some of the other teams might neglect compliance in favor of their own custom solutions, but the goal is for the tricorder to be of use to people standalone AND as part of an existing health facility like a hospice or small nurse station that might not have a lot of fancy equipment.
Eventually of course we want the tricorder to be of use even in professional medical settings like Hospitals and Emergency Care centers, but one thing at a time.
Alongside all this fascinating stuff is the normal background radiation of my life. Running classes and hosting events at Crashspace, writing for NaNoWriMo late at night, trying to perfect my white wine cream sauce, and percolating my long simmering kickstarter for an AI toolkit.
Los Angeles is a stressful but magical place, friends. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy and so simultaneously happy and stressed. I have so many opportunities, I just need to do well at that.
doctordev asked: Do you have a Github repository? Would love to follow you if so. Thanks!
I have an account: https://github.com/outlaw-poet but not a lot on there yet. I’ve spent the last few years at a job where most of my work was under NDA. Still getting into the hang of working on public stuff.
SatStatSim progress report
We’re coming up on three weeks into this thing, and some things have gone well and other are taking more time. Most of our work has been design and documentation, we have been establishing exactly how we define the properties of objects, how you go from screen to screen within the program, what controls and keys are active at what times.
Parallel to this has been research into our tools, how best to use Unity and some associated physics tools to accomplish our needs. Luckily there is a vibrant online community so there is a lot of tutorials, online documentation, and forum discussion on people working on related problems.
Lastly and most complicated has been the Space portion of our research. Surprisingly little exact data is available on things like how much solar cells of various types weigh when installed, what solutions satellite builders have used to control out-gassing, heat buildup, antenna orientation. Tracking down documents in NASA’s archive has dealt with some of these problems, others we have to reduce to physical principles or simplify.
Our artist has also started work up graphics, models, logos, and other necessaries. As these come in, these status reports are going to get more colorful and interesting.
For the time being, there’s little that public comment will help us with, but as we accumulate more documentation, and the first example screens and usable GUIs appear, we’ll probably run an event at Crashspace/online to get feedback and alpha testers. If you’d like to click at a mostly broken space object designer and have design input as it takes shape before anybody else, watch this space.
Now ongoing after some delays: SatStatSim!
Our Satellite and Space Station Simulator is now finally under development, after some exciting contract issues and approvals flying across the Pacific Ocean, Programmatic Conquest has now officially engaged the services of three developers to work on this project.
The dream is to be able to build any satellite or space station realizable today, and see realistic computed performance. Initially we are focusing on simple constructions using modular parts.
A key part of the simulator is our extensible library of parts and materials, which will be open to both revision and custom simulator scripting. If we don’t have a radio or robot arm you want, you should be able to model, script, and define it yourself. And if you feel our current parts aren’t accurate enough in simulation, you will be able to add to their characteristics.
The next three months will see some rapid changes and development, so watch this space.
There’s now a discussion list for this project: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/satstatsim-talk
SatStatSim: A SpaceGambit funded adventure.
As I alluded to earlier, we’ve got a new project for the next few months, some sexy space simulations we were funded for by SpaceGambit.
Lacking any creativity, our Satellite and Station Simulator is currently called SatStatSim, and it’ll split the difference between games and hard math simulators, so that students and New Space enthusiasts alike can enjoy it.
The initial version will support a range of orbital objects from cubesat to small manned stations. Put together your own pet designs using modular parts, hit the button, and see what kind of performance you can get. What sort of problems plague satellites and stations in orbit, what features can you get?
I’m really excited about this project, not only is it a great project I think lots of people will have fun with, but it’ll be useful math for building better stations for our sci-fi rpg, because we’re crazy completionists.
SatStatSim will be an open-source project, and we’ll be setting up a separate website for support and discussion soon, as well as hosting public discussion at CrashSpace. Excelsior!
Coming Soon to a Bookshelf Near You
I just got an alert reminding me that DSM-5 is going to be here in a few weeks, and barring any last minute retractions from the APA, looks like that last draft is the final word.
It’s the tried and true disease model of psychological disorders for at least one more edition, although more fundamental and scientific approaches like Research Domain Criteria made up a lot of ground in the nasty ten year fight over the 5th edition, there’s too much inertia and too many clinicians who need straightforward answers for patients presenting specific symptoms.
Here’s hoping the next edition can move beyond the dueling symptom lists and spectrums psychopathology is currently defined by.
But, while I’ve disagreed with every draft of DSM5, I’m still going to get a copy of the final and read it cover to cover, because while I’m a contrarian, I’m not THAT contrarian.
There’s a lot of good updates and stats and science to know! So here’s to Psychiatry, slowly moving forward.