Tag Archives: data

Step Back Howard Stern: Radio Gets More Twisted

Howard SternShock jocks and pirate broadcasters won’t be the only ones who will twist radio waves. According to a team of Swedish physicists, it may be possible to twist radio waves and embed even more data in the resulting wave.

You can check out an article on this at New Scientist.

According to the article, the radio frequency ranges between 3 kilohertz and 300 gigahertz. It’s a range that’s crowded with wireless computer signals and cellphone traffic and other informational tech and telephonic periphery.

Even satellite signals, like the ones used to beam the Howard Stern show, are affected.

What’s In It For Us?

If more data can be encoded in a radio wave, as these scientists have demonstrated, there may be more spectrum available for use.

The idea isn’t exactly new, according to the researchers.

Physicist Thomas Leyser, one of the physicists conducting the research said:

“Twisted laser beams have been researched since the 1990s, but it has only now become possible to create twisted beams at the much lower radio frequencies,” he says.

But the team has added their own technique to the earlier research that may open up vast new territories in the spectrum.

How Does It Work?

According To Leyser, the signal is twisted by firing antennas in sequence to “describe a circle.” They don’t fire at once like normal radio operations. As a twist on the twist, the team fed all the antennas in the array slightly different current.

And the radio twist was born.

One hurdle remains.

No one is sure how much information this new antenna can send and receive. Technically, the article indicates vast quantities of information could be packaged and broadcast by a twisted radio beam.

But cell phones are outfitted with dipole antennas, which can’t sent twisted radio signals.

We’ll just have to see how these challenges can be overcome.


There’s No Such Thing As Artificial Intelligence

Stair RobotThere is no artificial intelligence.

It may seem strange coming from a person who is part of a business that uses artificial intelligence technology. I’ve also seen artificial intelligence in action. It works.

And maybe my disagreement is merely semantics, but artificial intelligence produces a negative connotation, like artificial sweetener or artificial Christmas trees. It implies that it is fake.

There is only intelligence. There may be machine-produced intelligence, or artificially-enhanced intelligence, but intelligence is intelligence. Intelligence is intention working on data to produce a result.

Saying something is artificial has a connotation that the intelligence involved is inferior, as well. And I’m convinced that’s not the case.

While watching our own technology work, I can see the intelligence grasping a challenge and sorting for answers, just like I–or any other person–would, but at a much higher efficiency than I am capable of producing. (It doesn’t break to make another pot of coffee.)

When I read about other AI projects, the realization is even more startling.

In this Computer World article, artificial intelligence is starting to deliver on its promise. A Stanford University robot named “Stair,” powered by AI, can identify objects, “fetch” them, and tell you when it’s done. This technology may seem primitive, but its an exponential boost from just a few years ago.

As the writer points out:

Indeed, Stair represents a new wave of AI, one that integrates learning, vision, navigation, manipulation, planning, reasoning, speech and natural-language processing. It also marks a transition of AI from narrow, carefully defined domains to real-world situations in which systems learn to deal with complex data and adapt to uncertainty.

Artificial intelligence, in other words, is becoming just plain intelligent.