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.
We'll be talking about everyone's favorite topic at the moment: facial recognition. First San Francisco, Somerville ... now Oakland: California's Oakland has become the third US city to ban its local government using facial recognition technology, after its council passed an ordinance this week. Council member Rebecca Kaplan submitted the ordinance for city officials to consider earlier this year in June. The document describes the shortcomings of the technology and why it should be banned. "The City of Oakland should reject the use of this flawed technology on the following basis: 1) systems rely on biased datasets with high levels of inaccuracy; 2) a lack of standards around the use and sharing of this technology; 3) the invasive nature of the technology; 4) and the potential abuses of data by our government that could lead to persecution of minority groups," according to the ordinance.
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.
Developer Steve Stroughton-Smith tweeted Sunday revealing that the HomePod firmware has confirmed a rumored iPhone 8 feature. The iPhone 8 is expected to feature an infra-red front camera with 3D face unlocking capability, according to the tweet. Stroughton-Smith further revealed that Apple will have a biometric kit for developers while another iOS developer Guilherme Rambo confirmed that the iPhone 8 will have an edge-to-edge display with a large screen-to-body ratio. All these revelations have been sourced by the developers from the firmware of the company smart speaker, the HomePod. Stroughton Smith had also revealed some HomePod features confirmed by the same firmware last week.
Ng announced Tuesday that he raised money from venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates, Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners as well as SoftBank Group Corp. Under Ng, Baidu released a voice-based operating system that users can talk to - much like Amazon's Alexa voice assistant or Apple's Siri - and also started working on self-driving cars and face recognition technology to open things like transit turnstiles when users approach. I think it's a more systematic, repeatable process than most people think," said Ng, who also taught artificial intelligence courses at Stanford University. The first company to receive money from the fund will be Landing.ai,