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The Internet of Things Could Keep Dirty Coal Plants in Business

MIT Technology Review

Faced with excess electricity generation capacity and plunging prices for wholesale electricity, Italian utility A2A shut down its gas-fired Chivasso plant, near Turin, in 2014. Earlier this year, though, the plant was restarted. Market conditions have improved, but the main reason the plant was able to get up and running again was new cloud-based technology that helps it operate more efficiently, says Massimiliano Masi, A2A's vice president of power generation and trading. The GE hardware and software installed at the plant, Masi says, enables it to go from a dormant state to full operation in two hours or less, compared to three previously, thus improving its ability to respond to fluctuating demand brought on by increases in intermittent renewable energy on the grid. That's a huge advantage, says Masi, "because transmission operators prefer plants that are able to reach full production in less time."



A 20-Year Community Roadmap for Artificial Intelligence Research in the US

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Decades of research in artificial intelligence (AI) have produced formidable technologies that are providing immense benefit to industry, government, and society. AI systems can now translate across multiple languages, identify objects in images and video, streamline manufacturing processes, and control cars. The deployment of AI systems has not only created a trillion-dollar industry that is projected to quadruple in three years, but has also exposed the need to make AI systems fair, explainable, trustworthy, and secure. Future AI systems will rightfully be expected to reason effectively about the world in which they (and people) operate, handling complex tasks and responsibilities effectively and ethically, engaging in meaningful communication, and improving their awareness through experience. Achieving the full potential of AI technologies poses research challenges that require a radical transformation of the AI research enterprise, facilitated by significant and sustained investment. These are the major recommendations of a recent community effort coordinated by the Computing Community Consortium and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence to formulate a Roadmap for AI research and development over the next two decades.


Google Assistant can order around LG's connected appliances

Engadget

LG has placed its trust on Google Assistant and has given it the power to control its smart appliances. While it teamed up with Amazon earlier this year to give its refrigerators built-in access to Alexa, its partnership with Google is much bigger in scale. Now, you can control any of the company's 87 WiFi-connected smart home appliances by barking out orders through a Google Home speaker or through a compatible iOS or Android smartphone. Once you're done setting voice control up through LG's SmartThinQ app, you can use commands within a Home speaker's range or through a phone to tell your fridge to make more ice or to tell your AC to adjust the temperature. If you have an LG washing machine, you can ask Assistant how much time is still left before your load is done.


Petnet SmartFeeder review: Robot pet feeder meets smartphone app with mostly good results

PCWorld

When I first heard about the Petnet SmartFeeder, I bristled. How could something so basic as feeding a pet be in search of a smart solution? I deposit a half-cup of dry kibble in my dog's bowl twice daily--done and done. Is no human endeavor sacred? I can see that there are times when an automatic pet feeder makes sense: an unpredictable work schedule, say, or an impromptu invite, either of which could step on the toes of your pet's meal time.