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) …
Apple said Friday that it's pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year. The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart speaker will be able to control home appliances and take basic orders. In June, some analysts questioned whether a December launch was already too late for Apple to compete with Amazon and Google for the connected home market. But Apple promised that the speaker would have all of Siri's smarts and stand out from the pack by offering superior sound quality.
Apple Inc. said Friday that it's pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year. The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart speaker will be able to control home appliances and take basic orders. In June, some analysts questioned whether a December launch would be too late for Apple to compete with Amazon.com But Apple promised that the speaker would have all of Siri's smarts and stand out from the pack by offering superior sound quality.
A number of serious security flaws discovered to affect Bluetooth devices earlier this year are now plaguing artificial intelligence-based, voice-activated speakers including Google Home and Amazon Echo. Security firm Armis--the same group that first disclosed the Bluetooth vulnerabilities, dubbed Blueborne, in September--has issued new warning that as many as 15 million Amazon Echo devices and five million Google Home speakers are currently at risk. According to researchers, the Amazon Echo is susceptible to two primary vulnerabilities related to Blueborne. The first is a remote code execution vulnerability that would allow an attacker to run arbitrary code on the device that could force it to perform malicious actions without the device owner's knowledge. In a demonstration video posted on YouTube Armis researchers, they show the attack in action.
OK, Google, and hey, Alexa, you won't have Siri to worry about in the living room for the holidays. Apple on Friday delayed the pending release of its high-end HomePod connected speaker until 2018, saying it wasn't ready for shipment. When the company announced HomePod in June as a higher-fidelity answer to Amazon's Echo and Google Home -- and its Siri personal digital assistant on board -- December had been its scheduled release. In a statement, Apple said "We can't wait for people to experience HomePod...but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers." Delaying products isn't new for Apple.
Google can't resist a moon shot, but this one is literal: A decade ago, the company announced the Google Lunar X Prize--$20 million for the first private firm to build a robot that can soft-land on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters, and beam hi-def video back to Earth. Now, after multiple extensions and a couple of flameouts, five teams are racing toward the March 2018 launch deadline, and the cutest contender might be the MX-1E, an R2-D2–shaped lander designed by space startup Moon Express. At roughly the size of Danny DeVito, the MX-1E fits inside a launch vehicle from partnering company Rocket Lab; once the craft detaches and shoots moonward, its engine and thrusters slow it down so the moon's gravity can help gently guide its descent. Its legs also help the craft hop across the moon's surface. Bob Richards, a self-described "space entrepreneur" and Moon Express' cofounder and CEO, envisions a future in which the moon is mined for resources--not necessarily for export back to Earth† but to power further space travel, using Luna as a launching point.
A simple trick goes a long way in hiding your webcam: tape. You don't think about your car until you get a flat. You don't appreciate your phone until the screen cracks. Cyber-security is something you take for granted, until someone hacks your account, steals your bank info, and spreads compromising pictures of you all over the Internet. Most people know about virus protection.
A newly established religion called Way of the Future will worship artificial intelligence, focusing on "the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence" that followers believe will eventually surpass human control over Earth. The first AI-based church was founded by Anthony Levandowski, the Silicon Valley multimillionaire who championed the robotics team for Uber's self-driving program and Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google. Way of the Future "is about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people'machines,'" the religion's official website reads. "Given that technology will'relatively soon' be able to surpass human abilities, we want to help educate people about this exciting future and prepare a smooth transition." Levandowski filed documents to establish the religion back in May, making himself the "Dean" of the church and the CEO of a related nonprofit that would run it.
Google's chatbot analytics platform is now open to everyone, more than six months after its quiet debut during the company's I/O developer conference. Called Chatbase, it's intended to help developers better analyze and optimize their bots so they can improve conversion rates and accuracy -- and avoid having users feel bots are useless. Anyone can use Google's Chatbase for free, similar to Google Analytics, and it'll work across any platform, including Facebook Messenger, Kik, Slack, Viber, and Skype. But it's more than messaging services where Chatbase could prove invaluable: With the rise of voice assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung's Bixby, and Apple's Siri, understanding analytics will be important. A product of Google's Area 120 internal incubator, Chatbase currently has "hundreds" of companies using it, including Ticketmaster, HBO, and Viber.
The search function in Google Photos uses TensorFlow. Google made waves Monday when it made its new artificial intelligence system TensorFlow open source. Google has used TensorFlow for the past year for a variety of applications. For example, Google Photos is scary good at search because it uses TensorFlow to recognize places based on popular landmarks or characteristics, like the Yosemite National Park mountain range. Other Google products that use TensorFlow include Google search, Google's voice recognition app, and Google Translate.
With headlines like these, it's hard not to get excited about autonomy and self driving cars. After all, we've seen the cars in Minority Report, Total Recall, and iRobot, and thought to ourselves: "When can we finally get into those cars?" Truth be told, it may be quite a while before we're actually there. There's a general misalignment between what the public think is "fully autonomous" versus what these executives are actually saying. Elon Musk's 2018 goal is to have a self driving car that's safer than a human driver.