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) …
When you're sitting in the driver's seat at 60mph on a rain-lashed motorway, covering your eyes would normally be a dangerous, if not downright suicidal move. Putting on a virtual reality headset, obscuring the view of the road altogether, might seem even crazier. But that's exactly what I did recently. To start with, I was looking at a computer simulation of the motorway in front of me. Then the road disappeared altogether, the car took off, and I began flying through an alien landscape.
If you've ever wanted a robot to do the vacuuming, then the CES tech show has something for you. The Aeolus robot is designed to perform a range of household tasks - including mopping floors, rearranging furniture and putting away dishes. However, like many of the bots showcased in Las Vegas this year, the pressure sometimes got to it. "Aeolus has had enough," tweeted Signe Brewster, a writer at tech site Wirecutter, after observing the bot stall inexplicably during a demo. Aeolus has had ENOUGH pic.twitter.com/GxptFULhiO
If victory belongs to whoever's virtual assistant can interact with the most unlikely range of household appliances, then Amazon has already won. The firm's voice-activated digital helper has been added to a bathroom mirror that can - via cloud service Kohler Konnect - pass commands to smart kitchen taps, a shower system and even a smart toilet. "That means'Alexa, ask Kohler to flush my toilet' is something you might end up saying in the near future," mused Blair Hanley Frank at news site Venturebeat. Who needs a copy of Reader's Digest when Alexa is free for a chat, instead? In all seriousness, the battle to be your smart home's virtual butler is hotly contested and a huge range of gadgets on show at the latest CES tech show in Las Vegas now boast ways for users to interact with them via assistants including Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and others.
A group of developers are attempting to revive the Zano drone - one of Kickstarter's most notorious failures. The handheld quadcopter raised £2.3m from more than 12,000 backers on the crowdfunding platform before the project imploded in 2015. The resulting scandal prompted a probe that found fault with all involved. The Zano Camera project is one of several initiatives on show at the CES expo that make use of seized assets from failed crowdfunding campaigns. The person leading the effort is Vernon Kerswell, chief executive of Extreme Fliers, a London-based micro drone manufacturer.
Sophia the robot is a celebrity in its own right. It has been on chat shows, given speeches and was even made a citizen of the UAE. Before I "met" Sophia, I was given a sheet of guidelines by the company behind it, Hanson Robotics. Don't talk to the robot about sex, religion or politics, it said. Ask direct questions and remember it is not a fortune teller - it can't tell you whether you'll be rich or find love.
January is a peak time for downloading health and fitness apps and putting those Christmas present fitness trackers to work. But do they actually help you stay motivated? After the Christmas self-indulgence comes the inevitable New Year's resolution to get fit, lose weight, and eat more healthily. But while 65% of us make resolutions, only 12% successfully keep to them, polling firm ComRes finds. When Sarah, 34, a law professor from Australia, wanted to lose weight last year, she took the unusual approach of placing bets that she would achieve her exercise goals.