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) …
Rockets, electric cars, solar panels, batteries--whirlwind industrialist Elon Musk has set about reinventing one after another. Thursday, he added another ambitious project to the list: Future Tesla vehicles will run their self-driving AI software on a chip designed by the automaker itself. "We are developing customized AI hardware chips," Musk told a room of AI experts from companies such as Alphabet and Uber on the sidelines of the world's leading AI conference. Musk claimed that the chips' processing power would help Tesla's Autopilot automated-driving function save more lives, more quickly, by hastening the day it can drive at least 10 times more safely than a human. "We get there faster if we have dedicated AI hardware," he said.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a "tsunami" that's coming to healthcare. That's what Naveen Jain, CEO of Viome, a small company focused on applying AI to healthcare, told CNBC on Thursday. The waves have already started picking up force. Three major milestones were reached related to the use of AI in healthcare in the last four weeks. There's a good chance you haven't heard about any of them.
There's a frequently cited PwC report that says that 38% of U.S. jobs are at risk of being overtaken by artificially intelligent automation by 2030. Similarly, a Scientific American article warned earlier this year that 40% of the top 500 companies will vanish within a decade as they fall victim to artificial intelligence (AI). Let's be honest here, those predictions are pretty easy to dismiss right now. The average person can take a look around and ask, "Where is all of this scary AI?" But AI is already starting to take over in very subtle ways, and there's plenty of evidence that as AI becomes a bigger part of what these companies do it'll eventually become a bigger part of how our world functions.
There's a heated debate among the tech elite about whether artificial intelligence will destroy or enhance human life. Tesla founder Elon Musk has been sounding the alarms over AI for months, saying in September that AI will be the cause for World War III. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, counters that AI will be a benefit to the world. Bryan Borzykowski is a Toronto-based business and investments writer. He's contributed to the New York Times, CNBC, BBC Capital, CNNMoney and several other publications.
Research company Strategy Analytics recently found that 41% of consumers believe AI will make their lives better. NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) says that by 2020 there will be 1 billion video cameras in cities around the world, and it wants to use its new Metropolis artificial intelligence platform for cities to tap into those cameras. Neural networks are layers of artificial intelligence systems that allow AI computers to process information in ways similar to humans. As artificial intelligence software grows, there will be a greater need for smart voice assistants like Amazon.com "Consumers need an intelligent way to interact with intelligent machines," says Strategy Analytics, and "touchscreens and menus are too limiting in terms of what AI can offer the consumer."
Companies like Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) are using the predictive power of AI to provide doctors with additional tools to fight disease. Researchers at Alphabet's Google Brain have developed an AI system that can examine images of the retina and detect DR as well as human ophthalmologists, according to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. HeartFlow is medical technology company that is using graphics processors from NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) and deep learning to create 3D mapping used to provide early detection of heart disease. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Nvidia.
Instead of preprogramming software to complete a specific task, as narrow AI does, machine learning uses algorithms that allow a computer to learn from the vast amounts of data it receives so it can complete a task on its own. International Business Machines uses deep learning powered by NVIDIA's graphics processing units (GPUs) to comb through medical images to find cancer cells. The company makes the graphics processors that are integral in AI, machine learning, and deep learning, and lots of companies already look to NVIDIA's hardware to make their AI software a reality. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Nvidia.
So far this year, a lot of the big-name AI companies are obliterating the market... Shares of Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOG) are all up double digits in 2017. The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (Nasdaq: BOTZ) is keeping pace with more expensively priced AI plays... Year to date, the Global X ETF is up 24%. The largest holding in the ETF is Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG). Investors can play this massive trend by targeting companies individually - both big and small... Or they can use a much more affordable approach with an ETF like Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence.
Earlier, Google's TPU was good enough only for inferencing (applying what it knows to new data) but the company has now added AI training capabilities (teaching a machine to make inferences) in the second generation. What's more, Google users can use multiple stand-alone TPUs in a custom high-speed network to build machine learning-capable supercomputers with a lot of computing power.
So far, Alphabet has been using NVIDIA's GPUs (graphics processing units) to power AI applications on the Google Cloud Platform, though it looks like the search giant has now decided to go it alone in this lucrative space. Alphabet revealed its plans for its own AI chip -- the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) -- at last year's Google I/O conference. For instance, in November 2016, NVIDIA announced that Google had selected its Tesla P100 GPUs and K80 accelerators to provide AI services to Google Compute Engine and Google Cloud Machine Learning users. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, and Nvidia.