Microsoft Project Oxford Updates Could Bring AI to More Apps

Following announcements that Google is releasing its TensorFlow machine learning platform so developers can create their own artificial intelligence programs, and Nvidia has made a significant update to its Jetson TX1 supercomputer-on-a-chip, Microsoft is the latest with major AI news. The company has updated its Project Oxford suite of AI tools with powerful new features and programs designed to identify human emotions and voices, for example, that could make their way into the apps we use on a daily basis. Continue reading Microsoft Project Oxford Updates Could Bring AI to More Apps

Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Google is now relying on artificial intelligence, with a system dubbed RankBrain, for a small but significant part of its search business. Since Google is identified with search, keeping on the bleeding edge of search technology is critical to its dominance, and Google has been researching artificial intelligence — software that learns about the world — for over five years. Prior to launching RankBrain for search, Google has been a big corporate sponsor of AI, invested in it for videos, speech and translation. Continue reading Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Researchers from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have developed a microfiber technology that enables them to build brain-like computers. “Photonic synapses” are collections of microfibers that pass electronic signals. The optical fibers can send signals at the speed of light, much faster than the neurons in real brains. This breakthrough could provide a boost to both robotics and AI technology. Improved vehicle control, speech, and search are just some of the possible applications. Continue reading Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Building Tomorrow’s Search Engines to Sense as Humans Do

In the past decade and a half, there have been only minimal modifications to Google Search. The popular search engine functions as it always has; one enters a query into the type box and in return is given a list of instantaneous results based on the keywords. Although the search engine continues to be effective, Stefan Weitz, senior director of search at Microsoft’s Bing predicts the search engine of tomorrow will be much more advanced and proactive than anything we have today. Continue reading Building Tomorrow’s Search Engines to Sense as Humans Do

Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

Facebook has reportedly acquired Wit.ai, a Palo Alto-based startup with an API that allows developers to make use of voice recognition and natural language processing technology for their products. Although Facebook has not yet disclosed any details about Wit moving forward, it seems that the social network’s instant messaging app Messenger will likely be a part of the plan. The voice recognition technology that Wit provides Facebook is in line with that of Apple’s Siri. Continue reading Social: Facebook Acquires Startup with Siri-Like Technology

FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

In a blog post yesterday, FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler wrote that he is “a strong believer in the importance of an Open Internet.” In response to what Wheeler views as “misinformed” commentaries regarding the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the FCC, he offers two points of clarification: 1) This is not a final decision, but a formal request for input on the proposal, and 2) “all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.” Continue reading FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Last week the Tribune Company released a new iOS and Android app called Newsbeat, which plans to change how we consume our daily news by offering a more personalized podcast-like experience. Newsbeat has access to more than 7,000 sources from major newspapers to smaller blogs. Users can specify what types of stories and publications they are interested in, and the app will create a customized newscast by using Pandora-like artificial intelligence technology. Continue reading Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Even a cursory look at the news coming out of CES makes it clear that wearables have garnered a lot of the buzz. Smartwatches, augmented reality headsets, digital health solutions and fitness tracking monitors are all the rage here. What’s not clear is if wearables will ever intersect with the entertainment industry. Although the question itself may seem risible, it’s worth remembering that most people dismissed the mobile phone as an entertainment device only a few years ago. Continue reading Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Intel Exec Says Gestures and Voice Commands are the Future

Intel showed off some ideas for what it calls better computer commands at CES this week, as demonstrated by SVP Mooly Eden. The exec said that touch commands are not the end-all be-all and that gesture and voice commands are more natural ways of accomplishing tasks. Eden introduced a couple of Intel’s newest efforts toward “perceptual computing,” including camera modules for gesture recognition as well as similar software for speech recognition. Continue reading Intel Exec Says Gestures and Voice Commands are the Future

Court Rules That Facebook “Like” is Constitutionally Protected

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia issued a ruling that utilizing the “Like” feature on Facebook to show support for a political candidate is protected by the Constitution. The ruling is in light of a lawsuit brought by former employees of a sheriff’s office who claim they lost their jobs after supporting their boss’s opponent, which involved a campaign on Facebook. The Virginia Court’s decision reversed an earlier decision from a lower court. Continue reading Court Rules That Facebook “Like” is Constitutionally Protected

Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft is developing a personal assistant app called Cortana that will compete directly with Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana derives its name from an artificially intelligent character in Microsoft’s “Halo” series. Essentially, the app will be able to learn and adapt while utilizing machine-learning technology and the Satori knowledge repository powering Bing. The app will likely be released somewhere between 2014 and 2016. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Facebook to Acquire Developer of Speech Translation Tools

Facebook has agreed to acquire Pittsburgh-based Mobile Technologies, a developer of voice-recognition and speech translation tools. Founded in 2001, Mobile Technologies offers an automatic interpretation service for lectures and developed Jibbigo, a speech-to-speech translator app for iPhone and Android. The company’s goal has been to break “through language barriers to open up communication between the people of the world.” Continue reading Facebook to Acquire Developer of Speech Translation Tools

Twitter Facing Free Speech Challenges in Global Markets

Twitter promotes itself as a protector of over 200 million people who publicly share their lives online. But increasingly, carefree tweets are conflicting with differing global laws and standards in new markets for the microblogger. The company’s hands-off approach is being tested as it enters markets in France, Germany, China and Brazil. As it is increasingly subject to local laws, Twitter is facing challenges regarding free speech and censorship. Continue reading Twitter Facing Free Speech Challenges in Global Markets

Microsoft Files Patent for Multiplayer Head-Mounted Display

Microsoft has filed a patent application for a multiplayer gaming headset that could one day rival the Oculus Rift. The application, first filed in January 2012 and recently made public, includes technology related to voice interaction, eye-tracking, facial recognition, and various components for tracking head movement. If the patent application is more than a defensive measure, it could extend the Xbox platform into new hardware and new locations. Continue reading Microsoft Files Patent for Multiplayer Head-Mounted Display

Facebook Responds to Activist Concerns About Hate Speech

Facebook acknowledged yesterday that its systems have failed to effectively identify and remove hate speech, particularly in regards to gender-based issues. The announcement was made in response to pressure from feminist groups that want to ban a growing amount of text and images that promote violence against women. Facebook has promised to make a number of changes, including new employee training and measures of user accountability. Continue reading Facebook Responds to Activist Concerns About Hate Speech