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) …
Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S8 phone at a glitzy event in Lincoln Center, New York, Wednesday, with the tech giant eager to draw a line under last year's Note 7 fiasco. DJ Koh, president of Samsung's mobile communications business, kicked off Wednesday's event by explaining that the company has "humbly" learned from its mistakes. "This is how new doors are opened," he added. Koh moved quickly to introduce the new Galaxy S8 and S8 phones, adding that the devices are "inspired by dreams of a world where you are always connected to the people you care about." I took a look at the S8 and S8 after the event.
Apple has been awarded a new patent for facial-recognition technology that has stoked flames the company might be planning to integrate it into the iPhone 8 and Apple Car technology. The patent, called "Enhanced face detection using depth information," describes a method by which a device's built-in camera would capture a depth map and places a window frame over each face. Using the depth information it's already mapped, the technology in the patent, which was earlier reported on by AppleInsider, would scale each face to accurately depict how far away or close people are in the frame. Interestingly, the technology was invented by Primesense, the company that created Microsoft's original Kinect and Apple subsequently acquired in 2013. While Apple files for patents all the time on technologies that might or might not make their way to its devices, this one describes in detail a feature that the rumor mill has been churning out about Apple's iPhone 8. Specifically, rumors have said that Apple wants to deliver a high-end front camera in its iPhone 8 that would feature 3D-sensing capabilities similar to what's described in the patent.
The international supercomputer race may soon have a new contender: Japan is reportedly eyeing the world's fastest-ever machine. Reuters this week revealed the country's plans to spend ¥19.5 billion ($173 million) on the construction of a machine capable of making 130 quadrillion calculations per second--or 130 petaflops. For comparison, the world's current top-ranking supercomputers--Sunway TaihuLight (China), Tianhe-2 (China, pictured), Titan Cray XK7 (US)--boast Linpack marks of 93 petaflops, 34 petaflops, and 24 petaflops, respectively. In an attempt to win back the industry crown and keep jobs in Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will spend billions to construct the most nimble supercomputer in history. The machine's processing power will be available for a fee to organizations focused on driverless cars, robotics, and medical diagnostics.
Google has made a strong phone debut, according to the first round of reviews. Strong enough to take on the market-leading iPhone. The 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL are the company's first pure Google-branded smartphones, with the tagline "made by Google." To date, Google has released phones under the Nexus brand, which tended to emphasize the phone's manufacturer, such as LG and Huawei, not Google. Wall Street Journal: "The Google Pixel is now the best Android smartphone you can buy," the Journal said in its review.
The Google-branded phone has arrived, and Apple and Samsung are its primary targets. But to make room for the Google-branded Pixel, Google's Nexus phone brand will fade, according to an official statement Tuesday from Google. "As Nexus users, you've played an integral role in this journey for Google. We're excited about Pixel, and also want you to know that we'll continue to support your Nexus devices," Google said Tuesday. Nexus phones have been co-branded with Google, but the branding tended to emphasize the partners that manufacture the device such as LG and Huawei, the two current Nexus phone makers.
Artificial intelligence and voice-based computing are likely two of the main components of the smart devices of the future, and Amazon's surprisingly popular Echo is certainly one device to beat. The home assistant can offer fast responses to some of your immediate needs, like playing music, or giving you the information you require the most, including weather, traffic, sports scores, to name just a few. To many people, the Alexa assistant that powers Echo is about as robust as Siri. Apple's voice-assistant that resides inside the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPod touch, can easily do the same things. But Alexa does things better and faster than Siri not because Amazon is better than Apple at processing voice requests, but because the devices offer vastly different experiences.
If you've ever been on a crowded bus and found yourself stuck between a loud conversation on one side and obnoxiously loud music on the other, the idea of being able to cancel out that background noise probably sounds like bliss. Now, new earbuds can not only help boost your hearing and cancel out pesky noise, but also serve as wireless earphones for making phone calls and listening to music hands-free. Wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches have become popular accessories, and recently, companies have started developing "hearables" -- earbuds that electronically control how a person hears the world. The IQbuds from Nuheara in San Francisco can use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to a smartphone. As such, these earbuds can act like wireless earpieces, so you can listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks in stereo; make hands-free phone calls; and engage with Siri and other voice-enabled apps.