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2018/03/23 第207期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
編輯小語 How Much Magic Can ‘Harry Potter’ Make? 「哈利波特」魔法無邊?
Good News: AI Is Getting Cheaper. That’s Bad News, Too. 人工智慧降價 是好消息也是壞消息
How Much Magic Can ‘Harry Potter’ Make? 「哈利波特」魔法無邊?
文/Roslyn Sulcas

Joanne Kathleen Rowling looked slightly tense. She had just completed a television segment, alongside her collaborators on “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the eighth — and the only theatrical — installment in her celebrated wizarding saga, which begins previews on March 16 at the Lyric Theater on Broadway. Now she had another interview to do.

Rowling is famously private. And crazily famous. Her Harry Potter novels have sold over 450 million copies since the first was published in 1997, spawning an empire that now encompasses movies, the spinoff “Fantastic Beasts” films, Harry Potter Wizarding World theme parks, and detective novels (written under a pseudonym) that have been made into a television series.



Like much else she touches, her first theatrical venture has been a smash. It earned rave reviews and sold-out houses in London, going on to win in a record-breaking nine categories at last year’s Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of the Tonys.

And yet Rowling, who started out as a struggling single mother, writing her first Harry Potter novel in Edinburgh cafes, seemed — despite an armor of smart wrap dress and high heels — determined to take absolutely nothing for granted.



“We see this as a new challenge,” she said, looking at John Tiffany, the show’s cheerful director, and Jack Thorne, its tall and gangly writer, who were seated with her backstage at the Palace Theater in the West End here. “Broadway is a scary place.”

Broadway is a scary place, with new productions — even those based on beloved titles — routinely failing to live up to their producers’ hopes and dreams. And “Cursed Child” confronts challenges in New York that it didn’t face when it opened here in July 2016 amid more mystery, excitement and anticipation than attends most presidential elections. (And what felt like just about as much media coverage.)


百老匯確是個可怕的地方,一些新的製作,即使是以深受喜愛作品為基礎的產品,往往仍無法符合製作人的期望和夢想。「被詛咒的孩子」在紐約面對的,是該劇2016年7月在此間搬上舞台時並未曾遭遇的挑戰, 當時伴隨該劇的神秘感、興奮感和期待都高於大多數總統選舉。 (感覺獲得的媒體報導也一樣多)。

Secrecy about the story line, collectively developed by Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany, fed a growing obsession with what the play would reveal about Harry and Company, and a #keepthesecret campaign encouraged a clublike camaraderie among the preview audiences.

But now that script has been published, reviews have been written and tweets have been tweeted, the plot — a coming-of-age trajectory for Harry’s second son, Albus — is out there. (According to Scholastic, the Potter publisher, the book version of “Cursed Child” has sold over 5 million copies in the United States.)

Unlike most family-oriented Broadway offerings, “Cursed Child” is a play, not a musical, and it will compete in the spring with Disney’s musical adaptation of the animated blockbuster “Frozen.”


不過,如今腳本已公諸於世,評論也已出爐,推文也已被發送,至於情節,哈利的二兒子阿不斯的成熟軌跡,已攤開在那裡。 (根據哈利波特出版商學者出版集團,「被詛咒的孩子」的印刷版已在美國銷售逾500萬本。)


Good News: AI Is Getting Cheaper. That’s Bad News, Too. 人工智慧降價 是好消息也是壞消息
文/Cade Metz

A Silicon Valley startup recently unveiled a drone that can set a course entirely on its own. A smartphone app allows the user to tell the drone to follow someone. Once the drone starts tracking, its subject will find it remarkably hard to shake.

The drone is meant to be a fun gadget. But it is not unreasonable to find this automated bloodhound a little unnerving.



A group of artificial intelligence researchers and policymakers last month released a report that described how rapidly evolving and increasingly affordable AI technologies could be used for malicious purposes.

The tracking drone helps explain their concerns. Made by a company called Skydio, the drone costs $2,499. It was made with technological building blocks available to anyone: ordinary cameras, open-source software and low-cost computer chips.



In time, putting these pieces together will become increasingly easy and inexpensive.

“This stuff is getting more available in every sense,” said one of Skydio’s founders, Adam Bry. These same technologies are bringing a new level of autonomy to cars, warehouse robots, security cameras and a wide range of internet services.



But at times, new AI systems also exhibit strange and unexpected behavior because the way they learn from large amounts of data is not entirely understood. That makes them vulnerable to manipulation; today’s computer-vision algorithms, for example, can be fooled into seeing things that are not there.

In such a scenario, miscreants could circumvent security cameras or compromise a driverless car.



Researchers are also developing AI systems that can find and exploit security holes in all sorts of other systems, said Paul Scharre, an author of the report. These systems can be used for both defense and offense.

Automated techniques will make it easier to carry out attacks that now require extensive human labor, including “spear phishing,” which involves gathering and exploiting personal data of victims. In coming years, the report said, machines will be more adept at collecting and deploying this data on their own.

AI systems are also increasingly adept at generating believable audio and video on their own. This will make it easier for bad actors to spread misinformation online, the report said.






人工智慧(Artificial Intelligence,簡稱AI)是電腦科技的子領域,強調智慧機器能像人類般運作與回應,包括語音辨識、學習、計畫和解決問題;旨在創造智慧機器的人工智慧,已成科技產業重要的一環。

與人工智慧相關的研究相當技術性且專業化,人工智慧的重要議題包括設計電腦使其具有獲取知識、推理、解決問題、感知、學習、規畫和能夠操控及移動物體的能力。其中,知識工程(knowledge engineering)是人工智慧相關研究的核心,機器惟有在存取許多與世界相關的豐富資訊時,才能像人類動作和回應。

機器學習(machine learning)則是人工智慧的關鍵領域;機器學習簡單來說,就是從大數據中歸納出有用的規則與模式。機器學習主要分為監督式學習、非監督式學習、半監督學習和增強式學習。監督式學習需要人工輸入訓練範本(base),再讓機器預測結果;非監督式學習毋須人工輸入範本;半監督學習則僅提供少數資料的答案,讓機器判別誤差並尋找答案。增強式學習以人腦的思考模式,讓機器根據當前的狀況選擇執行動作並獲得反饋,甚至依據所執行的動作創造新的環境狀態。

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