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) …
Stephen Crouch of Montana-based Blackmore explains how the company's lidar technology would help a robot car see what's ahead. Waymo will build self-driving vehicles in Detroit. The company, once known as Google's self-driving car project and now a leader in the push to develop autonomous vehicles, had previously said it was scouting locations in southeast Michigan but did not name a specific city. CEO John Krafcik revealed Detroit as the company's choice in a blog post Tuesday titled, "Making Waymos in Motor City." It refers to being "up and running" this year.
Who's flying that drone over my house, and what exactly are they looking for? Is the pilot a police officer, a search-and-rescue volunteer, or Creepy Steve from four doors down? These concerns over the origin and intention of small drones have bedeviled the drone industry for as long as it has existed. Our inability to figure out who is piloting the weird quadcopter over our neighborhoods surely has a lot to do with why so many still distrust drones. People are working on it, though.
The New York Times has confirmed what some have long suspected: The Chinese government is using a "vast, secret system" of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify and track Uighurs--a Muslim minority, 1 million of whom are being held in detention camps in China's northwest Xinjiang province. This technology allows the government to extend its control of the Uighur population across the country. It may seem difficult to imagine a similar scenario in the U.S., but related technologies, built by Amazon, are already being used by U.S. law enforcement agencies to identify suspects in photos and video. And echoes of China's system can be heard in plans to deploy these technologies at the U.S.-Mexico border. A.I. systems also decide what information is presented to you on social media, which ads you see, and what prices you're offered for goods and services.
In a case of technology penetration through acquisition and investment, thermal imaging company FLIR Systems has been making an aggressive push into the military drone sector. In February, I wrote about FLIR's acquisition of Endeavor Robotic Holdings, a military defense company specializing in ground robots, for a whopping $385 million. That acquisition came shortly after FLIR acquired aerial drone company Aeryon for $200 million in January, and overnight it made FLIR a powerful player in defense robotics. Now the company has announced it has made a strategic investment in DroneBase, a global drone operations company that provides businesses access to one of the largest Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) pilot networks. FLIR will be the exclusive provider of thermal product solutions for DroneBase.
Amazon's AI-enabled digital assistant Alexa is adding to its Skills repertoire with a handful of HIPAA-compliant healthcare services. The e-commerce giant announced on Thursday that it's partnered with six companies, including healthcare providers, to offer a series of Alexa Skills that allow users to consult their digital assistant with a range of health-focused inquiries. The new skills are part of an invite-only program that Amazon said allows only select covered entities and business associates subject to HIPAA (the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) to create specialized skills for healthcare-related services. For its part, Amazon is providing the HIPAA-eligible environment in which the skills are built -- and the company will most certainly use this environment to add more healthcare-related skills over time. The corporate partnerships announced today are with prescription delivery provider Express Scripts; Cigna Health Today, a wellness incentive program for Cigna healthcare customers; ERAS, a children's post-op recovery program operated by Boston Children's Hospital; two urgent care locator services, one by Providence St.
Walmart shoppers can now do some online shopping using just their voice. The retail giant is partnering with Google to launch grocery shopping on any devices equipped with Google Assistant. Walmart Voice Order is rolling out to consumers beginning this month, the company said today. Walmart shoppers can now shop using just their voice. It'll become available for users with Google Home devices, as well as Assistant-equipped smart displays, Android phones and iPhones.
Walmart customers once again will be able to voice-order their groceries with Google Assistant, another bid by the brick-and-mortar store to compete with Amazon. The retailer announced the partnership on Tuesday, and said it would gradually roll out the feature in the next few weeks. The development comes after Walmart unceremoniously left Google Express, Google's online shopping tool, back in January, reportedly to develop its own Google Assistant shopping feature. Walmart shoppers will soon be able to add items to their shopping carts by saying "Hey Google, talk to Walmart." The feature will be cross-platform, meaning customers can shop from any device that has the Google Assistant feature, ranging from smart speakers and displays to their Android watch or iPhone.
This year at Hannover Messe, ABB is streamlined into four entrepreneurial businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation. As our main focus is IIoT, "the factory of the future" is clearly one of the topics we want to know more about. YuMi collaborative robots offer unmatched precision in assembly operations, while the SuperTrak flexible transport system orchestrates the timely movement of parts from one station to another. New partnerships were announced, and first joint solutions are showcased. ABB and Ericsson have strengthened their commitment to accelerate the industrial ecosystem for flexible wireless automation, which will enable enhanced connected services, industrial IoT and artificial intelligence technologies in the future.
BMW has big plans for its iNext electric and fully autonomous vehicle, but making the car will require a streamlined, coordinated, and automated manufacturing system -- something Microsoft wants to help them build. On Tuesday, BMW and Microsoft announced a partnership to launch a new open-sourced industrial manufacturing platform called the Open Manufacturing Platform, or OMP. It's based on Microsoft's Azure, which BMW already uses to run its more than 3,000 machines at 30 production and assembly sites around the world. It wasn't immediately clear how much money each company is putting into the partnership. The OMP is meant to make self-driving systems in a simplified and more cost-efficient way and could eventually help with other things, like digital supply chain management and predictive maintenance.
When Stanford announced a new artificial intelligence institute, the university said the "designers of AI must be broadly representative of humanity" and unveiled 120 faculty and tech leaders partnering on the initiative. Some were quick to notice that not a single member of this "representative" group appeared to be black. The backlash was swift, sparking discussion on the severe lack of diversity across the AI field. But the problems surrounding representation extend far beyond exclusion and prejudice in academia. Major tech corporations have launched AI "ethics" boards that not only lack diversity, but sometimes include powerful people with interests that don't align with the ethics mission.