Microsoft's speech recognition efforts have hit a significant milestone. It can now transcribe human speech with a 5.1% error rate, Microsoft technical fellow Xuedong Huang wrote in a blog post -- the same error rate as humans. "Reaching human parity with an accuracy on par with humans has been a research goal for the last 25 years," Xuedong Huang wrote. "such as achieving human levels of recognition in noisy environments with distant microphones, in recognizing accented speech, or speaking styles and languages for which only limited training data is available."
Disney researchers have been coming up with some striking new technology lately, including a method for real-time speech animation, shared augmented reality and some creepy face-projection tech for live performances. Now, researchers at Disney and the University of Massachusetts Boston have been working on neural networks that can evaluate short stories. "Our neural networks had some success in predicting the popularity of stories," said Disney Research scientist Boyang "Albert" Li in a statement. Both neural nets were better at choosing a story's popularity over a baseline text evaluation, but the holistic network showed an 18 percent improvement over the one that focused on sections.
For the people most immersed in the tech sector, it's hard to think of a more controversial topic than the ultimate impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on society. In the below infographic, we look recent projections from PwC and Accenture regarding AI's economic impact, as well as the industries and countries that will be the most profoundly affected. According to PwC's most recent report on the topic, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) will be transformative. For that, we turn to Accenture's recent report, which breaks down a similar projection of $14 trillion of gross value added (GVA) by 2035, with estimates for AI's impact on specific industries.
Lately, a number of Silicon Valley luminaries -- Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, among them -- have embraced the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), which would put all of us on the dole, regardless of need. Hughes wants to encourage national brainstorming on the issue and has committed to using the proceeds of the book to fund a UBI pilot in a small American city. Some, including Helen Razer, also writing in Quartz, say that UBI is a pipe dream and "just a bedtime story Elon Musk tells himself to help the super-wealthy sleep." No one on a stagnant wage can currently buy the things that Musk -- and the rest of Silicon Valley -- wants to sell them.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become such a buzzword that it's at risk of becoming no more than tech marketing pixie dust. Machine learning (ML) can deliver transformative insights in some domains, but it has limitations. Do You Want Artificial Intelligence Or Machine Learning? ML is a subfield of computer science that helps computers learn based on their inputs and decide how to behave without being explicitly programmed to do so.
In an open letter published today (August 21), a group of AI specialists and experts from 26 countries implored the United Nations (UN) to ban the development and use of autonomous weapons. The signatories called for autonomous weapons systems to be included in the banned weapons list, under the UN's Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which was enforced in 1983. A similar letter published by the Future of Life Institute on July 28 2015 flagged the dangers of a potential "AI arms race", and was signed by Musk, Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The UN group that will be examining how to regulate autonomous weapons is set to meet in November of this year.
He's also a fan of stated company values (Twilio has nine). Stated company values get a mixed response from business leaders, but Lawson says that they're useful. But it's no place for the fainthearted; an announcement last May that Twilio's biggest client, Uber, intended to do more development in-house hit Twilio's share price. Twilio Understand (a "natural language understanding product") uses machine learning to understand what people are saying, as well as their intent.
Tech and automotive companies have quietly been trialing autonomous trucks since 2015. But, a new kind of driverless truck is designed to stick out like a sore thumb. While you read this, an autonomous impact protection vehicle is making its way around Colorado. With this trial, the state is now the first to test a connected impact protection vehicle without a support driver at the wheel.
And sure enough, there are more than 10,000 Peppers now at work in SoftBank stores, Pizza Huts, cruise ships, homes, and elsewhere. In a less anxious world, Pepper might come across as a cute technological novelty. Over the past few years, it has become conventional wisdom that dramatic advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have put us on the path to a jobless future. This anxiety about automation is understandable in light of the hair-raising progress that tech companies have made lately in robotics and artificial intelligence, which is now capable of, among other things, defeating Go masters, outbluffing champs in Texas Hold'em, and safely driving a car.