ALU

artifical intelligence

Game Theory With Apache Spark, Part 1

Introduction

In general terms, Game Theory is concerned with decision making in an environment that involves multiple entities with possibly conflicting interests (Myerson, Roger B. (1997). Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict, Harvard University Press, Wikipedia). Game theory is particularly useful in Prescriptive Analytics where techniques from game theory can be employed to find optimal solutions to complicated decision making problems (for example, see this discussion).

In this article, we will formulate a general resource allocation problem that can be solved using a particular game theory algorithm based on economist Ausubel’s Efficient Dynamic Auction Method. We will then implement the algorithm in Apache Spark Machine Learning Library using Java and demonstrate how it works via examples.

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How Google’s Cloud AutoML Makes AI Accessible To Businesses

Artificial intelligence is never again going to remain the mystery sauce of giant technology companies. Google laid out how it is bringing artificial intelligence to developers, as well as integrating more AI capabilities throughout its cloud products. So developers can utilize these AI cloud services to give the best user experience.

Google I/O 2018 kicked off with a key theme of AI for everyone. In the current year’s I/O, Google exhibited that AI cannot simply help to make items more valuable, they additionally rethink to cool new user experiences. Here is a brief synopsis of Google’s featured declarations made so far on AI, that may intrigue developers and businesses.

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It’s Time to Make Application Management Sexy Again

A few weeks ago, I was in a group of people and someone made a statement that application management (AM) is a commodity and most people in the group agreed. I didn’t say anything but I think application management is one of the most exciting places to be today. There are so many technology trends that apply to AM: Agile, DevOps, Artificial Intelligence, etc.

When I say application management I mean some level of operations (e.g. level 3 support and code fixes) and some level of application development/maintenance (smaller changes that don’t require projects). The nature of those activities is that they are frequent and smaller, which means we have a lot of opportunities to learn and improve. It’s the ideal testbed to showcase how successful modern engineering practices can be assuming the volume of work is large enough to justify the investment.

Let’s look at two dimensions of this: the code changes and the platform services.

The product team making the actual code changes should have responsibilities for making changes for both new scope and production defects. This team needs to reserve some capacity for urgent production defects, but the bulk of production defects get prioritized against new scope and are just forming part of the normal delivery. This is possible because the release frequency is high (at least monthly) and the team can leverage platform services like CI/CD, feature flags, automated environment provisioning and monitoring services. The team collaborates with the platform services team in many ways and focuses on the application they own. Both Kanban and Scrum are possible methodologies this team can use, making this a great Agile working space.

The platform team provides the services which make life easier for the product teams. They also provide the first levels of support in a centralized fashion to protect the product team from too many distractions. There are two goals for this team: to provide platform services to the product team (like CI/CD, environment provisioning, monitoring) and to keep improving the customer experience for end-users. Fast ticket resolution is not the right measure for this aspect, but rather how to reduce the tickets overall. Advanced monitoring of performance, functionality, and infrastructure is being used to find problems before the customer finds it. Each user-created ticket is an opportunity to improve the monitoring for next time. Chatbots and self-service are used to provide the fastest service for standard requests and AI/ML is learning from tickets to make more and more requests become standard and to route tickets to the best team/person. Analytics on all aspects of the platform allows to find patterns and reconcile them against issues. The platform team collaborates with the product team to make sure the application-related services keep being improved. Over time this team becomes a small team of automation experts rather than a large team of operators for manual tickets.

Seriously, if you look at the above, how are you not super excited about this space? If you do this right you get to use a lot of super modern engineering practices to improve the delivery capability of your organization. The amount of money/capacity that frees up once you have implemented the first improvements can then be used to make more and more meaningful changes to the products and services. You can do this with a focus on the creative tasks rather than the firefighting and repetitive manual work that consumed application management teams in the past.

I am working with a couple of organizations now that are as excited as I am about this space and have a similar vision. I am very much looking forward to seeing what results we will achieve together.

