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) …
It's been 30 days since Susan Fowler blogged about her experience working as an engineer for the poster child of Silicon Valley bro culture, Uber. I bet Travis Kalanick, the ride-hailing company's hard-charging CEO, would cough up a sizable chunk of his $6.3 billion net worth to stuff that genie back in the bottle. Sunday's surprise resignation of Jeff Jones – who was recruited just six months ago as president of ride sharing and head of global marketing – capped a month-long executive exodus in the wake of Fowler's accusations of organizational chaos, sexual harassment and brazen misbehavior by Uber management. If the revelations are true (the company is still investigating), then under the hood of Uber's brilliant innovation and stellar growth lies what can best be described as an out- of-control mess. The question is, can Kalanick navigate the crisis or will he be forced out?
A former employee stole trade secrets from Google's self-driving car project and brought them to a startup that was later acquired by Uber, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Thursday. Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet that took over the search giant's self-driving car project last year, filed a complaint against Uber's subsidiary Otto, claiming trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement, and unfair competition. The complaint alleges that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary design files--9.7GB Those designs showed up in an email that Waymo received from one of its circuit board suppliers in December, according to the complaint. The email, which apparently was referring to Uber's own Lidar design, confirmed Waymo's earlier suspicions that Levandowski had given Waymo's trade secrets to Uber, which acquired Otto in August 2016.
When Amazon's Echo hit the market, it was basically just a voice-operated speaker. Don't get me wrong--it was an attractive piece of technology and it responded well to voice commands, but a lot of people ended up with an Echo asked Alexa a few basic questions, like: What time is it? What's the weather report for Saturday? Click here for a list of Alexa commands you're not using but should be. Here's the question I get over and over again: What else can Alexa do?
Uber pulled its self-driving cars from California roads on Wednesday after state regulators moved to revoke their registrations, officials said. The decision came after a week of talks between the ride-sharing company and state regulators failed. The DMV said the registrations for the vehicles were improperly issued for because they were not properly marked as test vehicles. It invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles could operate legally in California -- an offer the company said it did not plan to accept. The controversy started when Uber launched the service in its hometown of San Francisco.
The most futuristic car you'll see this week is a minivan. Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's recently announced self-driving automobile technology company, has unveiled its new autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. Fiat-Chrysler worked with Waymo to integrate its bulky suite of Radar, Lidar and camera equipment into the Pacifica Hybrid, along with all of the gear needed for it to drive itself. One hundred of the augmented people carriers have been built and will be hitting the road next year. Waymo says that it has already put prototypes of the vehicles through their paces on closed test tracks and exposed them to over 200 hours of extreme weather conditions.
Uber might be one of the best ways to hail a taxi in many cities around the world, but it's also a controversial service that has been plagued by scandals. The company has said it couldn't access ride data information for its users. A former Uber security expert, however, claims that employees have been able to track people using the app, including high-profile customers. Uber employees helped ex-boyfriends stalk ex-girlfriends, and were even able to access trip information for celebrities like Beyonce, Reveal News explains. These revelations come from the company's former in-house forensic investigator Ward Spangenberg.
The Uber-owned, self-driving semi-truck developer last week completed a 120-mile Budweiser beer delivery across Colorado without a driver behind the wheel. The big rig, equipped with an array of camera, radar and LIDAR sensing technology, then proceeded to drive itself along I-25 between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs at an average speed of 55 mph, using GPS and hyper-accurate digital maps created on a scouting run to guide the way. Uber, which recently announced plans to enter the on-demand shipping business with a new division called Uber Freight, also has been testing a semi-autonomous cars in Pittsburgh that are currently able to drive themselves about 70 percent of the time as the technology undergoes development. As for this first autonomous delivery, Budweiser created 45,000 specially-designed cans to commemorate the event and put them on sale in local stores.
Uber rolled out its much anticipated self-driving car service for a group of selected customers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The ride-hailing firm became the first to offer the futuristic technology to the public in the United States, and Fox News went for a spin. It's still a work in progress, so the vehicle has a specially-trained human being in the driver's seat who can take control of it if something goes wrong, and an engineer taking notes on the passenger side. Although in the early stages of development, the cars are impressively autonomous: a spinning LIDAR on the roof takes in 1 million points of data per second, creating a visual field of everything around the car. There are also 20 cameras detecting everything, including red lights, stop signs and pedestrians.
If you've thought about signing up to become an Uber driver, you'd better do it fast -- the taxi-alternative giant appears to be on the brink of starting to replace its vast army of drivers with a fleet of driverless cars. Uber Technologies has signed a 300 million agreement with Volvo to develop and produce a sport-utility vehicle that will be used as a self-driving taxi, or sold to consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agreement reportedly calls for Uber to buy Volvo's X90 SUV -- long a staple of its fleet -- and to work with the company's team of self-driving researchers from Carnegie Mellon University's robotics department, one of the best in the world. The department also has spawned self-drive efforts at Google. The goal, as Bloomberg News reports, is to replace as quickly as possible Uber's more than 1 million human drivers with robot drivers.