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) …
Android TV didn't get any stage time at Tuesday's Google I/O keynote, but anyone who wandered into the Android TV tent on the grounds of the Shoreline Amphitheater saw something equally important: The JBL Link Bar. Like every other Android TV device, the Link Bar is not a Made by Google product (by the same token, neither are any of the Smart Displays coming later this year that visualize the Google Assistant experience). Like those smart speakers, however, this soundbar is powered by Google's smarts and savvy, and it could turn a forgotten project into a household name. When I walked into the demo room, I already knew that JBL's Link Bar is several products wrapped up into one: a smart speaker, a soundbar, and a 4K Android TV streaming box. But as the Google rep showed me how it works, it became clear that the Link Bar wasn't just another forgettable device powered by Android TV.
The Google Assistant--the all-knowing digital voice that reverberates throughout the house every time you ask your Google Home a question--is about to get a lot smarter. This week at Google I/O (a developer's conference), Google detailed some of the new abilities coming to its digital assistant platform, which lives inside smartphones, smart speakers, and various other connected devices. The Google Assistant is on its way to becoming more conversational and easier to use, and it's even coming to the screen later this summer. You can try some of these features right now, but not all of its new abilities are available to the public just yet. And there's one feature in particular that might leave you feeling like it's a little ahead of its time.
Google kicked off its annual I/O developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. Here are some of the biggest announcements from the Day 1 keynote. There will be more to come over the next couple of days, so follow along on everything Google I/O on TechCrunch. Just before the keynote, Google announced it is rebranding its Google Research division to Google AI. The move signals how Google has increasingly focused R&D on computer vision, natural language processing, and neural networks.
Google's Assistant, its answer to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, is getting smarter, more visual, and potentially, more helpful. At the I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Google put the spotlight on the assistant, bringing new voices, including one from singer John Legend, and more visuals. Additionally, Google has beefed up voice commands for its popular Maps app, bringing the Assistant to the feature in the summer. Google execs offered demos on new iPad-like Smart Displays coming from Lenovo and Google later in the year, which will allow voice navigation via the Google Assistant to say, watch Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube TV or order lattes from Starbucks. Google emphasized that visuals will be coming to the Google Assistant app, to marry voice navigation with tools like food recipes, where you'll get spoken step-by-step instructions, along with video.
We got a sneak peek at Google's upcoming slate of smart displays earlier this year at CES, and now it seems we know when they'll finally come to market. At Google's I/O developer conference, the company announced that the first round of smart displays will ship starting this July. At I/O, Google showed off that you could also watch YouTube TV, which is Google's over-the-top live TV service, on those smart displays. You could use Google Assistant to walk you through steps of a recipe, complete with visual aids. You can also use these smart displays to see what your Nest cam sees.
For Google, its annual I/O developer conference isn't just a place to show off the next major version of Android and get coders excited about building apps. Though that stuff is a big part of the show, I/O is also a chance for Google to flex its AI muscle and emphasize its massive reach at a time when every major tech company is racing to best each other in artificial intelligence. And with its emphasis on cloud-based software and apps, I/O is the most important event of the year for Google--as least as long as its hardware efforts are still such a small fraction of its overall business. WIRED will be on the ground covering it, but until Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicks off the keynote Tuesday May 8 at 10 am Pacific, here's an idea of what to expect. Just like every year, Android will be front and center at the 2018 edition of IO.
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.