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) …
DETROIT -- Automakers have been rushing to develop self-driving technologies, but some consumers might be ready to tap the brakes. The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study shows an increased wariness of fully self-driving technology since last year even as consumers continue to want technology that assists drivers. The study highlights a risk automakers are concerned about -- the negative impression that high-profile but isolated accidents can have on the perceived safety of driverless cars. And yet, both J.D. Power researchers and industry experts say consumers will eventually come around. "The engineering will get there.
Thousands have flooded into Austin, Texas to experience the 31st Annual South by Southwest Convention and Festivals. Check out some of the sights and sounds from the first day. Bill Ford meets with reporters and the recent North American International Auto Show. AUSTIN -- The frenetic race to develop autonomous vehicles features a lot of bold claims, management wooing and screaming headlines. Sleep while your car drives!
After decades of screen domination, technology companies, products and, indeed, the entire tech industry, are finally starting to pivot. The target of this refocused interest? After a slow and pretty rough start with Apple's Siri several years back, the idea of voice-controlled technology devices is beginning to take hold, thanks in large part to the success of Amazon's Echo and its Alexa personal assistant. The proliferation of Alexa-enabled devices at the recent Consumer Electronics Show put an exclamation point on that development. But as cool and interesting as accurate voice recognition and simple control may be, the real impact of voice-driven computing is significantly more profound.
After a decline in 2015, U.S. patenting activity rose to a record high in 2016. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted 304,126 patents last year, up from 298,407 in 2015. The increase was largely driven by West Coast technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Boeing, IBM, Intel, Google, and Microsoft. According to a 24/7 Wall St. analysis of data provided by Information for Industry (IFI) Claims Patent Services, Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics was granted the most patents in 2016. Including its major subsidiaries, Samsung was awarded more than 8,500 patents, slightly higher than IBM's 8,088 awarded patents.
Home appliance maker Whirlpool is planning to debut a whole bunch of new products in 2017--and they're not what you might expect. Other appliance manufacturers, like LG and Samsung, have a long history in the tech industry. So when they introduced innovations like connectivity, black stainless steel finishes, and fridges with storage compartments hidden inside their doors, shoppers snapped them up. This week, the world's largest home appliance manufacturer is at CES, the massive tech show in Las Vegas. It is introducing a whole series of Alexa- and Nest-compatible smart appliances, new smart ovens, a new fingerprint-resistant black stainless finish, and a door-within-door refrigerator.
"Also, ain't no rule says a dog can't play basketball." SAN FRANCISCO -- President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to make America great again. But if the sentiments of tech workers and the general public are any indication of what he's about to face in the White House, he has a split country to stitch together. Such is the onerous task he inherits, based on a new study measuring the viewpoints of 500 "Tech Elites," defined as people who work or invest in the technology sector, and 1,000 members of the U.S. "General Population." For starters, 65% of tech elites believe innovation is going in the right direction, compared with just 46% in the general public (33% say they don't know).
Silicon Valley is training computers to see, hear and speak and cars and trucks to drive themselves. Some people aren't so sure how they feel about this new wave of artificial intelligence that summons fears of Terminator-like sentient machines. So Facebook is trying to dispel some of the pop-culture myths with a series of six instructional videos that attempt to explain this complex field of computer science. Whether searching on your smartphone for a good place to eat or trying to avoid traffic on the commute home, Facebook says you are already using artificial intelligence all the time. "I think the more open we can be about it and the more we can demystify and explain how it actually works, the more quickly we can address concerns," said Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, director of applied machine learning at Facebook.
Where seed funding is going. SAN FRANCISCO -- Seed investors are traditionally the first to make bets on promising start-ups and emerging technologies, giving an early indication of where the tech industry is headed. Such was the case in the early 2000s, when they poured money into social media, and the last few years, with autonomous vehicles. If new numbers from market researcher Crunchbase released this morning are any indication, the spaces to watch now are augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and -- yes -- cars again. But there appear to be fewer sure bets in what increasingly has been a downward arc in venture funding.
In a move that could draw fresh fire in the presidential race, Ford Motor (F) says it is shifting all North American small car production from U.S. to Mexico. Fiat Chrysler has also made similar moves, shifting car production out of the U.S. in order to focus on pickups and SUVs in its domestic automaking operations. Low gas prices have Americans prefering larger vehicles, especially pickup trucks and higher-riding SUVs and crossover vehicles for their personal use. These will include new models in segments such as commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles.
Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields is speaking out on the company's attempts to create a self-driving car (Photo: Bryan Thomas) DETROIT -- Ford CEO Mark Fields wanted there to be no doubt that the automaker is absolutely not lagging competitors in the development of self-driving vehicles. All three Detroit automakers have announced partnerships this year with Silicon Valley tech companies, while Asian and European automakers have announced partnerships of their own. "Ford's announcements today regarding its Silicon Valley operations, high-tech investments and autonomous vehicle plans are intended to let the world -- especially Wall Street -- know that it is moving forward in future mobility," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader. "This is a transformational moment in our industry, and it is a transformational moment in our company," Fields told Ford workers in Palo Alto on Tuesday afternoon.