Apple


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To start, Apple has crafted a system that uses onboard cameras to identify objects even in tricky situations, such as when raindrops cover the lens. It can estimate the position of a pedestrian even if they're hidden by a parked car. Other additions included giving cars direction through simultaneous localization and mapping, creating detailed 3D maps using car sensors and decision-making in urgent situations (say, a wayward pedestrian). It's still not certain if or how Apple will commercialize its self-driving know-how. At the moment, its next goal is to produce driverless employee shuttles.


Apple Releases Turi ML Software as Open Source

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Apple last week released Turi Create, an open source package that it says will make it easy for mobile app developers to infuse machine learning into their products with just a few lines of code. "You don't have to be a machine learning expert to add recommendations, object detection, image classification, image similarity, or activity classification to your app," the company says in the GitHub description for Turi Create. From a desktop computer running macOS, Linux, or Windows, Turi Create allows users to apply several machine learning algorithms, including classifiers (like nearest neighbor, SVM, random forests); regression (logistic regression, boosted decision trees); graph analytics (PageCount, K-Core decomposition, triangle count); clustering (K-Means, DBSCAN); and topic models. The software automates the application of the algorithms to a variety of input data, including text, images, audio, video, and sensor data. Users can work with large data sets with a single machine, Apple says.


Extra charges for Facebook and YouTube? Never, I say

USATODAY

Would you pay extra for Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube? That's how they do it in England, reports Jefferson Graham. Could that happen here too, in the wake of the relaxed FCC Net Neutrality rules? LOS ANGELES -- Like turning on lights and making phone calls, we consider it a right that we can watch free entertainment on YouTube, post travel photos on Facebook and listen to online music. After all, we treat Internet providers another utility, just like the electric or phone company, with our monthly service fees.


Trusting AI, bitcoin and the future media – Hacker Noon

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Between emojis, I write about the delicate dance between exponential technologies and our society. DeepMind's new AlphaZero can teach itself to become super-human in a variety of different games in a matter of hours. Analysis on Chess.com is particularly good, pointing to a different quality to AlphaZeros' tactical and positional play. This more efficient method of searching the probability space seems to be important. Many real-world applications involve far too many degrees of freedom to be'brute forced'.


What do made-for-AI processors really do?

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Last week, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845, which sends AI tasks to the most suitable cores. There's not a lot of difference between the three company's approaches -- it ultimately boils down to the level of access each company offers to developers, and how much power each setup consumes. Before we get into that though, let's figure out if an AI chip is really all that much different from existing CPUs. A term you'll hear a lot in the industry with reference to AI lately is "heterogeneous computing." It refers to systems that use multiple types of processors, each with specialized functions, to gain performance or save energy.


Microsoft's Cortana now has 230 skills (and Amazon's Alexa, 25,000)

ZDNet

There are currently 230 skills, or supplemental apps, available for Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, while there are at least 25,000 for Amazon's Alexa. No, that's not a typo. I'm not missing a comma or some zeros. There are only 230 Cortana skills, as of December 2017. And this includes as part of the total more than a few school fight songs.


These are the 10 best tech deals on Amazon for Free Shipping Day

USATODAY

If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY's newsroom and any business incentives. The holidays are underway, and Christmas is inching closer and closer. If you've still got shopping to do, Free Shipping Day is the perfect time to get a lot done. But there's not a lot that's actually on sale, at least not a lot of gift-worthy stuff.


ai-processor-cpu-explainer-bionic-neural-npu

Engadget

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.


The skeptic's guide to smart home gadgets

Washington Post

Before you buy any "smart" gadgets, make sure they're not dumb. This holiday season, a third of Americans plan to buy a smart home device, according to the Consumer Technology Association. But just hooking up the Internet to a door lock, kettle or dog bowl (yes, that's a thing) doesn't make it smart. The trick is figuring out which ones are worth the cost, trouble and inevitable security risks. I've been in those weeds.


Apple's AI and Machine Learning Initiatives Go Beyond Just Siri (iPad Insight)

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When I have written about Apple's AI and Machine Learning initiatives in the past, the articles have usually centered around Siri and Voice Dictation. It's easy to put these things together because Siri is the most visible and user-centered Apple interface that involves AI. However, as we have seen this month, there is a lot more than meets the eye going on beneath the surface at Apple. Last week, Wired ran a story about a lunch talk given by Apple's leading AI expert, Rutland Salakhutdinov, for around 200 others in the field during the NIPS machine learning conference. The most interesting thing to come out of his presentation was fresh news of Apple's continued work in the field of self-driving cars.