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) …
Most telepresence robots are designed for business use. They're expensive, but the argument is that they work significantly better than a phone call and they pay for themselves since you don't have to spend so much time and money traveling instead. OhmniLabs, a Silicon Valley robotics startup with CMU roots (they're advised by Manuela Veloso) wants to make telepresence robots easy and affordable enough that people start using them to stay connected with their families. In order for that to work, their telepresence robot (called Ohmni) is designed to be as independent as possible--you can send it to someone who isn't at all comfortable with tech, and they can take it out of the box, turn it on, and it'll just work. It's potentially ideal for family members who you don't live close to, or elderly family members who you like to talk to (and check up on) regularly.
Skype just released a new version of its app for iOS devices, and this one is specifically targeted at iPhone X owners. For one thing, the update is modifying the look of the app, so it can now make use of the space surrounding the TrueDepth camera system's notch on top of the 10th anniversary iPhone. Just this past Wednesday, Skype introduced version 8.12 of its iOS app on the App Store. The update, which is clocking in at 113 MB, requires iOS 9.0 or later versions of Apple's mobile operating system. It's compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, but the update mostly benefits the latest flagship handset, the iPhone X.
Chatbots have invaded the workplace. Or at least, invaded the conversations around the digital workplace. In the last month, I have seen some outstanding presentations on the use of conversational interfaces (aka chatbots, aka bots) in the digital workplace/intranet context. While a number of interesting articles have been published on the topic in the last year, the presentations had a hands-on, "lets write a simple bot" element to them that made the abstract real. What follows is an overview of some of these presentations to get you thinking about how bots might benefit your digital workplace.
It's safe to say that 2017 was a flop for the chatbot. All the predictions made out that this was going to be the year that we saw enterprise-wide adoption of bots. That hasn't been the case, primarily, because enterprise is not paying close attention to its own behavior. Consumers have already adopted bots as a part of their lives and use them on a daily basis. From telephones to social media, new technology makes businesses more accessible to everyone, and bots are no exception.
Ideally, an interface will surface the deepest principles underlying a subject, revealing a new world to the user. When you learn such an interface, you internalize those principles, giving you more powerful ways of reasoning about that world. Those principles are the diffs in your understanding. They're all you really want to see, everything else is at best support, at worst unimportant dross. The purpose of the best interfaces isn't to be user-friendly in some shallow sense.
The most exciting projects I've worked on, and that had the best impact on the people using them, had several things in common. There was a good understanding of the technologies involved, their limitations and the foundations needed for a proper solution. Most importantly, though, experience design played a big role, creating a clear sense of who the audience was and how people would be using the interface. Great advances have been made in the field of natural language processing or NLP (the application of computational techniques to the analysis and synthesis of natural language and speech), but to progress further, we need experience design professionals to work side-by-side with those defining the algorithms and coding the solutions – to close the gap between the maths and computation, and the way people interact with these interfaces. It's one thing to have a clever system, such as speech recognition, but what do you do with it once it's been developed?
It has been an absolute banger of a news week for Destiny 2 . The popular first-person shooter/role-playing game hybrid was embroiled in controversy about deceitful in-game systems before developer Bungie posted an apologetic blog post detailing the near future of the game. All of the improvements Bungie outlined for Destiny 2 seem necessary and valuable, but none of them are as important as being able to finally talk to your favorite video game. Destiny fans may recall that the Ghost is the quippy little robot who floats around your character and does most of the talking for your silent protagonist. With the Destiny 2 Ghost skill on your Alexa-enabled device, you can use voice commands to bypass the many, many hours you would otherwise spend staring at menus in the game.
For R users, there hasn't been a production grade solution for deep learning (sorry MXNET). This post introduces the Keras interface for R and how it can be used to perform image classification. The post ends by providing some code snippets that show Keras is intuitive and powerful. Last January, Tensorflow for R was released, which provided access to the Tensorflow API from R. This was signficant, as Tensorflow is the most popular library for deep learning. However, for most R users, the Tensorflow for R interface was not very R like.
User interface design has always been a crucial part of the digital product development process. UIs represent the connection between people and technology, they're how we interact with digital products. And those interactions form the experiences we go through while using a software or an app. As users we naturally gravitate towards interactions that feel natural to us. We want frictionless, lightweight, and enjoyable experiences that represent the extension of our daily lives.