Thanks to Jim Hays for the pointer to the Aipoly app which “runs convolutional neural networks directly on your mobile phone. This artificial intelligence is able to understand your camera's input and describe what it sees out loud.”
Google is not alone in this rapid re-orientation. Amazon is building a similar group cloud computing group for AI. Facebook and Twitter have created internal groups akin to Google Brain, the team responsible for infusing the search giant’s own tech with AI. And in recent weeks, Microsoft reorganized much of its operation around its existing machine learning work, creating a new AI and research group under executive vice president Harry Shum, who began his career as a computer vision researcher.
Oren Etzioni, CEO of the not-for-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, says that these changes are partly about marketing—efforts to ride the AI hype wave. Google, for example, is focusing public attention on Fei-Fei’s new group because that’s good for the company’s cloud computing business. But Etzioni says this is also part of very real shift inside these companies, with AI poised to play an increasingly large role in our future. “This isn’t just window dressing,” he says.
Robots are human, too. At least they're starting to behave that way in Westworld, a thesis on identity and artificial intelligence that doubles as a sexy, violent spectacular.
HBO's latest big-idea, big-budget drama (Sunday, 9 ET/PT), based on the 1973 sci-fi film about a futuristic Wild West theme park, has long been a favorite of executive producer J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek), who first talked to writer Michael Crichton(Jurassic Park), about a potential feature-film remake two decades ago.
“There are so many different films, series and books about A.I., the dawning of consciousness, the threat of technology, but for some reason Westworld never let up its grip for me,” he says.
Before the release of Android, smartphone makers faced a similarly byzantine set of challenges. (How do you manage memory? Download content from the web? Host third-party apps?) By giving away its operating system, Android freed manufacturers from worrying about any of that stuff, resulting in an explosion of smartphone models.
And that’s just the kind of platform Rubin hopes to build with Playground—providing all the basic hardware and software components so entrepreneurs can concentrate on generating interesting devices. Those components come courtesy of the Studio, which plays a role for Playground’s startups similar to the one the Q Department plays for James Bond. If you’re building a drone and need the best available microphone array, the seasoned technologists in the Studio will simply give it to you. (And they’ll know what next year’s microphone arrays will look like, so you can be sure your design is future-proof.) “It’s modular hardware,” Rubin says. “A couple of years from now, you could roll in here with an idea, and we could just rearrange these modules.”
“Many of KPMG's audit, tax, advisory and other professional services rely heavily on judgment-driven processes. Adding cognitive technology's massive data analysis and innovative learning capabilities to these activities has the potential to advance traditional views on how talent, time, capital and other resources are deployed by professional services organizations.
KPMG's growing cognitive ecosystem will contribute significantly to the continued evolution of the firm's service offerings. Underscoring this importance is KPMG's deep commitment to working with leading technologies like IBM Watson. This includes promising work with Watson to develop select cognitive services designed to help KPMG meet its extensive audit-specific security, confidentiality and compliance requirements.”
While the Atlas robot may not boost the quarterly earnings of Google parent Alphabet for a while, it appears to be the next step for robotics, according to Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners.
"My guess is early on we're going to see defense use, law enforcement use, hazardous waste use and some surgical and medical equipment use," Wolff said on CNBC's Tech Bet.
With a tech industry one-third the size of California’s, Canada has confounded expectations by becoming a leader in the booming market for artificial intelligence. Pioneering technologies developed in Canadian labs can be found in Facebook’s facial recognition algorithms, Google’s Photos app, smartphone voice recognition and even Japanese robots.
Now Canada risks losing its AI edge to Silicon Valley.
Already members of the Canadian AI community are trying to protect what they helped build. A startup called Maluuba (in photo) which makes technology that helps computers talk, is opening a research office in Montreal; the University of Toronto has opened a startup accelerator and this fall launched a program dedicated to AI research.