AI News, Artificial Intelligence

AI 101: What is artificial intelligence and where is it going?

The phrase “artificial intelligence” in pop culture often conjures up dystopian images such as the sentient computer Hal 9000 from the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey”

“What’s deceptive is that what’s simple to us in the kitchen is challenging for a robot,” said University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Professor Dieter Fox, who also serves as the lab’s senior director of robotics research. The Silicon Valley-based technology company opened the robotics lab last fall to harness the UW’s talent in a sector where Seattle plays a central role.

The Turing test analyzed whether a machine has developed a humanlike level of awareness through a test that involved one human and one machine respondent, and a human judge placed in another room who would ask the two contestants questions for five minutes.

This July, Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University announced they’d created an AI program called Pluribus that defeated five top players in the popular poker game Texas Hold’em, suggesting AI has reached a level of strategic reasoning that surpasses humans, the researchers said. Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Tuomas Sandholm said the research behind Pluribus could be applied to real-world scenarios including optimizing strategies in investment banking.

For instance, if a robot followed a recipe to mix together flour, eggs and milk, then placed the ingredients in a preheated oven to bake a cake, it might learn over several attempts — a data set — that too much flour would make the cake dry.

Based on the actions of other customers who purchase mattresses, for example, the algorithm could determine that the person is likely to buy a bed frame next. Unsupervised learning is when a system goes on a fishing expedition to find underlying patterns in information without a specific goal in mind.

The AI bot Pluribus beat five top poker players in Texas Hold ‘em through reinforcement learning — it improved its results by learning which bets were likely to win more money, and analyzed its hands afterward to determine whether alternatives would have yielded better results.

NLP technology uses machine-learning algorithms that tag parts of speech and the relationships between words to analyze the meaning in text and audio. Gmail’s Smart Compose feature, unveiled last year, takes NLP a step further by offering users suggestions to complete a sentence in the body of an email.

Deepfake technology Another new application of AI, deepfake technology, uses deep learning models to manipulate photos and videos to create realistic images of people doing or saying something they never did, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Watch out for deepfake videos that depict fabricated political speech in the upcoming election cycle!

For office workers, AI tools in Microsoft 365 offers suggestions to complete projects in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. AI-powered speech recognition tools in the translation and transcription service Translator are also used in lectures to provide captions on a screen for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Amazon Go uses computer vision, multiple sensors and deep learning — the same technologies found in autonomous cars — to automatically detect when a customer takes items from shelves and walks out of the store. An AI-powered feature on the Amazon app called StyleSnap allows shoppers to customize their wardrobes by uploading a photo or screenshot of a style they admire.

Meanwhile, the Amazon virtual assistant Alexa uses natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms to enable more than 90,000 tasks, such as listening to music on command, calling friends and family, booking hotel rooms and controlling light switches.

“We have been working with advanced technologies like machine learning for decades, but we are only in the beginning stages of understanding the possibilities and how invention can improve lives for good by helping solve the big (and small) problems we all face every day,”

As a step to finding new careers for people displaced by advancements in artificial intelligence and automation, Etzioni has suggested wage increases for caregivers and the creation of government programs to train a new generation of caretakers.

On a more positive note, a 2018 report from World Economic Forum — a nonprofit composed of the world’s 1,000 top companies — predicts that while 75 million jobs will be displaced by automation, it will generate 133 million new roles across all industries within the next three years if workers receive continuous retraining.

Artificial intelligence being used in schools to detect self-harm and bullying

One of England's biggest academy chains is testing pupils' mental health using an AI (artificial intelligence) tool which can predict self-harm, drug abuse and eating disorders, Sky News can reveal.

leading technology think tank has called the move 'concerning', saying 'mission creep' could mean the test is used to stream pupils and limit their educational potential.

The test, which is taken twice a year, asks students to imagine a space they feel comfortable in, then poses a series of abstract questions, such as 'how easy is it for somebody to come into your space?'

Dr Simon Walker, a cognitive scientist who conducted studies with 10,000 students in order to develop AS Tracking, says this allows teachers to hear pupils' 'hidden voice' - in contrast to traditional surveys, which tend to ask more direct questions.

'A 13-year-old girl or boy isn't going to tell a teacher whether they're feeling popular or thinking about self harm, so getting reliable information is very difficult,' he says.

Once a child has finished the questionnaire, the results are sent to STEER, the company behind AS Tracking, which compares the data with its psychological model, then flags students which need attention in its teacher dashboard.

'Exploring new ways for students to ask for help might be valuable, but aren't a substitute for giving teachers time to know their students and maintain supportive relationships,' deputy general secretary Amanda Brown told Sky News.

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