Facebook’s 3D Photos Now Available for All Latest Handsets

Facebook’s 3D Photos feature — which uses depth data to create images that can be examined from different angles via virtual reality headsets — is now available on any of the latest handsets with a single camera, including Apple iPhone 7 or higher or any midrange (and above) Android phone. According to Facebook, the latest in machine learning techniques has made this feature possible. The company first unveiled 3D Photos in late 2018, when it required either a dual-camera phone or a depth map file on the desktop. Continue reading Facebook’s 3D Photos Now Available for All Latest Handsets

Robots Look Friendly But Surveil, Manage Staff in Workplaces

Humans fear the very real possibility of robots replacing them in work environments, so manufacturers are doubling down on designing those robots to look friendly rather than threatening. As University of Central Florida professor Peter Hancock puts it, “it’s like Mary Poppins … a spoonful of sugar makes the robots go down.” Even if they don’t replace humans, robots already in the workplace are working in management, tracking workers’ every move, telling them to work faster, and even docking their pay. Continue reading Robots Look Friendly But Surveil, Manage Staff in Workplaces

Samsung Reveals More Details About Concept Robot Ballie

At its CES 2020 keynote address, Samsung introduced Ballie, an autonomous small sphere with built-in camera, microphone and speaker that moves by rolling. Samsung Think Tank Team co-founder/head Sajid Sadi, who is also Samsung vice president of research, described the Team’s vision for Ballie. Sadi noted that the first two issues regarding Ballie were “mobility and personality.” The small robot needed to be able to travel over many different floor types and couldn’t intimidate children or pets. Continue reading Samsung Reveals More Details About Concept Robot Ballie

CES 2020: ‘Robots for Good’ Advocates See Hopeful Future

A conference on “Robots for Good” sought to allay increased fears that robot overlords will soon rule the world and make humans redundant in the workforce. UC Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, who heads a robotics lab there, spoke about his “radically hopeful vision of the future.” Robots will not replace humans, he said, but rather enable people to focus on what they do best: creativity, innovation, empathy and other inherent human traits. Goldberg also put the fear of robots in historical perspective. Continue reading CES 2020: ‘Robots for Good’ Advocates See Hopeful Future

CES 2020: Early Days of AI Assistants Challenge Adoption

Moderated by Digital Trends editor-in-chief Jeremy Kaplan, a CES panel of three experts discussed the evolution of digital assistants, embedded both in devices and humanoid robots. Front Porch president Kari Olson, who is also chief innovation & technology officer, noted that, “at this point in time, we’re all toddlers” when it comes to our understanding of how to interact with digital assistants. Her company has created “possibility rooms” that enable consumers to test out devices embedded with AI assistants. Continue reading CES 2020: Early Days of AI Assistants Challenge Adoption

How 5G Will Impact Transportation, Surgery, Factories, VR

Industry experts have recently been tantalizing consumers with the super-fast speed and zero latency of 5G networks. But to achieve the kind of coverage they depict will require as many as 20 access points per square kilometer — an expensive proposition. Consumers will have to get used to the idea that 5G will roll out, but not in an evenly distributed manner. Autonomous vehicles, Internet-assisted surgery, factory automation and virtual reality are some of the first sectors that will see the impact of 5G networks. Continue reading How 5G Will Impact Transportation, Surgery, Factories, VR

Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple was close to a deal to pick up Intel’s 5G mobile chip business. Now it’s official. Apple revealed yesterday that it would spend $1 billion to purchase the majority of the chip giant’s smartphone modem business in a deal expected to close during the fourth quarter. The acquisition, which will provide Apple with new intellectual property, equipment, leases and about 2,200 Intel employees, should help the company gain more control over the development of wireless tech for its iPhones and reduce its reliance on Intel-rival Qualcomm. Continue reading Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Robotics-as-a-Service Rises, California Puts Limits on Bots

Up until now, massive conglomerates have dominated robotics, but that’s about to change, as the cost of hardware production plunges (due to globalization) and computing and cloud solutions become cheaper, more powerful and easy to ramp up. That’s given rise to Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions, in which vertical-specific hardware and software are bundled and sold in monthly subscription packages. At the same time, California enacted a new law that would require a bot to reveal its “artificial identity.” Continue reading Robotics-as-a-Service Rises, California Puts Limits on Bots

