Artificial Intelligence: an update

Whether you think the development of A.I will make our lives easier (Hi Jibo), signal the end of the world, or even just think Matilda is great, it is an area that remains hotly debated.

On the one side, the A.I. futurists are eagerly beavering away to develop terrifyingly powerful robots (check out BigDog, Google & the US army’s joint venture), whilst on the other side of the fence we see people like Stephen Hawking calling for cautiousness prophesising robots will take over and we will become ants.

Whilst casually avoiding the debate, here are a few important updates worth mentioning:

A.I is evolving here, in London

In the last two years, we’ve seen two key homegrown British A.I startups being bought in two major European-technology acquisitions by Google and Microsoft.

The first of these is British-born startup DeepMind, which was reportedly sold to Google for c. £400m in 2014. Born out of computer game development it is progressing at pace, using advanced algorithms to try and emulate human behavior (you can watch their robot this week on livestream beating real people at ancient game ‘Go’).

Reported last week, DeepMind’s next step is to see where it can help support the NHS, through its new app ‘Streams’, developed by working closely with Imperial College in London. Using patient data, the app will help doctors understand key trends from patient’s data, helping them to reach the right decision, faster.

Secondly, we’ve seen Microsoft snap up British app SwiftKey for £176m. With the ability to predict what you’re going to write next, based on historical data captured on your phone, this software is pretty advanced and frankly quite terrifying.

A.I is leading product development and new brand designs  

Across the board we are seeing A.I leading product development, as it becomes central to new designs.

For the car industry, this could not be more apparent as this week BMW announced their car of tomorrow (‘BMW’s Vision Next 100’) completely centralised around the most elaborate A.I  intelligence out there. Plans for the car include giving as much or as little power to the driver as wanted, to the point where they could literally hand over control fully to the machine in full confidence (or not, depending).

A.I is becoming more creative

In the past, the Turin test gave us a false sense of security that we would always be more creative than robots, but not anymore. If creativity is just a hallmark of human intelligence, apparently it’s just a matter of time.

Take for example Deepdrumf, – a robo-Twitter feed created by Bradley Hayes which acts like Donald Trump. This amusing Twitter feed is able to conjour up terrifyingly Trump-like statements without human intervention, just using one letter to generate tweet after tweet.

To finish, it’s definitely worth mentioning there is still a lot of robo-nonsense out there, which unfortunately still dominates a lot of the Internet:

But, as some great stuff starts to come out of A.I, it’s definitely one for us to continue to keep an eye on as it grows at a rapid (if slightly terrifying) pace.


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