Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘AI’ Category

Robotic Confusion

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Have you watched the new “Lost in Space” series on Netflix?

Danger, Will Robinson!

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.  It’s good stuff.

But, I must say, I’m now all confused about this whole robotic thing.

Now because of the new Netflix series.  

No, rather, because I keep hearing loads of contradictions about what’s going on with the whole machine versus man convo.

On the one hand, I hear that robots are going to take over the world and leave us mere mortals sitting around in a depressed malaise, complaining about how the robots took all our jobs.

And then on the other, I learn that robots are “riding to the rescue” in Eastern Europe, where severe labor shortages have forced companies to call in the machines.

Perhaps both these things are true, and that’s the real warning about our future?  We just don’t know.

Two stories in particular struck me as resonant with this apparent contradiction.

First, in The New York Times, this headline: Robots Ride to the Rescue Where Workers Can’t Be Found. 

The lede: Fast-growing economies in Eastern Europe have led to severe labor shortages, so companies are calling in the machines.

As reported, despite a roaring economy and a jobless rate of just 2.4 percent, in the Czech Republic the dearth of manpower has limited the ability of Czech companies to expand and nearly a third of them have started to turn away orders.

Jaroslav Hanak, the president of the Czech Confederation of Industry, explained that “It’s becoming a brake on growth…If businesses don’t increase robotization and artificial intelligence, they’ll disappear.”

And apparently this in an Eastern Europe that is already well automated, with around 101 robots for every 10,000 workers.

But then there’s this other story: That Elon Musk is replacing robots at his Tesla factory with humans, saying that “humans are underrated.”

This is the same guy who warned us about the coming AI apocalypse.

But because his Tesla Model 3 production facility is way behind on delivering vehicles to customers who have been waiting for many months, apparently the AI apocalypse is not so close that it will prevent humans from coming in to fix the problem that the machines caused in the first place.

As Musk explained on the “CBS This Morning” show to Gayle King in a recent interview: “We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts…And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

And so Musk has now hit “pause” on the Tesla 3 production line to try and resolve those problems with the automation and figure out a way that humans can come in and restart production and, presumably, be more efficient and reach its target of 5,000 cars produced per week by the end of 2018.

As for the robots, they’ll have to get back in their own assembly line and wait to be reassigned.

No danger, Will Robinson.  That is, unless you’re Class B-9-M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot (the Robot’s real name in the original “Lost in Space”).

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2018 at 10:40 am

Posted in 2018, AI, robots

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Saudi Cyber

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Don’t miss this doozy of a story from The New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth and Clifford Krauss about last year’s cyberattack in Saudi Arabia.

The executive summary: Last August, a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia was struck by a cyberassault that intended to sabotage the firm’s operations and trigger an explosion.

The only thing that prevented the explosion was a mistake in the attackers’ computer code. 

For cyber warriors on the front line, it’s a must read.

On the flip side, Google recently released its “Android Security 2017 Year in Review” report earlier today, and it cited that 60.3 percent of Potentially Harmful Apps were detected via machine learning.

As reported by VentureBeat, its detection is done by a service called Google Play Protect, which is enabled on over 2 billion devices (running Android 4.3 and up) to constantly scan Android apps for malicious activity.

In other words, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the future of cyber monitoring, and the future has already arrived.

Speaking of the future and cybersecurity, at next week’s IBM Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, you’ll be able to tune in to over 100 sessions LIVE via the IBM UStream. 

Be sure to check out the schedule here, and to case the cyber keynote from 12:30-1:10 PST on Tuesday, March 20th, entitled “Ready for Anything: Build a Cyber Resilient Organization.”

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

No Laughing Matter

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Did you hear the one about the personal voice assistant that, for seemingly no apparent reason whatsoever, started breaking into strange laughing noises at random?

No?

Well, I heard about it firsthand, but apparently I missed the opportunity to hear random guffawing of my own personal Amazon Tap.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon confirmed yesterday that in rare circumstances, the voice assistant can mistakenly hear the phrase “Alexa, laugh,” which under its normal programming would cause it to chuckle. 

Amazon has updated a fix for the problem, and is changing the trigger phrase for laughing to “Alexa, can you laugh?” instead.

A few moments ago, I tried the new command, and all I got from Alexa was a “Tee hee.”  

How very anti-climactic.

This quirk has been referred to in AI circles as a “false positive.”

Let’s just hope the voice commands for the AI algos running the armed drones have their laughs in order.

Written by turbotodd

March 8, 2018 at 9:02 am

Summoning Siri

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Apple apparently thinks it can improve upon its extremely popular wireless AirPods headphones. 

Bloomberg is s that the company is working on a new version for release as soon as this year which has an upgraded wireless chip, and another model next year that makes the headphones water resistant.

This year’s update will allegedly allow one to summon Siri’s digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by instead saying, “Hey Siri.”

To which I would say, can I ask it to refer me over to “Google Assistant.”

I’m all for improved hardware, but IMHO, Apple needs to be focusing much more attention on the software side of things, and specifically, having Siri continue her education to train up to better respond to what are increasingly table stake queries.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some AirPods, and don’t know how I got along without them for so long.  All those wires, all those times I was on my bike tangling up and dropping my phone. Love me no wires!

But Apple, please, do yourself a favor and make Siri smarter before worrying so much about whether or not I have to tap my AirPods to summon her! Because if she doesn’t get smarter and soon, there won’t be any reason to say, “HEY, SIRI!”

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

Posted in 2018, AI, airpods, apple, siri

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Perspectives on AI

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​​
MIT’s "The Download" recently reported that China’s artificial intelligence startups scored more funding that America’s last year.

