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) …
We already have drones and increasingly autonomous cars, so it's perhaps no surprise that several companies are already working on flying taxis – also known as passenger drones and electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The first piloted eVTOL services are expected as early as this year, but we could see pilot-less autonomous eVTOLs soon after that. That's right; autonomous flying taxis could be a reality in your lifetime. The number of hours we used to spend sitting in traffic before the coronavirus hit is almost too depressing to think about, particularly if you live in a densely populated, congested city like Los Angeles, New York or London. Some are suggesting eVTOL services could be the answer to our traffic prayers – transporting passengers on congested city routes through the air. Meanwhile, other companies are developing eVTOLs aimed at popular intercity journeys, such as traveling from my home town of Milton Keynes to London.
A preprint paper published by researchers at DeepMind and the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security describes an AI system capable of reverse-engineering the black box functions of programs written in educational programming language Karel. Given access only to the inputs and outputs (I/Os) of an application, they claim the system -- dubbed IReEn -- can iteratively improve a copy of the target application until it becomes functionally equivalent to the original. Reverse-engineering might carry a nefarious connotation in some circles, but it isn't without legitimate applications. For instance, it can help recover software if the source code was lost or aid in the detection and neutralization of malware. Although several machine learning-driven reverse-engineering techniques have been proposed, most can't recover functional and human-interpretable forms of programs.
In all areas – efficiency and effectiveness, revenue generation, safety and security – AI has tremendous potential to deliver positive change if used correctly, details Ian Law, Chief Information Officer of San Francisco International Airport. As hubs of intense operational activity involving thousands of inter-dependent tasks, airports are ideal candidates for new technologies that improve the smooth flow of people, planes and bags. Artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game-changer for airports. However, without some (human) intelligent forethought, it also risks being a costly disappointment. The real value of AI will only come from a sector-wide focused collaboration, from which AI's cornerstone role tackling the sector's most intractable issues is evolved.
Boston will become the second largest city in the US to ban facial recognition software for government use after a unanimous city council vote. Following San Francisco, which banned facial recognition in 2019, Boston will bar city officials from using facial recognition systems. The ordinance will also bar them from working with any third party companies or organizations to acquire information gathered through facial recognition software. The ordinance was co-sponsored by Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Michelle Wu, who were especially concerned about the potential for racial bias in the technology, according to a report from WBUR. 'Boston should not be using racially discriminatory technology and technology that threatens our basic rights,' Wu said at a hearing before the vote.
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Could flying cars be the answer to avoiding bumper-to-bumper traffic? Inventors have been trying for decades to create flying cars, though it seems the idea of self-driving cars may soon be closer to science reality. You're stuck on the highway. A commute that should have taken a few minutes has now somehow become an hour-long endeavor. When this happens, we all have one of two thoughts… One, Monster truck… Or two, I wish I could just fly over this mess.
A new tech startup has announced plans to hold a flying car race in Australia before the end of 2020, the first of what it hopes will be a series of events that could become the 21st century version of F1. Organized by Airspeeder, a tech startup with offices in Adelaide and London, the race will feature two remotely piloted flying cars, racing through the outskirts of Coober Pedy, a small town in the Australian Outback used as the setting for the original Mad Max films. The first race is planned as a public exhibition, with support from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and Airspeeder hopes it will be the first of an international circuit of races that could expand to include piloted vehicles. 'Le Mans, Bathurst, Monaco, there are these amazing places where we've seen the birth of new sports,' Airspeeder's Matt Pearson told ABC News. 'This is such a great place for us to basically create that next iconic place for racing.'
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics, has compiled a list of "wow-worthy" examples of the vision that the fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) is inspiring for the use of connected drones. It says that 5G can: bring data-throughput speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second, enabling real-time sharing of aerial video and other sensor data; enable devices to stay connected while traveling hundreds of miles per hour, allowing for remote deployment of AI-enabled, ultra-responsive autonomous fleets; and it could support up to a million connected devices per square kilometer -- enough capacity to absorb an explosion in the Internet of Things alongside increasingly sophisticated mobile applications, on the ground and aloft. "5G is going to be transformative," says Tom Sawanobori, chief technology officer for CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association). He cited a 2017 study by Accenture which estimated 5G would bring 3 million new jobs, $275 billion in new investment and a $500 billion boost to the U.S. gross domestic product. Active tech companies in the markets this week include FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR), Plymouth Rock Technologies Inc. (CSE: PRT) (OTCQB: PLRTF), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Raytheon Technologies Corporation (NYSE: RTX), QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM).
Stéphane Fymat, the head of that new business, said Honeywell expects the hardware and software market for urban air taxis, drone cargo delivery, and other drone businesses to reach $120 billion by 2030 and Honeywell's market opportunity would be about 20% of that. He declined to say how much of that market Honeywell was targeting to capture, adding only that the unit has hundreds of employees with many engineers. Honeywell doesn't build drones itself but provides autonomous flight controls systems and aviation electronics. The new business creation comes as the coronavirus pandemic creates a surge of interest in drone deliveries; Fymat said it's accelerating the drone cargo delivery programs of some of its partners. Some of Honeywell's customers include Intel-backed Volocopter, Slovenia-based small aircraft maker Pipistrel, which is developing an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft for cargo delivery, and UK-based Vertical Aerospace, which has test flown a prototype vehicle last year that can carry 250 kilograms and fly at 80 kilometers an hour.
Thermal-imaging cameras and swab tests for coronavirus are not "clinically valuable" in airports, according to a panel of aviation health experts. About one in every three infectious people would be missed, they say. Air systems and low humidity on planes already reduces virus spread through the cabin. But passengers should wear face coverings at all times, board and disembark one row at a time and be seated apart from others if possible. And those seated at the back should be the first on and last off.