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) …
If you care about money, the economy and corporate America, earnings season matters. USA TODAY'S Matt Krantz breaks it down. Google parent Alphabet reported fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. SAN FRANCISCO -- Google parent Alphabet topped analyst estimates with ongoing strength in mobile search and video advertising, but missed on earnings, sending shares down after hours. Alphabet reported fourth-quarter revenue of $26 billion, up 22% year over year, led by YouTube and mobile search, chief financial officer Ruth Porat said in a statement.
Larry Ellison, center, smiles with now-Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz, left, during the Oracle Open World conference Oct. 25, 2006, in San Francisco. SAN FRANCISCO -- Several months before the holiday season, it's already shopping season in Silicon Valley. Merger mania is all the rage in tech, where it's beginning to feel like the late 1990s and early 2000 bust era all over again. But this time there's a notable difference that speaks to the fundamental value being created in this second dot-com boom. Companies are being scooped up for billions instead of being shuttered.
Every decade or so, a new era of computing comes along that shapes everything we do. Much of the 90s was about client-server and Windows PCs. By the aughts, the Web had taken over and every advertisement carried a URL. Then came the iPhone, and we're in the midst of a decade defined by people tapping myopically into tiny screens. So what comes next, when mobile gives way to something else?
It's already sorting your email and translating your voice searches, and machine learning will play a bigger role in Google's services moving forward. Google's parent company, Alphabet, reported its quarterly financial results Thursday, with revenue and profit both up from a year earlier. New Google CEO Sundar Pichai took part in his first earnings call, and in between discussing the numbers he revealed how important Google thinks machine learning is to its future. "Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we're rethinking everything we're doing," he said. He was putting the spotlight on a branch of artificial intelligence that's getting more attention lately.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik speaks at a press conference at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 8, 2017. Waymo, the company born from Alphabet's Google Self-Driving Car research project, is designing and building all the sensors, radar and computers used in its automated test vehicles, along with the artificial intelligence programs that control everything. Yet to make its technology affordable for commercial use, it anticipates a manufacturing alliance as it looks ahead to mass-scale production of components, according to Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik. Waymo this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit revealed that the latest generation of its hardware and software is being used on Chrysler Pacifica minivans that begin road tests this month. A total of 100 of the vans are getting radar, sensors, cameras and laser Lidar units for 360-degree, high-definition images of a vehicle's surrounding, all made by Waymo.
Artificial intelligence got a big push today as both Google and OpenAI announced plans to open-source their deep learning code. Elon Musk's OpenAI released Universe, a software platform that "lets us train a single [AI] agent on any task a human can complete with a computer." At the same time, Google parent Alphabet is putting its entire DeepMind Lab training environment codebase on GitHub, helping anyone train their own AI systems. DeepMind first burrowed into the public consciousness by defeating a world champion at the notoriously difficult game Go. However, to advance deep learning further, Alphabet says that such AI "agents" require highly detailed environments to serve as laboratories for AI research.
At the forefront of these trends are tech stalwarts Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), as well as new leaders like Tesla and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA). Tesla's new in-vehicle supercomputer is powered by the NVIDIA Drive PX 2 AI computing platform, but NVIDIA is also making its own moves into driverless cars. The company recently announced its plans to purchase automotive tech leader NXP Semiconductors. Aside from chips, NXP had also released a semi-autonomous driving system, called BlueBox, before Qualcomm made its bid.
All companies under the Alphabet umbrella pulled in $22.5 billion in the quarter (up 20 percent year-over-year), and net income rose 27 percent to $5.1 billion. Unsurprisingly, nearly all of that revenue continues to come from Google: Alphabet's more experimental "other bets" companies only brought in $197 million in revenue while losing $865 million of profit. Revenue for those other bets increased 40 percent year-over-year, and the net loss dropped from $980 million a year ago to $865 million this quarter. Google's "other revenues" also increased to $2.4 billion -- that's notable because the category includes Google's hardware products and Google Play.
After releasing its popular new Pixel smartphone and seeing its shares of shares him more than 800 this month, Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) is expected to reveal steady growth in its third quarter earnings on Thursday. Investors surveyed by FactSet expected the company's C class (GOOG) earnings per share (EPS) to grow slightly to 8.63 from 8.42 in the second quarter and 7.35 for the third quarter of 2015. Citing growth in YouTube's popularity and mobile use of its search engine, Alphabet beat analysts' expectations with its second quarter earnings release in July, with C class earnings per share (EPS) of 8.42 on revenues of 21.5 billion over forecasts 8.04 per share on 20.76 billion. Pinchai pointed to last quarter's growth in the Android operating system.
Just a days after Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. announced plans to deliver food via drone on the Virginia Tech campus, footage of what might be a lunch delivery has surfaced online. Jacob Demmitt of the Roanoke Times captured what he says is footage of a drone delivering a package on campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. As Bloomberg reports, Google's parent company has partnered with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Virginia Tech to make the experiment a reality. The Roanoke Times says a spokesperson for Project Wing declined to comment on the footage, but said that the company will release more information as the experiment progresses.