Daniela Hernandez of Wired reports, “Drawing on the work of a clever cadre of academic researchers, the biggest names in tech—including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple—are embracing a more powerful form of AI known as ‘deep learning,’ using it to improve everything from speech recognition and language translation to computer vision, the ability to identify images without human help. In this new AI order, the general assumption is that Google is out in front… But now, Microsoft’s research arm says it has achieved new records with a deep learning system it calls Adam, which will be publicly discussed for the first time during an academic summit this morning at the company’s Redmond, Washington headquarters.” Read more
Michael C. Daconta of GCN recently wrote, “Over the last year, several developments on the artificial intelligence (AI) front have occurred that reflect our wildest fantasies and worst fears for this technology. Here are a few examples: A battle continues to rage between MIT linguist Noam Chomsky and Google Director of Research Peter Norvig over the increased use of statistics and probability in AI. Chomsky argued that the ‘new AI’ is merely mimicking behavior instead of unraveling the rules and processes of cognition. On the other hand, Norvig takes a more practical, probabilistic approach, believing in AI’s suitability for natural language processing, for instance. Last month, CNBC reported that inventor Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking expressed concerns about the future of AI, suggesting that there are dangers in the fledging AI market. They made it easy to surmise they fear a Robopocalypse caused by AI run amok!” Read more
A recent press release revealed that, “There are signs indicating that Chinese Internet users might be the very first group of people to truly reap the benefits of artificial intelligence. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, written by Ray Kurzweil, painted us a picture of artificial intelligence. Kurzweil describes his law of accelerating returns which predicts an exponential increase in technologies; in the book he says this will lead to a technological singularity in the year 2045, a point where progress is so rapid it outstrips humans’ ability to comprehend it. Baidu, the leading Chinese search service provider, recently announced their ground-breaking Light App (a modified kind of web app), the Baidu Exam-Info Master. Using the artificial intelligence of their search engine, Baidu seeks to offer some practical help to high school seniors when it comes to applying for their dream college after the National College Entrance Examination. This service has soon become wildly popular among users, and may grow into a key motivation for Baidu to duplicate this kind of method into a far broader area.”
Wired’s Robert McMillan recently wrote, “…neural network algorithms are hitting the mainstream, making computers smarter in new and exciting ways. Google has used them to beef up Android’s voice recognition. IBM uses them. And, most remarkably, Microsoft uses neural networks as part of the Star-Trek-like Skype Translate, which translates what you say into another language almost instantly. People “were very skeptical at first,” Hinton says, “but our approach has now taken over.” One big-name company, however, hasn’t made the jump: Apple, whose Siri software is due for an upgrade. Though Apple is famously secretive about its internal operations–and did not provide comment for this article–it seems that the company previously licensed voice recognition technology from Nuance—perhaps the best known speech recognition vendor. But those in the tight-knit community of artificial intelligence researchers believe this is about to change. It’s clear, they say, that Apple has formed its own speech recognition team and that a neural-net-boosted Siri is on the way.”
An article written by Eugene Joseph of Gamasutra reveals that, “Bot Colony is an episodic single player adventure game that we launched on Steam’s Early Access on June 17. It has the distinction of being the first game that integrates unrestricted English dialogue into the game experience. While the Bot Colony Natural Language Understanding (NLU) pipeline cannot yet handle everything a player throws at it, it is able to understand enough that cooperative players can complete the game’s episodes (versions of the first two are available now on Steam Early Access). Language understanding is not limited to the minimum required to play the game – we actually hope that players will explore the boundaries of AI understanding and probe just how much a Bot Colony robot understands.”
Video games are on their way to becoming an increasingly immersive experience. Rival Theory’s first offering was RAIN, an artificial intelligence engine for the Unity game development ecosystem that counts a little over 7,000 active users. RAIN took a bit of a non-traditional approach to what AI means in the gaming world, which usually just refers to setting up the math functions or algorithms for controlling character behavior, animations and path-finding, says Rival Theory co-founder William Klein.
But its next platform, Sentio – which was demonstrated at the recent TechStars event in New York City – is extending Rival Theory’s work to use AI to give intelligence to individual characters, so that they can think, learn, remember, and even experience emotions. Sentio, which it began working on a couple of years ago, is a set of services and upgrades to its AI work to allow characters “to be more than they are today in games,” he says.
Signe Brewster of Gigaom recently wrote, “In 2012, Google hired Ray Kurzweil to build a computer capable of thinking as powerfully as a human. It would require at least one hundred trillion calculations per second — a feat already accomplished by the fastest supercomputers in existence. The more difficult challenge is creating a computer that has a hierarchy similar to the human brain. At the Google I/O conference Wednesday, Kurzweil described how the brain is made up of a series of increasingly more abstract parts. The most abstract — which allows us to judge if something is good or bad, intelligent or unintelligent — is an area that has been difficult to replicate with a computer. A computer can calculate 10 x 20 or tell the difference between a person and a table, but it can’t judge if a person is kind or mean. To get there, humans will need to build computers that can build abstract consciousness from a more concrete level. Humans will program them to recognize patterns, and then from those patterns they will need to be smart enough to learn to understand more.”