Baidu to begin small-scale production of fully automative vehicles next year


The Chinese search engine giant Baidu is planning to commence small-scale production and trial operations of its fully autonomous minibuses in July, 2018, according to a NetEase report. Speaking at the 2017 Baidu World Conference in Beijing last week, its chairman and CEO Robin Li said the Chinese company is planning to launch its driverless cars before 2020 -- which is when markets generally believe mass production of unmanned cars will eventually be realised -- because Baidu is an innovator and wishes to move ahead of schedule. After the small-scale production and trial operations of its unmanned minibuses next year, Baidu will also launch fully automative cars with Chinese automobile brands JAC Motors and BAIC Motor in 2019, and Chery Automobile in 2020, said the report. In September, Baidu stepped up investment in its self-driving project that launched in 2013 with a fresh $1.5 billion "Apollo Fund", named after its open-source autonomous driving platform. Li said last week that Baidu's Apollo platform has already attracted more than 6,000 developers, adding that over 1,700 partners have joined the Apollo project and more than 100 partners have applied for open data on Apollo.

3 Books That May Change How You See The World


In a world of instant gratification and get quick rich schemes, the activities that are worth doing are often forgotten or ignored. They are simple things like habits that produce change and results. The reality is that you may not notice because transformation creeps up on you. You practice or perform your routine one day at a time. It is often incremental and slow.

The future of getting dressed: AI, VR and smart fabrics


Cher Horowitz's closet from the film "Clueless" had a futuristic computer system that helped her put together outfits. Back in 1995, the concept teased what it might be like to get dressed in the future. Technology has evolved a lot since then, but closets have been largely untouched by innovation. Now, that's starting to change. "If algorithms do their job well, people will spend less time thinking about what to wear," said Ranjitha Kumar, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

India Accelerator to invest $150K in 6 startups


Gurgaon-based mentorship-driven incubator India Accelerator will make seed investment worth around $150,000 in six startups that operate across sectors such as fin-tech, artificial intelligence, transport and e-commerce. Each of the startups, which are selected from a list of close to 150 early-stage firms, will receive $20,000 to $25,000, India Accelerator said in a statement. "While many players in the industry provide funding as the primary offering, we would like to create a more meaningful difference. Post the seed funding, India Accelerator will handhold these startups through the intensive three-month mentorship-driven programme, said Mona Singh, chief acceleration officer of India Accelerator. Founded by Ashish Bhatia and Abhay Chawla, earlier this year, India Accelerator is a member of Global Accelerator Network, a consortium of more than 85 accelerators around the globe.

The Key To How AI Can Help Us Be Healthier


Can AI make us healthier, happier, better? That's the question on everyone's minds these days. If engineers continue to program AI to take away our jobs and our need to utilize our capacity for deductive reasoning and common sense, then the answer is clearly NO. Human beings thrive on being challenged. It develops will, intelligence, adaptability whether we recognize that fact or not.

How Brands and Startups Are Using AI to Help You Get Dressed


If you're reading this article, chances are that you're pretty aware of the fact that many things are moving from the physical world to the digital one -- from editorial content to retail. But sometimes, those online experiences still leave something to be desired; a trend we've noticed over the past couple of years is retailers harnessing technology in an attempt to mimic the level of customer service and personalization you might get from a really good, attentive salesperson IRL. While shopping online is supposed to be convenient, it can often be overwhelming. Many online retailers boast tens or hundreds of thousands of brands and SKUs, and if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, and how it will fit you, the experience can be pretty frustrating. To mitigate that, retailers with the resources to do so are working to use data collection and, in some cases, AI to create more personalized shopping experiences -- i.e., showing you products it thinks you will like based on what you've purchased before, sort of like fashion's version of Spotify Discover Weekly or Apple Music's For You tab.

AI assistants are the next computing revolution


Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby is built into its latest smartphones. Smartphones have dominated the last 10 years of computing, but we're on the cusp of the next big platform: voice-activated virtual assistants, powered by artificial intelligence. While the smartphone isn't going away, you'll soon be able to interact with many more devices thanks to assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. All the big technology companies – Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft – are building assistant platforms. But perhaps the most promising is Samsung, which just announced a new AI version of its Bixby assistant.

Blockchain-as-a-service allows enterprises test distributed ledger technology


As enterprises look to deploy distributed ledgers, the industry's largest IT providers have launched blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS), offering a way to test the nascent technology without the cost or risk of deploying it in-house. The BaaS offerings could help companies who don't want to build out new infrastructure or try to find in-house developers, which are in hot demand. "The thing to be thinking about is that we're still in the early innings of this blockchain wave," said Bill Fearnley Jr., IDC's research director for Worldwide Blockchain Strategies. "There are very few people with multiple years of deep, hands-on experience." While heavily hyped, blockchain technology – which gained its initial notoriety from bitcoin cryptocurrency – has the potential to offer a new paradigm for the way information is shared; tech vendors and companies are rushing to figure out how they can use the distributed ledger technology to save time and admin costs.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Have Taken Centre Stage – Here's Why


We've reached a significant point in time where the interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning have gained huge amounts of traction - why? We are moving into an era where science fiction is now becoming fact and reality. AI and machine learning are not new concepts; Greek mythology is littered with references of giant automata such as Talos of Crete and the bronze robot of Hephaestus. However, the'modern AI' idea of thinking machines that we all have come to understand was founded in 1956 at Dartmouth College. Since the 1950's, numerous studies, programmes and projects into AI have been launched and funded to the tune of billions; it has also witnessed numerous hype cycles.

How Staples is making customer service "easy" with Watson Conversation - Watson


Ask any office manager about ordering supplies and you're likely to get a few groans. Overseeing office procedures requires a level of complexity as customer expectations continue to grow. Shoppers today are looking to order exactly what they want, when they want it, no matter the time or place. Office products and services superstore and US e-commerce leader, Staples, has partnered with IBM Watson to not only alleviate the back-office headache, but meet the increasing needs of their customers. With more buying options than ever--and heightened customer expectations--Staples hopes to make it easier for businesses to order office supplies and services anytime, anywhere.