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) …
Artificial intelligence already impacts many aspects of our daily lives at work, at home, and as we move about. Over the next decade, analyst firm Tractica predicts that annual Global AI enterprise software revenue will grow from $644 million in 2016 to nearly $39 billion by 2025, and services related revenue should reach almost $150 billion. These functional areas are applicable to many use cases, industries, and generate benefits for both businesses and individuals. Here are the top ten use cases which will reap financial rewards for AI technology product and service companies, and a broad spectrum of benefits for everyone else. Self driving cars and other autonomous vehicles are consistently called the "next revolution" in transportation, technology, and some say in civilization in general.
Rockets, electric cars, solar panels, batteries--whirlwind industrialist Elon Musk has set about reinventing one after another. Thursday, he added another ambitious project to the list: Future Tesla vehicles will run their self-driving AI software on a chip designed by the automaker itself. "We are developing customized AI hardware chips," Musk told a room of AI experts from companies such as Alphabet and Uber on the sidelines of the world's leading AI conference. Musk claimed that the chips' processing power would help Tesla's Autopilot automated-driving function save more lives, more quickly, by hastening the day it can drive at least 10 times more safely than a human. "We get there faster if we have dedicated AI hardware," he said.
Volvo is adjusting the timeline on its ambitious Drive Me autonomous program until it can find the right sensors. "The development in sensor performance and processor capabilities is going so much faster than we expected in 2013," program director Marcus Rothoff recently told Automotive News Europe. "Because advancements are being made at such a rapid pace, we want to make this decision as late as possible." In addition to the sensors that enable Level 4 autonomy (the car can drive itself, but a steering wheel and pedals are still present), the Swedish automaker is having issues with the wiring. Rothoff said that laying copper has been "a really huge" challenge that was unanticipated at the project's outset in 2013.
Whether they drive themselves or improve the safety of their driver, tomorrow's vehicles will be defined by software. However, it won't be written by developers but by processing data. To prepare for that future, the transportation industry is integrating AI car computers into cars, trucks and shuttles and training them using deep learning in the data center. A benefit of such a software-defined system is that it's capable of handling a wide range of automated driving -- from Level 2 to Level 5. Speaking in Tokyo at the last stop on NVIDIA's seven-city GPU Technology Conference world tour, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang demonstrated how the NVIDIA DRIVE platform provides this scalable architecture for autonomous driving. "The future is surely a software defined car," said Huang.
Google has officially opened an artificial intelligence (AI) center in Beijing, the capital of China. The country is home to some of the most renowned thinkers in the field of AI, so it makes sense that one of the largest tech companies in the world would want to set up shop where much of the action is. In a blog post, Fei-Fei Li, Google's chief scientist for AI and machine learning, explained "Chinese authors contributed 43 percent of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015--and when the Association for the Advancement of AI discovered that their annual meeting overlapped with Chinese New Year this year, they rescheduled." This shows just how valuable China is to the AI community. Google's China team will be headed by Li, who came to Google after serving as the director of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab.
With a historic net neutrality vote set to take place tomorrow, people across the United States are rightly concerned about the future of the internet. Visions of price-tiered online spaces dancing in their heads, constituents all over the country are reaching out to their elected officials in a likely doomed effort to forestall what many see as the inevitable destruction of our mostly level digital playing field. But tomorrow's vote is about more than whether Comcast can charge you extra for streaming movies on Netflix. Just as the internet has seeped into many unexpected facets of our lives, abandoning net neutrality could have unexpected consequences in places you might not expect. If Elon Musk is correct, driverless cars could soon be everywhere.
Japanese car maker Toyota unveils a new humanoid robot that mirrors the movements of its remote operator, as Stuart McDill reports. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda spoke at the company's earnings press conference in Tokyo on May 10. (Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation) Toyota reached a deal to explore a new battery partnership with Panasonic in a move that threatens to encroach on Tesla's territory, heightening the ongoing rivalry between the two automakers. Toyota and Panasonic said Wednesday that they are launching a "feasibility study" to investigate the technological potential of batteries that use prismatic cells, which are grouped together in pouches to power electric cars. The deal places Panasonic in the unusual position of straddling the technological and strategic divide between Toyota and Tesla. Panasonic already has a major partnership with Tesla to jointly manufacture a competing battery technology that relies on different batteries relying on cylindrical cells.
One of the biggest potential pitfalls for developers of autonomous vehicles is psychological: Will most people trust the cars enough to ride in them? It might not be easy to win people over, but it's possible--if a Boston startup's recent tests are any indication. On Tuesday, NuTonomy co-founder and president Karl Iagnemma shared early reactions from people who have ridden in cars controlled by his company's software. "The feedback has been really interesting, and I would say overwhelmingly positive," Iagnemma said at a press briefing, during which NuTonomy and its parent company, Aptiv (NYSE: APTV), announced plans for a new Boston office focused on autonomous vehicles and other mobility technologies. "We've found," Iagnemma continued, "that once people get into one of these cars, typically there's a little bit of maybe nervousness or apprehension because it is a little surprising to see that wheel turn by itself for the first time.
Before autonomous trucks and taxis hit the road, manufacturers will need to solve problems far more complex than collision avoidance and navigation (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Self-Driving Trucks"). These vehicles will have to anticipate and defend against a full spectrum of malicious attackers wielding both traditional cyberattacks and a new generation of attacks based on so-called adversarial machine learning (see "AI Fight Club Could Help Save Us from a Future of Super-Smart Cyberattacks"). As consensus grows that autonomous vehicles are just a few years away from being deployed in cities as robotic taxis, and on highways to ease the mind-numbing boredom of long-haul trucking, this risk of attack has been largely missing from the breathless coverage. It reminds me of numerous articles promoting e-mail in the early 1990s, before the newfound world of electronic communications was awash in unwanted spam. Back then, the promise of machine learning was seen as a solution to the world's spam problems.
If fully automated vehicles become a reality someday – and it seems like we're moving in that direction at a fast clip – artificial intelligence will play an instrumental role. That's why Ford is pouring $1 billion into a Pittsburgh-based artificial-intelligence (AI) startup called Argo AI. And Toyota is collaborating with one of the biggest AI players – Nvidia – to develop AI hardware and software. The thinking is that AI has the power to recognize and react to the nearly infinite number of scenarios encountered on the road, because it has the capability to interpret the massive amount of data generated by the sensors and cameras in a vehicle – and make intelligent decisions based on that data. Nvidia says its Nvidia Drive PX platform can use AI to understand the 360-degree environment surrounding the car, localize itself on an HD map and anticipate potential hazards while driving – in a device that can fit in your hand.