January is Vocational Service Month. This meeting will take a look at Artificial Intelligence, which will bring revolutionary changes in this new decade to nearly every vocation. As Rotarians are concerned about how our professions affect our communities, we need to start understanding how the changes brought by AI will impact what we do and how we do it. (Part 2 of this presentation will follow in a future meeting.)


PRESIDING TODAY IS: Ken Jaskot, Member

bellDing! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to this E-Club program!


Remember the Four-Way Test!

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always ...


Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


Reflective Moments

“Great wine starts with great grapes, and great AI starts with great data.”
         – Bob Friday, vice president and chief technology officer of Mist

“At its heart, AI is computer programming that learns and adapts. It can’t solve every problem, but its potential to improve our lives is profound.”
       – Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet Inc. and Google
“Every company and every product will be fundamentally transformed by AI over the course of the next decade. It's actually going to have a bigger impact that the internet itself. That's what we have to look forward to.”
       – Rajen Sheth, vice president of product management at Google Cloud AI
“We are looking at a future in which companies will indulge in Darwinism, using the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and machine learning to rapidly evolve in a way we've never seen before.”
      – Brian Solis, Altimeter Group

Leadership Quotes

“Rotary’s commitment to vocational service is built on the highest ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful work, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.”
  – RIP Mark Daniel Maloney, 2019-20, Rotary Connects the World






What:    Region III Rotary Mixer
When:   February 1, 2020  –  6-9 p.m. 
Where:  Loft Conference Center, 125 Granville Square, Beside Hampton Inn  @ Exit #152  of I-79. 
Who:  All members and family members of Rotary Clubs in the Morgantown area as well as members of Mountain State Rotary E-Club, Rotaract Clubs, Interact Clubs as well as Rotary Exchange Student alumni.
Why:  Fun! and get to know other members and meet your District Governor, Shari Messinger and your Assistant Governor, John Lichter.
District #7545 is divided into 15 Regions. Region #3 is comprised of the four Morgantown area clubs and the Mountain State Rotary E-Club. Members from the newly formed Morgantown Community Rotaract Club will be attending as well.
The mixer will serve two purposes...  
1. Introduce the members of the Rotary Clubs in the Region with the members of the other Rotary Clubs in the Region as a step to working together to grow Rotary in the region.  The dress code for this meeting is casual.  
2. Introduce our 7545 District Governor and regional Assistant Governor.
Each Club will have an opportunity to introduce the members of their club as well as family members and even say a little about what good their club does in the World.
As you may already know,  February 1 is the eve of Groundhog Day. At Saturday's mixer Region 3 will be planning an expedition on Sunday morning to travel to Buckhannon to observe French Creek Freddie firsthand. 

Artificial Intelligence: A Brief Look

Human intelligence: a mental quality that consists of the abilities to learn from experience, adapt to new situations, understand and handle abstract concepts, and use knowledge to manipulate one’s environment. For the most part, adaptation involves making a change in oneself in order to cope more effectively with the environment, but it can also mean changing the environment or finding an entirely new one.
Effective adaptation draws upon a number of cognitive processes, such as perception, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. The main emphasis in a definition of intelligence, then, is that it is not a cognitive or mental process per se but rather a selective combination of these processes that is purposely directed toward effective adaptation.

Artificial Intelligence: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. AI: the field of computer science dedicated to solving cognitive problems commonly associated with human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and pattern recognition. AI: the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.

Between them, they'd racked up over $5 million in winnings on the television quiz show Jeopardy. They were the best players the show had produced over its decades-long lifetime: Ken Jennings had the longest unbeaten run at 74 winning appearances, while Brad Rutter had earned the biggest prize pot with a total of $3.25 million. Rutter and Jennings were Jeopardy-winning machines. They agreed to an exhibition match against an opponent who'd never even stood behind a Jeopardy podium before: IBM’s Watson. Three nights, two people, one machine and a $1 million prize, February 14, 15 & 16, 2011.

Jeopardy's quirk is that instead of the quizmaster setting questions and contestants providing the answer, the quizmaster provides the answers, known as 'clues' in Jeopardy-speak, to which contestants provide a question. Not only would the machine need to be able to produce questions for the possible clues that might come its way on Jeopardy, it would need to be able to first pull apart Jeopardy's tricky clues - work out what was being asked - before it could even provide the right response.

