Apple Set to Join Amazon, Google, Facebook in AI Research Group

Apple Inc. is set to join the Partnership on AI, an artificial intelligence
research group that includes Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google,
Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Apple Inc. is set to join the Partnership on AI, an artificial intelligence research group that includes Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Apple’s admission into the group could be announced as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the situation. Representatives at Apple and the Partnership on AI declined to comment.

When the nonprofit organization was announced in September, it anticipated gaining additional members. Apple, Twitter Inc., Intel Corp. and China’s Baidu Inc. were among noticeable absentees at the time.

While the introduction of the Siri virtual assistant in 2011 gave Apple an early presence in AI for consumers, it has since lost ground to rivals such as Google and Amazon. Apple’s penchant for secrecy limited its efforts to improve AI offerings and hire the best talent. That’s because researchers in the field like to publish their findings, something Apple frowned upon in the past. That approach began to change late last year with the hiring of Carnegie Mellon Professor Russ Salakhutdinov and the publishing of its first public AI paper.

Joining the Partnership on AI is the latest sign that Apple is opening up more. The group says it aims to “conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license."

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Help Google Develop Tools for Raspberry Pi

Google intends to make a range of smart tools available this year. Google’s
range of AI and machine learning technology could enable makers to build
even more powerful projects. To make this happen, Google needs help from
the maker community. Raspberry Pi fans are the best makers around, and it’s
their ideas that will give the tech company direction.

Google is going to arrive in style in 2017. The tech titan has exciting plans for the maker community.

It intends to make a range of smart tools available this year. Google’s range of AI and machine learning technology could enable makers to build even more powerful projects.

To make this happen, Google needs help from the maker community. Raspberry Pi fans are the best makers around, and it’s their ideas that will give the tech company direction.

Hi, makers! Thank you for taking the time to take our survey. We at Google are interested in creating smart tools for makers, and want to hear from you about what would be most helpful. As a thank you, we will share our findings with the community so that you can learn more about makers around the world.
— Google

The company can produce some serious tools for the maker community, so make sure you have your say to get the tools you need.

Let Google know what you would like by clicking here and filling out the survey.

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How Google Uses Machine Learning in its Search Algorithms

Gary Illyes of Google tells us Google may use machine learning to aggregate
signals together for better search quality, and with RankBrain.

One of the biggest buzzwords around Google and the overall technology market is machine learning. Google uses it with RankBrain for search and in other ways. We asked Gary Illyes from Google in part two of our interview how Google uses machine learning with search.

Illyes said that Google uses it mostly for “coming up with new signals and signal aggregations.” So they may look at two or more different existing non-machine-learning signals and see if adding machine learning to the aggregation of them can help improve search rankings and quality.

He also said, “RankBrain, where … which re-ranks based on based on historical signals,” is another way they use machine learning, and later explained how RankBrain works and that Penguin doesn’t really use machine learning.

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AI System as Good as Experts at Recognising Skin Cancers

Deep learning-based system could be further developed for smartphones,
increasing access to screening and aiding early detection of cancers.

Computers can classify skin cancers as successfully as human experts, according to the latest research attempting to apply artificial intelligence to health.

The US-based researchers say the new system, which is based on image recognition, could be developed for smartphones, increasing access to screening and providing a low-cost way to check whether skin lesions are cause for concern.

“We hope that this is a first step towards early detection,” said Andre Esteva, an electrical engineering PhD student from Stanford University and co-author of the research.

According to the World Health Organisation, skin cancer accounts for one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide, with global incidence on the rise.

In the UK alone, 131,772 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were recorded in 2014. In the same year there were 15,419 new cases of the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, making it the fifth most common cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

As the disease is often initially spotted by a visual examination, Esteva teamed up with colleagues in fields ranging from dermatology to artificial intelligence to create a computer system that would aid screening.

Their approach, described in the journal Nature, is based on deep learning – a class of algorithms used for artificial intelligence. When fed with a large set of ready-sorted data these algorithms pick out and “learn” patterns and relationships. Once trained, the algorithms can then be used to categorise new, unsorted data.

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Why Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity

Andrew Ng, chief scientist at the Chinese company Baidu, explains why
breakthroughs in machine learning will transform countless industries.

Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years.
— Andrew Ng

Electricity changed how the world operated. It upended transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare. AI is poised to have a similar impact, he says. Information technology, web search, and advertising are already being powered by artificial intelligence. It decides whether we’re approved for a bank loan. It helps us order a pizza and estimate our wait time, and even tells the driver where to deliver it. Other areas ripe for AI impact: fin-tech, logistics, healthcare, security, and transportation.

Andrew Ng Video

Artificial intelligence already powers many of our interactions today. When you ask Siri for directions, peruse Netflix’s recommendations, or get a fraud alert from your bank, these interactions are led by computer systems using large amounts of data to predict your needs.

The market is only going to grow. By 2020, research firm IDC predicts, AI will help drive worldwide revenues to over $47 billion, up from $8 billion in 2016.

Still, computer scientist and Coursera co-founder, Andrew Ng says fears that AI will replace humans are misplaced:

Despite all the hype and excitement about AI, it’s still extremely limited today relative to what human intelligence is.
— Andrew Ng

Why It Matters That Artificial Intelligence Is About to Beat the World’s Best Poker Players

Libratus, a smart new computing system, is pushing into new territory for
artificial intelligence.

If you've ever left a poker table penniless, you definitely don't want to go up against Libratus.

Built by a computer science professor and a graduate student, the artificial intelligence system is handily beating pro poker players in a Texas hold'em tournament in Pittsburgh. Two weeks into the 20-day heads up (or one-on-one), no-limit tournament, Libratus is up by more than a million dollars on its human counterparts.

