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) …
Eta Compute had already developed its own ASIC chip and system board for low-power applications. Now it will devote its effort to making software tuned to Synaptics's chips. Smart buildings, smart cities, smart transportation -- such applications of the Internet of Things have been part of the lore of technology companies for over a decade now. But what does it really mean for there to be sensors that are constantly measuring the ambient noise of rooms, or watching people move about, day and night? That kind of constant surveillance may be coming to some built environments as soon as later this year, thanks to the arrival of chips and software that are dramatically more efficient at running algorithms within the tightest of energy constraints.
About a year ago, I decided I was tired of all the different smart home devices and hubs in my house. Managing all the apps and platforms had become somewhat of a nightmare, especially if I wanted to give control of a device to my wife. I planned to take a few weeks and then pick a platform and stick with it. Then 2020 happened, and figuring out how to automate my lights or streamline viewing camera feeds just wasn't a priority. Toward the end of the year, however, I decided it was time to begin my smart home conversion.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is promising to build a network of smart cities that won't have any cars or roads. It's called The Line, due to its arrangement of "hyper-connected future communities," and will form part of NEOM, a $500 billion project announced in October 2017. According to the prince, the development will offer "ultra-high-speed transit," autonomous vehicles and an urban layout that ensures basic facilities, such as schools and medical clinics, are never more than a five-minute walk away. "It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes," the project's organizers claimed in a press release today. One million people are supposed to live inside The Line.
United States-based IT services provider Cognizant has announced its intentions to wholly acquire Servian, an Australian consultancy firm specialising in "transformation" services, specifically across data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), digital services, experience design, and cloud. The multinational said the acquisition will help bolster the company's presence in Australia and New Zealand, with a focus on data and AI, digital engineering, cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT). Cognizant employs around 1,200 people in Australia, covering clients such as banks, insurers, retailers, and communications companies. Servian, meanwhile, has 500 technology and consulting staff in the region. "Cognizant's extensive digital expertise combined with Servian's strengths … will open up the full power of digital transformation for our Australasian clients. We look forward to welcoming Servian's talented digital-native professionals to Cognizant," Cognizant Australia and New Zealand CEO Jane Livesey said in a statement.
If you've ever used an iPod, the Nest Thermostat will be familiar to you--in fact, it was designed by Tony Fadell, the designer of the original iPod hardware. Changing the temperature is as simple as rotating the thermostat's dial. You can use the app to set a traditional time-of-day schedule--far simpler than most non-smart thermostats--or let the Nest learn your daily habits and adjust the temperature automatically. This feature is great for those who don't want to put in any effort, but might be a bit too confusing for people who like to fine-tune their schedules, so you can turn it off if you wish. Like many other smart thermostats, the Nest can save you energy by adjusting the temperature when you aren't home, as determined by your phone's location and the Nest's built-in motion sensors, and it's also compatible with the energy-saving plans and rebates offered by many utility companies.
Nationwide stay-at-home orders prompted many of us to upgrade our homes with comfort, convenience, and security devices this year. And the smart home industry was all too happy to help us indulge those instincts. But not every product on this list was introduced in 2020. We're not going to avoid recommending a great product just because it hit the market earlier than January 1, 2020. We have more than one product in some categories, differentiated by price or feature set.
Ring Alarm has been our favorite home-security-focused smart home system since its launch, and the second-generation system is even better. That said, Ring hasn't yet delivered on its implied promise to make the Ring Alarm the unifying core of a complete smart home system. Fulfilling that promise--which Ring Solutions president Mike Harris spoke of in 2018--would have bumped up our bottom-line score by a half point. I'll assume, however, that your primary interest in reading this review is to learn about Ring Alarm as a home security system. So, I'll focus on that aspect first and summarize its shortcomings as a smart home system later. This is an in-depth review of a complex system, written after living with the product for a couple of months with the professional monitoring option enabled.
Utilities take advantage of this by monitoring virtually every aspect of power generation, distribution and consumption using sensors that predict component failures, controllers that automatically reroute power from point to point, and smart meters that closely track customer usage and trends. Processing that much information is far beyond human computational capabilities, so utilities are relying on the IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) to make the grid more user-friendly, reliable, flexible, secure and profitable. Two years ago, our local power company installed smart meters in the area. Shortly after, they offered customers a choice of keeping their current flat electric rate or switching to a time-of-use model, where the cost of electricity varies, hour-by-hour, depending on supply and demand. During high-demand hours--usually midafternoon through the early evening--rates are higher.
One way to build out a smart home is to buy lots of components--sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and whatnot--and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, via your smartphone. But let's be real: That can involve spending a lot of money and investing a lot of time. If your wants and needs are simpler, just a few relatively inexpensive products will deliver most of the conveniences a high-end smart home can deliver, and on a much more modest budget. And if you make sure those smart home products are compatible with each other, you'll build a solid foundation that you can expand over time. The key is knowing which smart home products don't depend on a smart home hub to operate.
"Sorry, did you hear that?" asks computer scientist Dorothy Monekosso, as the all-too-familiar voice of Amazon's Alexa resonates in the background of our phone call with her placid, "Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding." Monekosso was describing a new project she is working on with a colleague, to use Alexa to support independent living for elderly people. "Whenever I describe these projects, I have to speak quietly, because every room in my house has got sensors in it," explains the scientist. One time, she remembers, her TV accidentally sparked a house-wide conversation between different devices that mistakenly thought that she was the one giving out orders. "I was rolling on the floor laughing," says Monekosso.