Today, New America and the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative (AI Initiative), a project of MIT's Media Lab and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center, formed a new partnership to strengthen international understanding of Chinese artificial intelligence policies and developments. The AI Initiative will contribute $250,000 to support the work of New America's DigiChina project, a collaborative effort to translate, analyze, and contextualize Chinese digital policy developments. DigiChina, which published its first work in July 2017, emerged organically from a group of scholars and analysts on technology in China and has so far published translations and analysis by 12 scholars from 10 different organizations. In 2017, DigiChina published the first complete English-language translation of China's New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, which lays out ambitions for AI development and policy stretching to 2030. See below for links to other work so far on AI-related issues.
Bonsai aims to make artificial intelligence technology easier to use in the real world. Microsoft has agreed to acquire Bonsai, a startup focusing on the hot field of artificial intelligence. Bonsai will become part of Microsoft's commercial AI offering through its own Project Brainwave foundation and its Azure cloud computing service, said Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft's corporate vice president of business AI, in a blog post Wednesday. "Bonsai has achieved some remarkable breakthroughs with their approach that will have a profound impact on AI development," he said. AI -- especially areas called machine learning and neural networks -- is an immensely important development in computing.
Israeli website navigation and digital adaptation platform company WalkMe today announced that it has acquired Israeli startup DeepUI, a company in stealth mode that has developed a patented machine learning technology to understand any business software at the graphical user interface (GUI) level, without the need for an application programming interface (API). No financial details were disclosed. The company has 600 employees with over 300 in Israel. DeepUI is WalkMe's third acquisition since the company was founded in 2011. WalkMe acquired native mobile AI startup Abbi in January 2017, and visual analytics startup Jaco in April 2017.
Oracle CTO Larry Ellison said that the company is enabling its Fusion ERP and Fusion HCM interfaces to support voice services such as Amazon Alexa. You know Alexa for Business is going to loom large in the enterprise when Ellison, who is a tad obsessed with beating Amazon Web Services, is mentioning the digital assistant. Speaking on Oracle's fourth quarter earnings conference call, Ellison said the company has just about completed an effort to meld all of its software-, platform- and infrastructure-as-a-services in one data center. "This consolidation of all 3 categories of cloud services, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, into a single standard data center, allows us to share assets while giving significant -- while giving a significant economies of scale. As a result, we expect continued expansion of our cloud margin," said Ellison.
Google has released its standalone Podcasts app for Android and is available worldwide in the Play Store. The Google Podcasts app will have Assistant integrated so that the app will be able to provide personalized recommendations. "Integrated with the Google Assistant across your devices and packed with personalized recommendations, Google Podcasts is designed to make it easier than ever for Android users to discover and listen to podcasts," Google said in its blog post. "We're also announcing a partnership with industry experts to improve diversity in podcast creation, and sharing a peek at how AI can help transform podcasting for the better." The Google Podcasts app for Android features a home screen that will display a carousel of shows that the user is already subscribed to.
This year, we have seen an acceleration of Silicon Valley tech giants opening AI research labs around the world as they seek to gain traction among researchers and fulfill their global ambitions. In the past six months or so, Google brought labs to China and France, Facebook opened labs in Pittsburgh and Seattle, and Microsoft announced plans to open labs near universities in Berkeley, California and Melbourne, Australia. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. Last month, Samsung announced labs in Cambridge, Moscow, and Toronto. This week, Nvidia announced plans to open a new lab in Toronto, while Google shared plans to open a lab in Accra, Ghana, Google's first in Africa and perhaps the first of any tech giant in Africa.
Entitled "Bringing AI and Intelligent Live Streaming to the Smart City," this presentation will be led by key members of CrowdOptic's technical team: Richard Smith, VP of Product, Austin Markus, VP of CrowdOptic Labs, and Joshua Davis, Principal Director of Engineering. There are already hundreds of thousands of cameras in many smart cities, but how intelligent are their video cameras and video management systems? This session will dig into the use of artificial intelligence to control cameras, and will explain how sensor data can be used to analyze video stored at the edge. CrowdOptic Intersect APIs expose developers to triangulation and cluster detection algorithms, guiding them through the basics of how CrowdOptic works with camera lines of sight to bring artificial intelligence to the smart city. A quick demonstration will drive home the depth of these APIs, showing how smart phones leverage cameras in the smart city to effectively look through walls and around corners.
The IT industry is experiencing an important transformation as companies invest in new technologies to drive growth and innovation. This trend is strongly reflected in our industry as E&P companies deal with enormous amounts of legacy, and increasing volumes of new data along with the expense and complexity of software to analyze and interpret this information. Challenges faced include operational efficiency, increasingly short project cycle times, communicating with a regional or global workforce, data silos, legacy software and restricted resources. Due to the industry's dynamics and its need for flexibility and information security, the cloud is increasingly seen as a viable and practical solution for the oil & gas industry, particularly now that Cloud service providers are building security into their software development processes. Security of data in the Cloud is often better today than in company's own networks.
Even as AI assistants delve deeper into consumer hardware, companies still seem a bit reticent to bring them deep into their office software workflows. Jane.ai is aiming to bring natural language processing and intelligence into an employee-facing solution that lets people query a digital assistant to give them information about documents, meetings and general company knowledge. The St. Louis startup announced today that it is raising an $8.4 million Series A from private investors to power this vision. Jane lives inside apps like Slack and Skype for Business (in addition to its own web app) where users are already chatting with co-workers and may need to surface information quickly that they don't have ready access to. With Jane, employees can just message the assistant directly and the system will comb through information and apps that were uploaded and connected to the system in order to find answers.
Recently, Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of American tech company NVIDIA, took the stage at the Computex 2018 tech conference to announce two new products designed to make it easier (and less expensive) for developers to create and train intelligent robots: Jetson Xavier and NVIDIA Isaac. As per an NVIDIA press release, Jetson Xavier is the world's first computer designed specifically for robotics. It includes 9 billion transistors and six processors, including a Volta Tensor Core GPU and an eight-core ARM64 CPU. That means the computer can process 30 trillion operations per second (TOPS) (in comparison, the most powerful iMac on the market can process up to 22 max, and costs about $5,000). Not to mention that Jetson Xavier needs less than half the electricity you'd need to power a light bulb, which could mean a lot for the advent of more advanced, and more accessible, robots.