Here's the paradox: it takes people to automate. Enterprises are moving aggressively to automate as many of their processes as possible, through artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation. Automation opens up new types of career opportunities, from programming to training. But it can't simply be inserted into operations without forethought and consideration of the wider impact. That's the word coming out of a survey of 4,000 employees released by Automation Anywhere.
The International Auto Show is underway in New York City today, and technology is in the spotlight. Much as the auto industry paved the way for industrial automation, carmakers have started to adopt artificial intelligence to speed up manufacturing and increase precision. That's brought increased focus on human workers. Just as the auto industry is a bellwether for manufacturing tech, it's also a real world laboratory for the effects of new technologies on the labor force. Artificial intelligence in the real world: What can it actually do?
At the end of the concrete plaza that forms the courtyard of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, there is a three-hundred-fifty-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes people explore that drop from high up in a paraglider. If they're less adventuresome, they can walk down a meandering trail that hugs the cliff all the way to the bottom. It's a good spot from which to reflect on the mathematical tool called "stochastic gradient descent," a technique that is at the heart of today's machine learning form of artificial intelligence. Terry Sejnowski has been exploring gradient descent for decades.
The AI and ML deployments are well underway, but for CXOs the biggest issue will be managing these initiatives, and figuring out where the data science team fits in and what algorithms to buy versus build. Researchers from Harvard, Brigham/Women's and Dana Farber Cancer Institute indicate that the combination of crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence can be used to battle lung cancer. In a JAMA article, researchers from those institutions outlined how they conducted a contest on Topcoder.com The contest was designed for three phases with $55,000 in a prize pool. The contest on Topcoder revolved around creating algorithms and artificial intelligence that could identify lung tumors and segment them for radiation therapy.
"The scars" and "that horrible world" are some of the terms for network management, according to one who's been in the trenches. Kailem Anderson was with Cisco Systems for 12 years prior to joining fiber-optics giant Ciena last year. As vice president of portfolio and engineering for the Blue Planet, a software division of Ciena, he is trying to help avoid such pain for those who must keep networks running. "I managed customer networks, and I spent a lot of time hiring analysts to watch the network, to watch alarms, and to build big strings of rules," for networking monitoring, says Anderson. His breezy Aussie accent gives a certain lightness to what sounds like a rather miserable affair.
LG Electronics has partnered up with CJ Foodville to develop robots that will be trialled in the latter's restaurants, the companies have announced. CJ Foodville is one of South Korea's largest food service companies, and is the parent company to popular franchises such as Twosome Place and Tous Les Jours. The coffee chain Twosome Place currently has over 1,000 stores located in South Korea. No specifics regarding the robots' functions have been provided by the companies as of yet. The push into the robotics space follows LG forming a new division for robotics and autonomous vehicles, which occurred during the company's 2018 year-end reshuffle.
The City of Newcastle has signed up to a single smart cities Internet of Things (IoT) enterprise platform from the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), the company has announced. "The city standardised on the middleware platform as it prepares to roll out and scale multiple smart city applications," NNNCo said. "The deal between NNNCo and Newcastle City Council includes an agreement to run thousands of IoT devices through the platform for multiple city use cases." As part of the Newcastle City Intelligent Platform implementation, NNNCo will also provide its N-tick device certification program across all devices being deployed across the city. NNNCo CEO Rob Zagarella called the use of one platform and device certification program for an entire city a "breakthrough in the IoT market".
An Indian national in the US has pleaded guilty this week to destroying 59 computers at the College of St. Rose, in New York, using a weaponized USB thumb drive named "USB Killer" that he purchased online. The incident took place on February 14, according to court documents obtained by ZDNet, and the suspect, Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, filmed himself while destroying some of the computers. "I'm going to kill this guy," "it's dead," and "it's gone. Boom," Akuthota said on recordings obtained by the prosecution. The suspect destroyed 59 computers, but also seven computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums that had open USB slots.
Facebook this week slashed the price of its Portal video chat screen and now the company has revealed it is working on a voice assistant that could be used in the devices. Today the tablet-like devices ship with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built-in, but the devices could soon have a Facebook-made assistant. "We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNET on Wednesday. According to CNBC, a Facebook team is based in Redmond and headed up Ira Snyder, a former Microsoft employee whose current Facebook title is "director of VR/AR and Facebook Assistant". The company reportedly kicked off the voice assistant project in early 2018, around the time it pulled its Messenger bot M. Facebook this week discounted its two Portal models by $100 hoping to capture extra sales on Mother's Day.
Voice technology is quickly gaining ground as a primary way we interact with devices. In the zero sum UX game, that's eaten into the dominance of tactile interfaces like touchscreens and keyboards, and a new survey suggests that a surprising portion of consumers expect that keyboards in particular are on their way out. As I lazily cleaned my laptop keyboard this morning while trying in vain not to wake the computer up (yeah yeah ... but who has time to turn their computer off?), all I could think was: Good riddance. The survey, conducted by Pindrop Solutions, which provides phone-based fraud detection and authentication technology for enterprise customers, is the result of 4057 online interviews conducted with a representative sample of people in the UK, USA, France, and Germany. The results outline a market that's been primed by voice assistants and sci-fi depictions for a truly voice-activated technology experience.