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PCM IBM chip, photo IBM

Google and Intel cook AI chips, neural network exchanges – and more

Roundup Welcome to our roundup of major AI news from the past two weeks. Machine learning is so hyped right now, it doesn't help when companies such as Intel and Nvidia announce new chips and reveal little information about the specs, but make lofty claims of increased speed and precision. It's also difficult to keep track of all the …
Katyanna Quach, 22 Oct 2017

ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence

"Brains are massively parallel. We each have just under 100 billion neurons inside our heads, all running at the same time. And they are hugely connected, with 1015 synapses connecting the neurons together. The way forward in computing is parallelism. There is no other option." Professor Steve Furber, one of the designers of …
Alistair Dabbs, 19 Oct 2017

How DeepMind's AlphaGo Zero learned all by itself to trash world champ AI AlphaGo

Analysis DeepMind published a paper today describing AlphaGo Zero – a leaner and meaner version of AlphaGo, the artificially intelligent program that crushed professional Go players. Go was considered a difficult game for computers to master because, besides being complex, the number of possible moves – more than chess at 10170 – is …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2017

Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

Hello, wrong number At the heart of machine learning are patterns, and patterns are all about counting, so it's important to make sure we are counting the correct items in the correct way. Combinatorics is the branch of mathematics concerned with counting things; more specifically, all the wonderful ways you can count, arrange and manipulate finite …
Raspberry Pi active cooling

Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Microsoft, of all people, has offered a recipe for cooling the Raspberry Pi 3. Redmond's put the Pi to work on some AI-related chores and found the poor wee things run rather hot when working near their peak capacity. As the infrared shots below show, the Pi runs quite cool at first (left) but after a few minutes of exertion …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2017
Stamped word 'nope'

Way-NO, Waymo! Judge snubs demand for Uber's robo-taxi code

Updated The district judge overseeing Waymo's trade-secret legal battle with Uber has denied a request by Waymo to get all of Uber's self-driving car source code. Calling the Waymo demand "profoundly overboard", Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley flatly snubbed the Google spinoff on Monday during a hearing in San Francisco, California. " …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Oct 2017
Little girl embraces robot. Photo by Shutterstock

Boffins suggest UK needs an 'AI council' but regulation is for squares

Boffins have recommended the British government establishes a council to oversee and coordinate artificial intelligence across the private and public sectors. The suggestion was made by computer scientist Wendy Hall and BenevolentTech CEO Jér?me Pesenti in a review commissioned by the government in a bid to boost the AI …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Oct 2017
Robot reading photo via Shutterstock

Do you Word2Vec? Google's neural-network bookworm

Several years back, the Google "Brain Team" that was behind Tensorflow hatched another novel neural tool: Word2Vec. Word2Vec is a two-layer neural net for processing text. It swallows a given set of text that it then returns as a set of vectors – turning the words into a numerical form that computers can understand. Word2Vec …
Andrew Cobley, 13 Oct 2017

I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Gluon: Amazon, Microsoft hope easy AI dev tool sticks

Amazon and Microsoft on Thursday rolled out open-source software called Gluon in the stated hope of simplifying the implementation of machine learning. Gluon provides an interface, in the form of an API, for building neural networks, something that's not all that easy to do for those not steeped in the art. The software, …
Thomas Claburn, 12 Oct 2017

Alibaba's Jack Ma says: Relax, we're too wise for robots to take our jobs

Everybody chill. Alibaba founder Jack Ma says we don't need to worry about robots taking our jobs. Phewee. A paper published in March by US non-profit the National Bureau of Economic Research found that employment and wages in industries using robots fell between 1990 and 2007. Some thinkfluencers *cough* Elon Musk *cough* go …
Andrew Silver, 12 Oct 2017

Super Cali's futuristic robo-cars in focus – even though watchdogs say they're something quite atrocious

Totally autonomous cars with no drivers, no passengers nor steering wheels are set to roll out onto California's streets under rules proposed by the US state's Department of Motor Vehicles. The regulator's suggested changes to the Golden State's red tape, published Wednesday, would grease the wheels for testing next-gen self- …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Oct 2017

El Reg was invited to the House of Lords to burst the AI-pocalypse bubble

Comment To Westminster, England, where the House of Lords is conducting a wide-ranging inquiry into artificial intelligence. I'm writing a book on AI – and why people believe in it – and on the basis of some notes, was invited to give oral evidence on a panel of three alongside the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones and The Financial Times' …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2017
robot

Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Minds Mastering Machines Mark Bishop, a professor of cognitive computing and a researcher at the Tungsten Centre for Intelligent Data Analytics (TCIDA) at Goldsmiths, University of London, celebrated the successes of deep learning during a lecture at the Minds Mastering Machines conference on Monday, but stressed the limits of modern AI. Elon Musk, …
Katyanna Quach, 09 Oct 2017

Fast Forward Labs CEO: 'If every idea on the roadmap is a good idea, that scares me a bit'

Businesses' aversion to risk means they miss out on the potential rewards of machine-learning projects – but some still have impractical ideas about what artificial intelligence can really offer them. That's according to Hilary Mason, founder of analytics and algorithm research biz Fast Forward Labs, which was last month …
Rebecca Hill, 09 Oct 2017
Tesla photo via Shutterstock

Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

Last year, a dark historical landmark was reached. Joshua Brown became the first confirmed person to die in a crash where the car was, at least in part, driving itself. On a Florida highway, his Tesla Model?S ploughed underneath a white truck trailer that was straddling the road, devastating the top half of the car. Brown’s …
David Matthews, 09 Oct 2017
Google Home

Google Assistant clears its throat, very weird 'machine IQ' tests, new AMD chip – plus more

AI Roundup Hello, here's this week's snippets of artificial intelligence news. It shows how some AI frameworks are beginning to mature, and that some research is applicable to the real world, while other papers are questionable. More natural sounding robo-assistants DeepMind's WaveNet model, a neural network that generates machine speech …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Oct 2017
Girl and computer, photo via Shutterstock

Here's a gentle guide to building JavaScript AI in web browsers. Totally not a scary thing

Google today popped online something called Teachable Machines, a simple demo for programmers interested in deep learning. The point is, it works directly in your web browser so you can get going tinkering with an educational neural network right away without having to spin up a full machine-learning development stack and …
Katyanna Quach, 05 Oct 2017
Doctor examines virtual brain

DeepMind now has an ethics unit – which may have helped when it ate 1.6m NHS patient details

Google's controversial DeepMind has created an ethics unit to "explore and understand" the real-world impacts of Artificial Intelligence. The DeepMind Ethics & Society (DMES) group will be comprised of both full-time DeepMind employees and external fellows. It will be headed by technology consultant Sean Legassick and former …
Kat Hall, 04 Oct 2017

What is the probability of being drunk at work and also being tested? Let's find out! Correctly

Hello, wrong number Analytical skills are in big demand so it is really important not to make the basic, common, mistakes that show you up as a newbie. For example, probability calculations are often performed on binary outcomes such as "What is the probability that a given policy holder will claim?" The result is binary because they will either …
Robot surveys city by the sea. Image via SHutterstock

You better explain yourself, mister: DARPA's mission to make an accountable AI

The US government's mighty DARPA last year kicked off a research project designed to make systems controlled by artificial intelligence more accountable to their human users. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to give this $2.97bn agency its full name, is the Department of Defense's body responsible for emerging …
Dan Robinson, 28 Sep 2017
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM launches unified data analytics system, promises machine learning for all

IBM has announced a unified analytics system that allows data scientists to work across multiple data stores in ways the company said should eliminate time-consuming data integration and preparation. The Integrated Analytics System, launched at the Strata Data Conference in New York, aims to let data scientists develop and …
Rebecca Hill, 28 Sep 2017

'Self learning' Intel chips glimpsed, Nvidia emits blueprints, AMD and Tesla rumors, and more

AI roundup Here's your weekly dose of key announcements in the world of artificial intelligence. The flurry of hardware-related news shows how machine learning software is reinvigorating chip design. Chipzilla's "self-learning chip" Intel is the latest company to hype up a chip specialized for AI. But it's not a GPU, a CPU, nor an FPGA …
Katyanna Quach, 28 Sep 2017
The main room at Continuous Lifecycle

Need to get up to speed on machine learning, AI?

