How Apple Makes the AI Chip Powering the iPhone's Fancy Tricks


A few years ago--the company won't say exactly when--some engineers at Apple began to think the iPhone's camera could be made smarter using newly powerful machine learning algorithms known as neural networks. Before long, they were talking with a lean vice president named Tim Millet. Millet leads a team of chip architects, who got to work. When the iPhone X was unveiled last fall, Apple's camera team had added a slick new portrait mode that can digitally adjust the lighting on subjects' faces, and artfully blur the background. It took advantage of a new module added to the iPhone's main chip called the neural engine, customized to run machine learning code.

Robots set to take over HALF of all workplace tasks by 2025


A new report by the World Economic Forum predicts 75 million jobs will go to robots by 2025. Buzz60's Tony Spitz has the details. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. A new report by the World Economic Forum predicts 75 million jobs will go to robots by 2025.

Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health at MIT aims to revolutionize disease prevention, detection, and treatment

MIT News

Today, MIT and Community Jameel, the social enterprise organization founded and chaired by Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel '78, launched the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic). This is the fourth major collaborative effort between MIT and Community Jameel. J-Clinic, a key part of the MIT Quest for Intelligence, will focus on developing machine learning technologies to revolutionize the prevention, detection, and treatment of disease. J-Clinic's holistic approach will utilize MIT's strong expertise in cellular and medical biology, computer science, engineering, and the social sciences, among other areas. "The health care system has no shortage of data," says MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

Blockchain-Based AI Voice Assistant Brings Data Privacy To Smart Homes


According to a 2017 University of Washington report, there are hundreds of millions of smart-home devices in more than 40 million U.S. homes. This number is expected to double by 2021. Amazon Echo, Google Home and other devices that have Alexa and Google Assistant built in, have proven to be some of the world's most promising new technologies. These AI-enabled assistants seem capable of doing everything, from turning on lights to answering simple and even complex questions. "OK Google" and "Alexa" have become common household phrases, as these smart connected speakers always have their microphones on, yet don't respond until their "wake words" are mentioned.

Fortnite Is a Huge Success -- And a Sign of What's to Come in Gaming


This year that game is undeniably Fortnite Battle Royale, an online free-for-all that every teen in America suddenly seems to be playing. It's not just kids, though–everyone from rapper Drake to Los Angeles Laker Josh Hart is a fan. That groundswell of support has propelled Fortnite from a simple video game into a cultural sensation, with hundreds of millions of fans worldwide who play the game, wear the gear and even learn the characters' victory dances. "Fortnite is another in a long line of games like World of Warcraft or Guitar Hero or Minecraft that is changing everything underfoot," says Mat Piscatella, a video-game industry analyst with research firm NPD Group. Fortnite's big draw is a madcap multiplayer mode that drops up to 100 players on an island in a last-person-standing showdown.

Elon Musk said a Tesla could drive itself across the country by 2018. One just crashed backing out of a garage.

Washington Post

When Mangesh Gururaj's wife left home to pick up their child from math lessons one Sunday earlier this month, she turned on her Tesla Model S and hit "Summon," a self-parking feature that the electric automaker has promoted as a central step toward driverless cars. But as the family's $65,000 sedan reversed itself out of the garage, Gururaj said, the car abruptly struck the garage's side wall, ripping its front end off with a loud crack. The maimed Tesla looked as if it would have kept driving, Gururaj said, if his wife hadn't hit the brakes. No one was hurt, but Gururaj was rattled: The car had failed disastrously, during the simplest of maneuvers, using one of the most basic features from the self-driving technology he and his family had trusted many times at higher speeds. "This is just a crash in the garage.

Mark Harnett named Vallee Foundation Scholar

MIT News

The Bert L and N Kuggie Vallee Foundation has named McGovern Institute investigator Mark Harnett a 2018 Vallee Scholar. The Vallee Scholars Program recognizes original, innovative, and pioneering work by early career scientists at a critical juncture in their careers and provides $300,000 in discretionary funds to be spent over four years for basic biomedical research. Harnett is among five researchers named to this year's Vallee Scholars Program. Harnett, who is also the Fred and Carole Middleton Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is being recognized for his work exploring how the biophysical features of neurons give rise to the computational power of the brain. By exploiting new technologies and approaches at the interface of biophysics and systems neuroscience, research in the Harnett lab aims to provide a new understanding of the biology underlying how mammalian brains learn.

The Latest Battleground for Chipmakers: Self-Driving Cars


It may be a long time before you can own a truly self-driving car. But chipmakers are placing bets that you will. On Tuesday, the Japanese chipmaker Renesas, the second-largest provider of semiconductors for the automotive industry, said it will acquire San Jose based chipmaker Integrated Device Technology (IDT) for $6.7 billion, in part to prepare for autonomous vehicles. IDT has not historically provided chips for cars, but it does have sensor and wireless technologies that could help Renesas compete in the market for chips for autonomous vehicles. "Renesas and IDT have complementary technologies," says Objective Analysis analyst Jim Handy.

Insect-Inspired Vision System Helps Drones Pass Through Small Gaps

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Insects are quite good at not running into things, and just as good at running into things and surviving, but targeted, accurate precision flight is much more difficult for them. As cute as insects like bees are, there just isn't enough space in their fuzzy little noggins for fancy sensing and computing systems. Despite their small size, though, bees are able to perform precise flight maneuvers, and it's a good thing, too, since often their homes are on the other side of holes not much bigger than they are. Bees make this work through a sort of minimalist brute-force approach to the problem: They fly up to a small hole or gap, hover, wander back and forth a little bit to collect visual information about where the edges of the gap, and then steer themselves through. It's not fast, and it's not particularly elegant, but it's reliable and doesn't take much to execute.