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What Is A.I.??? And, Four Ways To Invest In It.


In the twenty-first century, AI techniques have experienced a massive surge in interest following concurrent advances in computer power, large amounts of data, and theoretical understanding. Companies are focused on it, Google has rebuilt their software around it, and Mark Zuckerberg personally hires and pays AI engineers seven figure salaries right out of graduate school. AI is simply the hottest area in technology. But, what exactly is AI, and how can it impact your investments? These are the questions we will try to explore in this week's newsletter.



Jibo is a personal robot with a difference. It is unlike the stationary Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It attempts to offer the same repertoire of features while adding its physical presence and mobility to the mix. Quoting Time Magazine, "Jibo looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie, with a big, round head and a face that uses animated icons to convey emotion. It's not just that his body swivels and swerves while he speaks, as if he's talking with his nonexistent hands.

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.

'Amazon's Alexa is now part of the family – I just hope she doesn't replace me'

The Guardian

The most futuristic thing I have ever bought used to be a Sonos music player. I'd have people over just to show it off. "Name a song," I'd say. "Go on, any version of any song by any act that ever lived. So they would, and I'd pull out my phone and – hey presto – seconds later, that song would boom out across my living room like magic.

Bot Libre - Free chat bot hosting (virtual agents, Twitter, Facebook, email, chatbots)


Bot Libre is a free open source platform for artificial intelligence, chat bots, virtual agents, live chat, and more. Create your own chat bot, share it with others, connect it to the world. Create your own personal chat bot avatar, embed it on your website, or blog. Create a customer service virtual agent for your business, embed it on your business website. Reply to tweets and messages, retweet, and manage your feed.

Apple's iMac Pro may have hands-free Siri voice control


They're true... and you might not have to wait long to witness it in action. Jonathan Levin has combed through BridgeOS code that should accompany the iMac Pro, and it looks as if Apple will be using a cut-down version of the iPhone 7's A10 Fusion chip as a co-processor. While its full functionality isn't clear yet, developer Steve Troughton-Smith notes that the A10 appears to handle macOS' boot and security processes, such as passing firmware to the main Xeon processor and managing media copy protection. More importantly, Guilherme Rambo has found references to "hey Siri" support -- as with Cortana on Windows 10, you might not have to click an icon or invoke a keyboard shortcut just to ask about the weather. It's possible that the A10 chip is always running, which would represent a break from the custom T1 chip driving the Touch Bar in some recent MacBook Pro models.

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.

Under the Hood With Chatbots


Summary: This is the second in our chatbot series. Here we explore Natural Language Understanding (NLU), the front end of all chatbots. We'll discuss the programming necessary to build rules based chatbots and then look at the use of deep learning algorithms that are the basis for AI enabled chatbots. In our last article which was the first in this series about chatbots we covered the basics including their brief technological history, uses, basic design choices, and where deep learning comes into play. In this installment we'll explore in more depth how Natural Language Understanding (NLU) based on deep neural net RNN/LSTMs enables both rules based and AI chatbots.

Why your smart TV could be listening to you – or worse

The Independent

That's the warning of a whole range of experts who warn that the connected home – the idea that appliances and gadgets throughout the home – might be turned on their users. The technology is intended to make life easier for the people who use it, but like many new developments comes with terrifying warnings for their users. That's because the same things required to use the smart home – internet connections, microphones and cameras – also make them perfect targets for hackers. And because they occupy such an intimate place in people's homes, once they're spying on you they can learn some of the most intimate data there is. Those problems primarily hit cheap devices, many of which are made with little interest in how private they are.

Black Friday countdown: The dates to get the best tech deals


Jefferson Graham offers a countdown to Black Friday deals on Talking Tech. Get out your credit cards and let the shopping begin. Sure, many of the so-called "sales" started this week, but let's get real--the action really begins early Thursday, like just after midnight. Remember when people would camp outside big-box stores, hoping to be the first person to rush inside and save $100 or $200 off the price of a big TV on Thanksgiving and the day after? Black Friday can mean getting great deals, but it can also get you in financial trouble.