The A.I. system was designed by Tuomas Sandholm, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, and his student, Noam Brown. It's playing thousands of games per day--and winning most of them.

A.I. systems have already wiped the floor with humans at a number of games. Last year, a system from Google's DeepMind defeated world Go champion Lee Sedol in a five game series. IBM's Watson beat some of Jeopardy!'s most successful contestants. And computers have been thrashing humans at chess, checkers, and backgammon for years.

All these competitions are what Sandholm refers to as complete information games. "You know exactly what the state of the world is when you make your move," Sandholm says. You know what the board looks like and your opponent's score.

But in heads up hold'em, which pits two players against each other, the opposing player's cards are an unknown. The fact that the A.I. can overcome that obstacle and work around the information it doesn't have is why this represents such a breakthrough--beating the best of the best requires levels of reasoning and gamesmanship that computers haven't before achieved.

"Heads up, no-limit Texas hold'em is the benchmark that the A.I. community has converged on," Sandholm says. Last year, it came close: A different A.I. system created by Sandholm beat some skilled players, but faltered when it played the top professionals.

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AI is About to Become Your Company’s Digital Spokesperson

As AI takes on the primary role of interacting with both your customers and
employees, it must be considered a core competency demanding of C-level
investment and strategy.

Moving beyond a back-end tool for the enterprise, artificial intelligence (AI) is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces. From autonomous driving vehicles that use computer vision, to live translations made possible by machine learning, AI is making every interface both simple and smart–and setting a high bar for how future experiences will work.

AI is poised to act as the face of a company’s digital brand and a key differentiator – and become a core competency demanding of C-level investment and strategy.

AI is the New UI - Tech Vision 2017 Trend 1 from Accenture Technology

Deploy AI well across company interfaces, and customers no longer need to understand complicated technology to use it: they can simply talk to, gesture at, or touch the AI that controls it.

In deploying contextual intelligence to an interface to make it truly intuitive, companies should aim to make the technology it’s supporting disappear. That opens doors to greater adoption of complicated tools, just by providing access to them through a simpler AI-enabled experience. Put simply, invisible technology gets more use.

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IBM Adds TensorFlow Support to PowerAI

IBM’s PowerAI system for machine learning on a mix of Power8 processors and
Nvidia GPUs now supports Google’s deep learning framework.

IBM said that Google's open source TensorFlow machine learning and neural network software is getting enterprise traction.

IBM said it is offering support for Google's open source machine learning technology TensorFlow with its PowerAI software.

The move highlights ongoing collaboration between tech giants in the AI space including Google, Nvidia, IBM, and AMD.

According to IBM, TensorFlow has become popular among enterprises looking to use deep learning frameworks. By offering PowerAI support, enterprises will have more options to use TensorFlow.

While TensorFlow has only been available for a little over a year, it has quickly become the most popular open source machine learning project on GitHub. IBM’s PowerAI already supported other frameworks and libraries like CAFFETheano, Torch, cuDNN, and NVIDIA DIGITS, but Tensorflow support was sorely missing from this lineup.

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Infographic: The Growth of Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce

Here’s why artificial intelligence will be beneficial for retailers and
consumers. From creating personalized shopping experiences to offering
virtual buying assistants — AI is improving the online shopping experience
for consumers and retailers.

Here's why artificial intelligence will be beneficial for retailers and consumers.

From creating personalized shopping experiences to offering virtual buying assistants - AI is improving the online shopping experience for consumers and retailers.

Shoppers will be able to easily find the best price for an item and communicate with chatbots for quick customer service. For retailers, they’ll be able to better analyze consumer data to predict future buying patterns, create autonomous replenishing systems and also save money and time on customer service by utilizing chatbots.

A number of companies already employ AI in their ecommerce processes today. Netflix uses AI to provide personalized recommendations to subscribers based on their previous streaming habits. Under Armour, with the help of IBM’s Watson, uses AI to help its customers track their health and fitness activities.


Over the next few years, we’ll likely see other retailers incorporate AI into their ecommerce practices as well. To learn how AI will shape the future of ecommerce, check out’s infographic.

Whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something you’ve just come across or it’s something you’ve been monitoring for a while, there’s no denying that it’s starting to influence many industries. And one place that it’s really starting to change things is e-commerce.
Here you’ll find some interesting stats and facts about how AI is growing in eCommerce and how it’s changing the way we do things. From personalizing the shopping experience for customers to creating personal buying assistants, AI is something retailers can’t ignore. We also take a look at some examples of how leading online stores have used AI to enrich the customer buying experience.

AI Software Learns to Make AI Software

Google and others think software that learns to learn could take over some
work done by AI experts.

Progress in artificial intelligence causes some people to worry that software will take jobs such as driving trucks away from humans. Now leading researchers are finding that they can make software that can learn to do one of the trickiest parts of their own jobs—the task of designing machine-learning software.

In one experiment, researchers at the Google Brain artificial intelligence research group had software design a machine-learning system to take a test used to benchmark software that processes language. What it came up with surpassed previously published results from software designed by humans.

In recent months several other groups have also reported progress on getting learning software to make learning software. They include researchers at the nonprofit research institute OpenAI (which was cofounded by Elon Musk), MIT, the University of California, Berkeley, and Google’s other artificial intelligence research group, DeepMind.

If self-starting AI techniques become practical, they could increase the pace at which machine-learning software is implemented across the economy. Companies must currently pay a premium for machine-learning experts, who are in short supply.

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