Microsoft Creates New AI Lab to Take on Google's DeepMind


Microsoft Corp. is setting up a new research lab focused on artificial intelligence with the goal of creating more general-purpose learning systems. The new lab, called Microsoft Research AI, will be based at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and involve more than 100 scientists from across various sub-fields of artificial intelligence research, including perception, learning, reasoning and natural language processing. The goal, said Eric Horvitz, the director of Microsoft Research Labs, is to combine these disciplines to work toward more general artificial intelligence, meaning a single system that can tackle a wide-range of tasks and problems. Such a system, for instance, might be able to both plan the best route to drive through a city and also figure out how to minimize your income tax bill, while also understanding difficult human concepts like sarcasm or gestures. This differs from so-called narrow AIs, which are just designed to perform a single task well -- for instance, recognize faces in digital photographs.

Google releases TensorFlow 1.0 with new machine learning tools


At Google's inaugural TensorFlow Dev Summit in Mountain View, California, today, Google announced the release of version 1.0 of its TensorFlow open source framework for deep learning, a trendy type of artificial intelligence. Google says the release is now production-ready by way of its application programing interface (API). But there are also new tools that will be part of the framework, which includes artificial neural networks that can be trained on data and can then make inferences about new data. Now there are more traditional machine learning tools, including K-means and support vector machines (SVMs), TensorFlow's engineering director, Rajat Monga, said at the conference. And there's an integration with the Python-based Keras library, which was originally meant to ease the use of the Theano deep learning framework.

IBM is funding new Watson AI lab at MIT with $240 Million


IBM said on Thursday it will spend $240 million over the next decade to fund a new artificial intelligence research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The resulting MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab will focus on a handful of key AI areas including the development of new "deep learning" algorithms. Deep learning is a subset of AI that aims to bring human-like learning capabilities to computers so they can operate more autonomously. The Cambridge, Mass.-based lab will be led by Dario Gil, vice president of AI for IBM Research and Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of MIT's engineering school. It will draw upon about 100 researchers from IBM (ibm) itself and the university.

Samsung's Bixby, its Siri rival, stammers at the start


NEW YORK--Things are starting out miserably for Bixby. Samsung's upstart artificial intelligence digital assistant got an "incomplete" grade when it first turned up on the Galaxy S8 and S8 smartphones that launched in March. The reason is that the voice-based commands that promise to make Bixby behave more like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant were delayed, at least in the U.S. (Bixby Voice is fully operational in South Korea, where Samsung is based.) Now the Korea Herald is reporting further delays to the English-speaking version of Bixby, apparently because Samsung can't amass the "big data" required for a good enough deep learning-based experience. Samsung's Bixby finally gets a voice -- sort of While Samsung recently granted early access to select S8 and S8 users who expressed interest in trying out Bixby Voice, me among them, I'm being kind to suggest that Bixby has a lot of catching up to do compared to its rivals.