Representation & Reasoning

Introducing Zoe, the first personal on-board cruise assistant powered by artificial intelligence


Move over Alexa… there's a new virtual assistant in town. Passengers on board MSC Bellissima, which will be launched by godmother Sophia Loren in Southampton next month (March 2), will meet MSC's newest crew member Zoe – the cruise industry's answer to the voice-activated digital assistant. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Zoe can speak seven languages and answer over 800 of the most commonly asked questions – with thousands of different variants of each query – providing information about on-board services, suggestions for activities, and even help in booking a specific service. She's easy to use too: all guests need to do is say, "OK Zoe", and she's ready to help. Developed in partnership with HARMAN and Samsung Electronics, Zoe will be able to interact with in-cabin TVs to offer further guidance to passengers and, as with at-home devices, passengers will be able to connect their phones directly to the device via Bluetooth in order to access personal music and podcasts.

The Rise Of Intelligent Networks: Where Do They Fit Into Our Lives And Our Work?


In this piece, I want to explore the novel concept of an "intelligent network effect." An intelligent network effect is a network effect where the value added is facilitated or augmented by artificial intelligence (AI). To spell this out, an intelligent network effect is a phenomenon whereby a product or service gains additional value as more people use it, primarily through the mediation of AI. For simplicity, let's call the product or service behind such an effect an intelligent network.

Google's Project Soli is part of the future of the Internet of Things


As a futurist, some patents really stand out. Here is one I'm really bullish on, as we enter a post-mobile world of Voice-AI controls and hand gestures. What if there was an invisible button between your thumb and index finger, what could it do? What AI-assistant or dashboard could it summon? Alphabet's Google unit won approval from U.S. regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli.

3 Reasons AI Is Way Overhyped


Artificial Intelligence is way overhyped. I remember well how over-hyped AI was back in the early 1980s when I worked with Applied Expert Systems, a startup founded by some MIT professors that aspired to use expert systems to transform the world of personal financial planning. I helped bring the software to the company and participated in so-called knowledge engineering by interviewing a personal financial planning expert. The idea was to convert the expert's decision making rules into software and build a system that would replace personal financial planners. Sadly for those who invested time and money in this company, its product never found much of a market and it folded.

From Echo to Ring doorbell and Fire TV, are you comfortable Amazon with controlling your smart home?


A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Amazon acquired another startup this week, the maker of the beloved tech product Eero, a mesh router that improves dead Wi-Fi spots in the home. To that, you might have said, OK, so? But, more importantly, it's an indication of how Amazon wants to go further than just making our homes "smart." It wants to turn our dwellings into the "Amazon Home."

Merkel Calls Russia a Partner, Urges Global Cooperation

U.S. News

"We are proud of our cars and so we should be," Merkel said, adding, however, that many were built in the United States and exported to China. "If that is viewed as a security threat to the United States, then we are shocked," she told the Munich Security Conference to applause from the audience.

Apple buys AI voice startup that helps companies build Alexa and Google Assistant apps


Apple has acquired a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup called PullString that specializes in helping companies build conversational voice apps, according to a report from Axios. Pullstring was founded back in 2011 by former Pixar employees -- its CEO, Oren Jacob, is Pixar's former chief technology officer. Up until now, PullString was most well known within the tech industry as the software backbone behind voice systems for popular toys, like Mattell's talking Hello Barbie doll. It's not clear what Apple will be getting out of the deal, which is said to be worth under $100 million, but well over the $44 million in venture capital funding PullString has amassed thus far. But beyond toys, PullString has also worked on the enterprise end to help companies build skills and apps for Amazon's Alexa platform and Google Assistant.

Never get catfished again: Researchers develop AI that detects fake profiles on popular dating apps

Daily Mail

Scientists have developed an algorithm that can spot dating scams. A team of researchers trained AI software to'think like humans' when looking for fake dating profiles. While the algorithm has only been deployed in a research setting, it could one day be used to protect users on popular dating services like Tinder and Scientists have developed an algorithm that can spot dating scams. A team of researchers trained AI software to'think like humans' when looking for fake dating profiles Romance scams, where criminals create phony profiles to trick love-lusting victims into sending them money, are on the rise.

Hacks, Nudes, and Breaches: It's Been a Rough Month for Dating Apps


Dating is hard enough without the added stress of worrying about your digital safety online. But social media and dating apps are pretty inevitably involved in romance these days--which makes it a shame that so many of them have had security lapses in such a short amount of time. Within days of each other this week, the dating apps OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Jack'd all disclosed an array of security incidents that serve as a grave reminder of the stakes on digital profiles that both store your personal information and introduce you to total strangers. "Dating sites are designed by default to share a ton of information about you; however, there's a limit to what should be shared," says David Kennedy, CEO of the threat tracking firm Binary Defense Systems. "And often times these dating sites provide little to no security, as we have seen with breaches going back several years from these sites."

Synchrony minds HR as it develops AI


Synchrony Financial, a bank and a provider of cobranded credit card programs, is deploying artificial intelligence in myriad ways: It's using machine learning to detect fraudulent transactions, robotics process automation to handle mundane operations tasks, and a virtual assistant named Sydney to answer basic questions by text chat. "We'll see AI across the company," Margaret Keane, Synchrony's CEO, said in an interview. "We've taken an active stance and worked with McKinsey to study the areas of our company that could be most impacted." At the same time, Keane says, the company is trying to be conscientious about how these deployments will affect employees. "Some people are saying 40% of jobs will go away," she said.