Why 500 million people in China are talking to this AI


When Gang Xu, a 46-year-old Beijing resident, needs to communicate with his Canadian tenant about rent payments or electricity bills, he opens an app called iFlytek Input in his smartphone and taps an icon that looks like a microphone, and then begins talking. The software turns his Chinese verbal messages into English text messages, and sends them to the Canadian tenant. In China, over 500 million people use iFlytek Input to overcome obstacles in communication such as the one Xu faces. Some also use it to send text messages through voice commands while driving, or to communicate with a speaker of another Chinese dialect. The app was developed by iFlytek, a Chinese AI company that applies deep learning in a range of fields such as speech recognition, natural-language processing, machine translation, and data mining (see "50 Smartest Companies 2017").

The Long-Term Effects of Secondary Sensing

AI Magazine

To integrate robotics into society, it is first necessary to measure and analyze current societal responses to areas within robotics. This article is the second in a continuing series of reports on the societal effects of various aspects of robotics. In my previous article, I discussed the problems of sensor abuse and outlined a program of treatment. However, despite the wide dissemination of that article, there are still numerous empty beds at the Susan Calvin Clinic for the Prevention of Sensor Abuse. Sensor abuse continues unabated despite strong evidence that there is a better way.

Toward Adapting Cars to Their Drivers

AI Magazine

A more modern view is to envision drivers and passengers as actively interacting with a complex automated system. Such interactive activity leads us to consider intelligent and advanced ways of interaction leading to cars that can adapt to their drivers. In this article, we focus on the adaptive cruise control (ACC) technology that allows a vehicle to automatically adjust its speed to maintain a preset distance from the vehicle in front of it based on the driver's preferences. Although individual drivers have different driving styles and preferences, current systems do not distinguish among users. We introduce a method to combine machine-learning algorithms with demographic information and expert advice into existing automated assistive systems.

Editorial Introduction to the Special Articles in the Fall Issue

AI Magazine

We present a selection of four articles describing deployed applications plus two more articles that discuss work on emerging applications. Since then, we have seen examples of AI applied to domains as varied as medicine, education, manufacturing, transportation, user modeling, and citizen science. The 2014 conference continued the tradition with a selection of 7 deployed applications describing systems in use by their intended end users, and 14 emerging applications describing works in progress. This year's special issue on innovative applications features articles describing four deployed and two emerging applications. The articles include three different types of recommender systems, which may be as much of a critique of the role of technology in society as it is an indication of recent research trends.

Building of a Corporate Memory for Traffic-Accident Analysis

AI Magazine

This article presents an experiment of expertise capitalization in road traffic-accident analysis. We study the integration of models of expertise from different members of an organization into a coherent corporate expertise model. We present our elicitation protocol and the generic models and tools we exploited for knowledge modeling in this context of multiple experts. We compare the knowledge models obtained for seven experts in accidentology and their representation through conceptual graphs. Finally, we discuss the results of our experiment from a knowledge capitalization viewpoint.

Advice Provision for Energy Saving in an Automobile Climate-Control System

AI Magazine

The need to save energy becomes even greater when considering an electric car, since heavy use of the climate-control system may exhaust the battery. In this article we consider a method for an automated agent to provide drivers with advice that will motivate them to reduce the energy consumption of their climate-control unit. Our approach takes into account both the energy consumption of the climatecontrol system and the expected comfort level of the driver. We therefore have built two models, one for assessing the energy consumption of the climate-control system as a function of the system's settings, and the other for modeling the human comfort level as a function of the climate-control system's settings. Using these models, the agent provides advice to the driver considering how to set the climate-control system.



In my last blog, I talked about the simplicity of the electric engine compared to the internal combustion engine and how this changes everything. From climate to the structure of the auto industry to the way we store, manage, and distribute energy, electric cars are having tremendous impact. But what I left out of that discussion was the Internet of Things. The fact is, most electric cars are connected cars – connected through the Internet of Things. This means that sensors in the car constantly communicate with mission control (the manufacturer), sending data on the status of components in real time.


U.S. News

GM's Cruise Automation unit is currently testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix with plans to test in Manhattan next year. Presumably the backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.



Uber and Volvo announced an agreement where Uber will buy, in time, up to 24,000 specially built Volvo XC90s which will run Uber's self-driving software and, presumably, offer rides to Uber customers. While the rides are some time away, people have made note of this for several reasons. I'm not clear who originally said it -- I first heard it from Marc Andreesen -- but "the truest form of a partnership is called a purchase order." In spite of the scores of announced partnerships and joint ventures announced to get PR in the robocar space, this is a big deal, but it's a sign of the sort of deal car makers have been afraid of. Volvo will be primarily a contract manufacturer here, and Uber will own the special sauce that makes the vehicle work, and it will own the customer.


Los Angeles Times

In its race to embrace driverless vehicles, Washington has cleared away regulatory hurdles for auto companies and brushed aside consumer warnings about the risk of crashes and hacking. But at a recent hearing, lawmakers absorbed an economic argument that illustrated how the driverless revolution they are encouraging could backfire politically, particularly in Trump country. It was the tale of a successful, long-distance beer run. A robotic truck coasted driverless 120 miles down Interstate 25 in Colorado on its way to deliver 51,744 cans of Budweiser. Not everyone at the hearing was impressed by the milestone, particularly the secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters, whose nearly 600,000 unionized drivers played no small roll in President Trump's victory last year.