Switching to a new language is always a big step, especially when only one of your team members has prior experience with that language. Early this year, we switched Stream's primary programming language from Python to Go. This post will explain some of the reasons why we decided to leave Python behind and make the switch to Go. The performance is similar to that of Java or C . For our use case, Go is typically 30 times faster than Python.
What are they actually good for? In the recent months we've heard a lot about specialized silicon being used for machine learning in mobile devices. Apple's new iPhones have their "neural engine"; Huawei's Mate 10 comes with a "neural processing unit"; and companies that manufacture and design chips (like Qualcomm and ARM) are gearing up to supply AI-optimized hardware to the rest of the industry. What's not clear, is how much all this benefits the consumer. When you're buying your phone, should an "AI chip" be on your wish list?
Earlier this year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google was moving from mobile-first to AI-first. If the company is as successful shifting away from mobile as they were shifting towards mobile, the change could alter more than just Google. It will likely force other companies to change the way they operate in order to keep up. In much the same way that mobile-first required a new approach to strategy, design and development, AI-first will require a new perspective to properly benefit from its impact. Many companies will say they're "AI-first," but how many will truly be able to transform?
Intel and Amazon are partnering to combine the former's silicon and smarts with the latter's Alexa voice platform. The chipmaker has introduced the Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit to provide a "complete audio front-end solution for far-field voice control," according to a press release. The idea is that Intel has done the hard work of designing the mic arrays and voice systems and that all developers will need to do is write applications for them. It offers algorithms for echo cancellation and beam forming, wake words, an 8-mic array and the company's dual digital signal processor. The development kit is up for pre-order starting today for $399.
Artificial intelligence is advanced enough to do some pretty complicated things: read lips, mimic sounds, analyze photographs of food, and even design beer. Unfortunately, even people who have plenty of coding knowledge might not know how to create the kind of algorithm that can perform these tasks. Google wants to bring the ability to harness artificial intelligence to more people, though, and according to WIRED, it's doing that by teaching machine-learning software to make more machine-learning software. The project is called AutoML, and it's designed to come up with better machine-learning software than humans can. As algorithms become more important in scientific research, healthcare, and other fields outside the direct scope of robotics and math, the number of people who could benefit from using AI has outstripped the number of people who actually know how to set up a useful machine-learning program.
Bots can augment human interaction, create greater business efficiencies, and remove friction from customer interactions. It's a market that has already rolled up $24 billion in funding for companies at every stage, from startup to multinational. Industry leaders from IBM to Facebook are making big efforts to take advantage, spending significant resources to encourage developers to create new bots that enable more personalized customer interactions. In March 2016, Cisco announced the Spark Innovation Fund, a $150 million investment in bots and developers who want to make new products for Cisco endpoints in offices around the world. Some of the most obvious uses for bots revolve around communication, customer service, and ecommerce.
In what appears to be a first, Amazon's Alexa will act as a guide for a board game called When in Rome, according to the startup Sensible Object. Due out in March 2018, When in Rome will be the first of six voice-augmented games Sensible Object plans to release next year. Each game in the series called Voice Originals will cost $24.99, CEO Alex Fleetwood told VentureBeat in a phone interview. When in Rome serves up trivia questions from locals in 20 cities around the world.
Amazon has its Alexa everywhere strategy. Google Assistant has Android for distribution. Apple has Siri throughout its products. And now Samsung is trying to get its Bixby platform a little more love via distribution and more touch points for developers. Samsung's master plan is to embed its Bixby digital assistant in more of its core products and then take that reach and woo developers.
To compete with the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, Samsung has to get its own version of a smart voice-powered assistant, Bixby, to as many devices as possible. It also needs to make Bixby work as well as its competitors, something Samsung has had trouble with since launch. At the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, the tech company announced two initiatives that will do just that: Bixby 2.0 and Project Ambience. The Bixby update brings Samsung's digital assistant to more devices like smart TVs and refrigerators and adds "deep linking capabilities and enhanced natural language abilities," along with a way to recognize multiple users -- a feature that already exists on Assistant and Alexa. Along the same lines, Project Ambience, a hardware dongle or chip, will let users add the Samsung vision of the Internet of Things -- with Bixby ascendant -- to any connectable device.
It was only a matter of time: Samsung's Bixby assistant isn't confined to just phones anymore. The company will soon bring its digital assistant to appliances, starting with its own refrigerators and smart TVs. Samsung is also working with third-party developers to open up Bixby to non-Samsung products "in the near future." The news is part of Samsung's "Bixby 2.0" update, announced today at the company's developer conference in San Francisco. The revamped Bixby is smarter, has better voice recognition capabilities, and has improved personalization features.