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.

Three ways that big data reveals what you really like to watch, read and listen to


Anyone who's watched "Bridget Jones's Diary" knows one of her New Year's resolutions is "Not go out every night but stay in and read books and listen to classical music." The reality, however, is substantially different. What people actually do in their leisure time often doesn't match with what they say they'll do. Economists have termed this phenomenon "hyperbolic discounting." In a famous study titled "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," a couple of economists found that, when people were offered the choice between a pay-per-visit contract and a monthly fee, they were more likely to choose the monthly fee and actually ended up paying more per visit.

'Don't panic!' Is a robot about to take YOUR job? Shock study reveals AI SURGE


"It's very visible that technological sectors are now prioritising the implementation of AI in their everyday workforce." "We can see that the companies listed in the research are already using different types of AI-technology to improve the way they engage with their users and customers." Google's translation service, for example, uses AI tools such as machine learning and natural language processes to provide real-time translations, he explained.

Save 60% off tons of online courses in honor of Presidents Day weekend


We've decided to shake things up for 2019 and swap sleepy time for brain fuel: online courses, bundles, and e-learning packages. Take your pick from this selection of hot courses and learn something new before Memorial Day comes around. The world revolves around machine learning and big data now. If you want to get in on the fun, this bundle breaks down the most head-scratch-inducing concepts into digestible lectures, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of things like TensorFlow, Neural Networks, Clustering In R, and a whole lot more. Word on the street is that Amazon Web Services (AWS) pays the bills for their namesake retailer, Amazon (duh).

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."

Parsing the Shadow Docket


Slate Plus members get extended, ad-free versions of our podcasts--and much more. Sign up today and try it free for two weeks. Copy this link and add it in your podcast app. For detailed instructions, see our Slate Plus podcasts page. Listen to Amicus via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.

Chinese Surveillance, Facebook Tracking, and More Security News This Week


The US government averted another shutdown when Donald Trump instead opted to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall dreams--a wall which raises huge privacy and security concerns and will cause more problems than it solves. As the country digested the national emergency, cybersecurity workers were still scrambling to clean up the security nightmare wrought by the longest shutdown in history. Amid all the border wall news this week, you'd be forgiven for missing that the president also signed an executive order creating the American AI Initiative. In an op-ed for WIRED, White House deputy assistant to the president for technology policy Michale Kratsios explained why AI strategy is a security issue. Speaking of AI, to combat the growing threat of deep fakes, a new tool uses the blockchain to monitor video for tampering and manipulation.

The Deep Learning Framework Backed By Facebook Is Getting Industry's Attention


When it comes to deep learning frameworks, TensorFlow is one of the most preferred toolkits. However, one framework that is fast becoming the favorite of developers and data scientists is PyTorch. PyTorch is an open source project from Facebook which is used extensively within the company. For a long time, Facebook developers used another homegrown framework called Caffe2, which was adopted by academia and researchers. Last year, Facebook announced that it is merging the efforts of developing Caffe2 and PyTorch to focus on creating a unified framework that is accessible to the community.

Mum and Dad are our biggest security risk! - IoT global network


Your mother's maiden name – the name of your first pet – the city you were born in. What do these all have in common? Not only are they popular security questions for online authentication but given the culture and our tendency to overshare on social media, they are no longer the most "secure" security questions. With sites like Facebook growing in popularity with the over 55s, are our loving parents actually the weakest line of defence in protecting our digital identities? If they insist on posting personal information on our behalf, says Callsign CMO and go-to-market strategy head Sarah Whipp, have we exposed ourselves more than we realise?

Combine AI With Crowdsourcing and What Do You Get? Turbocharged Innovation


A great analogy can often be the key to innovation, making it possible to transfer knowledge from one domain to another. Now researchers have shown that rather than relying on eureka moments, crowdsourcing and AI can dramatically speed up the search for these parallels. Examples of analogies leading to major breakthroughs range from Edison's early work in motion pictures to Kepler's elucidation of the laws of planetary motion. But being able to strip away superficial differences and understand the underlying similarities between solutions to diverse problems has so far largely relied on individual genius. That doesn't need to be the case, though, according to the authors of a recent paper in PNAS.