October 11, 2017
One of the weirder areas in cybernetics is the area of artificial intelligence. As researchers and programmers have sought to replicate the way that the brain works, a number of interesting oddities have come up as the logical realm of computers meets the sometimes irrational realm of the human mind. However, this is nowhere more obvious than in the realm of gaming, where the ability of a non-player character to make its own decisions while following the directives of story and programming
While most of the characterization is no doubt due the voice acting, the characters still need to behave correctly during play, this is where having intelligent characters. Originally one of the problems with character behavior is that characters tended to take their directions extremely literally, which led to a number of problems where characters committed de facto suicide; it was not uncommon for the characters to follow directions to “go that way” right over a cliff. Even otherwise intelligent characters would engage in monsters in combat sometimes even before they could receive instructions from the player. Suffice to say that this caused innumerable problems.
Handling these problems actually ended up helping in other fields. The “go that way” problem was solved by establishing parameter where the computerized characters had limits on where they could go, and they got better at stopping before encountering danger. This ability was translated to electronic explorers, giving them a chance at survival as they had to debate their odds of survival. Figuring out how to make characters obey commands better allowed better use of intelligence to be used by battlefield robots to better follow the squads they were attached to and enabled them to help in the defense of those squads.
One of the most interesting developments was actually in chess. A chess computer in 1983 apparently began cheating and the programmers could not figure out the problem. Then, they had a chess player look at the recorded games, and they were able to ascertain that the first person to cheat was a person, possibly a player making a move in error. In order to save memory the programmers had neglected to install a move-checking sub-routine on the assumption that the grandmasters they were using would never cheat or make a wrong move. A wrong move was made and the program caught it, and learned from it. It was soon making mistakes on purpose, which quickly caused some of the grandmasters to complain about it cheating. Installing a move-checker stopped the cheating.
It has been used in other games for other functions. The Anki racing system establishes a course for the cars that they must stick to in order to win. The system uses a relatively simple piece of software to adjust the speed of the racers so as to ensure that they can handle the turns and overtake the lead vehicle when possible. The software even simulates cars following each other even though there is no real advantage at that scale. Artificial intelligence has been able to be used in games to make them more challenging, and in some cases has been in used in other fields, making life both easier and more fun for all involved.
September 11, 2017
There are numerous benefits to having a line of credit, and anyone who does will attest to that fact. No matter what the reason, an individual can reach into that credit line and borrow from it, without answering any questions and without any delays. It is much like having a safety net for any rainy day, perhaps.
Of course, a line of credit can take on numerous forms, as below.
For example, you might request overdraft protection from your bank to protect you from exceeding the funds in your checking account. It is an excellent way to protect your credit from being destroyed or even minimally hurt should your account go into the red. With everything being automated these days, even a few cents below the actual funds in your account can hurt your credit score. It can also save you from an NSF charge when writing checks to a landlord or what have you.
These credit lines are not reserved for individuals as they may be extended to businesses and even governments. The bottom line is that these are sources of funds easily accessible at the person’s or business’s discretion. What’s more is that, even though you have access to this money, you will never have to pay any interest on it, unless you have actually borrowed from it. When you withdraw any funds from this credit line, that is the only time you will be charged interest. In some instances, depending on the institution offering such products, a customer may have to pay a fee to have this safety net.
More often than not, in order to have a credit line, banks will require some form of collateral. For those who are credit-worthy customers, collateral may not be required. In the latter instance, one would have to have an exceptional credit score. Each financial institution has its own terms and regulations regarding the way in which such a product is used and repaid.
Most people do find this form of source of funding to be exceptionally helpful and give them peace of mind should they have to deal with unexpected costs, like having to replace the roof, medical bills, and the like. To benefit from a financial product like this, it is important to talk to your bank representative to understand what they offer and what expectations they may have. Take some time to study their proposal and do the math before signing on and using this service.