At this year's GPU Technology Conference, Facebook AI Research showed off a neural net that lets you generate unique images based on a text description. First they typed "beach" and what looked like a painting of a beach appeared. The image had clouds, so next they typed "beach -clouds" and a brand new beach image appeared with blue sky and no clouds. Lastly, they typed "sunset beach -clouds" and yet another beach image appeared with an orange-red sunset. Amid an impressive conference of photorealistic graphics, self-driving cars, and supercomputers, this was the presentation that drew the most "wow"s from the crowd, and for good reason.
Investors kind of have crush on NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). The company has posted quarter after quarter of strong sales, grown gaming GPU market share, introduced new driverless car technologies, and expanded its artificial intelligence (AI) opportunities -- all of which have led investors to swoon to the stock, pushing it up over 200% over the past 12 months. If you're bullish on NVIDIA's prospects in gaming, AI, and driverless cars, then perhaps you should give Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), and Sony (NYSE:SNE) a good look as well. These companies aren't making the exact same moves as NVIDIA, but each is poised to dominate one of these segments in their own way. NVIDIA is already taking big steps to make AI a priority through its investments in deep learning technologies like Drive PX 2 (for cars) and servers (DGX-1).
State-of-the-art deep learning simulation engine leverages reality-grade city mesh combined with DNN (deep neural network) and AI capabilities. Cognata's virtual reality simulator and engine enable autonomous car manufacturers to run thousands of different scenarios based on various geographic locations and driver behaviors, and sharing the road with other users. Each mile driven on our simulator is equal to hundreds of miles driven regularly as we constantly create use cases that train the AI driving system and reduce the time to reach maturity and go-to-market.
Investors including Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Saudi Arabia's main wealth fund have poured money into this much-hyped maker of augmented-reality glasses. The bugeye-like glasses with tinted lenses--released only to software developers thus far--overlay virtual reality-like images onto the real world, designed for use by gamers and neurosurgeons alike. Early reviews have been lukewarm. Priced at $999, Focals by North represents a less flashy but potentially more practical version of futuristic glasses. The glasses, released last fall, can display directions, texts and other simple displays by beaming hologram-like images into eyes.
We'll find out this week what the tech giant is planning and how virtual and augmented reality factor into its goal to remain the world's most valuable company, as well as updates on the world's most popular operating system, Android, and possibly details on a return to China. On Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre -- a 15-minute walk from his office at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters -- and deliver an update on the company's current and coming projects. Nominally a conference for developers, Google I/O is really a way of keeping everyone updated on what it is working on, to help give products that are underperforming a promotional push and to remain in the public eye about other projects that may have slipped from the public memory due to being in development so long. Last year, it was all about a big update to Android; the previous year Google pushed Android TV and Android Wear; in 2013 it was the launch of Google Music; and 2012 saw a team of skydivers drop onto the Moscone Center stage in San Francisco during the keynote, shooting their exploits on Google Glass and live streaming it to an awestruck audience. This year, while we will hear about Android, Chrome OS, driverless cars and Project Ara, the big focus will be on the tech world's hot topic: virtual reality.