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) …
The readout of brain activity and audio of the spoken sentences were input to an algorithm, which learned to recognize how the parts of speech were formed. The initial results were highly inaccurate, for instance, interpreting brain activity from hearing the sentence "she wore warm fleecy woolen overalls" as "the oasis was a mirage." As the program learned over time, it was able to make translations with limited errors, such as interpreting brain activity in response to hearing "the ladder was used to rescue the cat and the man" as "which ladder will be used to rescue the cat and the man."
AI is disrupting multiple industries and is becoming part of everyday life. So, it makes sense to try and find out what society thinks about it. With some many different sources of information (and misinformation) people have different opinions varying from optimism to predictions about the impeding doom of humanity. The Mozilla Foundation published a very interesting report, based on a survey where they asked people what they think of AI. The results are surprising and interesting.
A paper coauthored by over 112 researchers across 160 data and social science teams found that AI and statistical models, when used to predict six life outcomes for children, parents, and households, weren't very accurate even when trained on 13,000 data points from over 4,000 families. They assert that the work is a cautionary tale on the use of predictive modeling, especially in the criminal justice system and social support programs. "Here's a setting where we have hundreds of participants and a rich data set, and even the best AI results are still not accurate," said study co-lead author Matt Salganik, a professor of sociology at Princeton and interim director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "These results show us that machine learning isn't magic; there are clearly other factors at play when it comes to predicting the life course." The study, which was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the fruit of the Fragile Families Challenge, a multi-year collaboration that sought to recruit researchers to complete a predictive task by predicting the same outcomes using the same data.
At its core, Artificial Intelligence and its partner Machine Learning (abbreviated as AI/ML) is math. Specifically, it's probability – the application of weighted probabilistic networks at a computational scale we've never been able to perform before, which allows the computed probabilities to become self-training. It's that characteristic more than any other that makes AI seem like wizardry. The little cylinder on the kitchen counter that suddenly lights up when you call it by name feels like something out of science fiction, but that entire process is the end product of the re-ingestion of new data to help fine-tune a highly complex probabilistic graph. The voice assistant recognizes its "name" not because it's self-aware but because it has been programmed to match an audio waveform to a database of known waveforms with certain characteristics.
The Frontier Development Lab (FDL) Europe applies AI technologies to science to push the frontiers of research and develop new tools to help solve some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. These range from the effects of climate change to predicting space weather, from improving disaster response, to identifying meteorites that could hold the key to the history of our universe. FDL brings researchers from the cutting-edge of AI and data science, and teams them up with their counterparts from the space sector for an intensive eight-week research sprint, based on a range of challenge areas. The results far exceed what any individual could develop in the same time period, or even in years of individual research. A key aspect of our success is the careful formation of small interdisciplinary teams focused on tackling specific challenges.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have recently created an AI system that can produce text by analyzing a person's brain activity, essentially translating their thoughts into text. The AI takes neural signals from a user and decodes them, and it can decipher up to 250 words in real-time based on a set of between 30 to 50 sentences. As reported by the Independent, the AI model was trained on neural signals collected from four women. The participants in the experiment had electrodes implanted in their brains to monitor for the occurrence of epileptic seizures. The participants were instructed to read sentences aloud, and their neural signals were fed to the AI model.
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When you hear the phrase "artificial intelligence," what's the first thing that comes to mind? Depending on how you've seen AI, you might see it as a beautiful or scary thing. As the CEO of a startup that's built an AI-based marketing software tool, I believe it's the former. In fact, according to a 2019 study, "40% of marketing and sales teams say data science encompassing AI and machine learning is critical to their success as a department." It's easy to see why.
These concerns have been present whenever we make important decisions. What's new is the much, much larger scale at which we now rely on algorithms to help us decide. Human errors that may have once been idiosyncratic may now become systematic. "Artificial intelligence is the pursuit of machines that are able to act purposefully to make decisions towards the pursuit of goals," wrote Harvard University Professor David Parkes in "A Responsibility to Judge Carefully in the Era of Decision Machines," an essay recently published as part of Harvard's Digital Initiative. "Machines need to be able to predict to decide, but decision making requires much more," he wrote.
Thanks to the advent of the latest innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), smart cities -- with a specific focus on the utilities sector -- are undergoing unprecedented changes. The Capgemini Research Institute estimated that, together with the energy sector, the utility vertical can save between $237 billion to $813 billion USD from intelligent automation at scale. Utility companies have been experimenting with AI use cases such as predictive maintenance, yield optimization, and demand/load forecasting. In 2019, more than half of energy and utilities organizations have deployed at least one practical implementation of AI technology, reaping its consistent benefits. Even the public seems eager to enjoy the positive innovations brought forward by the AI transformation.