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Artificial Intelligence - Everybody wants it!

Level 13

Though we can sit around and talk about the threat of Skynet (as we have a little in comments on my previous posts) it seems the tech world is committed to the pursuit and enhancement of artificial intelligence. In fact, you’re almost not a leading tech company right now if I google your name + artificial intelligence and I get zero results. AI startups are also in hot demand. So what exactly are the technology leaders planning?

Microsoft – CEO Satya Nadella doesn’t keep it a secret that AI is key for his company “AI is at the intersection of our ambitions.” Even with the socially failed Tay chatbot experiment, Microsoft learnt that at least in the USA, chatbots would need to be built to be resilient to attacks. Most recently, Microsoft announced a partnership to support Elon Musk & Co’s OpenAI non-profit AI research organization with Azure computing power. Microsoft is staying true to its corporate mission, democratizing AI so it’s accessible for every person and every organization on the planet to help them achieve more.

Google: Google’s research division has been hard at work on Machine Intelligence for years, boasting 623 publications to-date in their library (that they are happy to publicly share).  Parent company Alphabet boasts the neural network company Deep Mind in its collection, acquired in 2014. Within the last few days, Google have added Jia Li (head of research at Snapchat) and Fei-Fei-Li (director of the AI lab at Stanford University) to lead a new group with the Google Cloud division.

Facebook: They’ve got access to your data and already have a reputation for serving you with targeted information. Facebook is focusing on how to scale, to deliver promises like “We’re trying to build more than 1.5 billion AI agents—one for every person who uses Facebook or any of its products.” Joaquin Candela, the head of the Applied Machine Learning group wins the award for my favorite AI quote though “We tend to take things like storage, networking, and compute for granted,” he says. “When the video teams builds live videos, people don’t realize the magnitude of this thing. It’s insane. The infrastructure team is just there, shipping magic—making the impossible possible. We need to do the same with AI. We need to make AI be so completely part of our engineering fabric that you take it for granted.” As an infrastructure junkie, I like anyone who calls my work ‘magic’.

Apple: Jumping on the AI bandwagon, Apple is kind of sad that their AI is so unobtrusive that people don’t even realize Apple’s in the AI game. And we’re not just talking about Siri.  Apple doesn’t have a dedicated machine learning department, but the capability underpins a lot of their product capabilities. They are certainly quieter than other brands about what they are working on behind the scenes. One interesting development is the enhancement of image processing software using AI, so physical lens hardware will no longer be the defining factor in camera capability.

Cisco: Not wanting to miss out either, Cisco have developed their own virtual assistance called Monica. I’d never heard of her except for the girl from Friends, but it’s been a few years since I touched a corporate telepresence system. Restricted to the office right now, Cisco has plans to increase Monica’s usefulness. It could be handy to say ‘Monica, find me the PowerPoint that Jo presentation last Thursday’. Back at its core business, Cisco has also been smart with AI company acquisitions, snapping up Cognitive Security who use AI techniques to detect advanced cyber threats.

IBM: The granddaddy of AI, IBM’s Watson super computer has grown up a little from winning games of Jeopardy. At CES 2016, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty unveiled strategic partnerships with sportswear maker Under Armour, Softbank Robotics’ Pepper and more.  IBM’s Cognitive Business Solutions unit is banking on AI as the future of business, with smarts like “When people ask how Watson is different than a search engine, I tell them to go on Google and type 'anything that's not an elephant.' What do you get? Tons of pictures of elephants. But Watson knows those subtle differences. It understands that when feet and noses run, those are very different things”

Elon Musk: To put this paragraph under just the title of Tesla would do the man a disservice. Musk and his business partners formed the OpenAI research company to stop AI from ruining the world.  

There you have it. The tech giants are determined to make this happen, whether we like it or not...



Although Skeptical Cat has strong reservations about A.I., I sure appreciate the concept for convenience.

As long as A.I. / smart apps / bots only make life better, I'm a supporter.  But the instant in which an antagonist can leverage the new technology to negative impact our lives, our businesses, or our environment, then A.I.-styled technologies have huge potential to make a LOT of bad things happen quickly.

If you wished to negatively impact U.S. transportation or oil or electrical or financial or medical or education or tech companies, then you'd target powerful bots, apps, and A.I. solutions to do a lot of work for your purposes.

Level 14

Sounds like it would be a fun field to work in, so long as management isn't AI.

Level 13

learning machines have been around for a long time (my first experience was an electronic chess set when I was 12). AI goes even further, and if done correctly, can help in a lot of different scenarios and situations. The largest problem is the idea of compassion rather than dealing with just numbers and percentages.

Level 14

While all of this is interesting, fascinating and thought provoking.... Somehow I still wonder if in the future.... we wander into the AI of Space Above and Beyond.

If designers, developers, security types, businesses, governments, and militaries don't treat past horror or suspense A.I. movies as guides for what to avoid, then their negative counterparts will use those movies as guides for what to attempt to achieve.

Can you give us a little Johnny Mnemonic?   Just the ability to stick storage right in to our heads, minus the leakage...  Maybe a little matrix "i just learned jiu jitsu" but maybe minus the giant metal rod that would no doubt come out of your mouth. 


You forgot Stephen Hawking.  He's said that AI could be "either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity", and was also quoted as saying "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

Diane Green of Google was also recently quoted that she does not believe that AI singularity will occur in her lifetime.  She's about 60 though...

If you know about "Burning Chrome", you're my hero!

Level 13

Despite the risks, the tech giants are committed to the cause. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

Level 13

There are some really smart people working in this field on real-world applications.

Level 13

That's what we wonder - if human traits like compassion or even context can be 'programmed' into AI.

Level 13

You're not the only one wondering that.

Level 13

Hey it's advancing, but not quite THAT fast

Level 20

The MicroSoft Neural Network lab in the cloud is cool:  Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio

Anyone can try for free!  They have many different network primitives already totally setup and ready to go!  It's pretty amazing considering when I was in school we were just beginning to explore neural network models and how to train them.  They even have a tool to help you select the algorithm based on questions about what kind of problem you are trying to solve:  Azure Machine Learning

This is some pretty legit stuff this Computer Scientist thinks!

Level 16

I'm pretty sure where we will end up


Level 13

Who wants to be that little boy........  Humanity will end.........

Related image

Level 13

I don't know...I think they should work on memory and brain enhancements...imagine plugging in a memory stick and downloading it to your brain?

Level 14

Possibly a government three letter organization using same said port to download your memories?  Importing new memories?


Just think of the virtual vacations you could have......or did you ?

Level 21

On the InfoSec side of the fence we already face the fact that we are no longer up against people trying to hack our networks and systems, we are up against machines.  Unfortunately this becomes a problem when on the defense side you are still using people and their ability to leverage the network and applications as your defense strategy.  We are no seeing some really amazing emerging A.I. and M.L. based systems that allow us to pit machines against machines; without it the war is lost.

Some great examples are Darktrace, Observable Networks and and Heuristic AV such as that deployed by Kaspersky.

Level 16

Oh man... can someone find a keyboard for me....