Microsoft Builds a Browser for Your Past

Microsoft Builds a Browser for Your Past - Technology Review

Photo: Microsoft Research

“Behind the scenes, Lifebrowser uses several machine-learning techniques to sift through personal data and determine what is important to its owner. When judging photos, Lifebrowser looks at properties of an image file for clues, including whether the file name was modified or the flash had fired. It even examines the contents of a photo using machine-vision algorithms to learn how many people were captured in the image and whether it was taken inside or outdoors. The “session” of photos taken at one time is also considered as a group, for cues such as how long an event was and how frequently photos were taken.” (Tom Simonite, Technology Review)

Kasparov versus the World


“In 1999, world chess champion Garry Kasparov, widely acknowledged as the greatest player in the history of the game, agreed to participate in a chess match sponsored by Microsoft, playing against “the World”. One move was to be made each 24 hours, with the World’s move being decided by a vote; anyone at all was allowed to vote on the World Team’s next move.

The game was staggering. After 62 moves of innovative chess, in which the balance of the game changed several times, the World Team finally resigned. Kasparov revealed that during the game he often couldn’t tell who was winning and who was losing, and that it wasn’t until after the 51st move that the balance swung decisively in his favour. After the game, Kasparov wrote an entire book about it. He claimed to have expended more energy on this one game than on any other in his career, including world championship games.” (Michael Nielsen)

Also check out Clay Shirky’s brief account of the game.

Kasparov versus the World (1999)

The World had made a serious tactical error in move 52, but that there was still the possibility of a draw. Then, on October 13th, Ms. Krush’s recommendation for move 58 was delayed by mail server problems, problems compounded by a further delay in posting the information on the Microsoft server. Without Ms. Krush’s input, an inferior move was suggested and accepted, making it obvious that despite the rhetoric of collaboration, the game had become Kasparov v. Krush with Kibbitzing by The World. Deprived of Ms. Krush’s strategic vision, the game was doomed. The World responded to this communication breakdown by collective hari kari, with 66% of the team voting for a suicidal move. Facing the possibility of headlines like “The World Resigns from Microsoft,” the corporate titan rejected the people’s move and substituted one of its own. The World, not surprisingly, reacted badly.” (Clay Shirky’s website)