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Podcast: How Russia's everything company works with the Kremlin

MIT Technology Review

Russia's biggest technology company enjoys a level of dominance that is unparalleled by any one of its Western counterparts. Think Google mixed with equal parts Amazon, Spotify and Uber and you're getting close to the sprawling empire that is Yandex--a single, mega-corporation with its hands in everything from search to ecommerce to driverless cars. But being the crown jewel of Russia's silicon valley has its drawbacks. The country's government sees the internet as contested territory amid ever-present tensions with US and other Western interests. As such, it wants influence over how Yandex uses its massive trove of data on Russian citizens. Foreign investors, meanwhile, are more interested in how that data can be turned into growth and profit. For the September/October issue of MIT Technology Review, Moscow-based journalist Evan Gershkovich explains how Yandex's ability to walk a highwire between the Kremlin and Wall Street could potentially serve as a kind of template for Big Tech.


AI Needs To Gain Famed MacGyver Shrewdness, Including For AI Self-Driving Cars

#artificialintelligence

MacGyver-like savviness is needed for AI, including self-driving cars. Who or what is a MacGyver, you might wonder? Well, most people have heard of MacGyver, the TV series and main character that manages to always find a clever means to extricate himself from some puzzling predicament, using his wits to devise a solution out of rather everyday items. Fans know that he carries a Swiss Army knife, rather than a gun, since he believes that using his creativity and inventiveness will always allow him to deal with any untoward circumstance (the knife is handy when you need to defuse a bomb, or when you need to take apart a toaster and reuse its electronics for a completely different purpose and ultimately save your life accordingly). Turns out that you don't necessarily need to have ever seen the show or watched any YouTube clips and yet still nonetheless might know what it signifies to be a "MacGyver" in dealing with a thorny task (it has become part of our lexicon of speaking).


Ford CTO hypes 5G in autonomous vehicle future

#artificialintelligence

"So we really believe that 5G and cellular V2X [vehicle to everything] will be key technology enablers for future smart vehicles, including advanced drive assist technologies. It will allow us to do Level 3 driving with more confidence in more places, including in urban environments." said Ford's CTO Ken Washington at a recent investor event, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. Level 3 autonomous driving is basically midway between regular human driving (Level 0) and full-blown computer driving (Level 5). Level 3 involves a car driving itself, but only under certain conditions and with an attentive human. Washington said that Ford has been investing in locations around Detroit in order to install and test 5G technologies as well as V2X offerings.


Enthusiasm around autonomous vehicles has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic - TechRepublic

#artificialintelligence

A report on the public perception of self-driving vehicles in the United States found that 62% of people surveyed believe autonomous vehicles are the way of the future, and that enthusiasm for those vehicles has risen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey of more than 1,000 Americans and its accompanying Consumer Mobility Report comes from Motional, a driverless technology company created by Hyundai and Aptive. Motional was created to work on commercial uses of SAE level four vehicles, which are fully autonomous and able to perform all tasks from the beginning to the end of a trip. Along with finding enthusiasm for driverless vehicles rising, Motional also found that there's a knowledge gap around self-driving vehicles that plays directly into an enthusiasm gap. Respondents who rated themselves extremely knowledgeable about autonomous vehicles were far more likely to believe that those on the road to day are safe and reliable (76%), versus those that said they are less knowledgeable, of whom only 10% said current self-driving vehicles are safe.


Practical Use of A.I. in Transportation

#artificialintelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technology that fuels machines with human intelligence -- machines that have AI capabilities can automate manual tasks and learn on the go just like humans. Such automation gets repetitive and time-consuming tasks under the AI-powered systems that learn with time and can eventually carry out critical tasks and make decisions on their own. Such unique potential drove the transportation businesses to start investing into AI technology to improve revenue and stay ahead of their competitors. Transportation industry has just begun to apply AI in critical tasks however the reliability and safety in transport are still under question. Major challenges in transport like safety, capacity issues, environmental pollution, reliability etc. provide a huge opportunity for AI innovation.


Andrew Stein, Software Engineer Waymo – Interview Series

#artificialintelligence

Andrew Stein is a Software Engineer who leads the perception team for Waymo, a name that stands for'New Way Forward in Mobility'. Waymo is an autonomous driving technology development company that is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. What initially attracted you to AI and robotics? I always liked making things that "did something" ever since I was very young. Arts and crafts could be fun, but my biggest passion was working on creations that were also functional in some way.


So-So Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

A lot of the conversation about the future of AI and automation focuses on the AGI endgame ("will humans still work when artificial general intelligence can do everything?"). But there are more interesting, tractable, and concrete questions to answer about the effects of "narrow," task-specific AI that looks more or less like what we have today. In the near future, we can expect more advanced robotics, autonomous cars, customer service chatbots, and other applications powered by such narrow AI to take over certain tasks from humans. Should we be optimistic about labor in the next 10-50 years, when parts of industries will be automated by narrow AI? What early signs of those trends should we be concerned about now?


Is Tesla Entering Machine Learning As A Service Market?

#artificialintelligence

Tesla may be introducing machine-learning training as a web service with its upcoming'Dojo' supercomputer, CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter. Project Dojo was initially revealed by Musk last year and is a supercomputer which Tesla has been working on. The supercomputer has been designed to ingest massive amounts of video data and perform massive levels of unsupervised training on the visual data. The goal of Dojo will be to be able to take in vast amounts of data and train at a video level and do massive unsupervised training of vast amounts of video data. Dojo uses our own chips & a computer architecture optimized for neural net training, not a GPU cluster. Could be wrong, but I think it will be best in world.


Vision Processing Units (VPUs)

#artificialintelligence

On my first day working for MILLA, an autonomous shuttle company, I discovered a shuttle that can drive up to 30 km/h; quite an improvement if you compare it to our competitors at the time driving at 5–8 km/h. At the time, the shuttle was new and there was no GPU yet on it. In case you don't know what a GPU is, here's a quick picture that explains it well: A GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) parallels the processes so operations are done faster. In a self-driving car, this can be super useful for computer vision or point cloud processing. It was first released in video games because of the need to display multiple things at the same time.


The Future of AI Part 1

#artificialintelligence

It was reported that Venture Capital investments into AI related startups made a significant increase in 2018, jumping by 72% compared to 2017, with 466 startups funded from 533 in 2017. PWC moneytree report stated that that seed-stage deal activity in the US among AI-related companies rose to 28% in the fourth-quarter of 2018, compared to 24% in the three months prior, while expansion-stage deal activity jumped to 32%, from 23%. There will be an increasing international rivalry over the global leadership of AI. President Putin of Russia was quoted as saying that "the nation that leads in AI will be the ruler of the world". Billionaire Mark Cuban was reported in CNBC as stating that "the world's first trillionaire would be an AI entrepreneur".