When Chih-Han Yu's work on multi-agent artificial intelligence (AI) was nominated as the best doctoral thesis of the year in 2010, the rising star in AI was not content with his stellar achievements, which included an early prototype self-driving car that laid the foundation for Google's self-driving car project. "People knew we were publishing high-quality research, but back in my dorm, my room-mate and I were thinking that we've worked on all this coding, but we have never seen any algorithm that has really impacted the world and transformed how people live and how business is done," said Yu, referring to his time at Harvard University. The duo decided they should do something and started a company specialising in AI-powered game engines that mimic the actions of human gamers, based on Yu's doctoral thesis. But that proved to be a mistake, said Yu, because there was no demand for the technology at the time. Two years later, they pivoted the business that would later become Appier, a supplier of AI-based marketing technology that helps businesses improve customer engagement and drive sales at a time when interest in big data was growing.
Fully self-driving cars are still a thing of the future. But in today's laboratories, the technology ranges from commonly used cruise control systems to so much automation that humans don't need to get into a car at all. In Taiwan, a startup is developing a driver's cockpit that's comfortable and packed with artificial intelligence features that transfers control of the vehicle to the computer whenever the system senses that the human driver is sick, tired, distracted or just sloppy. The 3-year-old Taipei-based Mindtronic AI developed this cockpit, called DMX, last year with luxuries like easy-to-use entertainment for the driver. But what if the driver gets mesmerized by a soccer match?
Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Taiwan's Automotive Research Testing Center (ARTC) is preparing to put driverless cars on the road, saying that it now has all the necessary technology to do so. Since the ARTC first invested in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) back in 2007, it has been working toward the goal of developing driverless vehicles, it said. In a recent interview with reporters, ARTC General Manager Huang Lung-chou (黃隆洲) said that not only has the center acquired the technological expertise to develop a driverless car, but it has also conquered the challenges associated with navigating such vehicles in real traffic. He said the ARTC has mapped out certain controlled areas in which its driverless vehicles will operate, in order to gather more data on the vehicles' navigation, before taking them into traffic. The ARTC said its driverless cars use 10 ADAS capabilities, including automatic parking, lane change assistance and a collision avoidance system.
The last few metres of the journey to HTC's glossily efficient, sci-fi white Taipei HQ are a lolloping dash through puddles and driving showers under grey umbrellas – HTC-branded, of course. Inside, the central atrium (cooled by the natural flow of air rather than aircon, I'm told) is dominated by a huge video screen that is playing a video loop of ketchup being squeezed, a bulging bicep being squeezed, a rubber toy being squeezed, a… well, you get the idea. I'm here to see the new HTC U11, a mobile phone that you can squeeze. In the next 40 minutes, execs from the Taiwanese manufacturer describe why squeezing the sides of a mobile is a natural gesture that adds innovative functionality to the new handset. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.
Siri on the iPhone, Cortana on Windows, Alexa, self-driving cars, and face recognition on Facebook photos, these are all examples of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already having a profound impact on human lives. This trend is also impacting manufacturing, albeit on a smaller scale now, with robots being increasingly used to replace humans in factories across the globe, from the US, Europe, Japan, China and Taiwan. Foxconn has already replaced 60,000 humans with robots in its factories, after developing artificial intelligence solutions for its manufacturing processes. Such a strategy they insist shall help them offset increasing labour costs in labour-intensive countries such as China. Also, with AI technologies finding their way into manufacturing, leading economists from MIT are worried that technology is replacing jobs at a faster pace than creating new ones, which could lead to higher unemployment over a short-term period.