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Dell Technology World 2018 Part I — Announcement Summary

This is part one of a five-part series about Dell Technology World 2018 announcement summary. Last week (April 30-May 3), I traveled to Las Vegas Nevada (LAS) to attend Dell Technology World 2018 (e.g., DTW 2018) as a guest of Dell (that is a disclosure btw). There were several announcements along with plenty of other activity from sessions, talk of AI, ML, DL, IoT, VR, analytics, VDI, SDDC, data infrastructure, Gen-Z, composable among other topics. There were also plenty of meetings and hallways and event networking taking place at Dell Technology World DTW 2018.

Major data infrastructure technology announcements include:

  • PowerMax all-flash array (AFA) solid state device (SSD)NVMe storage system
  • PowerEdge four-socket 2U and 4U rack servers
  • XtremIO X2 AFA SSD storage system updates
  • PowerEdge MX preview of future composable servers
  • Desktop and thin client along with other VDI updates
  • Cloud and networking enhancements

Besides the above, additional data infrastructure related announcements were made in association with Dell Technology family members, including VMware along with other partners, as well as customer awards. Other updates and announcements were tied to business updates from Dell Technology, Dell Technical Capital (venture capital), and, Dell Financial Services.

Dell Technology World Buzzword Bingo Lineup

Some of the buzzword bingo terms, topics, acronyms from Dell Technology World 2018 included AFA, AI, Autonomous, Azure, Bare Metal, Big Data, Blockchain, CI, Cloud, Composable, Compression, Containers, Core, Data Analytics, Dedupe, Dell, DFS (Dell Financial Services), DFR (Data Footprint Reduction), Distributed Ledger, DL, Durability, Fabric, FPGA, GDPR, Gen-Z, GPU, HCI, HDD, HPC, Hybrid, IOP, Kubernetes, Latency, MaaS (Metal as a Service), ML, NFV, NSX, NVMe, NVMeoF, PACE (Performance Availability Capacity Economics), PCIe, Pivotal, PMEM, RAID, RPO, RTO, SAS, SATA, SC, SCM, SDDC, SDS, Socket, SSD, Stamp, TBW (Terabytes Written per day), VDI, venture capital, VMware, and VR among others.

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Dell Technology World DTW 2018 Event and Venue

Dell Technology World 2018 was located at the combined Palazzo and Venetian hotels along with adjacent Sands Expo center kicking off Monday, April 30th and wrapping up May 4th.

The theme for Dell Technology World DTW 2018 was to “make it real”, which in some ways was interesting, given the focus on virtual, including virtual reality (VR), software-defined data center (SDDC) virtualization, data infrastructure topics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Make it real – Venetian Palazzo St. Mark’s Square on the way to Sands Expo Center

There was plenty of AI, VR, SDDC along with other technologies, tools as well as some fun stuff to do including VR games.

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Dell Technology World Drone Flying Area

During a break from some meetings, I used a few minutes to fly a drone using VR, which was interesting. I Have been operating drones (See some videos here) visually without dependence on the first-person view (FPV) or relying on extensive autonomous operations instead flying heads up by hand for several years. Needless to say, the VR was interesting, granted, I encountered a bit of vertigo that I had to get used to.

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More views of the Dell Technology World Village and Commons Area with VR activity

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Dell Technology World Bean Bag Area

Dell Technology World 2018 Announcement Summary

Ok, enough with the AI, ML, DL, VR fun, time to move on to the business and technology topics of Dell Technologies World 2018.

What was announced at Dell Technology World 2018 included, among others:

Subsequent posts in this series take a deeper look at the various announcements as well as what they mean.

Where to Learn More

Learn more about Dell Technology World 2018 and related topics via the following links:

What This All Means

On the surface, it may appear that there was not much announced at Dell Technology World 2018, particularly compared to some of the recent Dell EMC Worlds and EMC Worlds. However, it turns out that there was a lot announced, granted, without some of the entertainment and the circus-like atmosphere of previous events. Continue reading here Part II Dell Technology World 2018 Modern Data Center Announcement Details in this series, along with Part III here, Part IV here (including PowerEdge MX composable infrastructure leveraging Gen-Z) and Part V (servers and converged) here.

Ok, nuff said, for now.

