AAAI Symposium on Open Government Knowledge

May 15th, 2011

The 2011 AAAI Fall Symposium on Open Government Knowledge: AI Opportunities and Challenges (OGK2011) seeks papers on all aspects of publishing public government data as reusable knowledge on the Web. Both long papers presenting research results and shorter papers describing late breaking work, outlining implemented systems, identifying new research challenges, or articulating a position are invited. Submissions are due by June 3, notifications will be sent by July 15, and the final camera-ready copy must be provided by September 9 for the November 4-6 workshop.

Relevant topics include the automatic and semi-automatic creation of linked data resources, ontologies for government data, entity linking and co-reference detection between linked data resources, adding temporal qualifications to government data, creating mash-ups with open government data, linked open government data analysis, metadata for provenance, certainty and trust, policies for information sharing, privacy and use, social networks and government data, machine learning applied to government data, data visualization techniques, and applications. The symposium organizers are Li Ding (RPI), Tim Finin (UMBC), Lalana Kagal (MIT) and Deborah McGuinness (RPI). Program committee members and additional information are listed on the OGK2011 symposium site.

Google lobbies Nevada to allow self-driving cars

May 11th, 2011

A story in yesterday’s NYT, Google Lobbies Nevada To Allow Self-Driving Cars, reports that Google has hired a Nevada lobbyist to promote two bills related to autonomous vehicles that are expected to be voted on this summer.

“Google hired David Goldwater, a lobbyist based in Las Vegas, to promote the two measures, which are expected to come to a vote before the Legislature’s session ends in June. One is an amendment to an electric-vehicle bill providing for the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles, and the other is the exemption that would permit texting.”

Arguments the lobbyist offered included that “the autonomous technology would be safer than human drivers, offer more fuel-efficient cars and promote economic development.”

I’d add that the Google Bot has a clean driving record, exhibits an excellent sense of direction, will obey any laws inserted into a state’s robots.txt, and does not drink. However, the Google Bot’s current cars are all Toyotas and an Audis. Maybe the Nevada legislator should find a way to encourage it to support the US auto industry and buy some American cars.

I liked project leader Sebastian Thrun’s example of a potential benefit of autonomous vehicles.

“In frequent public statements, he has said robotic vehicles would increase energy efficiency while reducing road injuries and deaths. And he has called for sophisticated systems for car sharing that, he says, could cut the number of cars in the United States in half. “What if I could take out my phone and say, ‘Zipcar, come here,’ ” he asked an industry conference last year, “and a moment later the Zipcar came around the corner?””