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Newsletter May 14, 2001
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Smile, you are being filmed

Monitoring your house while you are away on holiday, making sure your children aren't getting into trouble in their play area or keeping your office safe at night: all of this is possible and easy to achieve in a smart house.

Video surveillance has become an everyday activity in the fight against crime. In France alone, there are as many as one million closed-circuit surveillance cameras and 150 000 installations in public places. But according to one video surveillance professional, more than nine out of every ten alarms are set off accidentally (the alarm was not turned off immediately on arrival, the wrong code number was entered etc.) and so do not need a person to be sent to the scene. How is it possible to detect these unwarranted alarms, without subscribing to a expensive video surveillance service? Well, why not transform your webcam into a security guard?

Video surveillance over the Internet allows you to see and hear in real time the zones that you monitor around your house. You are immediately informed of an alarm via e-mail or your mobile phone.

That means you can do an interactive video check-up in order to understand and react to a situation in the shortest possible time. All you need is a computer connected to the Internet and a simple browser. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can connect anytime and anywhere to see what is happening.

In the meantime, keep a close eye on AgentLand!


N E W   A G E N T S

>> File sharing <<

> Toadnode
Toadnode is a computer program that allows you to share and download files with Internet users all over the world. It helps you find files you want to download and helps you share files that you think other people on the Internet might want. It uses the Gnutella protocol.

>> Chatterbots <<

> Elbot
Elbot is an example of KiwiLogic's Lingubots. It is a little robotic character who chats to you and jumps up and down if you don't answer him to his satisfaction.

> Eve
Eve is a virtual guide to the gaming site, Gameplay.

A G E N T  U P D A T E S

>> Metasearch <<

> Metahoo
Metahoo, the metasearch engine, has added a new search feature. You can now use Metahoo to search using the "Open Directory" resources. The metasearch engine of Metahoo presents results by relevance and source. You can also search in different categories: the Web, news, MP3, jobs, auctions and forums.

>> Search agents <<

> Gossip
Tryllian Gossip, the personal agent on the Internet, has been discontinued and is therefore no longer available for download. Tryllian are finishing work on a new free mobile agent application that will soon appear on Agentland.

>> File sharing <<

> Aimster
Aimster, publishers of the file sharing program of the same name, has brought an action against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Aimster's management had received a letter from the RIAA summoning them to block the sharing of copyrighted files. The company has asked the federal court of New York to give a judgement attesting that it does not violate the American law on the copyright. "We would have to spy on our customers", explains the spokesman of Aimster, Johnny Deep. "It would be a completely inappropriate use of our capacity to decode users' messages". To share files and to communicate via Aimster, you have to be a member of an encrypted private network of users.

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> Close Popup
Close Popup will detect and close those annoying popup windows from any web site! It runs as a tray icon, which you can hide if you dislike clutter in your tray.


> The first Cyborg couple
Surgeons are preparing to create the first husband and wife cyborgs: they intend to implant computer chips in a British professor and his wife to see if they can communicate sensation and movement by thought alone. In the experiment Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading University, and his wife, Irena, will have silicon chips about 2in long implanted in their arms just above the elbow. Each chip will also have a power source, a tuner and a radio transceiver. They will be surgically connected to nerve fibres in the couple's arms. The signals from Warwick will be converted to radio waves and transmitted to a computer which will re- transmit them to the chip in Irena. Warwick believes that when he moves his own fingers, his brain will also be able to move Irena's.

> Aibo reads the email for you
Sony Corp. unveiled software that will enable its Aibo robots to read e-mail messages and Web pages. The software Aibo Messenger works with a wireless LAN (local area network) card, giving Aibo, the ability to inform owners that e-mail has arrived, to read the contents of a message, and to convey text-based information such as news and weather from home pages.
Aibo Messenger, which will be available for order in Japan on May 11 and in the United States starting in July, will be able to read e-mail or preselected Web pages in Japanese or English in six different male or female voices.

> A very intelligent camera
By recognizing both visual and audio cues, a self-aiming camera being developed at the University of Illinois can tell the difference between an airplane and an albatross. The camera system, which could find use as an intelligent sentinel in sensitive military applications, originally was built to demonstrate the versatility of a simulated neural network.

> Talk to your TV!
SURF (Simple User interface to Retrieve Favorites) is a system that enables you to speak with your television. Connect to Internet, ask for your favorite movie, etc; with your voice only. It was developed in the Computer Human Interaction Center (CHIC!) who specializes in the research, design, development, and evaluation of new styles of user interfaces to complex systems. SURF uses speech recognition and natural language processing technologies.


> The Artificial Intelligence Group
The Artificial Intelligence Group is one of the larger groups in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is pursuing a broad range of topics that include knowledge representation, learning, vision, reasoning, robotics, information systems, and planning. These directly relate to two of the Institute's themes: biological intelligence and human-computer intelligent interaction. These themes permeate the group's studies, including numerous interactions with outside faculty. Application areas include molecular biology, manufacturing, control theory, and scheduling.

> Artificial Intelligence Lab
Located at the University of Arizona, in the Management Information Systems Department, the Artificial Intelligence Lab, headed by Dr. Hsinchun Chen, is an internationally-known research group in the areas of digital libraries, intelligent retrieval, collaborating computing, and knowledge management. The group is distinguished for its adaptation and development of scalable and practical artificial intelligence, neural networks, genetic algorithms, statistical analysis, computational linguistics, and visualization techniques.technologies.


> 8th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law
The 8th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL-2001) will be held on May 21-25, 2001 at St. Louis, USA. It will be under the auspices of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL), an organization devoted to promoting research and development in the field of AI and Law with members throughout the world. ICAIL-2001 provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest research results and practical applications and stimulates interdisciplinary and international collaboration.

> Workshop on Ontologies in Agent Systems
The Workshop on Ontologies in Agent Systems (OAS2001) will be held on May 29, 2001 at Montreal, Canada. OAS2001 will provide a forum for the discussion and comparison of different approaches to the representation of ontologies for agent systems, the practical considerations of designing applications using these techniques and the infrastructural support required for their effective use. It will also address the implications of the current diversity of ontology representation languages and the degree to which standardization can or should be achieved.


> Speech Synthesis and Recognition
The book "Speech Synthesis and Recognition" By John Holmes and Wendy Holmes is an easy to read introduction to the subjects of generating and interpreting speech for those who have no experience and wish to specialize in the area, and also for professionals in related fields. The book costs $32.99 and has been published on February 2001.

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