Cheers Gs

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Biggest Names in Development Industry – DeveloperWeek 2018 Part 1

I’m always trying to keep an eye on big industry events and in this case, I could not ignore the DeveloperWeek 2018 that recently took place in Oakland, California. DeveloperWeek is the largest world expo in the industry of development and it focuses on the cutting-edge technologies and innovations. The list of past event hosts and supporters includes such names as Google, Facebook, IBM, Yelp, and other industry giants. So it’s obviously interesting to have a look at the names that were listed among 2018 award winners and see what makes these companies so outstanding.

Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Development

AirTM

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Make Money Your Friend Again

For the users, AirTM is a cloud USD account that enables them to deposit or withdraw local currency to and from their account.  It also allows easily sending or receiving dollar payments and overall is a fast and easy way to make and receive dollar payments.

What’s left behind the scenes is the fact that AirTM basically runs on Bitcoin and that’s what makes it so cool. The trustworthy cashiers who process the users’ deposits and transactions are all Bitcoiners and they convert Bitcoin to USD in their Uphold account. As a result, AirTM greatly increased the demand for Bitcoin in all markets where AirTM operates and the number keeps growing. Besides, AirTM positively affects Bitcoin adaptation and that’s the reason the team won its award. 

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Javascript Technology

AnyChart

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Javascript Charts Designed to Be Embedded and Integrated

AnyChart is a graphics software development company that provides a wide array of products that are used by the world-leading companies such as Oracle or 3M. The company offers data visualization solutions like charts, graphs and many more.

AnyChart is a lightweight JavaScript library that’s been out there since 2003. Company’s main products are AnyChart, AnyStock (real-time data-streaming charts), AnyMap and AnyGantt (for Gantt charts). And considering the impressive number of AnyChart clients and their flexible and efficient products, no wonder the company received the award for best innovation in JS technology. 

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Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Butterfly

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Your Personal Leadership Coach

Butterfly Network shook the world with its revolutionary ultrasound tool iQ that’s powered by AI. The tool is handheld, the ultrasound results can be shown right away on the iPhone and the best thing about it is the price – it starts from under $2k. While the ultrasound machines used in medicine today cost something about $100k, Butterfly offers more accurate, precise and efficient tool and all that for an unbelievably low price.

Butterfly uses “ultrasound on the chip” and due to 10,000 micro-machined ultrasound transducers, it’s possible to scan the whole body within a single probe. And due to AI capability, the tool can detect disease within a few seconds, so Butterfly indeed created a breakthrough in the field of medicine. 

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Platform-as-a-Service

Built.io Flow

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Digital Transformation Suite

Built.io positions itself as “cloud-based API-first enterprise suite” and it offers digital products and solutions to the most innovative companies, including the ones from Fortune 500. Speaking about Built.io Flow, it is an integration-as-a-service platform for APIs that is aimed at connecting people and businesses.

Built.io Flows allows quick integration of your business apps, automation of recurrent tasks and elimination of manual processes. It increases business efficiency, offers IoT utilization, and is recognized as a great tool for any business – so you may want to pay attention to it as well. 

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Mobile Development

Codebashing

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Vulnerability Prevention Dream Team

Checkmarx well played on one of the biggest issues of modern IT world – application security testing. There was a gap between the vision of app security specialists and developers (first ones see it as a necessity while second ones consider it a burden) and Checkmarx developed a solution that is both time-saving and delivering value.

The issue with app security lies in the fact that app security should start right from the development stage and many developers simply lack the necessary skills. Codebashing is integrated into the CxSAST UI and when a developer encounters any security vulnerability, Codebashing allows immediately activating the necessary learning lesson and getting back to work with new knowledge on how to solve the issue.

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In Part 2 I will continue my overview of DeveloperWeek Awards 2018.

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Appian Releases Findings in Digital Transformation Readiness Survey

As part of a DevOps.com online survey in October 2017, the results of 463 respondents were processed by Appian to generate their 2018 Digital Transformation Readiness Survey. The goal of the survey was to gain an understanding of the current state of digital transformation and offer predictions for the next 12 months. As a part of the analysis, Appian realized that despite being optimistic about the future of digital transformation, respondents face significant hurdles with meeting current business demand, providing a competitive edge, and driving innovation.

