In a recent interview with the Independent, Google engineering director, Scott Huffman, outlined the kind of future he thinks is right around the corner—a future when typing our queries into a little box will be seem downright archaic, and our interaction with technology will be more like a conversation. Instead of keyboards, we’ll have microphones and speakers in the ceiling recording conversations and giving answers to direct questions, like the Star Trek computer.
The age of the pocket AI is imminent. IBM recently announced they’re opening their supercomputer, Watson, and its natural language powers to developers. The hope is apps drawing on Watson might soon reside on smartphones everywhere.
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Last February, at Singularity University’s FutureMed, I talked to Dr. Peter Diamandis about medical tricorders and mining asteroids, got a guided tour of a surgical robot from Dr. Catherine Mohr (head of research for Intuitive Surgical), and watched 16-year-old phenom and International Science Fair Grand Champion, Jack Andraka, bring down the house with a talk on how to diagnose pancreatic cancer with carbon nanotubes. What does all this say about FutureMed? One, the event attracts some of the best and brightest. Two, both the participants and faculty span disciplines and specialties. Three, there’s this amazing synergy that only happens at FutureMed—great moments tend to materialize. Like the previous two FutureMeds, the February event sold out early—so, the team decided to put on a sequel at San Diego’s historic Hotel Del Coronado in November. If you missed the February FutureMed, it’s not too late for 2013.
Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen, has lured long-time AI academic Oren Etzioni from his 22-year University of Washington post to head a new project called the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence or AI2.
Engineering is often inspired by nature—the hooks in velcro or dermal denticles in sharkskin swimsuits. Then there’s Darpa’s SyNAPSE, a collaboration of researchers at IBM, XX, and XX universities. Not content with current computer architecture, SyNAPSE takes its cues from the human brain.
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Boom! That is the sound skittering across the information industry landscape this week as IBM has suddenly stepped into the ring, proposing that its Watson question answering engine will be… read more