Something fascinating happened in the world of scientific publishing last week: The prestigious journal Nature featured an overview of a 15-year-old programming library for the language Python. The widely popular library, called NumPy, gives Python the ability to perform scientific computing functions. Asked on Twitter why a paper is coming out now, 15 years after NumPy's creation, Stefan van der Walt of the University of California at Berkeley's Institute for Data Science, one of the article's authors, said that the publication of the article would give long-overdue formal recognition to some of NumPy's contributors. Our last paper was 2010 & not fully representative of the team. While we love that people use our software, many of our team members are in academia where citations count.
I always know a new product is excellent when its makers describe it as "next-level." I hear you moan, on seeing the new, wondrous Ring Always Home Cam. Also: When is Prime Day 2020? Oh, how can you be such a killjoy? When Amazon's Ring describes it as "Next-Level Compact, Lightweight, Autonomously Flying Indoor Security Camera," surely you leap toward your ceiling and exclaim: "Finally, something from Amazon I actually want! A drone that flies around my living room!"
I actually had to double-check my calendar to make sure today wasn't April Fool's. Because watching the intro video of an indoor surveillance drone operated by Amazon seemed like just the sort of geeky joke you'd expect on April 1. But it isn't April Fools, and besides, Google has always been the one with the twisted sense of humor. Amazon has always been the one with the twisted sense of world domination. This was a serious press briefing.
A company spun out of a prestigious university robotics lab is making a big leap in autonomous trucking. Locomation is claiming the world's first autonomous truck purchase order from a Springfield, MO, company called Wilson Logistics. The order will equip 1,120 trucks with Locomation's convoy technology, which enables driverless trucks to follow a lead-truck piloted by a human, combining the best of autonomous technology with reliable human-in-the-loop driving protocols. The first units will be delivered in early 2022. Trucking is considered one of the nearest horizons for on-road autonomy.
A new study by Monash University, together with Alfred Health and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, has uncovered how machine learning technology could be used to automate epilepsy diagnosis. As part of the study, Monash University researchers applied over 400 electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of patients with and without epilepsy from Alfred Health and The Royal Melbourne hospital to a machine learning model. Training the model with the various datasets enabled it to automatically detect signs of epilepsy -- or abnormal activities known as "spikes" in EEG recordings. "The objective of the first stage is to evaluate existing patterns involved in the detection of abnormal electrical recordings among neurons in the brain, called epileptiform activity. These abnormalities are often sharp spikes which stand out from the rhythmic patterns of a patient's EEG scan," explained Levin Kuhlmann, Monash University senior lecturer at the Faculty of IT Department of Data Science and AI.
Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft SharePoint Syntex as of Oc. 1, 2020. This is the first packaged product to come out of the code-name Project Cortex initiative first announced in November 2019. Project Cortex reflects Microsoft's ongoing investment in intelligent content services and graph APIs to proactively explore and categorize digital assets from Microsoft 365 and other connected sources. Teams need tools to help them collaborate and stay productive while remotely working. SharePoint Syntex will be available to M365 customers with E3 or E5 licenses for a small per-user uplift.
Amazon-owned Ring announced a new line of security cameras for cars: The new $199 Car Cam, $60 Car Alarm, and the Car Connect systems, which lal integrate with the Ring app. The Car Alarm plugs into your car's OBD-II diagnostic port and sends alerts to your phone. It has a built-in siren that can be remotely triggered, or it can link to other Ring or Alexa devices to emit audible alerts when an event is detected. As for the Car Cam, it is Ring's first camera for outside of the home and has the ability to record both inside and outside of the car when mounted on a dashboard. Like the Car Alarm, the Car Cam can send alerts.
Amazon is making Alexa smarter with natural turn taking, having conversations with multiple people, natural language understanding and the ability to be taught by customers. The first target is the smart home, but Alexa for Business is also likely to follow. The Alexa overhaul and artificial intelligence improvements were outlined as Amazon launched its latest batch of Echo devices. Amazon's new Echo devices are evolving to be more smart home edge computing devices. For instance, Amazon's Echo devices are using the company's AZ1 Neural Edge processor with 20x less power, double the speech processing and 85% lower memory usage.
Amazon on Thursday unveiled a refreshed lineup of Amazon Echo smart speakers, featuring a new, custom chip that will help the AI-powered assistant Alexa respond to commands more quickly. The new devices also include a new design and new features for kids. Amazon also unveiled the Echo Show 10, a smart speaker with a screen that can follow you as you move throughout a room. "In processing, milliseconds matter," Miriam Daniel, VP of Amazon Echo, said during a virtual event hosted by Amazon's Devices and Services team. "Imagine asking Alexa to turn on the light, and there's a slight delay," she explained.
Machine learning, task automation and robotics are already widely used in business. These and other AI technologies are about to multiply, and we look at how organizations can best take advantage of them. The perception of legacy enterprise business intelligence (BI) platforms comes with some legitimate stigma and baggage. It's technology first, not business-led; the graphical user interface (GUI)-based user experience (UX) doesn't address ease of use for all business decision-makers; there are too many underutilized reports and dashboards floating around in the enterprise; and signals produced by BI applications aren't actionable, resulting in a disconnect between BI and tangible business outcomes. So, is enterprise BI dead? If I got $1,000 every time I heard the phrase "BI is dead" over my 30-plus-year career, I'd be a very rich man.