This article will dive into some of the key findings from the publication.

By the Numbers

Of the corporations that responded to the DevOps survey, eight out of ten indicated they lack the ability to attract and retain the necessary software engineering staff required to provide innovative technology to the organization. What is just as troubling is that seven out of ten organizations indicated an inability to scale their solutions to meet the growing business demands in the short term. Finally, nine out of ten respondents indicated their organizations have a valid concern over the level of technical debt.

These three indicators paint a grim future where three out of four corporations participating face staffing, scalability, and maintainability issues:

  • The ability to attract and retain quality staff requires far more than meeting salary expectations – as more software engineers seek benefits like 90 – 100% working remotely, relaxed dress codes and fewer restrictions when architecting systems.

  • Often, scalability issues stem from a lack of understanding the needs and potential growth when architecting applications. It is important to recognize that the fault does not always fall on the development team, as project sponsors or executive management have the ability to force an undesirable direction.

  • With technical debt, I have always been a fan of reserving 10 – 20% of a team’s capacity during a development iteration to focus on technical debt. However, without full buy-in to this concept, it is easy for technical debts to quickly rise to an unmanageable state.

The Silver Lining

From an optimistic perspective, the respondents indicated that Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Natural Language Processing are the top three areas that will become a key to digital transformation over the next five years.

Use of AI in this context could take Big Data to the next level, analyzing volumes of data using a supervised learning approach. The data returned or generated from IoT devices can provide additional metrics at a reasonable cost – leveraging technologies such as smart devices, RFIDs, and even wearables. Natural language processing in time may become the catalyst to bridge the gap between man and machine – enabling a natural conversation with AI.

The challenge here is that these same corporations recognize their current limitations – which make the thought of successfully introducing futuristic concepts seem somewhat out of range … without some base system or process to build upon.

Where Appian Fits In

A majority of the 2018 Digital Transformation Readiness Survey focuses on the challenges facing organizations, making the candid reader ask the question “how does Appian fit into this analysis?” A single page of the publication focuses on Appian’s low-code solution, which comprises a majority of the “Looking for a Better Way” section. This is found on page 18 of the report, for those who have downloaded the report.

The promise with the Appian low-code solution is that solutions can be delivered faster, without requiring a significant investment in software engineering staff to maintain scalability. Since low-code solutions use set pre-built elements or components, the theory is that less technical debt will be accumulated going forward.

As a result, the need to attract and retain software engineering staff is lessened, the scalability concerns are less exposed and technical debt growth will be reduced – when compared to custom solution development. With the three primary concerns being met, Appian’s low-code solution puts organizations in a much better position to provide a faster turnaround with meeting the needs of the organization.

Conclusion

The 2018 Digital Transformation Readiness Survey can be downloaded here. Keep in mind, you will be required to provide information about yourself/your corporation before gaining access to the document.

If nothing else, corporations facing the challenges noted in this document should find some degree of comfort knowing they are not the only entity facing these challenges. However, as time continues to move forward, these problems will only become compounded. Looking at a low-code development solution, like Appian, to help lessen the pain is certainly worth the minor investment in time to perform a research spike during your next sprint or development iteration. Like all other technology solutions, a strong understanding of the solution – including where it makes sense to use/not use – is important for a successful implementation.

Have a really great day!

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Tech of the Future: Technology Predictions for Our World in 2050

When we think about 2050 it seems  ages from now and we imagine a completely different world, but in reality, it is just 30 years from now and we can already know what will be possible to have by that time. We have a lot of environmental and social problems. Let’s see how technology may solve them by 2050. Today’s article is about tech of the future!

Before writing this article, I did some research and checked what industry influencers think about this topic. For example, Mr Kurzweil, Business Insider, Forbes, etc.

We start with Ray Kurzweil – the world’s foremost futurist, authoring bestsellers like “The Age of Spiritual Machines” and “How to Create a Mind.” He’s so influential that Google hired him to lead its artificial intelligence efforts. He is very well known for making predictions, which are right about 86% of the time

Nanobots Will Plug Our Brains Straight Into the Cloud

Tech of the future: nanobots. He believes, that by the 2050, nanobots will plug our brains straight into the cloud, giving us full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system. Just like we do now with our smartphones, we will be able to do it with our brains. We’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud and forget about many cognitive imperfections, like memory or evidence.

