500 East 11th Street
New York, New York 10009

Presentation no. 1: Going in a New Direction: An Introduction to
Hyperspace by Shieva Kleinschmidt. Since the dawn of time, mankind
has wondered about how many dimensions of space there are. Many
scientists are now suggesting that, at least in theory, bigger is
better. But setting all the science (and math) stuff aside, there are
some important, basic questions to ask: How can we even begin to
visualize space we can't see? What might hyperspace really be like,
if it exists? And what do these extra dimensions have to do with the
difference between right and left hands, and with immaculate
conception? Kleinschmidt is a philosophy graduate student at NYU,
studying the metaphysics of spacetime and the structure of objects.

Presentation no. 2: Talking robots: A do-it-yourself guide for the
discerning nerd by Alexander Koller. In movies, more or less
intelligent robots communicate with people all the time. But of
course, as well-educated nerds we all know that talking robots are
total science fiction, and we'd better spend our weekends more
productively exploring the sex lives of tadpoles rather than trying
to build C-3PO. In this talk, I set out to demonstrate a much niftier
reality: We do have the technology to build robots that communicate
with humans using spoken language. I report on a project that I
organized a little while ago, in which the task was to build and
program a Lego Mindstorms robot and connect it to software on a PC
that allows it to react to spoken commands, talk back to the user,
and generally have a dialogue and be a smart-ass. I will explain the
technology that went into them, show a bunch of videos (including one
of the robot bartender who mixes real cocktails and tells bad jokes),
and illustrate that a least a tiny piece of science fiction can be
science today. Koller is a post-doctoral research fellow in
computational linguistics at Columbia University.

Angels and Kings
500 East 11th Street, between Avenues A and B, Manhattan
7p; $free

Added by sadotter on July 16, 2007

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