A third party randomly picked the clues from previously written shows that were never broadcast for the contest. Show staff requested that Watson press a button physically, as the human contestants would, when ready to answer.

To provide a physical presence in the televised games, Watson was represented by an "avatar" of a globe, inspired by the IBM "smarter planet" symbol. The room-sized Watson employs a cluster of ninety IBM Power 750 servers, each of which uses a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. In total, the system has 2,880 POWER7 processor threads and 16 terabytes of RAM. The sound of the cooling structure alone would overpower a studio’s sound system if in the room.

And Watson was right a lot of the time. He won the game with $77,147 leaving Rutter and Jennings in the dust with $21,600 and $24,000 respectively. The prizes for the competition were $1 million for first place (Watson), $300,000 for second place (Jennings), and $200,000 for third place (Rutter). As promised, IBM donated 100% of Watson's winnings to charity.

Watson had access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content consuming four terabytes of disk storage including the full text of the 2011 edition of Wikipedia but was not connected to the Internet. The sources of information for Watson include encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, newswire articles, and literary works. Watson also used databases, taxonomies, and ontologies. The IBM team provided Watson with millions of documents, including dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference material that it could use to build its knowledge.

For that, IBM developed DeepQA, a massively parallel software architecture that examined natural language content in both the clues set by Jeopardy and in Watson's own stored data, along with looking into the structured information it holds. The component-based system, built on a series of pluggable components for searching and weighting information, took about 20 researchers three years to reach a level where it could tackle a quiz show performance and come out looking better than its human opponents.

First up, DeepQA works out what the question is asking, then works out some possible answers based on the information it has to hand, creating a thread for each. Every thread uses hundreds of algorithms to study the evidence, looking at factors including what the information says, what type of information it is, its reliability, and how likely it is to be relevant, then creating an individual weighting based on what Watson has previously learned about how likely they are to be right. It then generated a ranked list of answers, with evidence for each of its options.

The information that DeepQA would eventually be able to query for Jeopardy was 200 million pages of information, from a variety of sources. All the information had to be locally stored - Watson wasn't allowed to connect to the Internet during the quiz - and understood, queried and processed at a fair clip: in a Jeopardy's case, Watson had to spit out an answers in a matter of seconds to make sure it was first to the buzzer.

"Her" is the 2013 romantic science-fiction drama film by Spike Jonze, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a man who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system personified through the female voice of Scarlett Johansson as Samantha.

The film’s narrative shows the evolution of the Samantha operating system and her relationship with Theodore, transforming from a competent assistant to a literary agent that proactively arranges the publication of Theodore’s letters, to an ideal girlfriend, and ultimately to an entity that loses interest in humans because they have become unsatisfying companions. Throughout, Samantha is an impressive conversationalist with a perfect command of the language, a grasp of the broader context, a grounding in common sense, and a mastery of the emotional realm.

Samantha’s tale is the story of AI. To begin with, there are all the unseen developers of Samantha, who wrote all the aspects of computer coding that made a machine speak naturally and within various situations, such as speech recognition, natural language understanding, speech generation, dialog, reasoning, and planning. Think of all the different language data points that need to be gathered and organized and related to each other. People writing scores of algorithms, including other algorithms to automate the process of learning and relating all this information.

Then there is the machine running all this software in real-time and without unnatural lags. And there is the growth of this machine over time, learning from what is experienced and modifying itself.

Are Siri or Alexa there today? No, but it is coming sooner then you might think. All the current conversations are used to add to the language databases. As the machines become more powerful and faster, the data is constantly refined and improved. As the science of machine learning grows, so too does the capabilities of the machines. It is exponential growth. 2020 will be the decade of high-level Artificial Intelligence being mainstreamed.

Note: Your comments and questions will be appreciated! 

OUR CLUB........................................................................

The Mountain State Rotary E-Club (MSRE) is a member club of Rotary International District 7545 (covering most of West Virginia, excluding the Eastern panhandle) and RI Zone 33, which encompasses a large portion of the eastern sector of the United States.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 at noon via Zoom.
Link to be updated.
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