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) …
It all started in the days following the release of the original Echo. Amazon was taking a gamble with a new hardware category: an always-on personal assistant for the home. And as early customer feedback started to roll in, Amazon realized that Echo had to grow beyond voice commands. "We realized that there were some use cases where it would probably be more friendly if you could confirm things on a display," said Miriam Daniel, Amazon's director of product management. This sparked the idea for the Echo Show, the first Echo product with a screen.
In a meeting room this week at the Wynn–away from Google's temporarily rain-soaked outdoor booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center–the company demoed a tabletop touchscreen device that could display Google Photos albums, bring up directions from Google Maps (and send them to your phone), look up recipes, play music with album art, and of course load videos from YouTube. Google Assistant voice commands controlled most of the action, with the 8-inch touchscreen providing extra control and context.
Before the start of CES 2018, the only real smart speakers with a display were the Amazon Echo Show and the Echo Spot. But now that Google has partnered with several manufacturers to make a whole line of Echo Show rivals, a bona fide new device category has been born: the smart display. And based on the devices revealed this week, I believe the smart display will slowly start to outnumber smart speakers and will likely be the norm going forward.
CES 2018 kicked off with a major Google presence on the show's front doorstep. Nathan's already explained why the company may have decided to appear at the world's biggest tech show with such strength, but halfway through the show, I get the feeling that the gambit's paying off. Google Assistant is eroding the lead established by Amazon's Alexa, arguably the internet company's biggest voice assistant rival, and it's doing it with better devices, wider functionality... and free donuts for anyone at CES.
The Consumer Electronics Show has introduced a slew of new voice-powered devices, with Google and Amazon leading the way. The spread of Alexa and Google Assistant puts Microsoft's Cortana in a particularly uncomfortable position, one where even the Windows PC isn't safe from other companies' encroachment.