Across Silicon Valley, technology companies are scrambling to make their software smarter with the help of artificial intelligence. Both Apple and Google have made significant improvements to their virtual assistants, Siri and Google Now, that help them better understand what a user might need before he or she asks. Meanwhile, Facebook has unveiled plans to create its own intelligent chat bot that can perform tasks on your behalf. As of this week, Apple has more firepower in the AI department. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has purchased Emotient, a company that uses artificial intelligence to interpret a person's emotions, The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday.
With images aggregated from social media platforms, dating sites, or even CCTV footage of a trip to the local coffee shop, companies could be using your face to train a sophisticated facial recognition software. As reported by the New York Times, among the sometimes massive data sets that researchers use to teach artificially intelligent software to recognize faces is a database collected by Stanford researchers called Brainwash. More than 10,000 images of customers at a cafe in San Francisco were collected in 2014 without their knowledge. OKCupid and photo-sharing platforms like Flickr are among for researchers looking to load their databases up with images that help train facial recognition software. That same database was then made available to other academics, including some in China at the National University of Defense Technology.
The arms race in Silicon Valley is on for artificial intelligence. Facebook is working on a virtual personal assistant that can read people's faces and decide whether or not to let them in your home. Google is investing in the technology to power self-driving cars, identify people on its photo service and build a better messaging app. Now Apple is adding to its artificial intelligence arsenal. The iPhone maker purchased Emotient, a San Diego maker of facial expression recognition software that can detect emotions to assist advertisers, retailers, doctors and many other professions.
For the next seven weeks, anyone who's inclined can go to 205 Hudson Street in New York City and take over someone else's apartment. Smart devices like the kettles, lighting and speakers of four homes connect directly to laptops in the corner of an art gallery. Cameras are trained on bathrooms, kitchens and living areas. Visitors can sit down and become a human Alexa, playing music, eavesdropping on conversations through microphones and communicating with the inhabitants via text-to-speech. Each home -- three in Brooklyn, one in San Francisco -- will be "live" for two hours a day.
Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is always full of surprises. USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham previews what we can expect in Talking Tech. The new iPhone X is seen on display at the Apple Union Square store on Nov. 3, 2017, in San Francisco. The iPhone X's lush screen, facial-recognition skills and $1,000 price tag are breaking new ground in Apple's marquee product line. Now, the much-anticipated device is testing the patience of consumers and investors as demand outstrips suppliers' capacity.