If it’s NELL, it knows what it “reads” on the web … and then it tweets about it

By Tom Imerito

Can a computer system form beliefs? Carnegie Mellon’s Never Ending Language Learner does. More than half a million beliefs, in fact—and still growing.

Created by Tom Mitchell, head of the Machine Learning Department, and his research team, NELL autonomously and continuously reads the web; compiles words and their relationships to each other into a knowledge base from which it formulates beliefs; and then tweets its thoughts to more than 1,700 Twitter followers. It uses the words, “I think” when it tweets a new belief, whether mundane (“I think “ground cayenne pepper” is a #Condiment”) or profound (“I think “art wedding photography” is form of #VisualArt”). [Continue Reading…]

Plextronics' Organic Nano-Wires Make Electricity from Light and Light from Electricity

Recipes For Cooking Lightby Tom Imerito

In a world roiling in new technologies, few companies have received the early stage notoriety of Pittsburgh’s own Plextronics. Spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, the company’s technology centers on the molecular self assembly of non-metallic nanowires that, depending on their molecular structure, are able to absorb light and transform it into electrical current or, alternatively, to use electrical current to emit light. Given the technology’s revolutionary nature, I couldn’t keep myself from asking Plextronics’ CEO Andy Hannah for a brain-dump and a plant tour, which he happily granted. [Continue Reading…]