But the trends that dominated robotics in 2014 weren't flash-in-the-pan fads. Last year's embarrassing drone antics, from buzzing sporting events to crashing in national parks, already seem quaint compared to the meth-hauling drone discovered in Mexico this week. And the climate of AI panic created last year by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking has already spilled over into 2015, with the disastrous coverage of an open letter on AI safety, and $10M in funding from Musk himself towards research that would avert a superintelligent apocalypse. Hollywood, meanwhile, is still oscillating between the occasional fascinating thought experiment about intelligent machines, and its standard fever dreams of killbots as blood-thirsty as they are boring.
At Paddy Power - Ireland's largest bookmaker - teams of quants and risk analysts set the odds on 12,000 to 15,000 events a week - everything from horse races and other sporting events to speculation on the name of Beyoncé's unborn child. Within these events, there are 60,000-70,000 individual bets, or "markets," to be made. And every market needs a set of odds - some kind of calculation of the probability that a specific outcome might occur, based on available data. But how does a bookmaker know what data is good and what data is bad? How can it build safeguards into predictive systems so it doesn't get burned?