Columnist Jennifer Jolly tries out Alexa on the Ford, peers at TVs held to walls by magnets, and tests a'smart bike'. There's the equivalent of some 43-football fields worth of space filled with gadgets at CES 2017. With that many tech toys to explore, they all start to blur together pretty quickly. Here's what I've seen so far that's made an impression. Ford is making it all possible with its SYNC 3 AppLink software, so you can use Alexa's voice commands to ask for directions, get a rundown of the top headlines, add milk to your shopping list, or catch the latest New York Times bestseller via audiobook.
Associated Press/Ahn Young-joonTV screens show the live broadcast of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match between Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, and South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol, at the Yongsan Electronic store in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Humans have been taking a beating from computers lately. The 4-1 defeat of Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol by Google's AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) is only the latest in a string of pursuits in which technology has triumphed over humanity. Self-driving cars are already less accident-prone than human drivers, the TV quiz show Jeopardy! is a lost cause, and in chess humans have fallen so woefully behind computers that a recent international tournament was won by a mobile phone. There is a real sense that this month's human vs AI Go match marks a turning point.
Tesla has reportedly been told to stop advertising an "autopilot" function on its cars after the term was deemed to be misleading. German transport regulator KBA wrote to the company after the feature came under scrutiny following two fatal crashes. Questions have been raised over the system after fatal crashes in northern China and Florida. There was also an incident in Germany in which a Tesla electric car crashed into a tourist bus while on autopilot. "In order to prevent misunderstandings and false expectations from clients, we are asking that the misleading term'Autopilot' no longer be used in advertisements for the system," KBA said, according to the Local.
Every time a Pokemon Go fan drains a smartphone battery chasing virtual monsters, it's a reminder that chip technology has a long way to go. The company poised to push the boundaries of mobile computing is ARM Holdings Plc, which has built a business designing chips that squeeze the most out of limited battery capacity on mobile devices, dominating 85 percent of the market. Masayoshi Son built SoftBank Group Corp. by making big, early bets on personal computers, broadband and smartphones. Now, he's spending 32 billion to buy ARM, gambling that the company's chips will find their way into self-driving cars, virtual-reality devices and machines with artificial intelligence. Pokemon Go, the hit game that relies on power-hungry GPS and camera functions to work, is showing people the limits and capabilities of their smartphones.
In 2016, the White House recognized the importance of AI at its Frontiers Conference. The concept of driverless cars became a reality, with Uber's self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh and Tesla's new models equipped with the hardware for full autonomy. Google's DeepMind platform, AlphaGo, beat the world champion of the game--10 years ahead of predictions. "Increasing use of machine learning and knowledge-based modeling methods" are major trends to watch in 2017, said Marie desJardins, associate dean and professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. How will this play out?