Information Technology

Google is using AI to curate personalized news for smart speakers


Every morning, without fail, I ask my closest smart speaker to play NPR. Clearly, there's much more that a web-connected, voice-controlled speaker could do. And it seems Google has the same idea: the company announced today that it's developing an open audio news standard for the Assistant. When you ask your Google Home (or any other Assistant-powered device) to play the news, it'll automatically generate a playlist of stories based on your interests using the same technology behind the AI on Google News. Hopefully, that should be more useful than just jumping into whatever your favorite station is playing at that moment.

Symantec develops neural network to thwart cyberattack-induced blackouts


Symantec is rolling out a new product that it says will help enterprises protect public infrastructure from cyber attacks and cyberattack-induced blackouts. The Industrial Control System Protection (ICSP) Neural is a device that scans for malware on USB devices to block attacks on IoT and operational technology environments. Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. The cybersecurity firm said the ICSP station functions as a neural network, using artificial intelligence to detect USB-borne malware and sanitize the devices.

IBM boosts AI chip speed, bringing deep learning to the edge


IBM is unveiling new hardware that brings power efficiency and improved training times to artificial intelligence (AI) projects this week at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) and the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), with 8-bit precision for both their analog and digital chips for AI. Over the last decade, computing performance for AI has improved at a rate of 2.5x per year, due in part to the use of GPUs to accelerate deep learning tasks, the company noted in a press release. However, this improvement is not sustainable, as most of the potential performance from this design model--a general-purpose computing solution tailored to AI--will not be able to keep pace with hardware designed exclusively for AI training and development. Per the press release, "Scaling AI with new hardware solutions is part of a wider effort at IBM Research to move from narrow AI, often used to solve specific, well-defined tasks, to broad AI, which reaches across disciplines to help humans solve our most pressing problems." While traditional computing has been in a decades-long path of increasing address width--with most consumer, professional, and enterprise-grade hardware using 64-bit processors--AI is going the opposite direction.

How Can The European Private Equity Industry Best Embrace Artificial Intelligence?


"Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to progress and will eventually impact all industries," Alexandro Pando, the CEO of digital disruptive firm Xyrupt Technologies recently told Forbes. AI, which refers to the use of computer algorithms to replace the human ability to learn and make predictions, is booming. According to a new KPMG report, $12.4 billion has been invested in AI to date, with the figure expected to skyrocket to an incredible $232 billion by 2025. The study also found that 40% of industry leaders said they would be increasing investment in the technology by 20% or more over the next few years. The potential benefits of AI are varied and can positively impact a host of divergent sectors.

Robotics Process Automation Leads B2B Funding


In a week of multiple nine-figure venture capital funding rounds, B2B FinTech has proved it plans to end the year on a high note. The star of this week's roundup is undoubtedly data: Two Robotics Process Automation (RPA) companies focusing on enterprise data analytics and automation landed a combined $565 million, while other high-value rounds were closed in the workspace sharing and asset-based lending markets. Below, PYMNTS breaks down the more than $912 million raised by B2B FinTech firms this week. RPA is igniting chatter in the corporate finance community as professionals explore next-level analytics and automation functionality to enhance processes like accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash flow management and more. This week, RPA startup Automation Anywhere made waves with its $300 million investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, reports said Thursday (Nov.

Apple Music Lands on Amazon Echo, as Apple Branches Out


In news that might help you make some sense of your fragmented, frustrating device set up, Amazon announced today that its Echo devices will support Apple Music starting December 17. It's a small breakthrough in the streaming wars, one that should help bring some sense to your streaming strategy. And you've got Apple's increasing need to branch out beyond hardware to thank. When the Apple Music Alexa skill goes into effect next month, all you'll need to do to tap into Beats 1 is enable it and link your account. The simplicity of switching it on belies the tangled threads that will have gotten it there in the first place.

GM just made a big behind-the-scenes move to boost robot cars


General Motors announced plans to close three assembly plants, one each in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario before the end of 2019. Cruise Automation's Dan Kan and Kyle Vogt pose for a photo with General Motors' Dan Ammann at Cruise Automation offices in San Francisco, Calif. on Nov. 20, 2018. General Motors is moving its No. 2 executive, company President Dan Ammann, to be CEO of its self-driving unit, GM Cruise, as it aggressively pushes to bring the robot cars to market next year. Starting Jan. 1, Ammann, 46, takes the helm of Cruise. Cruise cofounder, Kyle Vogt, 33, stays to lead technology development as Cruise president and chief technology officer.

Toyota untethers its T-HR3 humanoid robot thanks to 5G


Toyota just brought your dreams of an Avatar-like proxy one step closer to reality. Teaming with NTT Docomo, it remotely controlled its T-HR3 humanoid robot over a 5G network from a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). So far the bot, first unveiled a year ago, has only been controlled over a direct wired connection. "This time, with an eye toward improved use in practical environments, the T-HR3 was successfully controlled wirelessly," Toyota said in a press release. The T-HR3, Toyota's third-generation humanoid robot, was designed from the get-go to be remote-controlled by a human.

Lanner Partners with Zededa to Deliver Industrial-Strength Cloud-Managed Gateway


The joint partnership announces a secure, cloud-managed gateway solution ready for deployment in critical infrastructures, such as power substations, manufacturing, transportation, intelligent buildings, and smart cities. MISSISSAUGA, ONT. Lanner Electronics, Inc., a global leader in design and manufacturing of network appliances and industrial IoT gateways, will be demonstrating a joint solution with Zededa at the IoT Tech Expo in Santa Clara, Nov. 28-29, 2018. Zededa has developed an innovative cloud-managed software solution which provisions, administers and secures IIoT infrastructures. The joint solution of Lanner's validated white-box gateway integrated with the Zededa real-time software is developed to enable interoperability and connectivity on both hardware and software levels in industrial automation, energy and retail applications. Since 2013, Lanner has introduced a series of industrial gateway products designed for key applications, such as cyber security, edge computing, wireless connectivity and SD-WAN.

Amazon makes its machine learning courses available for free


Amazon announced today that it's making its range of machine learning courses available to all developers signed up to its AWS platform for free.