Human Reincarnation Through AI

Sounds scary, I know, and many religious people will likely be against it. However, 
Kurzweil says that we will be able to “bring back” our relatives through artificial intelligence. 
He says that by 2050, we’ll be able to send nanobots into people’s brains to extract memories of loved ones. Augment that with a DNA sampling of the deceased, and it will be possible to create a convincing virtual version of somebody who’s passed on. If you are interested in it, there is a movie about it: The Discovery.

AI Will Become a Positive Net Job Motivator

Many people worry about AI in our lives as they think that robots will eventually replace people and we won’t have jobs. But, according to Forbes, in 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3M jobs while eliminating only 1.8M jobs. And we are talking about 2020, just in 2 years, so let’s see what opportunities it can bring us in 30 years. 

IoT Technology Will Change Product Designs

According to Forbes, by 2020, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. And by 2050 it is expected to have everything will be connected to the cloud and to the internet.

 Space Tourism: A Week in Orbit

According to Business Insider, space tourism could be feasible in 2050, but likely only for the very wealthy. Rocket companies like Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX will push the envelope with space travel enough that tourism will be feasible in the year 2050. For example, “Someone who could afford to pay 100 million quid could spend a week in orbit…but it would only be for rich people in 2050.” he said. “It’s not going to be something that’s cheap anytime soon.” 

Self-Driving Cars Will Make Driving Safer

Despite the crashes involving self-driving cars that have hit the headlines these years, this area of AI could dramatically reduce deaths and injuries on our roads. According to a report by Stanford University, not only will self-driving cars reduce traffic related deaths and injuries, but they could bring about changes in our lifestyles as well. We will have more time for ourselves. Also, the increased comfort and decreased cognitive load with self-driving cars and shared transportation may affect where people choose to live.

Charge Your IPhone With the Power of a Plant

Did you know that you can charge your IPhone with the power of a plant? Forests can become the energy stations of the future. Now it is becoming possible: for example, Bioo is a clean-tech company capable of generating electricity from plant’s photosynthesis. Here you can watch a video to know more about it.

Ocean Thermal Energy Can Take Us to 100% Renewable-Energy

Ocean thermal energy is a largely untapped resource and one of the world’s largest renewable energy sources. Right now Bluerise is working on creating an energy breakthrough by generating utility scale electricity through ocean thermal energy conversion. It will be able to outcompete fossil fuel based generation and other renewables that require storage and grid balancing. It will play a crucial role in the future energy mix being one of the very few constant energy sources, available day and night, year-round.

EU Will Face a Shortage of 800,000 IT Workers by 2020

There is a huge demand for developers in Europe, yet most IT education is solely available in English. With 24 official languages spoken in Europe alone, it’s no surprise that non-native English speakers prefer to learn in their own language. However, you can start seeing many coding academies, schools and universities focused only on training junior developers for specific companies’ demand, being it a language, a practice, etc. Even though this problem won’t be solved by 2020, with these new IT universities and academies, we can fix the situation by 2050.

Drone Solution for Discovering Untouched Places

Deep in underground mines, some zones are inaccessible. But company like Inkonova started to work on builds drones that fly, drive, climb, and use laser technology to scan zones, and create a 3D map of them. With this advancing aerial robotics technology we will be able to push human reach to any space untouched by man-made infrastructure.

Half of Current Jobs in the World Are Unlikely to Exist in 2050

The world is changing faster than we think and the way we learn things and what we learn should be changed. Employers should create an engaging learning culture at work by empowering their staff to take ownership of their professional development.

These are the innovations and technologies that I found the most interesting. I am sure there are many more of them; please feel free to share them in the comments section below! I will be happy to discuss what is tech of the future in your opinion. 

If you would like to receive more information about tech of the future, don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

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Computer Engineer Is Using A.I. to Fight Air Pollution in South Africa

Zimbabwean-born Tapiwa Chiwewe is using his computer engineering Ph.D. from the University of Pretoria in South Africa to solve one of the region’s largest problems, air pollution.

