New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Microsoft is reorganizing itself to better address the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. The company says it has opened a new organization, staffed by 5,000 employees, that combines its sizeable research group and AI-enabled products including the Bing search engine and Cortana virtual assistant. The new group’s creation had a setback when computer scientist Qi Lu, who had overseen Bing and Microsoft Office products, suffered a serious bicycling accident and had to temporarily leave the company.   Continue reading New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Intel Unveils Mixed Reality Headset, Drone, Joule Maker Board

At the Intel Developer Forum, the company showed several new technology projects, including Project Alloy, an unusual “mixed reality” headset; a quadcopter “ready-to-fly” drone aimed at software developers; and a new Joule maker board designed as a platform for computer vision products. The company, which plans to collaborate with Microsoft on the mixed reality headset, says it does not need to be connected to a high-powered personal computer, as do other headsets, most notably Oculus Rift. Continue reading Intel Unveils Mixed Reality Headset, Drone, Joule Maker Board

Cozmo: Anki to Launch Robot Powered by Machine Learning

Anki, the company that introduced Anki Drive, artificial intelligence-powered racecars, will ship its second product in October: a robot dubbed Cozmo, the size of a coffee mug that costs $180. By combining artificial intelligence, computer-vision science, advanced robotics, character development and machine-learning algorithms, Cozmo is a toy that is intended to be much like a real-world Wall-E or R2-D2, says chief executive Boris Sofman. The company is also offering SDKs for Cozmo’s components. Continue reading Cozmo: Anki to Launch Robot Powered by Machine Learning

Toyota Reportedly in Talks to Buy Google Robotics Companies

According to multiple reports, Toyota Research Institute is close to acquiring two robotics divisions from Google parent Alphabet Inc. “The Japanese automaker is discussing an acquisition of Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics — known for the Cheetah, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest-legged robot — and Schaft, a venture that was led by two former Tokyo University professors,” Fortune explains. Numerous reports suggest that tension has been mounting between Google and Boston Dynamics since 2014, tension that reached a tipping point this year when Boston Dynamics released a video of its Atlas humanoid robot that received positive tech press, but many found “unsettling,” according to Tech Insider. Continue reading Toyota Reportedly in Talks to Buy Google Robotics Companies

SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

At this year’s SXSW, the verdict is that apps are over. Instead, tech-influenced lifestyle innovations and big picture issues took center stage. President Obama became the first U.S. President to attend the festival, where he delivered a keynote address about encryption and fighting terrorism, without directly referencing the current battle between the Justice Department and Apple. In addition to hearing about futuristic technologies, SXSW attendees discussed the election and enjoyed “lifestyle brand” products. Continue reading SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape

The advent of digital acquisition has made long-term storage more complicated for media and entertainment companies, which up until now have been dependent on tape-based solutions. Now, Sony has unveiled Everspan, an optical disc technology it guarantees will last for 100 years. That 100-year guarantee would relieve companies of the expensive, time-consuming need to migrate libraries to new technology. Each disc stores 300 gigabytes, and Everspan uses up to 64 drives to read data at extremely high speed. Continue reading Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape

Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Videogame designer, Carnegie Mellon University professor and former Disney Imagineer, Jesse N. Schell, soared through a list of 10 virtual reality prognostications at Unity’s recent Vision AR/VR Summit in Hollywood. One of five speakers asked to soothsay about VR’s future, the creative director behind the “Toontown Online” massive multiplayer online game (MMO) predicted that by 2018, “Madden NFL” will be released in VR, and by 2020, there will be at least 10 VR reality television shows and a $10 billion VR adult video industry. Continue reading Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Troubled Japanese LCD manufacturer Sharp is in talks to sell to Taiwanese company Foxconn. According to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, the two companies have cleared 90 percent of the obstacles to sealing a final deal. If the deal does go through, it will mark significantly new openness of Japanese companies to foreign suitors. Also wooing Sharp is Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a Japanese government-supported consortium that has already acquired the display businesses of Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Continue reading Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Baidu Joins the Race to Get Self-Driving Vehicles on the Road

Baidu, a Chinese company best known for its Internet search engine, has entered the competition with other Internet companies and automobile manufacturers to create an autonomous vehicle. The company has already invested heavily in artificial intelligence and developed software called the Baidu AutoBrain System, which automatically records 3D road data and recognizes objects and road lanes. This expertise may help Baidu gain an edge over Google, General Motors, Tesla and Ford. Continue reading Baidu Joins the Race to Get Self-Driving Vehicles on the Road

CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

Move over, Siri. Some new consumer products will include the artificial intelligence platform and “Jeopardy!” winner, Watson. IBM announced at CES 2016 that it has partnered with Under Armour to use Watson in the company’s fitness app to help make suggestions based on health data. Watson will also power a new robot from the Japan-based SoftBank company. The Pepper robot is designed to provide an interactive experience that would replace the kiosks in retail stores, banks and hotels. Continue reading CES: IBM Pushes Watson Brand with New Product Integration

Manufacturers Committed to Developing Autonomous Vehicles

If CES is any indication, Google now has plenty of new competitors in the race to develop driverless cars. For example, Toyota is building an artificial intelligence company to work on the technology necessary for automated driving and Ford is increasing its testing of self-driving Ford Fusion sedans. Meanwhile, General Motors has partnered with Israeli company Mobileye NV to begin installing a camera on cars that will help collect data to create the detailed maps needed to make autonomous driving possible. Continue reading Manufacturers Committed to Developing Autonomous Vehicles

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

Silicon Valley Titans Invest $1 Billion to Establish AI Nonprofit

Several Silicon Valley technologists and tech companies will invest at least $1 billion in OpenAI, a nonprofit research center in San Francisco with a long-term goal of creating open-source “artificial general intelligence,” a machine capable of performing any task that a human can. Among the investors are Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman. One chief focus of the group’s members is to ensure that the resultant technologies augment rather than replace humans, and are used for good. Continue reading Silicon Valley Titans Invest $1 Billion to Establish AI Nonprofit

CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

The Internet of Things will grow larger once again at CES 2016 with both incremental and innovative advances in objects, systems and simplicity, but for the entertainment industry the past year should also serve as a cautionary tale. Smart home sensors that track and analyze movements to enable new levels of seamless interaction will impact both the home and the world at large. Security will likely become an increasing concern as the infrastructure is created to effectively connect devices and systems. Continue reading CES: Emerging Opportunities and Equally Growing Risk of IoT

Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Facebook, Google and numerous startups are among those actively researching new possibilities with artificial intelligence technology. Japanese automaker Toyota is joining the crusade with a five-year, $1 billion R&D effort. The planned Silicon Valley facility will become one of the largest research labs in the area. Toyota Research Institute will initially open a lab next to Stanford and an additional facility near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota’s plans represent a shift in tech research — a return to a focus on science and engineering rather than a push for tech that would become a specific product or service. Continue reading Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

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