A new immersive classroom uses AI and VR to teach Mandarin Chinese


In addition to surrounding the students with digital projections of a scene, the environment uses several types of sensors to dynamically adapt to the students' words and actions. Microphones, worn by the participants, feed their audio directly into speech-recognition algorithms. Cameras track their movements and gestures to register when they point to various objects or walk up to different virtual agents. If a student points to a food dish in the restaurant scene and asks what it is, for example, a virtual agent can respond with the name and description. Narrative-generation technology also allows each agent to construct more sophisticated answers to off-the-cuff questions ("What's the dish's history?") using knowledge from Wikipedia.

Facial Recognition: When Convenience and Privacy Collide


The use of facial recognition in the United States public sector has received a great deal of press lately, and most of it isn't positive. There's a lot of concern over how state and federal government agencies are using this technology and how the resulting biometric data will be used. Many fear that the use of this technology will lead to a Big Brother state. Unfortunately, these concerns are not without merit. We're already seeing damaging results where this technology is prevalent in countries like China, Singapore, and even the United Kingdom where London authorities recently fined a man for disorderly conduct for covering his face to avoid surveillance on the streets.

Glitches, bandwidth plagued a now defunct pilot of Amazon's facial recognition software in Orlando

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A police department in Orlando has terminated its trial of Amazon's AI-powered facial recognition for the second time, citing costs and complexity. According to a report from Orlando Weekly, the department ended its trial of the technology, called Rekognition, after 15 months of glitches and concerns over whether the technology was actually working. 'At this time, the city was not able to dedicate the resources to the pilot to enable us to make any noticeable progress toward completing the needed configuration and testing,' Orlando's Chief Administrative Office said in a memo to City Council, as reported by Orlando Weekly. A police department in Orlando has ended its pilot of Amazon's facial recognition software after being unable to get its system working properly. The decision marks the second time in just 10 months that the department decided not to proceed with using the technology.

Iran says it seized British tanker in Strait of Hormuz and denies U.S. brought down drone

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON/DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Iran said it had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday but denied Washington's assertion that the U.S. Navy had downed an Iranian drone nearby this week, as tensions in the Gulf region rose again. Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf. The tanker's operator, Stena Bulk, said in a statement the ship was no longer under the crew's control and could not be contacted. Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted a military source as saying the vessel had turned off its tracker, ignored warnings from the Revolutionary Guard and was sailing in the wrong direction in a shipping lane. "We will respond in a way that is considered but robust and we are absolutely clear that if this situation is not resolved quickly there will be serious consequences," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters.

Can Neuroscience Understand Free Will? - Facts So Romantic


In The Good Place, a cerebral fantasy-comedy TV series, moral philosophy gets teased. On YouTube, the show released a promotional video, "This Is Why Everyone Hates Moral Philosophy," that gets its title from a line directed at Chidi, a Senegalese professor of moral philosophy who suffers from chronic indecision: The pros and cons of even trivial choices have long paralyzed him. We see him, as a precocious boy, urged to get on with picking teammates for a soccer game. Flustered, Chidi explains, "I have to consider all the factors: athletic strategies, the fragile egos of my classmates, and gender politics! Should I pick a girl as a gesture toward women's equality, or is that pandering? Or do I think it's pandering because of my limited male point of view? The kids waiting to play shake their heads, facepalming. A friend later insists he "fix his brain." An M.R.I., courtesy of a neuroscientist named Simone, shows he's fine. "Wow, there are actual answers here--data you can observe, and learn from," Chidi says. Science is all about getting answers," Simone replies.

The 5 Best Data Science Books Career Karma


Data Science is one of the best careers you could be getting into right now. Companies are hiring legions of data scientists at excellent salaries, and the work is as challenging as it is enjoyable. It's no surprise, then, that we've seen a blossoming of books, courses, and entire educational programs aimed specifically at training data scientists. But there are many people, myself included, who like to do part or all of their learning from books. Being able to re-read important sections, pause to think over a problem, and circle back around to earlier chapters combine to make for a very effective way to climb the learning curve.

Introduction to Machine Learning Augnitive


This is the era of Machine Learning (ML) as increasing the power of computation in computer technologies, and there is a lot of data to manage for each sector in the world. We have lots of data (symptoms, cures) for diseases, economic data (share market, trading) and there is also confidential data that could be used to decide on a business, agriculture, or even in a presidential decision for a country. These are the enormous use of ML, except that there are various small sectors where machine learning is performing well for doing human tasks. Machine Learning is a significant branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The idea of machine learning is to generate a decision from several earlier examples for a new instance of the same kind of problem or cluster them in several groups.

Using deep learning to improve traffic signal performance Penn State University


Traffic signals serve to regulate the worst bottlenecks in highly populated areas but are not always very effective. Researchers at Penn State are hoping to use deep reinforcement learning to improve traffic signal efficiency in urban areas, thanks to a one-year, $22,443 Penn State Institute for CyberScience Seed Grant. Urban traffic congestion currently costs the U.S. economy $160 billion in lost productivity and causes 3.1 billion gallons of wasted fuel and 56 billion pounds of harmful CO2 emissions, according to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. Vikash Gayah, associate professor of civil engineering, and Zhenhui "Jessie" Li, associate professor of information sciences and technology, aim to tackle this issue by first identifying machine learning algorithms that will provide results consistent with traditional (theoretical) solutions for simple scenerios, and then building upon those algorithms by introducing complexities that cannot be readily addressed through traditional means. "Typically, we would go out and do traffic counts for an hour at certain peak times of day and that would determine signal timings for the next year, but not every day looks like that hour, and so we get inefficiency," Gayah said.

A Ten Minute Guide: What is a Chatbot?


Chatbots have gained extreme popularity in recent years with the advancements in Machine Learning and natural language processing. The internet works like a platform that creates a web of information that helps the bots to gather this information and respond accordingly. This makes them utterly useful! Everything today works on data and information, for instance, machine learning or its advanced version i.e. With the increased online data and information, companies are now relying on cloud computing as a source of data storage or other services that could be provided using a remote/virtual computer.

Harnessing big data and machine learning to forecast wildfires in the western U.S.


The area burned by wildfires each year across the Western United States has increased by more than 300 percent over the past three decades, and much of this increase is due to human-caused warming. Warmer air holds more moisture, and the thirsty air sucks this from plants, trees, and soil, leaving forest vegetation and ground debris drier and easier to ignite. Future climate change, accompanied by warming temperatures and increased aridity, is expected to continue this trend, and will likely exacerbate and intensify wildfires in areas where fuel is abundant. Park Williams, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory associate research professor and a 2016 Center for Climate and Life Fellow, studies climatology, drought, and wildfires. He has received a $641,000 grant from the Zegar Family Foundation that he'll use to advance understanding of the past and future behavior of wildfires.