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) …
One of the things that really annoys AI researchers is how supposedly "intelligent" machines are judged by much higher standards than are humans. Take self-driving cars, they say. So far they've driven millions of miles with very few accidents, a tiny number of them fatal. Yet whenever an autonomous vehicle kills someone there's a huge hoo-ha, while every year in the US nearly 40,000 people die in crashes involving conventional vehicles. Likewise, the AI evangelists complain, everybody and his dog (this columnist included) is up in arms about algorithmic bias: the way in which automated decision-making systems embody the racial, gender and other prejudices implicit in the data sets on which they were trained.
The world's largest AI research conference is underway in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers are presenting more than 1,400 papers at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) conference, ranging from work that organizers believe has had the greatest impact over the past decade to Yoshua Bengio's continued march toward consciousness for deep learning. But even as the conference showed theoretical research and neuroscience-related papers on the rise alongside categories like algorithms and deep learning, the mushrooming of the event itself -- and the associated growing pains -- was a constant theme, and it speaks to the growth of the AI field in general. Organizers said that at the start of the conference Sunday, they expected about 400 people to show up for registration. All told, NeurIPS 2019 welcomed 13,000 attendees, up 40% from the prior year.
Recently, Dr. France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, gave a presentation at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness meeting in Washington, D.C. She holds an extraordinary record of accomplishment and has made a tremendous impact on academia and the U.S.'s scientific community. Córdova is also the youngest person -- and first woman -- to serve as Chief Scientist at NASA. Her journey began with her love for STEM. In some ways, the future of work is largely linked to STEM.
Worker productivity has not changed materially in over 20 years -- not since email and internet services permeated the office. But the pervasive use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in business -- coupled with collaborative systems, internetworked teams and tech-savvy business leaders -- signals that we are getting closer to the next step-change in productivity. DXC Technology's 2020 predictions for the future of work show enterprises continuing to reap the rewards of technology to drive business growth -- and getting the people part of the equation right is essential. It pays to get this right. Research reported in the book Accelerate, which details Agile/DevOps techniques at scale, indicated that high-performing organizations "had 50 percent higher market capitalization growth over three years compared to low performers."
And implicit bias can show up in other forms of artificial intelligence software. A ProPublica investigation found that software by Northpoint, a consulting and research firm, used to predict the likelihood that criminal defendants would become repeat offenders overestimated risk for Black people and underestimated risk for white people. Black defendants were "77 percent more likely to be pegged as at higher risk of committing a future violent crime" than white defendants, according to the organization's research.
Making a list of the decade's most important and influential gadgets is, in a word, illuminating -- and that's before you factor in all the LEDs. Over the last 10 years, thousands of products have been released, and while some are definitely "cooler" than others, their impact on the past decade, and the decade to come, is by no means identical. Each gadget tells the story of a new way of thinking, a slow-moving paradigm shift set to change the way we approach the personal technology we interact with on a daily basis. Sure, you might not know what a Raspberry Pi is, but its impact on industries like robotics and home automation has been massive. But the elegantly executed idea has opened up a world of delight for gamers with disabilities.
UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations has not been able to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and drones used in attacks earlier this year on an airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia "are of Iranian origin." The U.N. chief said in a report to the council obtained Friday by The Associated Press that the U.N. also can't confirm that the missiles and drones were transferred from Iran "in a manner inconsistent" with the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six key countries. The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks. The Saudis said the missiles and drones were Iranian but stopped short of accusing Iran of firing them. The U.N. chief said the U.N. examined debris from the weapon systems used in the attacks and is still collecting and analyzing additional information and trying to establish the supply chain.
Bugs in Apple's iOS have cast serious doubt on the company's new parental controls. CNBC reports that restrictions that were designed to prevent kids from talking to strangers have been falling well short of their intended goal. Communications Limits, a parental control rolled out this week via iOS 13.1.3, Theoretically, this would prevent a child from communicating with anyone that wasn't already uploaded into the phones' contact list. However, a test from CNBC revealed that if an unknown number texted the device first, users were able to directly add that number to the address book and effectively subvert the parental lock.