If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. In this video, watch Ian Bremmer's conversation with Lebanese journalist and author Kim Ghattas on GZW talking about the future of Lebanese politics and sectarianism in the county after the after the blast. It was originally published on August 19, 2020.
Using a robot vacuum has always been a bit hazardous for pet owners. Leaving a robovac to do its thing in your absence can be a problem if your less-than-perfectly-trained dog or cat also does its thing while you're out. A quick Google of "Roomba dog poop" gives you some idea of what the outcome can be, as unheeding robots with spinning brushes barrel into the mess and proceed to spread it liberally around the house. But now, Roomba-maker iRobot say it's fixed this scatological problem. The company's latest robovac, the Roomba j7, uses built-in machine vision and AI to identify and avoid pet messes of all sorts.
But when groups are involved, with many people grabbing the wheel at once, we often find ourselves in a fruitless stalemate headed for disaster, or worse, lurching off the road and into a ditch, seemingly just to spite ourselves. It turns out that Mother Nature has been working on this problem for hundreds of millions of years, evolving countless species that make effective decisions in large groups. A human business team trying to select the ideal location for a new factory would face a similarly complex problem and find it very difficult to choose optimally, and yet simple honeybees achieve this. They do so by forming real-time systems that efficiently combine the diverse perspectives of the hundreds of scout bees that explored the available options, enabling group deliberation that considers their differing levels of conviction until they converge on a single unified decision. It enables groups of all sizes to connect over the internet and deliberate as a unified system, pushing and pulling on decisions while swarming algorithms monitor their actions and reactions.
For decades, the shift towards Ecommerce has continued steadily across the globe, with growth consistently outpacing (and eating into) bricks and mortar retailing. The COVID pandemic has simply accelerated that shift. Yet many consumer goods companies are still behind the curve in their use of technology. Ella, my 12-year-old daughter, has illustrated this point to me several times during the past year. It begins when she shows me her phone and says, "look daddy, check out this new arts-and-crafts or room decor video on TikTok."
Quite often, mobile technology and artificial intelligence (AI) can be a nightmare to get right, or even understand. When using it for business, it often feels as though the rules are changing every five minutes. It can make for a frustrating experience for those just trying to put the best practices into action. First, let's look at just how you're supposed to be taking on something like AI these days. The most effective use, especially when it comes to mobile technology, is in customer service.
Teresa Carey: This is Scientific American's 60-Second Science. Every morning at five o'clock, composer Walter Werzowa would sit down at his computer to anticipate a particular daily e-mail. It came from six time zones away, where a team had been working all night (or day, rather) to draft Beethoven's unfinished 10th Symphony--almost two centuries after his death. The e-mail contained hundreds of variations, and Werzowa listened to them all. Carey: Werzowa was listening for the perfect tune--a sound that was unmistakably Beethoven.
A study of bird songs conducted in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California generated a million hours of audio, which AI researchers are working to decode to gain insights into how birds responded to wildfires in the region, and to learn which measures helped the birds to rebound more quickly. Scientists can also use the soundscape to help track shifts in migration timing and population ranges, according to a recent account in Scientific American. More audio data is coming in from other research as well, with sound-based projects to count insects and study the effects of light and noise pollution on bird communities underway. "Audio data is a real treasure trove because it contains vast amounts of information," stated ecologist Connor Wood, a Cornell University postdoctoral researcher, who is leading the Sierra Nevada project. "We just need to think creatively about how to share and access that information."
This week, Microsoft and Nvidia announced that they trained what they claim is one of the largest and most capable AI language models to date: Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation (MT-NLP). MT-NLP contains 530 billion parameters -- the parts of the model learned from historical data -- and achieves leading accuracy in a broad set of tasks, including reading comprehension and natural language inferences. But building it didn't come cheap. Experts peg the cost in the millions of dollars. Like other large AI systems, MT-NLP raises questions about the accessibility of cutting-edge research approaches in machine learning.
Agriculture is an industry that is no stranger to technology, especially when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Putting technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence to the side, IoT is revolutionising the industry. By enabling intelligent objects to connect to one another and to the outside world using the internet – it's possible to be smarter in our approach to farming. Utilising sensors and processors make it much more feasible to farm in real-time. The question is, are enough farmers using IoT technologies, and are they doing so sustainably?
Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa on Sunday revealed a plan to set up a fund to support the development of cutting-edge technologies crucial for the country's economic security. "The government will fully support private-sector companies' research and development activities for advanced technologies, and their efforts to prepare a business environment for such technologies," he said during a television program. The fund will likely be worth about ¥100 billion. The government will include the planned fund in a package of economic measures to be drawn up after the Oct. 31 Lower House election. The fund is expected to help Japanese companies and universities develop artificial intelligence, quantum and robot technologies, biotechnology and other important tech, and put them into practical use.