During his Ted Talk at IBM@TED, Chiwewe touched upon how he is taking his knowledge and experience to attack the problem head-on, putting his focus specifically on South Africa. Chiwewe is working at IBM as a researcher and has partnered with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research focusing specifically on machine learning and predictive analytics, to assess air pollution and quality. This method is helping to find pollution-prevention solutions that will hopefully create a more eco-friendly environment in South Africa and beyond.

Tapiwa Chiwewe TED Talk at IBM@TED (Image: file)

Tapiwa Chiwewe, TED Talk at IBM@TED (Image: file)

Black Enterprise caught up with Tapiwa Chiwewe after his talk to discuss why he chose A.I. as his focal point to create change.

Tell me about your background and how you decided that A.I. was your focal point. 

I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, a master of some so I decided computer engineering. Engineering is a lot about data problem-solving so it’s quite often that people studying engineering find themselves solving problems in different domains. After I graduated, I spent a bit of time working at a startup. After the startup, I worked at a virtual reality company and then I worked as a science consultant before coming to IBM.

It really comes back to me just being very passionate about technology. The possibility of what A.I. can do, I’ve always been attracted to it and now we have the computer resources to actually fulfill the promises of artificial intelligence.

What made you focus specifically on these real-world applications?

It’s all about touching people’s lives. You don’t want to just create technology that stays in the lab. Most of us (researchers) want to create technology that people find useful.

Do you plan on scaling your learnings to the states or do you want to stay specifically focused on Africa?

For now, we want to create solutions that are sensitive to the African continent.

Rightfully so. According to research from the World Bank, South Africa relies on coal for 97% of its primary energy. In 2016, air pollution accounted for 20,000 deaths in the region alone.

Join the Conversation

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Google Ushers in Era of the Super Smart Machine at Google I/O

Google gave a glimpse into how pervasive—and almost scary, yet-cool—artificial intelligence will be at the Google I/O conference on Wednesday.

Imagine pointing your smartphone at a flower and having your phone tell you what type of flower it is. Or, point a phone at a Wi-Fi router’s sticker and get the password to display on the phone’s screen. This is a soon-to-be-rolled-out feature in the Google ecosystem: Google Lens.

Google Lens and more advanced technologies were unveiled at the tech titan’s annual developer’s conference.

Super Smart Technology Via Machine Learning

CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the conference with his keynote address. Pichai said that Google’s previous mantra of “mobile first” has now transitioned to “AI [Artificial Intelligence] first.”

(Image: Google)

Pichai referred to Google’s recent advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Computer systems’ image recognition now rates “even better than humans,” he said.

Another announcement that captivated the audience of almost 7,000 (with thousands and thousands more watching the livestream) was the new features of Google Assistant. An onstage demo showed someone taking a photo of a theater marquee with a band’s upcoming concert information. Assistant interacts with Google Lens to provide automated tasks and more information about the photo.

(Image: Google)

For instance, with the photo of the marquee, Assistant can recognize the image and play the band’s music, add the concert date to your calendar, and even purchase concert tickets.

Other Announcements from Google

Other interesting—and geeky—announcements from Google I/O include:

  • Google Assistant is now available for iPhone.
  • Google’s VR technology, Daydream, will be rolled out to the Samsung Galaxy 8 this summer via a software rollout.
  • In partnerships with HTC and Lenovo, two new Daydream standalone virtual reality headsets will ship later this year.
  • Google Photos can recognize friends and contacts in photos you take and make suggestions about the photos—a feature called Suggested Sharing. It asks if you want to send recognized people in photos the images and offers other automated capabilities. Shared Libraries allows you to share groups of images with others automatically; they can also contribute to the library.
  • The next release of Android, dubbed “Android O” will be available as a beta in a Developer’s Preview.
  • Android O has been designed to provide a more fluid user experience. New features include picture-in-picture, which allows you to do things such as watch a Netflix video in the background of your phone screen while you check email; Notification Dots, which add dots on your phone app’s icon indicating there is new activity; Smart Text Selection, a feature that improves copying and pasting on an Android phone, and more

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