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) …
Apple has once again taken a shot at Google with a giant billboard next to its rival's smart neighbourhood reading'we're in the business of staying out of yours'. The firm placed the advert, which also says'Privacy. It is not the first time the firm has made thinly-veiled dig at its rivals, with a similar billboard appearing at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year. This one read'What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone'. Sidewalk Labs hope to revitalise a run-down stretch of Toronto's waterfront, with self-driving taxis, pavements that automatically melt away snow and traffic lights that track pedestrian movements.
Too many cities are built around cars rather than people. Sidewalk Labs, an offshoot of Google's parent company Alphabet, wants its smart neighborhood in Toronto to be different. It's considering a so-called superblock concept, modeled after Barcelona's, that bundles smaller streets together and limits vehicles to the perimeter. The smaller lanes inside each superblock would then become safer, quieter spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Sidewalk Labs wants to go a step further, though, with real-time traffic monitoring and movable street furniture.
Newly leaked concept images have revealed the first real glimpse into Alphabet's plans for an Orwellian smart city on the Toronto waterfront. Sidewalk Labs, an offshoot of Google's parent company, reached an agreement with the city back in 2017 to develop a futuristic community known as Quayside, complete with robotic waste-sorting systems, sensor-lined pavement, digital infrastructure, and wireless 5G connectivity all throughout. The plans have sparked both concerns and curiosity from the public, fueled further by a lack of information on how it will ultimately come to fruition, aside from a series of simple sketches. The new images published by Sidewalk Labs this month and leaked by Toronto Star now reveal stunning plans for a dozen timber towers and modular pavement in the development, allowing it to evolve to the city's changing needs. Sidewalk Labs also detailed a system of underground tunnels where robots can transport waste and freight out of the public's sight.
In Silicon Valley, to make a device "smart" means to add internet connectivity, allowing it to collect, send, and receive data, often while learning and adapting to user preferences. The technology industry has invested wholesale in the idea that "smart" means better, and so we have smart speakers, smart thermometers, smart baby monitors, smart window shades, and smart sex toys, all perpetually collecting rich user data to send back to company servers. Soon enough, we'll have a smart city: Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet, is building one "from the internet up," with help from a series of private-public real-estate partnerships in the downtown Toronto neighborhood Quayside (pronounced Key-side). The project's 200-page wish list of features is astounding. The "vision document" imagines not only the revitalization of a 12-acre plot that has sat largely vacant since its heyday as an industrial port, but its transformation into a micro-city outfitted with smart technologies that will use data to disrupt everything from traffic congestion to health care, housing, zoning regulations, and greenhouse-gas emissions.
An ambitious smart-city project spearheaded by Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs has run into local resistance, causing delays. The backstory: Waterfront Toronto, a development agency founded by the Canadian government, partnered with the Google sister company in October 2017 to create a futuristic neighborhood on the Toronto waterfront. Sidewalk Labs plans to fill the 12-acre plot with driverless shuttle buses, garbage-toting robots, and other gadgets to show how emerging technologies can improve city life. The problem: Sidewalk Labs' connection to Google and vague descriptions of its business model alarmed privacy advocates and urban planners from the start. Local pushback has increased since, causing a key supporter to resign from the project and delaying the release of its final development plan to spring 2019.
The hexagonal slices of wood don't look like much. A few are studded with bright, white lights, right in the center, which is fun. And the way the hexagons, each the size of a manhole cover, have been bunched into clusters feels natural and sensible. Surely a Fibonacci sequence is hiding somewhere in there. What's important about these shapes is what they represent to Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, Waymo, and Loon.
If you didn't already know, Canada is becoming a major hub for AI research. Samsung has opened up an AI Centre (that's the Canadian spelling of Center) in Toronto. This is their second big lab in North America, with the other one being located near Google in Mountain View, California. This new location will help foster AI across a wide range of devices, including self-driving cars to smart appliances. What might be even more interesting is where Samsung is going to be located.
Google's parent company, Alphabet, has an offshoot called Sidewalk Labs tasked with improving urban living. The division gave birth to Coord, a spin-off which is launching a smart route planner today for people in New York City and Washington DC. The web app supports multiple modes of transportation -- bus, subway and bike rentals -- and will recommend different combinations based on live, street-level data. It's a unique blend -- other navigation apps don't include dockless bike sharing services such as Spin and Jump. That means you can quickly locate the nearest two-wheeler and judge whether it would be quicker to take the bus or tube.
On the Sidewalk Labs website is a 200-page document explaining its vision for a smart neighborhood in Toronto. It's packed with illustrations that show a warm, idyllic community full of grassy parks, modular buildings and underground tunnels with delivery robots and internet cabling inside. The text describes "a truly complete community" that's free of cars and committed to reducing its carbon footprint. Underpinning everything is a network of sensors that can monitor noise, traffic and pollution, collecting the troves of data required to understand and improve the city's design. Flipping through the pages, it's easy to see how the company -- an offshoot of Google parent Alphabet -- was chosen to revitalize the Lake Ontario waterfront.