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) …
Nissan wants to have its fully-automated ride service on the road in Japan by the early 2020s. The plan is to start with a "public field test" for the Easy Ride service in Yokohama. Nissan has partnered with technology company DeNa for the venture, and the hope is to have everything from pick-up to payment and drop-off handled via mobile app. If you'd rather take the scenic route to your destination, options will be available for that as well. With the Tokyo Olympics looming in 2020, Nissan likely wants to have the kinks worked out by then.
As part of the IEEE RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots in Birmingham, U.K., last month, the awards committee decided to organize a fun photo contest. Participants submitted 39 photos showing off their humanoids in all kinds of poses and places. I was happy to be one of the judges, along with Sabine Hauert from the University of Bristol and Robohub, and with Giorgio Metta, the conference's awards chair, overseeing our selection. All photos were posted on Facebook and Twitter, and users were invited to vote on them. Sabine and I then looked at the photos with the most votes and scored them for originality, creativity, photo structure, and tech or fun factor.
No surprises here, but the award for the biggest event (not so much surprise) was when Google's AlphaGo stepped up to the plate and taught itself how to master the game of Go, having been given nothing more than the basic rules. Because up until now, machines have needed people to teach them, to feed them data, and to help them learn in a supervised way until they're ready to take things to the next level through consumption of massive datasets. In contrast, AlphaGo Zero was able to gain mastery by playing itself, then updating itself based on what it had learned from the game. Play this over millions and millions of times, and the result was a machine that could beat the previous AlphaGo 90% of the time -- an impressive feat given that AlphaGo was able to beat the 18 times world champion 100-nil. Well, I'm not the paranoid type so I don't think Skynet just lit up, but at the same time, I believe we are fast approaching the singularity and a massive change in the pace of technological advancement and associated societal impacts.
The San Francisco–based accelerator IndieBio's Demo Day is delightfully awkward. Finally, with the room settled and the house lights turned down, the CEO of each of the 12 science-focused startups in the program steps to the stage, stumbles through a breathtakingly dense five-minute pitch of mind-bending products like 3-D-printed kidneys, lab-grown fish, and pheromone-based insecticide, and then asks for funding. The halting presentations are symptomatic of the program at IndieBio, which strives to turn scientists with big ideas into successful CEOs within four months. So this September, at IndieBio's Demo Day (the three-year-old accelerator's fifth fundraising event), it was staggering when Matías Muchnick, in a Tasmanian Devil–adorned Hawaiian shirt, gave a clear, concise, funny presentation about the way his company, NotCo, would change the food industry. Most of the IndieBio companies are speculative (the 3-D-printed kidney could be available in seven to 10 years), but NotCo entered the accelerator with a product ready for market.
Nvidia deep learning consultant Michelle Gill never imagined herself working in California's robot-crazed tech industry. When she left Nebraska and got a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics at Yale University, she saw herself as more of a scientist who studied life than a technologist prepared to build new creations. It wasn't until she started working at the National Cancer Institute that she first became interested in machine learning. Analyzing medical images with data science opened the door to a whole new world. "A lot of the concepts I had learned in science applied in some way to machine learning," Gill told Newsweek at the Artificial Intelligence & Data Science conference in New York City.
As promised, Android 8.1 is ready to reach the masses. Google has started pushing the new mobile operating system to Nexus and Pixel devices, and expects to complete the rollout over the next week. Naturally, it's also posting the source code. The biggest tangible improvement should be for low-cost Android Go phones aimed at developing markets, but there are plenty of important improvements -- particularly if you have a Pixel 2. If you have one of Google's latest handsets, 8.1 unlocks the Pixel Visual Core chip so that third-party apps can take advantage of the Pixel 2's AI-powered photography. In theory, any app that uses the standard Android camera platform can take richer photos and spare you from having to switch apps.
The EY Global Innovation Team is a product and business incubator, bringing technology to the core of everything we do at EY. The team runs with the speed, agility, and disruptive power of a start-up, but, unlike most start-ups, is part of one of the largest and most respected companies in the world with unprecedented access to the world's leading companies. As part of the EY AI Lab, you will be driving EY into the future and change the way we do business, enter new markets and serve clients. Our work is creating a model for how AI can reinvent large companies by making them more productive and efficient, of course, but also more human and more valuable. The EY AI lab looks at an ever-changing and varied set of uses cases.
In 1961, the world's first industrial robot clocked in at a General Motors plant in Trenton, New Jersey. The 4,000-pound mechanical arm, named Unimate, was designed to weld cars and lift big pieces of metal. The robot was a huge success--even landing a spot on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Almost sixty years later, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has seen machines leap from physical to mental labor. As computers step into roles that involve reasoning, a new wave of industries ranging from medicine to finance stands to benefit from--or get left behind by--AI.
Google today released a tool that converts AI models produced for mobile devices using its TensorFlow Lite tool into Apple's Core ML .mlmodel The converter was made in collaboration with Apple, according to a Google developers blog post. TensorFlow Lite was designed to produce lighter-weight machine learning models that run quickly on mobile devices, while still allowing developers to build using Google's popular TensorFlow open source framework. Core ML is designed to provide an optimized execution environment for deploying AI services like object identification or natural language processing to iOS apps. Like TensorFlow Lite, it's supposed to help tackle one of the key problems with machine learning computation on mobile devices: while models can produce intelligent results, they often require a great deal of computation power that can run slowly on devices without the full firepower of a server, and consume a great deal of precious battery, to boot.
This week in all things IoT, Microsoft sees a blockchain-driven future in connected devices, and IoT in agriculture gets even bigger. There was some more Irish success in the internet of things (IoT) sector this week with news that Wexford antenna provider Taoglas is engaged in the largest city-based deployment of IoT in the world so far. In the coming months, around 3,200 smart sensors will be installed in street lights across San Diego in California, in a partnership between the city and General Electric. The vision is to use the city's streetlights as the anchors of a digital network that will cut energy use, monitor air quality and even highlight open parking spaces. Previously named the Irish high kings of IoT, Enniscorthy-based Taoglas last year revealed a $2m investment in an IoT centre in San Diego.