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) …
Amazon and Disney has just announced a new voice assistant called "Hey, Disney!". Built on Amazon's Alexa technology, this new Disney assistant will be available in your home Echo as well as in Echo devices located in Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms. You can use it to interact with characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and more. It is the first time an Alexa custom assistant will be available on Echo devices. According to Amazon, this voice assistant will give you access to interactive storytelling experiences and entertainment featuring Disney characters. You can also play games and access jokes set in the Disney world.
The company did not explain why Barriga, McCree and LeCraft are no longer employed, but several current employees confirmed to The Washington Post that all three were fired. McCree and LeCraft were photographed in a hotel room at the company's 2013 convention, BlizzCon, alongside Alex Afrasiabi, who was terminated in June of 2020 over multiple allegations. The hotel room in the photograph was referenced by Blizzard employees as the "Cosby Suite," according to the lawsuit, in reference to former comedian Bill Cosby, whose conviction for sexual assault was recently overturned.
Within seconds of the opening of Roadrunner, a new documentary from the Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, Won't You Be My Neighbor?), the writer, chef, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is already talking about death. Sitting at a table with an unseen companion, he says that he has no investment in what happens to his remains after he is gone, except insofar as it might provide "entertainment value" for his body to be, say, fed into a woodchipper and sprayed around the London department store Harrods at rush hour. Given that Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 during the filming of an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in Alsace, France, this mordant joke takes on extra-gruesome meaning--and as a montage later on in the movie shows, it was far from the only time he cracked wise on camera about his own death. Roadrunner intercuts clips of interviews with its subject and those who were close to him with behind-the-scenes footage from his shows and snippets from the movies and music he loved. Bourdain was a lifelong cinephile, and the film's stream-of-consciousness-style editing often folds shots from his favorite films into scenes from his travels and his personal life: a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for an episode of Parts Unknown becomes an excuse for Bourdain to reenact, and Neville to incorporate, scenes from Apocalypse Now.
It's easier to talk about people, companies, or events than to talk about ideas. But one idea worth discussing, despite its complexity, is how artificial intelligence could reorder hotel distribution. Some researchers are wondering if artificial intelligence could handle some of the more complex tasks of shopping and haggling. Could new algorithms and processes shrink the role of travel search engines and comparison apps? Could the cost of bringing buyers and sellers together shrink thanks to technical innovations?
The Daily Star's FREE newsletter is spectacular! Humanity is constantly being warned of the danger Artificial Intelligence poses to us. Prominent figures such as Steven Hawking and Elon Musk have expressed fears that self-aware machines of the future will see humanity as irrelevant, even unnecessary. But many people don't realise that AI is already with us, and far from planning to take over the world it's making itself useful in dozens of different ways. For example, it is already helping thousands of people with their love lives.
And then there are really bad dates. A Washington state woman with a pink taser was arrested on Tuesday after she was accused of trying to hold up a man she had met online, Boston police said. Selena Rivera-Apodaca, 24, of Kent, Wash., is expected to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Wednesday on a charge of armed robbery. Shortly before noon on Tuesday, officers went to the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 1 Avenue De LaFayette in response to a radio call about an armed robbery. When they arrived, police said, officers were met by a man who said he had met a woman on an online dating app.
For the ongoing series, Code Word, we're exploring if -- and how -- technology can protect individuals against sexual assault and harassment, and how it can help and support survivors. You walk through the door and set your bags on the floor. You pose for a selfie with your hotel room in the background, uploading it to Instagram with seemingly random hashtags. For your followers, the photo is a means of documenting your travels. For investigators, you've just taken a crime scene photo that might one day help them to track down victims of human trafficking.
One photo of a child in a hotel room can often be the only clue to a trafficked child's whereabouts. An artificial intelligence is now helping investigators to identify these hotel rooms, leading to the rescue of a number of sexually exploited children. Globally, an estimated 4.8 million people have been forced into sexual exploitation. More than 1 million are under 18. In the US, exploited children often appear pictured in hotel rooms in online adverts.
AI is the latest recruit in the ongoing efforts to stamp out the scourge of human trafficking – by helping police figure out which hotels victims are being held. Hundreds of thousands of people are shuttled across borders every year against their will and exploited, most of them young women coerced into prostitution. Traffickers often take photos of their victims in hotel rooms to use in online escort ads. Now, boffins are trying to use machine-learning software to help cops and non-profits identify where these victims are being held based on patterns discerned from the ad images. A group of researchers from George Washington University, Temple University, and Adobe in the US have built a large dataset containing over a million images from 50,000 hotels across different countries.
Thanks to voice control technology, guests can just tell the room that they want the lights dimmed, the room a little warmer, the music a little softer, and order up some champagne and oysters, keeping their hands free for whatever they want. There are only two hotels equipped with the AI Smart Rooms for now, but InterContinental Hotels plans to roll out the smart service to a total of 100 AI-powered suites across China within the year. InterContinental isn't the only brand rushing to embrace technology in the hopes of wowing business travelers and wooing millennials. Marriott is piloting a new facial recognition check-in program and high-tech showers, while Hilton is taking a phone-based approach to smart rooms.