Photospeak | Beyond Foundation's edge

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This year is a great one for artificial intelligence. Should we continue unhindered with its algorithmic progress or pause for a moment to infuse the missing and much-needed humanness?

The year 2016 would have proved to be very interesting had a certain Isaac Asimov been still alive. Computers are slowly adapting themselves to not only mimic humans but to better them at their games, be it driving cars, big data analysis or … winning a game of Go — one of the oldest board games known to mankind.



Last week, South Korean professional Go player Lee Se-Dol pit his wits against Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, and ended up losing 4-1, thereby raking up that repeated fear of possible domination by AI in the not-so-near future. (Photo by Google via Getty Images)

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 13: In this handout image provided by Google, South Korean professional Go player Lee Se-Dol (R) puts his first stone against Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, during the fourth Google DeepMind Challenge Match on March 13, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. Lee Se-dol played a five-game match against a computer program developed by a Google, AlphaGo. (Photo by Google via Getty Images)

In the meantime, let us focus on enjoying all things natural, like this Skye Terrier that waits to be groomed by its owner on the final day of Crufts 2016 (in Birmingham, England). First held in 1891, Crufts is said to be the largest show of its kind in the world. The annual four-day event features thousands of dogs, with competitors travelling from countries across the globe to take part and vie for the coveted title of 'Best in Show'. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

And this Balinese Hindu priest making an offering to a dead sperm whale washed ashore on Batu Tumpeng beach near Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on March 14, 2016. Culture and ritual almost always seem to require the human touch — more skin than steel they would say. (Photo by Reuters/Roni Bintang)

With all the big data processing power, artificial intelligence would do a heck of a better job than Nicholas Cage & Co. trying to zero in on national treasures. But would the story behind the dig be as cool as how a stunned Israeli hiker found this nearly 2,000 year-old gold coin just lying around on the grass last week? The coin bears the image of Emperor Augustus and was minted by Emperor Trajan. Israel's Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Monday that the coin is a very rare find as the only other similar coin known to exist is at the British Museum. Serendipity is probably a more fulfilling human ordeal. (Photo by Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Technology probably can and will prove to be beneficial for the disabled. It can surely help people like Roman Zorin here, shown touching a 3D portrait of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at a specialized library for blind and partially sighted people in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia on March 15. The portrait was created specially for blind people to understand what Putin looks like through touch, according to library employees. (Photo by Reuters/Ilya Naymushin)

AI can probably beat us at board games. What about performance art? Can it ever better this Kashmiri traceur demonstrating his Parkour skills in Srinagar last Wednesday? Parkour, developed in France, is an athletic discipline in which practitioners or traceurs combine skills of gymnastics, acrobatics, running, and jumping to traverse a variety of terrain. The activity is becoming increasingly popular among the Kashmiri Muslim youth. Your turn, robots. (Photo by Nissar Ahmad/The Hindu)

However deep the neural network, AI almost always works towards achieving a definite result and hence becomes too objective to appreciate politicking. It can probably read the Spanish in this work of art ("Welcome to Cuba", FYI), photographed on March 17 in Havana. But it can never quite appreciate the significance of the portraits of a Cuban and American president featuring together. Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to the island on March 20, the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years. (Photo by AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Or try looking at this. Through robotic eyes the picture’s composition would be nothing but two male Homo sapiens in contrasting vests indulging in a bit of violence. For the politically aware Bengali, that’s Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, the Chief whip of Trinamool Congress at the State Legislative Assembly, in blue and a former boxer inaugurating the 15th All Bengal Open Boxing Championship 2016 with a friendly bout at the ring of Bhowanipur Boxing Association in Kolkata on March 18. A good warm-up for the upcmoing electoral battles in the state, we suppose. (Photo by Ashoke Chakrabarty /The Hindu)

Can a machine ever feel the sporting fervour of a Virat Kohli celebration after India wins a match? The aggressive Delhi-born batsman scored a half century en route to victory at the ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match against Pakistan at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India on March 19, 2016. (Photo by AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Well, computing would definitely take a bit of a hit during Earth Hour as this woman lighting lamps on March 19 in Colombo would tell you. The number 60 represents the 60 minutes of time that’s supposed to be power-free. Not sure our metal-boned brethren would be savvy with that. (Photo by Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte )

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