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) …
Autonomous cars have a potentially fatal flaw: They struggle to detect and react to cyclists on the road. According to a January 2017 report by IEEE Spectrum, bicycles are generally considered "the most difficult detection problem that autonomous vehicle systems face." It's not surprising: Bikes are relatively small, nimble, and sometimes unpredictable, and human drivers have a hard time sharing the road with bike riders as well. In 2015, 818 cyclists died in collisions with motorists, and 45,000 experienced injuries in car-bike collisions. In 2016, the number of deaths rose to 835.
Two years ago, roboticists from Davide Scaramuzza's lab at the University of Zurich used a set of pictures taken by cameras mounted on a hiker's head to train a deep neural network, which was then able to fly an inexpensive drone along forest paths without running into anything. This is cool, for two reasons: The first is that you can use this technique to make drones with minimal on-board sensing and computing fully autonomous, and the second is that you can do so without collecting dedicated drone-centric training datasets first. In a new paper appearing in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Scaramuzza and one of his Ph.D. students, Antonio Loquercio, along with collaborators Ana I. Maqueda and Carlos R. del-Blanco from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, in Spain, present some new work in which they've trained a drone to autonomously fly through the streets of a city, and they've done it with data collected by cars and bicycles. Most autonomous drones (and most autonomous robots in general) that don't navigate using a pre-existing map rely on some flavor of simultaneous localization and mapping, or (as the researchers put it), "map-localize-plan." Building a map, localizing yourself on that map, and then planning safe motion is certainly a reliable way to move around, but it requires big, complex, and of course very expensive, power-hungry sensors and computers.
The aim is for a SMET robot to be able to carry 1,000 pounds across more than 60 miles in 72 hours. Whether you're interested in trucks, tanks, motorcycles, armored vehicles or ATVs, 2017 was a great year, with lots of incredible machines. And it was a year in which lots of out-of-the-box advances – some might even say shocking – were revealed. Where do we find these insider machines? I also meet with military and private sector innovators to closely evaluate the vehicles and put them through their paces.
The British Government is spending unprecedented amounts of money on encouraging the development of cars that drive themselves. But the UK is little prepared for the disruptive and potentially devastating changes that such cars could bring to our streets, experts have warned. While huge amounts of work is being done in the UK and elsewhere on such technology, towns and cities are continuing to work largely as they have with private, driven vehicles – by both governments and private car and tech companies – little is being done to change the cities they will drive around. That could become a problem if autonomous vehicles truly take over, as the government has both predicted and supported. That's because little is being done by either the Government or other bodies to ensure that the country is ready to embrace the challenges brought by such technology.
That's not great for visually impaired individuals, so Facebook has turned to artificial intelligence to improve their experience. A blind person can now hear an audio message describing a friend's photo that shows people dancing or riding bikes. To do so, Facebook's algorithm had to be taught what it was seeing. Artificial intelligence is the secret sauce behind making a project like this possible. It can do everything from translate languages, understand human speech and identify diseases.
Recent Gartner estimations lead us to believe that up to 20 billion connected things will be in use by 2020. Data is the oil of our century -- but should we be concerned with a "data spill hazard"? Will artificial intelligence curb this threatening phenomenon, or rather, will it reveal the full potential of IoT data value? If my calculations are correct, when artificial intelligence hits the Internet of Things... you're gonna see some serious sh*t." The question is no longer whether companies should embrace big data analytics technologies.
We all know the robots are coming. That probably inspires some complicated feelings. So, it's comforting when a three-year development effort to make a robot that can set a speed record results in a human victory... by a wide margin. Yamaha and robotics developer SRI have been working on a humanoid that can ride an unmodified motorcycle. The goal was to beat the lap times of one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time, Valentino Rossi.
Customer service can be frustrating for consumers, expensive for businesses, and time-consuming for both. But emerging technologies on the cusp of wide adoption--including augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and AI-powered virtual assistants--offer the potential to transform the customer experience while reducing cost. Demonstrations at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco provide a glimpse of where things are heading. In one example, a Wi-Fi-enabled Yamaha dirt bike showed how augmented reality could reshape the way field service technicians and owners work on machines. The motorbike essentially operates as an IoT device on wheels, uploading health and status information daily that is integrated into Oracle Service Cloud.
A new material inspired by mussels is flexing its muscles. It can stretch without snapping and repair its own molecular bonds, so it could be useful in robot joints that lift heavy objects, or for packaging to protect delicate cargo from accidental falls. Mussels and some other molluscs hang onto solid surfaces using an adhesive protein and tough, plasticky fibres, which are extremely strong and can repair themselves when a few molecular bonds within them are broken. For a mussel, these stretchy yet strong fibres come in handy when a wave hits. Megan Valentine at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her colleagues created a plastic with these same properties by mimicking the chemistry the mussels use.
The original Segway held out the promise of reinventing transportation. But the product found its niches, including patrols, recreational tours, and warehouse fleets. More importantly, it drove fresh thinking around a class of green, portable wheeled devices that can be easily transported on a train or bus in order to solve the "last mile" problem. The requirements for these "PETs" (personal electric transporters) have become relatively uniform: At least 10 to 15 miles per charge, foldable frames so they can be taken on public transportation, and a weight of under 30 pounds. There are several products that come in well under that spec, but they tend to be electric skateboards, minimalist scooters, or those electric unicycles that require a longer learning curve or exceptional sense of balance.