Machine learning (AKA AI) seems bizarre and complicated. It's the tech behind image and speech recognition, recommendation systems, and all kinds of tasks that computers used to be really bad at but are now really good at. It involves teaching a computer to teach itself. And you can learn to do it in well under a year, according to data scientist Bargava. You'll need to put in a solid 10-20 hours a week, but you will learn a lot along the way.
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Online apparel shopping service, THE ICONIC, has launched their new Snap To Shop service. It allows you to take a photo of some clothes, either in a store or on someone, and then use that image to search against THE ICONIC's inventory to find a similar garment or ensemble. I spoke with the company's CTO, Zoe Ghani, about what tech they're using to make this possible.
Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
For the last year or two, many pundits have said AI and automation will result in substantial job losses in many sectors. While we've seen widespread automation in the automotive industry and other manufacturing sectors, we're starting to see the advent of AI moving into white collar jobs. Someone even trained some AI to write a chapter for a new Harry Potter book. But Gartner says our fears are unfounded as AI is likely to create, rather than destroy jobs.
Microsoft has added a Google Calendar and Gmail connector so you can use the voice-assistant to check you calendar, set reminders and pull up a contact. With Microsoft's assistant accessible through some of the new connected speakers coming on the market, it's a sign that the folks in Redmond don't want to be left behind as Apple, Amazon and Google push ahead with their own digital concierges.
If you're playing buzzword bingo out there, you can check AI off from your cards for about the billionth time this year. Google continues to find ways to integrate AI with changes made to their spreadsheet app Sheets. The software has been updated with AI that looks at your data and makes suggestions, by using "machine intelligence", on how to best analyse and visualise your data.
At this weeks's re:Invent conference, Amazon announced a new service for developers looking to create AR, VR and 3D apps. Sumerian lets developers build realistic virtual environments, populate them with 3D objects and animated characters, and script how they interact with each other and the application’s users.
Apple's recent history suggests that when they acquire another tech company, they do it in order to fold the intellectual property and ideas, rather than the products, into their product and strategy roadmap. Last week's acquisition of VRvana suggests Apple is accelerating their push into VR and AR.
Cisco is jumping in on the AI-powered voice assistant game with the introduction of Spark Assistant - a kind of Siri for meetings. You can things like “Hey, Spark. I want to start the meeting” and the software will do all the work to get you connected. While the announcement was made today, Spark Assistant will be deployed in phases with new functions added over time.
One of my favourite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is "The Measure of a Man". In that episode, the personhood of the android Lieutenant Commander Data is legally argued with Capitan Picard and Commander Riker forced to lock horns in a court to determine whether Data should be afforded the right of self determination. While that might have been science fiction, the European Union is considering a similar matter, with a resolution to afford robots legal status as "electronic persons" being considered.
Let's face it: not all of us are cut out to be the next Pulitzer-winning writer, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't write perfectly comprehensible text. Thanks to WhiteSmoke Web, you can keep embarrassing typos, grammatical errors, and stylistic flops out of your work — and subscriptions are on sale for almost 75 percent off.
When Arnold brought the Terminator to life, we were all worried that steroid-driven Austrian bodybuilders were going to take over the world and kill us all. But it turns out we should be more worried about what we invite between the sheets. A security researcher from Deakin University, Dr Nick Patterson, says that a breached sex-bot could turn on its owner. This is definitely not the droid you're looking for.
Artificial intelligence has been big news over the last year or so. While the idea of the technology is not new - Arthur C Clarke's HAL 9000 brought it to the fore back in 1968 when 2001: A Space Odyssey was released - we have reached a tipping point as the amount of data we have access to has exploded and the cloud has made vast amounts of computing power accessible. But we are only now starting to think about the real impacts of AI on business and society.
Zendesk has developed Answer Bot - a chat bot that can deflect email support requests. And while they're not the first to do this, they are the only company I've found that has been developed a bot Ike this locally that can work at the scale Zendesk delivers. I spoke with Zendesk's Brett Adam, the managing director ANZ and VP of engineering for APAC and data scientist Chris Hausler.
A panel hosted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS), featuring Liz Bacon (a past President British Computer Society), Marita Cheng (Founder/CEO of Aubot and winner of Young Australian of the Year), Mike Hinchey (from the International Federation for Information Processing) and Anthony Wong (current President of the ACS) discussed what AI is and how it will impact the IT industry and society.
I have to admit to a little bit of self-interest in this story, as someone I love has Type 1 diabetes (it used to be called Juvenile Diabetes). The Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation (JDRF) and IBM have commenced a new collaboration to apply machine learning in order to identify the factors leading to the onset to this autoimmune disease.
As the amount of data we store (hoard?) increases it becomes harder to know exactly what we have. And if we don't know what data we have, it becomes challenging to know what we are protecting. Amazon Macie is a new service that uses machine learning algorithms for natural language processing to automate data classification S3 buckets.
Traditional business models, exemplified by Amazon and other large online retailers and marketplaces, are changing the way customers shop and their expectations of customer interactions. AI and the advent of powerful mobile computing devices are among the big drivers of this change. Ian Wong, a partner in IBM's digital strategy business discussed this revolution with me.