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) …
Nasa researchers have found the first ever solar system that's filled with eight planets like ours, 2,500 lightyears away. But it might be the way it was discovered that's really astounding. It wasn't found by an astronomer, but by an artificially intelligent computer program built by Google. The research has led to hopes that AI can be used across astronomy to identify new planets and other discoveries with vastly increased speed. It's likely to find many more exoplanets from now on, say scientists, filling up solar systems and the universe with previously hidden worlds.
Nasa has found an entire solar system with as many planets as our own. The discovery of a new planet around the Kepler-90 star, which looks like our own sun, means the distant solar system has a total of eight known planets. And those planets look like those in our own neighbourhood: rocky planets orbit close to the star, with gas giants further away. The star and its family of planets were already known about, having been detected by the Kepler space telescope. But the breakthrough came when astronomers found the new world, which was done using Google's artificial intelligence technology.
Nasa is holding a major press conference after its planet-hunting telescope made a new breakthrough. The Kepler space telescope is operated by Nasa to discover other earths, some of which could support life. And its latest discovery is significant enough to bring with it a huge press conference. Very little further information was given about the announcement, which will take place on Thursday. But it will almost certainly relate to exoplanets – Earth-sized worlds that orbit around their own stars, and are our best hope of finding alien life.
Nasa is preparing for a huge announcement from its planet-hunting telescope. It has said only that it will brief the press on Thursday and that the discovery has been made by the Kepler space telescope. It also said that Google has been involved in the breakthrough discovery. But beyond that it said very little. Still, some clues give us a little insight into what the major announcement might be about to actually reveal.
Google has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that has created its own "child". What's more, the original AI has trained its creation to such a high level that it outperforms every other human-built AI system like it. It's an impressive achievement, but one that could also trigger fears about what else AI could create without human involvement. Google unveiled its AutoML project in May, with the aim of making it easier to design machine learning models by automating the process. "In our approach..., a controller neural net can propose a'child' model architecture, which can then be trained and evaluated for quality on a particular task," the company said at the time.
A robot called Vestri that has the ability to learn like a growing baby and predict future outcomes has been created by scientists. The technology, termed "visual foresight", enables the robot to imagine what its next action should be and then act based on the best results. In the future, it is thought this could enable self-driving cars to predict the roads ahead, but, for the time being, the robot uses its skill to move objects around a table. The researchers took inspiration from the way babies learn while they play – a process known as "motor babbling". They allowed Vestri a week of playing with various objects before giving it the task of moving certain objects from one position to another.
Google has named Socratic its number one app of the year. The tutoring app, which is available for free on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, is designed to help you complete your homework. It specialises in a wide range of subjects, including maths, history, economics, English, chemistry and biology, and uses AI to help you understand and work through problems. All you need to do is take a photo of your homework and upload it to Socratic. The app will automatically recognise the problem and provide step-by-step guidance on how to solve it.
The race to launch self-driving cars comes with many obstacles: a fiercely competitive field, wary regulators, and the intricacies of navigating real-time pedestrian and cyclist traffic. There is also the issue of taco trucks. A Reuters reporter who rode along in an autonomous General Motors Bolt, part of the company's effort to showcase its driverless vehicle push, recounted a mostly smooth journey through bustling San Francisco streets. But the car was thwarted by a taco truck where people were waiting in line for lunch, Reuters reported, waiting for more than a minute behind the stationary meal purveyor before a human backup driver aboard had to take over. Technology companies and traditional automakers like GM are moving closer to making mass autonomous transit a reality.
Google researchers have built an app that can catch people when they try to stare at your phone screen without you noticing. The system, which they've named the Electronic Screen Protector, is designed to help you protect your privacy in public. It can detect a gaze almost instantly, and can also recognise individual faces. The app, which has been developed by See Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff, uses your phone's front camera to see what's going on behind you. If it catches someone looking at your phone, over your shoulder when you're on a bus or train for instance, the Electronic Screen Protector will interrupt whatever you're doing and show live footage of the offender on your screen.
Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, scientists in the US have developed an artificial muscle that can lift up to a thousand times its own weight. Report suggest the muscles could be used to provide extraordinary strength to robots, yet allowing them to operate with precision and dexterity. "Artificial muscles are flexible actuators with capabilities similar to, or even beyond, natural muscles. They have been widely used in many applications as alternatives to more traditional rigid electromagnetic motors," the scientists write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Here we propose an architecture for fluid-driven origami-inspired artificial muscles.