Microsoft has teased that it's working on AI technology, with the heart and soul of Redmond's artificial intelligence powered by Intel's new Stratix 10 field programmable gate array (FPGA) chip.
Microsoft calls its AI hardware platform "Project Brainwave", which is capable of a huge 39.5 teraflops of machine learning performance, with less than 1ms of latency. What makes Microsoft's ventures into AI better than their competitors? Well, the new chip handles complex AI tasks as they're received instead of batching the operations together and working on them after.
Thanks to Project Brainwave relying on a "soft" dynamic neural network processing engine using off-the-shelf FPGA-based processors, Microsoft's own AI framework (Cognitive Toolkit) also works with Google's own TensorFlor, and other systems. This means you can build a machine learning system, and run everything in real-time instead of being bottlenecked by hardware.
Microsoft wants to push out its new
Skynet Project Brainwave systems into their Azure cloud services, so that companies can use super-powerful, live AI. We don't know what Microsoft will achieve from this in the short term, but you can bet your bottom dollar this will turn into something big in the next 5-10 years, and beyond.
Elon Musk is known for his views on artificial intelligence. In January 2015, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and dozens of artificial intelligence experts signed an open letter on artificial intelligence calling for research on the societal impacts of AI. The letter affirmed the potentials of AI but called for a detailed research on how to prevent potential dangers.
Now, Musk decided to raise awareness again by tweeting that AI is a bigger risk than North Korea. If you were following the news lately, you are aware that the tensions with North Korea are rising again.
In another tweet, Musk explained that everything that's potential danger to the public, such as cars, planes, food, etc., is regulated and that AI should be too.
SIGGRAPH 2017 - NVIDIA had a lot to show at SIGGRAPH 2017 this year, with Quadro P6000 systems that were editing 8K video in real-time, to multiple different demonstrations of artificial intelligence and deep learning systems.
One of the AI demonstrations was an AI system called Isaac, who was a Pixar-style robot that you played dominoes against. NVIDIA had a sealed off room that you stepped into, with 3 x systems all powered with high-end Quadro P6000 graphics cards. One of the systems was powering a HTC Vive headset, while the other two were GPU grunt for the AI system, Isaac.
In the VR world, you stand in a class room, across the table from Isaac. Isaac is there to play dominoes against, with NVIDIA building their AI system to detect your moves in the game, and then countering them. If you placed a domino down and it had a single dot, Isaac would respond by working out what he's seeing (a domino with a single dot) and then reaching for one of his dominoes, and placing it next to yours - prompting you for your next move.
SpaceX is currently using the Falcon 9 rocket for the company's launches, but the bigger Falcon Heavy should take those launches over soon. Elon Musk first mentioned the Falcon Heavy rocket in a September 2005 news update. The rocket was scheduled to fly in 2014, then 2015, but there have been delays, and now, the company is aiming for the second half of this year.
SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk explained last year that developing the Falcon Heavy proved to be much more difficult than they previously thought, but it seems that the company is on track. Back in May SpaceX conducted the first Falcon Heavy static fire test which was a success.
Elon Musk has now announced that the company plans the first Falcon Heavy launch for November.
Airbus has posted a stunning video showing a 360° view from space.
The company successfully launched the Maxus 9, the largest European rocket sounding with scientific micro gravity experiments, and captured this beautiful footage.
Viewers can see footage of the take-off, down to Lapland getting smaller while the rocket soars into the sky, then views of the Earth once the rocket goes through the atmosphere and reaches its highest altitude of 700km.
During a Facebook Live open interview with users, Mark Zuckerberg commented on artificial intelligence, saying people who warn of "doomsday scenarios" regarding AI are "pretty irresponsible."
Elon Musk doesn't feel the same since in the past, he warned about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and now, he said that he talked to Zuckerberg about AI and that his "understanding of the subject is limited."
Musk also added that AI is improving at a "double exponential rate," by which he meant that "AI hardware & software are both exponential."
Google is pushing more and more into the world of artificial intelligence, announcing a new venture capital firm, Gradient Ventures, that will provide funds and "technical mentorship" to AI startups.
AI startups will be able to talk directly with technical experts at Google, something that includes the minds of Ray Kurzweil, Matias Duarte, and X lab boss Astro Teller. Gradient Ventures is already home to four teams, with Algorithmia a community creating a marketplace for AI-based algorithms and models.
Aurima is making an alternative sensing approach and AI modeling, while Cape is virtualizing drone hardware that lets people fly drones remotely. Lastly, there's Cogniac that is writing software that helps people build convolutional neural networks.
Toyota has just announced its new Toyota AI Ventures initiative, which is a new venture capital subsidiary that will eye down tech companies that are working on AI. The new fund has already received a $100 million injection of funds from the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which is an AI/robotics/autonomous car-focused initiative the Japanese carmaker started in 2015.
Toyota AI Ventures will focus its investments directly into AI, robotics, autonomous vehicles, as well as data and cloud technology. It w ill also offer companies that it invests in both mentorship, and support at its HQ in Silicon Valley. TRI VP Jim Adler said in a statement: "One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is knowing if they're building the right product for the right market. We can help them navigate that uncertainty, and we're committed to doing so in a founder-friendly way because their success is our success".
This new venture will be a little different, with TRI not just waiting for pitches from investors, but it will look for, and support companies that are on the path towards solving something Toyota is interested in. TRI has already funded 3 startups, with Silicon Valley-based Nauto, a company that designs systems for companies that monitors their driver and road environments to stop accidents or bad driving.
The second startup TRI has funded is SLAMcore in the UK which is working on algorithms for smart tech including drones and self-driving cars, a technology that SLAMcore can use to map their surrounds and position the cars and drones around it. The last company is Intuition Robotics, which is a social companion tech startup in Israel.
One day we could all be The One, if the US military has its way with us, that is. The US military has revealed its $65 million funding for a Matrix-like project that sees them working on a 'brain chip' that would let you plug yourself into a computer.
The new system would give soldiers supersenses, and could double as treatment for the blind, those with paralysis, and speech disorders. DARPA officials said that their goal was "developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world". DARPA has selected five recipients for its funding for the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, which started earlier this year.
DARPA's multi-million grants will be going to Brown University, Columbia University, The Seeing and Hearing Foundation, the John B. Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics Inc and the University of California, Berkeley, with a DARPA official adding: "These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration".
In its race towards competing with the US and Russia in becoming a space superpower, China has started its new 200-day simulation of living on another planet.
Four students from Beijing University have started a new 200-day isolation experiment called Lunar Palace 365, where they will live on the resources that they would have if they were on the Moon, or Mars. The students will have to generate life-giving oxygen from plants, recycle their own urine into drinkable water, and being conservative with their supplies.
The biggest test of all, will be the psychological side of being isolated from the world. In this world of instant gratification from social media, what will people do with 200 days away from smartphones, their friends and family, and the world at large? The test will show how they will react to not having sunlight for 200 days, which will effect both their physical and mental health.
This isn't the first time a simulation like this has been done, but it is a huge step for China as they are on their path to becoming a competitor to the US and Russia. China wanting to visit the stars is only a good thing, as it will push the US and Russia at the same time. But 200 days away from my phone? I don't know if I could do that.