There are just 25 tickets left for MCubed, our machine learning, AI and analytics conference, so if you want to spend two days learning how those technologies could change your business, you need to secure your ticket now. We’ve worked hard to bring together a speaker lineup in Central London that won’t just talk about what AI …
Team Register, 26 Sep 2017
AI

Splunk goes native with machine learning, aims to speed up monitoring

Analytics firm Splunk is making machine learning central to the next generation of its enterprise solution, and claims it performs 20 times faster than before. Splunk's platform drills into the machine-to-machine data generated by big companies to help them identify weak spots and boost operations and performance. It has …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Sep 2017
Robot AI Woman

Baidu puts open source deep learning into smartphones

A year after it open sourced its PaddlePaddle deep learning suite, Baidu has dropped another piece of AI tech into the public domain – a project to put AI on smartphones. Mobile Deep Learning (MDL) landed at GitHub under the MIT license a day ago, along with the exhortation “Be all eagerness to see it”. MDL is a convolution- …
Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

AI in Medicine? It's back to the future, Dr Watson

Analysis "OK, the error rate is terrible, but it's Artificial Intelligence – so it can only improve!" Of course. AI is always "improving" – as much is implied by the cleverly anthropomorphic phrase, "machine learning". Learning systems don't get dumber. But what if they don't actually improve? The caveat accompanies almost any …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Sep 2017

Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code

The Rubik’s Cube is one of those toys that just won't go away. Solving it is either something you can do in minutes to impress, or find so hard you end up using it as a paperweight. There are several algorithms for solving the classic cube, which has a whopping 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 – about 43 quintillion – possible …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Sep 2017
Protestor barricade image via Shutterstock

Has science gone too far, part 97: Boffins craft code to find protesters on social networks, rate them on their violence

Mining social networks for every scrap of information about our online lives is now common practice for marketers, academics, government agencies, and so on. Text in tweets, blogs and other posts is valuable because it's searchable, analyzable, and not terribly costly to crawl, fetch or store. But ongoing computer vision …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Sep 2017

Chatbots: A load of hype or fancy lifehack for the lazy IT person?

It's the age of the chatbot. The chatbot revolution is coming. Unless it isn't. Conversational User Interfaces are still very much on the Innovation Trigger rising curve of Gartner's hype cycle. And the people who are the most hyped up about chatbots seem to be the people that sell platforms to build them on. As chatbots seep …
Sonia Cuff, 21 Sep 2017

Top video game dev nerve-center Unity can now be used to train AI

Unity, the most popular cross-platform game engine favored by video game developers, on Tuesday opened up its platform for machine learning researchers to test their algorithms. Reinforcement learning is a strand of machine learning that teaches agents to perform a specific task in a given environment. It’s been useful for …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Sep 2017
password

AI slurps, learns millions of passwords to work out which ones you may use next

Eggheads have produced a machine-learning system that has studied millions of passwords used by folks online to work out other passphases people are likely to use. These AI-guessed passwords could be used with today's tools to crack more hashed passwords, and log into more strangers' accounts on systems, than ever before. …
Iain Thomson, 20 Sep 2017
Student doing air guitar photo via Shutterstock

Why being 'boring' is a university AI spinout's route to success

The world of artificial intelligence changed in early 2014 when Google paid £400m for DeepMind Technologies, a company founded by neuroscientist and polymath Demis Hassabis. Since then large numbers of Fortune 500 companies have moved to grab what AI intellectual assets – usually university researchers – they could find. AI …
Marcus Gibson, 19 Sep 2017
An old race car

Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

Microsoft on Sunday bragged its artificial intelligence technology is behind the, er, success of the massively underperforming Renault Formula One team. In a poorly timed bit of marketing, the Redmond software giant talked up its partnership with the racing team just as the latter finds itself sitting 433 points behind leader …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Sep 2017
Brain image via Shutterstock

Former UK.gov IT man and Python king's guide to neural networks

Interview If you're going to learn about neural networks, you could do worse than learn it from someone who got five A levels (all grade As), has his MSc in Advanced Computing, and can tell you how to build your own neural network in 30 lines of code, even if you don't know any calculus. There aren't many people fitting that description …
Danny Bradbury, 14 Sep 2017
Elon Musk sketch image via Shutterstock

Regulate, says Musk – OK, but who writes the New Robot Rules?

When the Knightscope K5 surveillance bot fell into the pond at an office complex in Washington, DC, last month, it wasn’t the first time the company’s Future of Security machines had come a cropper. In April, a K5 got on the wrong side of a drunken punch but still managed to call it in, reinforcing its maker’s belief that the …
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Cloudera bags AI biz, eyes up IBM customers... and continues to report operating losses

Big data company Cloudera has acquired an artificial intelligence research firm in a bid to expand its machine learning offering and get customers to part with more of their cash. The smaller firm, Fast Forward Labs, focuses on machine learning and applied AI research, with its CEO Hilary Mason describing algorithms as her …
Rebecca Hill, 08 Sep 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT ? 1998–2017