Confessions of a researchaholic

February 22, 2012

Artificial intelligence

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:37 pm
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When I was younger I preferred to stay away from people as much as possible, as most of them are not very interesting and it is much more rewarding for me to be alone thinking and reading.

When I get older, I realized that humans are intensively intriguing subjects for study. I started to spend a lot of time observing human behaviors and try guessing what they are thinking and predicting their actions.

This caused certain dilemma for me: on one hand I still want to be as far away as possible from people, but on the other hand, I want to be close enough with them for the purpose of studies and observations.
(The penalty and reward seem to go in tandem; crowd behavior is the most interesting, but also the most annoying to be part of.)

Fortunately, computer science comes into rescue. Far from the common stereotypes (of nerds locking in toilets), computer science, especially the most current and active subjects, are very human centric. One example is user interface, including design for better user experiences, as well as analysis and synthesis for deeper understanding and more advanced interactions.

A more recent example is social networking. Previously, most human daily activities simply dissipated into entropy. Now, with people spending more of their interactions through various social networking sites, we can record their activities in better quality and quantity.
Such data not only enables better computer technologies but more profoundly, more insights into human nature. (Facebook probably knows more about certain individuals than their mothers do.)

Two sci-fi series could provide inspirations for both directions.

Caprica is about how humans create Cylons, a cyber-genetic life form that eventually pushes humans near extinction in the main Battlestar Galactica series (which I found to be much less interesting).

Dollhouse is about how technologies can allow memories and personalities to be extracted from one individual and installed into another, essentially programming human brains.

Both offer insights into computer science and humanity, as well as highly enjoyable entertainments. Unfortunately, both got canceled prematurely due to low ratings, a confirmation of my childhood observation about how ordinary humans would react to deeper materials.

April 12, 2010

Accidental art

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 2:55 pm
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For some reason, the most beautiful images I have produced tend to be the buggy ones.

I guess this is a unique advantage of graphics research (compared to other CS fields): when we screw up, we might be able to claim the result as an art.

January 25, 2010


Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 2:31 pm
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The most muscular pepper I have seen; photo by Edward Weston.

January 10, 2010

Robotic chair

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 4:12 pm
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You are witnessing the origin of the Terminators. Checkout the original website here for more information.


September 21, 2009

Square word calligraphy

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 5:39 pm

I spotted these unique calligraphic works by Xu Bing in Stanford museum a few days ago. These are quite amusing works. When I first saw these, I had no knowledge about the artist’s method, and thus the art works present an interesting puzzle for me.

But eventually I figured out what is going on, via the “hint” provided by the way the artist expressed his own name:

September 1, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 4:48 pm
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The phrase “animated documentary” may sound like an oxymoron, but that is exactly what I would use to describe Waltz with Bashir. I was originally attracted to this movie due to its graphics effects, especially on the masterful use of large regions of monotonic colors. What I did not expect was thought provoking storytelling, and I was thrilled to find plenty in this movie.

I highly recommend this movie, as well as the behind the scene bonus features on how the movie is made.


July 10, 2009

DEADLINE post-it stop motion

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 2:25 pm
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Idea is more important than graphics in producing a good video.


May 9, 2009

Vilhelm Hammershoi

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:55 am

I find a strange sense of peace and serenity in his paintings. See a related article in Economist.

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