Alphabet Unveils Master Plan for Toronto Smart City Project

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs project began in 2017 when Toronto invited the company to turn an undeveloped 12-acre lot, Quayside, into a model of the digital city of the future. Now, Alphabet has issued a 1,524-page master plan that, in four volumes, details how it will spend the $1.3 billion earmarked for the project. Among those plans, Alphabet details using environmentally-friendly timber, installing an underground pneumatic tube for garbage removal, and building streets for autonomous vehicles from subsidiary Waymo. Continue reading Alphabet Unveils Master Plan for Toronto Smart City Project

Google Scientists Generate Realistic Videos at Scale with AI

Google research scientists report that they have produced realistic frames from open source video data sets at scale. Neural networks are able to generate complete videos from only a start and end frame, but it’s the complexity, information density and randomness of video that have made it too challenging to create such realistic clips at scale. The scientists wrote that, to their knowledge, “this is the first promising application of video-generation models to videos of this complexity.” The systems are based on a neural architecture known as Transformers, as described in a Google Brain paper, and are autoregressive, “meaning they generate videos pixel by pixel.” Continue reading Google Scientists Generate Realistic Videos at Scale with AI

Facebook Turns to Robots to Advance Artificial Intelligence

Humans learn from experience to not “do dumb things,” and Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun is trying to create a version of that for robots, saying that systems that learn “models of the world” are our best shot at advancing artificial intelligence. Unlike a rewards/demerits-based reinforcement learning, Facebook’s tack is to instill curiosity, by giving the robot freedom to try new things. With New York University, Facebook also dramatically reduced the number of tries to teach a robotic arm to grasp an object. Continue reading Facebook Turns to Robots to Advance Artificial Intelligence

AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

Robot reporters are on the rise, in use at Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times among other news outlets. The Cyborg system helps Bloomberg reporters produce thousands of articles on company earnings and analyze/write financial reports very quickly. Not only do business reporters find this kind of writing dull, but Cyborg’s speed helps it compete with rival Reuters. The other news outlets above use robots to report on sports, although the LAT relies on them for earthquakes. Continue reading AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

CES Panel: 5G and Internet of Things From Robots to Tractors

Internet of Things is no longer just about smartwatches and fitness bands. At CES 2019, 5G enables ubiquitous connectivity — from tractors to robots. TechRadar mobile editor David Lumb presided over a panel of speakers from companies as diverse as John Deere, LG Electronics and Bosch. “We have a huge need for our machines to be connected,” said John Deere director of digital solutions Lane Arthur. “All our machines are enabled with 4G and we’re already moving a lot of data. 5G will enable us to do more.” Continue reading CES Panel: 5G and Internet of Things From Robots to Tractors

CES: A Look at Robots, Conscious Computers and Humanity

During CES, Gigaom publisher Byron Reese discussed the ideas in his latest book, “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of Humanity” with CTA’s Cindy Stevens. Reese’s previous three ages are Language and Fire; Agriculture and Cities; Writing and Wheels. But robotics and conscious computers, said Reese, divide people into two groups. “People like Stephen Hawking see AI as an existential threat,” he said. “Whereas Mark Zuckerberg and others think that’s ridiculous and can’t fathom that point of view.” Continue reading CES: A Look at Robots, Conscious Computers and Humanity

CES Keynote: LG Exec Asks if Life Is Better and By How Much

In his CES pre-show keynote presentation, LG Electronics president and chief technology officer Dr. I.P. Park set the stage for an AI-infused vision of tomorrow by questioning if we are “making our lives better, how much better, and better how?” Park called on XPRIZE Foundation founder and executive chairman Peter Diamandis to illustrate what artificial intelligence enables and Landing AI founder and CEO Andrew Ng to explain how AI technologies will evolve. Open-source webOS and 5G were the cornerstone technologies for the product demonstrations by Luxoft and Qualcomm, respectively. Continue reading CES Keynote: LG Exec Asks if Life Is Better and By How Much

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