Developers want to learn the data sciences. They see machine learning and data science as the most important skill they need to learn in the year ahead. Accordingly, Python is becoming the language of choice for developers getting into the data science space. Those are some of the takeaways from a recent survey of more than 20,500 developers conducted by SlashData. The survey shows data science and machine learning to be the top skill to learn in 2019.
Critics of the current mode of artificial intelligence technology have grown louder in the last couple of years, and this week, Google, one of the biggest commercial beneficiaries of the current vogue, offered a response, if, perhaps, not an answer, to the critics. In a paper published by the Google Brain and the Deep Mind units of Google, researchers address shortcomings of the field and offer some techniques they hope will bring machine learning farther along the path to what would be "artificial general intelligence," something more like human reasoning. The research acknowledges that current "deep learning" approaches to AI have failed to achieve the ability to even approach human cognitive skills. Without dumping all that's been achieved with things such as "convolutional neural networks," or CNNs, the shining success of machine learning, they propose ways to impart broader reasoning skills. The paper, "Relational inductive biases, deep learning, and graph networks," posted on the arXiv pre-print service, is authored by Peter W. Battaglia of Google's DeepMind unit, along with colleagues from Google Brain, MIT, and the University of Edinburgh.
Robots could turn a basic concept of farming on its head. What if, instead of growing crops in rows spread across many acres of land, food could be grown in vertical columns? A Cincinnati-based firm called 80 Acres Farms is testing this concept and seeking to prove that automated indoor farming can be safer and more profitable than traditional methods. Indoor farming controls environmental factors so that crops such as lettuce can be grown anywhere, anytime, making fresh food available year-round, regardless of location. A traditional farm might have three seasons, but Hamilton's new indoor farm is expected to turn over leafy greens every three weeks.
Retail to cloud-computing giant Amazon plans to hire over 1,000 new staff across three sites in the UK, and will open a new office in Manchester next year. "These are Silicon Valley jobs in Britain, and further cement our long-term commitment to the UK," said Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager. A new corporate office in Manchester, due to open next year, will be located in the Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter. The company said the six-storey, 90,000 square-foot site will house at least 600 new staff working on software development, machine learning and R&D. Amazon said it will also expand its development centre in Edinburgh, adding 250 new staff where it already has hundreds of software engineers, machine learning scientists and user experience designers.
In the competitive retail industry, personalization strategies have become table stakes. But for a brand to really connect with a customer, it first has to know that customer. Data science and machine learning are making it easier for brands to get useful insight into their customers based on their behavior. Director of Data and Audience, talked to ZDNet about the different insights it can gain from its customer data -- what decades-old information about a customer can tell you versus the latest updates to their shopping cart. Overstock.com is marketing roughly five-plus million products on a global scale, Robison noted.
The IT team that supports Chemist Warehouse has revealed the retail chain is looking to take full advantage of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented and virtual reality. Speaking at the VMware vForum in Sydney on Thursday, Antoine Sammut, a solutions architect with AM Solutions, said the opportunity that IoT gives Chemist Warehouse is "tremendous". "We can actually get to the point where we can almost feel what is happening in a store. It's a strange concept feeling what is happening in a store but when we all go shop, we will dwell in particular areas, we will pick up products and look at them -- as a retailer, we need to be able to understand is this product interesting and how we can actually improve that experience," Sammut explained. "In order to be able to deliver that, we are considering having thousands upon thousands of sensors out there within each store having over 1,000 sensors."
Samsung has opened another artificial intelligence (AI) centre, this time in Montreal, Canada. It is Samsung's seventh AI centre in total since it set up its first in Seoul in November last year. It also marks its fourth in North America after Silicon Valley, New York, and Toronto. The city hosted leading AI researchers at McGill University and the University of Montreal who have had "longstanding relationships" with Samsung, with 250 researchers and 9,000 students in related programs. The South Korean tech giant said the Montreal centre would focus on machine learning, language, vision, and multi-modal interactions.
Ericsson is also looking towards artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to push its business, as the company reported 54 billion Swedish kronor (SEK) (almost $6 billion) in net sales for the third quarter, up from 49 billion SEK in the same quarter last year. Cost of sales for the quarter was 34 billion SEK, down from 36 billion SEK this time last year, while research and development (R&D) expenses were down from 10.5 billion SEK to 9.4 billion SEK. Opex was 16 billion SEK, down from 17 billion SEK. Total net income for the quarter was 2.6 billion SEK, an improvement on the 3.5 billion SEK loss this time last year, with net sales in its Networks division up by 13 percent year on year to 35.9 billion SEK. Across Networks, products were up by 17 percent to 25 billion SEK and services rose by 5 percent to 10.6 billion SEK.
Telepresence robots from Vecna Technologies can be hacked using a suite of five vulnerabilities. The flaws can be combined to allow an attacker full control over a robot, giving an intruder the capability to alter firmware, steal chat logs, pictures, or even access live video streams. Vecna has already patched two of the five vulnerabilities and is in the process of addressing the other three. The flaws were discovered earlier this year by Dan Regalado, a security researcher with IoT cyber-security firm Zingbox. The vulnerabilities affect Vecna VGo Celia, a telepresence robot that can be deployed in the field but controlled from a remote location.