Of $15.2 billion invested globally in 2017 in AI, 48 percent went to China and 38 percent to America. That’s the first time China’s AI startups surpassed those in the U.S. in terms of funding.

But The Download also observes competition continues to be fierce across the board. AI startup investment rose 141 percent in 2017, and 1,100 new AI startups appeared last year.

The R&D and overall AI market may, in fact, be moving too fast.

In a separate report from Science Magazine, an analysis revealed that AI may be grappling with a replication crisis when it comes to research:

AI researchers have found it difficult to reproduce many key results, and that is leading to a new conscientiousness about research methods and publication protocols….The most basic problem is that researchers often don’t share their source code. At the AAAI meeting, Odd Erik Gundersen, a computer scientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, reported the results of a survey of 400 algorithms presented in papers at two top AI conferences in the past few years. He found that only 6% of the presenters shared the algorithm’s code. Only a third shared the data they tested their algorithms on, and just half shared "pseudocode"—a limited summary of an algorithm. (In many cases, code is also absent from AI papers published in journals, including Science and Nature.)

Why are researchers holding back?

The article argues researchers believe some code may be a work in progress, or could be owned by a company or held tightly by a researcher eager to stay ahead of the competition.

IBM Research offered some assistance a the recent AAAI meeting, a tool for recreating unpublished source code automatically. Itself a neural network, it scans an AI research paper looking for a chart or diagram describing a neural net, parses those data into layers and connections, and generates the network in new code.

At this week’s Index | San Francisco conference, on Wednesday at 9 AM PST, New York Times journalist and author John Markoff will be hosting a session entitled "Perspectives on AI." You can register to watch the livestream here.

Written by turbotodd

February 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

Posted in 2018, AI, artificial intelligence

Tagged with , ,

Smarter Chips

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Couldn’t help but notice these two in-the-same-orbit headlines from Amazon and Google re: their own AI chips.

First, in The Information, it’s being reported that Amazon is developing a chip designed for AI to work on the Echo and other hardware powered by Alexa. 

They report that the chip should allow Alexa-powered devices to respond more quickly to commands, by allowing more data processing to be handled on the device than in the cloud. 

It seems the cloud’s edge is moving back towards the center.

And at Google, according to a post in the Google Cloud Platform blog, the company’s cloud Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) are available in beta to help machine learning experts train and run their ML models more quickly.

Some speeds and feeds deets:

Cloud TPUs are a family of Google-designed hardware accelerators that are optimized to speed up and scale up specific ML workloads programmed with TensorFlow. Built with four custom ASICs, each Cloud TPU packs up to 180 teraflops of floating-point performance and 64 GB of high-bandwidth memory onto a single board. These boards can be used alone or connected together via an ultra-fast, dedicated network to form multi-petaflop ML supercomputers that we call “TPU pods.” We will offer these larger supercomputers on GCP later this year.

Written by turbotodd

February 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

IBM and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership

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IBM and Salesforce today announced an expansion of their strategic partnership, bringing together IBM Cloud and Watson services with Salesforce Quip and Salesforce Service Cloud Einstein to enable companies to connect with their customers and collaborate more effectively with deeper insights.

IBM and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership

With this expansion, Salesforce has named IBM a preferred cloud services provider and IBM has named Salesforce its preferred customer engagement platform for sales and service.

“Naming IBM as a Salesforce preferred cloud services provider demonstrates the power of the IBM Cloud to help companies fundamentally change the way they do business,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO, IBM. “This expanded partnership builds on the combined power of Watson and Einstein to help enterprises make smarter business decisions.”

“The success of our customers drives everything we do at Salesforce, including our strategic partnership with IBM,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “The combination of IBM Cloud and Watson services with Salesforce Einstein and Quip will deliver even more innovation to empower companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way, leveraging the power of the cloud and AI.”

As a part of this extended strategic partnership, IBM will build new​IBM Watson​Quip Live Apps, bringing the power of Watson and Quip together. These interactive custom-built applications will be embedded directly into any Quip document to increase the effectiveness of sales teams across the lifecycle of an opportunity.

With ​Quip’s document creation and editing platform, customers are able to bring relevant content, for any project, into a centralized document, removing the need to toggle between multiple windows and apps to get work done.

Building on the first IBM and Service Cloud integration, the companies will bring together the power of IBM Watson and Service Cloud Einstein to deliver new AI-driven recommendations for next best actions.

Now, with AI driven predictive analytics, companies will be able to create personalized, customer-triggered interactions based on the latest call or messaging chat they had, to help build stronger connections with their customers.

Today’s news strengthens the partnership previously announced by IBM and Salesforce to deliver joint solutions that leverage the power of AI and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before.

With more than 4,000 joint customers, the partnership has already helped companies, such as Autodesk, implement new Watson solutions to connect more deeply with their customers.

“There is a perfect marriage between Salesforce and IBM,” said Rachael Cotton, senior manager, machine assisted service engagement, Autodesk. “Salesforce is where many companies like Autodesk house enormous amounts of customer data, most of which goes untapped. Combining the AI power of Watson and IBM Cloud with insights from Salesforce has helped Autodesk better understand its customers and ultimately create a transformed customer experience.”

You can earn more about the new, expanded strategic partnership between IBM and Salesforce here: https://www.salesforce.com/campaign/ibm/

And more about how to surface data from IBM Watson Discovery in Salesforce with Salesforce Trailhead here: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/projects/surface-data-from-ibm-watson-discovery-in-salesforce

Written by turbotodd

January 19, 2018 at 8:38 am

Posted in 2018, AI, ibm, ibm watson, salesforce

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