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) …
A new report says Uber plans to roll out a fleet of food-delivery drones by 2021. A drone flies over a city. Uber's flight ambitions expand beyond just shuttling people. It also includes delivering food. According to a job posting spotted by The Wall Street Journal, Uber is looking to hire an executive to help launch its drone food delivery program known internally as UberExpress.
One year after enlisting the help of third-party manufacturers to get screen versions of Google Home into your life, Google has launched its own smart display, called Home Hub. Designed to be a smart home controller, it's equipped with a speaker for alarms and timers, and it comes with a screen so you can view the thousands of pictures you've stored in Google Photos. Another advantage of having a display: It can show you results and speak them to you, which -- in many scenarios -- is very useful. Just say "OK Google" to get Google Assistant's attention, followed by a command, and then control the results with your fingers on the screen. However, it's not the only smart display with built-in Google Assistant smarts -- let alone the only smart display.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) is looking towards a cardless future, unveiling a partnership with Microsoft that sees the companies develop a proof of concept Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) to allow customers to withdraw funds using their face. Announced during Sibos in Sydney on Tuesday, the proof of concept has been developed using Azure Cognitive Services. According to Microsoft, the cloud-based application removes the need for physical cards or devices to access cash from ATMs, with customers able to withdraw cash from an ATM using facial recognition technology and a PIN. The innovation has been touted as improving the customer experience by removing the need for a physical card, while also reducing the risk of card fraud and skimming. "Cloud technology allows us to take advantage of features and capabilities that are world-leading and enable us to deliver at pace for our customers," NAB chief technology and operations officer Patrick Wright said.
Washington, D.C., is tracking more than politics. As of Monday, the nation's capital has its first self-driving cars on city streets. Ford is expanding its autonomous vehicle testing from Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami to the D.C. area. But that self-driving Domino's pizza delivery service is still only in Miami -- for now. SEE ALSO: Remember the driver disguised as a car seat?
Inspired by the beauty and flying ability of birds, Leonardo da Vinci strived centuries ago to create a human-powered flapping-wing flying machine. But his designs, which da Vinci explored in his Codex on the Flight of Birds, were never developed in any practical way. Even today, mimicking bird flight still presents challenges due to the physiological complexity of a bird's flapping wings. For years, researchers at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering have been moving ever closer to faithfully imitating bird flight with Robo Raven, the first bird-inspired unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has successfully flown with independent wing control. Robo Raven can also be programmed to perform any desired motion, enabling the UAV to perform aerobatic maneuvers.
A group of Cornell researchers has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to use machine learning to rapidly analyze agricultural and food market conditions, aiming to better predict poverty and undernutrition in some of the world's poorest regions. The method will use open-source, freely available satellite data to measure solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) – photons emitted from plants during the process of photosynthesis, detected by satellite, which can monitor agricultural productivity. It will also consider land-surface temperature, which provides information about crop stress under water deficit or excessive heat, as well as food-price data. "A method that can use near real-time, low-cost or freely available remotely sensed data can speed up the delivery of this information, and sharply reduce the cost," said Chris Barrett, the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the principal investigator on the three-year grant. "If you are a humanitarian organization trying to really target your resources at the poorest rural areas, this seems a powerful diagnostic tool."
DARPA stands for "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency," but while defense is good and all, what DARPA is really into is that P, for projects. The agency is focused on the development of breakthrough technology, and its sights are focused on the enormous potential of artificial intelligence. Its funding for AI projects is huge by any measure, and available to applicants far beyond the traditional defense community. As a 60th birthday present for itself, DARPA launched the AI Next campaign this past September, announcing a $2 billion investment applied to AI in a variety areas over a period of five years -- or about $400 million a year, says Brian Pierce, Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA. Anyone can participate in DARPA-funded programs by responding to an invitation for proposals on fbo.gov.
The United States faces a mental health epidemic. Nearly one in five American adults suffers from a form of mental illness. Suicide rates are at an all-time high, 115 people die daily from opioid abuse, and one in eight Americans over 12 years' old take an antidepressant every day. The economic burden of depression alone is estimated to be at least $210 billion annually, with more than half of that cost coming from increased absenteeism and reduced productivity in the workplace. In a crisis that has become progressively dire over the past decade, digital solutions -- many with artificial intelligence (AI) at their core -- offer hope for reversing the decline in our mental wellness.