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) …
The beauty and skincare world is oversaturated, especially if you include all the affordable convenience store brands. If you're a shopper with a budget, you are likely mixing different products and blindly guessing which combinations will work – like a chemist without a periodic table. AI technology has already revolutionized transportation, food, and even health. Olay, a well-known drugstore brand, created an AI to analyze your skin from your selfies and tell you which beauty products to buy. The Olay Skin Advisor asks users to snap a selfie, then analyzes the photo to produce personalized skincare advice using artificial intelligence .
What are some cool things we can do now that we couldn't 5 years ago because of science? This is like the prequel to I, Robot or The Terminator. When I was a kid, there were standard jobs: doctor, lawyer, banker, engineer, maybe programmer, journalist, etc. And I would read science fiction novels about robots. I'd watch Star Trek and Star Wars and read Dune and be amazed at the imaginations of their creators.
Something feels dishonest about the moral panic over self-driving cars. It usually involves bizarre crash scenarios that would (probably) never happen in real life. Does it matter that the scenarios are artificial or unrealistic? The details change, but the set-up is the same. We're supposed to imagine that a self-driving car is faced with some terrible decision: should it crash into a crowd of people, or swerve into a single person?
In our fourth installment of the Bytes Chat, we convened a panel of economists to discuss the newly released NBER study on the impact of robots on jobs and wages. Bytes contributors Rob Seamans, associate professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics, and Hal Singer, senior fellow at George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy were joined by special guest Marshall Steinbaum, senior economist and fellow of the Roosevelt Institute. The conversation has been edited slightly for readability. First question is at the behest of our president. Are the robots coming over the border?
When you start a revolution, you need to go public before the next revolution starts. Hadoop used to be the "revolutionary" technology behind the "big data" revolution but it has now been buried deep by deep learning, at least as far as the tech hype is concerned. One Hadoop distribution vendor, Hortonworks, sensed the passing of the "revolution" baton early, and went public in 2014. "In a year or two we may look back at November 10, 2014 [the day it filed for IPO] as the beginning of the end of the Hadoop Bubble," I wrote in The End of the Hadoop Bubble? Hortonworks shares rose to $26, but on February 2015, I kept at it: "What if December 12, 2014, the day Hortonworks went public, surprising many by its swift action, the bubble'began to quiver and shake preparatory to its bursting'?
In a strong indication of the links in tech between China and Silicon Valley, social network giant Tencent has acquired a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla for $1.8 billion. The rationale behind the deal is potential collaboration on automated ride-sharing and delivery services as well as related information, entertainment and e-commerce content. Alibaba-backed search engine startup Quixey in Silicon Valley has failed with strategic misalignment, cultural differences and disagreements over a commercial contract to blame. Quixey was one of Alibaba's first bets in Silicon Valley tech startups, and the Chinese conglomerate led financing of well more than $100 million in Quixey, starting from 2013 and ending with a $30 million loan and $10 million in cash last summer. It's a high-profile fail for Alibaba and its U.S. investment strategy.
There is nothing surprising about BlackRock's decision to begin replacing human portfolio managers with artificial intelligences, at least not to anyone who has been following the financial industry. And unless you are one of the dozens of human portfolio managers whose jobs are being replaced by AIs, there is nothing wrong with it either -- as long as BlackRock remembers what happened to Knight Capital. In 2012, Knight Capital almost went bankrupt after its new automated trading algorithm made $440 million in bad trades in just 45 minutes. The Knight Capital story is a cautionary tale about what can happen when companies defer too much of their decision making to automated systems, and a textbook example of what cognitive psychologists call automation bias. Automation bias refers to our tendency to stop questioning the results generated by such automated systems once we begin to rely on them.
Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Alexa, can you order me some room service? Marriott is currently testing Amazon's assistant as well as Apple's Siri to see who works best for its customers. Amazon has already had success in the hospitality market with Wynn hotels installing 5,000 Echos last December. Big brands are taking virtual assistants seriously and building apps to improve customer service.
April Fools' Day is the worst day on the Internet, so let's appreciate a hoax that's actually good. It's one of the best scientific jokes ever told: Isaac Asimov's masterful send-up of academic science writing. In 1947, at age 27, Isaac Asimov was already an established and successful sci-fi writer. He was also working on a PhD in biochemistry. Asimov explained later that, as he stared down his doctoral dissertation, he started to worry that all the time he'd spent getting good at writing would make it hard for him to adopt the necessary style of a scientific report.
Why does HR put so much emphasis on an employee's EQ, especially at a time when robots and AI are on the verge of replacing human workforce? EQ has been increasing in importance for work performance for a long time, ever since humans first began to cooperate to bring down large woolly mammoths. As technology progressively out-competes and replaces human muscle and cognition, the focus on EQ will only increase. One of the few things where we are still a lot better than machines - and therefore not likely to be replaced soon - is in relating to other humans. Simple transactional social interactions (buying, selling) require minimal EQ and are easily automated - hence the slow death of human-based retail.