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) …
Gaby Ecanow loves listening to music, but never considered writing her own until taking 6.S191 (Introduction to Deep Learning). By her second class, the second-year MIT student had composed an original Irish folk song with the help of a recurrent neural network, and was considering how to adapt the model to create her own Louis the Child-inspired dance beats. "It was cool," she says. "It didn't sound at all like a machine had made it." This year, 6.S191 kicked off as usual, with students spilling into the aisles of Stata Center's Kirsch Auditorium during Independent Activities Period (IAP).
The two economists who today were awarded the Nobel Prize have both written extensively on the role that technology plays in economic growth, and one of them has even investigated what enthusiasts in Silicon Valley call the Singularity. We called it "the rapture of the geeks" in our special issue on the topic 10 years ago, because it envisages not merely an explosive increase in computational prowess that would greatly increase economic output but also the uploading of human minds into a kind of cosmic cloud. Thus embodied, our intellects would expand and our life spans would become godlike. That's heady stuff for an engineering culture that still can't get a smartphone battery to last all day. Of the two winners of what is technically known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, William Nordhaus was honored for research in environmental economics and Paul Romer for his work on economic growth.
Flocks of robotic birds are taking to the skies of China equipped with high-tech surveillance technology, according to a report. The so-called "spy bird" programme, first reported by the South China Morning Post, is already in operation in at least five provinces and provides another tendril in the country's already advanced surveillance network. The dove-like drones are being developed by researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in the Shaanxi province, who have previously worked on stealth fighter jets used by China's airforce. One of the researchers involved said the roll out of the technology was still in its early stages. "The scale is still small," said Yang Wenqing, an associate professor at the university's School of Aeronautics who worked on the programme.