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) …
Tech's biggest players have fully embraced the AI revolution. Apple, Qualcomm and Huawei have made mobile chipsets that are designed to better tackle machine learning tasks, each with a slightly different approach. Huawei launched its Kirin 970 at IFA this year, calling it the first chipset with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU). Then, Apple unveiled the A11 Bionic chip, which powers the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. The A11 Bionic features a neural engine that the company says is "purpose-built for machine learning," among other things.
Police in the Netherlands may have been a tad too hasty in testing a squadron of drone-catching eagles. NOS has learned that Dutch law enforcement officials are retiring the birds (they're going to new homes) and winding down the program. Not surprisingly, the decision is a response to both actual demand as well as the performance of the birds themselves. To start, there just isn't much need for the eagles -- they were support to thwart terrorists and potential accidents, but there thankfully hasn't been much of a problem. And, like you might guess, even birds trained from youth to intercept drones won't always do what they're told.
People who play multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) like Dota 2 and League of Legends perform better on problem solving and logic tests than those who play shooters Destiny and Battlefield 3, researchers found. "The specific MOBA genre is remarkable in the sense that it already engages a vast number of players across the globe, but more generally, complex, socially-interactive and intellectually demanding video games are now ubiquitous and generate a constant stream of performance data that can be normalized against millions of other players," a team from the University of York in the UK concludes. The scientists found that as participants got older, shooter skills dropped. The performance pattern suggested that younger players had an advantage over older ones and that "performance decreases monotonically with age." Since MOBAs tend to favor more strategy and planning than twitch reflexes, this might not be too surprising.
When we reviewed Google's Chromebook Pixel in 2013, we said it was a gorgeous, well-built computer that almost no one should buy. That's also how we felt about the follow up in 2015. See, Chrome OS has been considered fine for a cheap second computer, but it was pretty much impossible to recommend anyone drop $999 for the Pixel. Chrome OS was too limited, when a computer running Windows or macOS costs the same amount. Google's ambitious new Pixelbook suggests that won't be the case anymore.
YuMi's movements are incredibly fluid and nuanced -- as you'd expect the gestures of a world-class composer to be -- with the orchestra's resident conductor Andrea Colombini saying that "everything was perfect, especially in the length and in the speed of the gesture, which is very important." The robot's performance was developed in two stages. "YuMi demonstrated how intuitive, how self-learning this machine is -- how wonderful our software really is in learning the movement of a conductor, sensing the music, and really conducting an entire team." However, Colombini and his orchestra have said YuMi could play a great role during rehearsals, when Colombini is absent.
In lieu of a new phone, the company showed off its Kirin 970 chip at IFA 2017, calling attention to the chipset's AI capabilities. The Kirin 970 will power Huawei's next flagship phone, the Mate 10, which is set to launch at a separate October event in Munich. In addition to a slew of high-end features like powerful graphics performance (integrated 12-core GPU), better power management (10nm structure) and improved LTE capability (Cat 18 support), the Kirin 970's standout feature is its embedded neural processing unit (NPU). On the other hand, Huawei has already launched its first AI-powered phone, the Mate 9, last year, which uses machine learning software to control hardware resources.
A big part of Huawei's multi-year push to improve its image has been improving the hardware it builds to go inside them, and its latest processor is more than up to the challenge. Earlier this year Huawei introduced "the intelligent phone" with its Mate 9 (pictured above), but the new hardware could help fix some annoying AI-related drawbacks of the device. Native AI processing will enable faster image and voice recognition, as well as "intelligent photography." There, a "Hexagon" DSP built for other types of number crunching works with the rest of the chip to improve AI performance.
In a makeshift changing room filled with Disney Infinity figures, I strip down to my boxers and pull on a two-part Lycra suit. For years, movie and video game studios have used mocap to bring digital characters to life. A circular, plastic arm wraps around the front of her face, similar to orthodontic headgear, with an LED light strip and cameras fitted on the inside. The cinematics were crafted with motion capture technology developed by Weta Digital, a visual effects company in New Zealand co-owned by Peter Jackson.
Last year, Movidius announced its Fathom Neural Compute Stick -- a USB thumb drive that makes its image-based deep learning capabilities super accessible. However, Intel has announced that the deep neural network processing stick is now available and going by its new name, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. "Designed for product developers, researchers and makers, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick aims to reduce barriers to developing, tuning and deploying AI applications by delivering dedicated high-performance deep-neural network processing in a small form factor," said Intel in a statement. The Compute Stick contains a Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit that uses only around one watt of power.
Today, the company introduced its new Sports Performance Platform, an analytics system that aims to help teams track, improve and predict their players performance using machine learning and Surface technology. Microsoft's Sports Performance Platform can, for example, figure out when a player is at risk of injury, based on his or her most recent performance and recovery time. The company says one of the main benefits to its sports analytics tool is that it's powered by proprietary business tools such as Power BI, a cloud-based intelligence suite also used on products like Excel, as well as Azure and, of course, Surface computers. Professional teams such as the Seattle Reign FC (US, National Women's Soccer League) and Real Sociedad (Spain, La Liga) are already taking advantage of the Sports Performance Platform.