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Artificial Intelligence

IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been riding high for the past couple of years. It won a game of Jeopardy, went to university and did a stint at a cancer lab. But now it’s taking what might seem like a step down with a job in customer service. According to IBM, the current avalanche of information is provoking an oncoming crisis in customer service and the company sees Watson’s advanced learning and data crunching abilities as a solution. Read More
While companies like Google, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen pour millions into developing self-driving car technology with expensive components, 19-year-old Romanian high school student Ionut Budisteanu has designed an autonomous vehicle system that would cost just US$4,000. Budisteanu’s design took out the Gordon E. Moore Award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to pocket him a sweet $75,000. Read More
Teaching a robot how to deal with real-world problems is a challenging task. There has been much progress in building robots that can precisely repeat individual tasks with a level of speed and accuracy impossible for human craftspeople. But there are many more tasks that could be done if robots could be supplied with even a limited amount of judgement. A robotics group led by Professor Sylvain Calinon at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) is making progress in solving this problem. Read More
A new research program is underway in Japan which will introduce fifth graders to a 1.2 meter tall communication robot called Robovie over a period of 14 months. Researchers at the International Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) say Robovie has the conversational skills of a five-year-old, which they hope to improve through daily interactions with the children at Higashihikari elementary school. Read More
Siri, the artificial personal assistant for iOS devices, may have some competition from a new Japanese robot developed by Okamura Corporation. At least, that's what we might be saying if not for the tech toy's sticker-shocking price of ¥472,500 (US$5,087). Robotalk is billed as a "friend with functionality" that responds to your voice – head past the break to learn what else it can do. Read More
Presently, when an operation is going to be performed at a hospital, people first locate all the instruments that the surgeon will require, inspect them, arrange them on a tray, sterilize them, and then deliver them to the operating room. According to General Electric’s GE Global Research division, however, robots could do all of those things better. To that end, the group has recently partnered with GE Healthcare and the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, in a US$2.5 million two-year project to develop just such robots. Read More
IBM has announced that it will provide a Watson supercomputer system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for a three year period, the first time that a complete Watson system has been provided to a university. Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system. Not only will Watson be the object of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, but it will also (virtually) attend courses in English and math to hone its analytic skills. Read More
While it’s definitely important to keep the heavy metals in discarded batteries out of the environment, the sorting of all of the different types of batteries that arrive at a recycling depot could no doubt get extremely tedious. It’s the type of job that often goes to a machine. Well, such a machine has been invented. Called the Optisort, it can recognize about 2,000 types of batteries, and is currently being used to sort one third of those recycled in the UK. Read More
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate simulation of a functioning brain to date. Despite a seemingly unimpressive count of only 2.5 million neurons, Spaun (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network) is able to process visual inputs, compute answers and write them down using a robotic arm, performing feats of intelligence that up to this point had only been attributed to humans. Read More
A team of scientists, philosophers and engineers will form the new Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. The team will study key developments in technology, assessing “extinction-level” threats to humanity. Key among those threats is the possibility of the creation of an artificial general intelligence, an event that has the theoretical potential to leave humanity behind forever. Read More
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