Archiv der Kategorie: Innovation

two giants of AI team up to prevent the robot apocalypse

THERE’S NOTHING NEW about worrying that superintelligent machines may endanger humanity, but the idea has lately become hard to avoid.

A spurt of progress in artificial intelligence as well as comments by figures such as Bill Gates—who declared himself “in the camp that is concerned about superintelligence”—have given new traction to nightmare scenarios featuring supersmart software. Now two leading centers in the current AI boom are trying to bring discussion about the dangers of smart machines down to Earth. Google’s DeepMind, the unit behind the company’s artificial Go champion, and OpenAI, the nonprofit lab funded in part by Tesla’s Elon Musk, have teamed up to make practical progress on a problem they argue has attracted too many headlines and too few practical ideas: How do you make smart software that doesn’t go rogue?

“If you’re worried about bad things happening, the best thing we can do is study the relatively mundane things that go wrong in AI systems today,” says Dario Amodei, a curly-haired researcher on OpenAI’s small team working on AI safety. „That seems less scary and a lot saner than kind of saying, ‘You know, there’s this problem that we might have in 50 years.’” OpenAI and DeepMind contributed to a position paper last summer calling for more concrete workon near-term safety challenges in AI.

A new paper from the two organizations on a machine learning system that uses pointers from humans to learn a new task, rather than figuring out its own—potentially unpredictable—approach, follows through on that. Amodei says the project shows it’s possible to do practical work right now on making machine learning systems less able to produce nasty surprises. (The project could be seen as Musk’s money going roughly where his mouth has already been; in a 2014 appearance at MIT, he described work on AI as “summoning the demon.”)

None of DeepMind’s researchers were available to comment, but spokesperson Jonathan Fildes wrote in an email that the company hopes the continuing collaboration will inspire others to work on making machine learning less likely to misbehave. “In the area of AI safety, we need to establish best practices that are adopted across as many organizations as possible,” he wrote.

The first problem OpenAI and DeepMind took on is that software powered by so-called reinforcement learning doesn’t always do what its masters want it to do—and sometimes kind of cheats. The technique, which is hot in AI right now, has software figure out a task by experimenting with different actions and sticking with those that maximize a virtual reward or score, meted out by a piece of code that works like a mathematical motivator. It was instrumental to the victory of DeepMind’s AlphaGo over human champions at the board game Go, and is showing promise in making robots better at manipulating objects.

But crafting the mathematical motivator, or reward function, such that the system will do the right thing is not easy. For complex tasks with many steps, it’s mind-bogglingly difficult—imagine trying to mathematically define a scoring system for tidying up your bedroom—and even for seemingly simple ones results can be surprising. When OpenAI set a reinforcement learning agent to play boat racing game CoastRunners, for example, it surprised its creators by figuring out a way to score points by driving in circles rather than completing the course.

DeepMind and OpenAI’s solution is to have reinforcement learning software take feedback from human trainers instead, and use their input to define its virtual reward system. They hired contractors to give feedback to AI agents via an interface that repeatedly asks which of two short video clips of the AI agent at work is closest to the desired behavior.

This simple simulated robot, called a Hopper, learned to do a backflip after receiving 900 of those virtual thumbs-up verdicts from the AI trainers while it tried different movements. With thousands of bits of feedback, a version of the system learned to play Atari games such as Pong and got to be better than a human player at the driving game Enduro. Right now this approach requires too much human supervision to be very practical at eliciting complex tasks, but Amodei says results already hint at how this could be a powerful way to make AI systems more aligned with what humans want of them.

It took less than an hour of humans giving feedback to get Hopper to land that backflip, compared to the two hours it took an OpenAI researcher to craft a reward function that ultimately produced a much less elegant flip. “It looks super awkward and kind of twitchy,” says Amodei. “The backflip we trained from human feedback is better because what’s a good backflip is kind of an aesthetic human judgment.” You can see how complex tasks such as cleaning your home might also be easier to specify correctly with a dash of human feedback than with code alone.

 

Making AI systems that can soak up goals and motivations from humans has emerged as a major theme in the expanding project of making machines that are both safe and smart. For example, researchers affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Center for Human-Compatible AI are experimenting with getting robots such as autonomous cars or home assistants to take advice or physical guidance from people. “Objectives shouldn’t be a thing you just write down for a robot; they should actually come from people in a collaborative process,” says Anca Dragan, coleader of the center.

She hopes the idea can catch on in the industry beyond DeepMind and OpenAI’s explorations, and says companies already run into problems that might be prevented by infusing some human judgement into AI systems. In 2015, Google hurriedly tweaked its photo recognition service after it tagged photos of black people as gorillas.

Longer term, Amodei says, spending the next few years working on making existing, modestly smart machine learning systems more aligned with human goals could also lay the groundwork for our potential future face-off with superintelligence. “When, someday, we do face very powerful AI systems, we can really be experts in how to make them interact with humans,” he says. If it happens, perhaps the first superintelligent machine to open its electronic eyes will gaze at us with empathy.

Original Source from: https://www.wired.com/story/two-giants-of-ai-team-up-to-head-off-the-robot-apocalypse/

Der Kreis derer, die als Chief Disruption Officer überhaupt nur annähernd in Betracht kommen, hat den Radius „null“

Ich bin eine eierlegende WollMilchSau – und der neue Chief Disruption Officer Deiner Firma!

Eierlegende Wollmilchsau

Eierlegende Wollmilchsau

Fotolia #83825279 | Urheber: jokatoons

Herausforderung: die Auftragsklärung

Ein neuer CDO soll bei den Konzernen oft den „Tanker bewegen und in Schnellboote verwandeln“, schließlich hört und liest man ja überall von Startups, Agil, Dynamik, Disruption und stetiger Veränderung. Da stellt sich doch die Frage (typischerweise an HR) wer erstellt den das JobProfil für einen Job, den es noch nie gab und dessen Ziele so faszinierend unterschiedlich, ja widersprüchlich sind. Schließlich wird jeder seine eigene Vorstellung davon haben, was der künftige CDO „endlich“ angehen soll – fragen Sie doch mal Kollegen aus unterschiedlichen Funktionen!

In der folgenden Liste habe ich einmal einige (Achtung Buzzword-Bingo) zusammengefasst:

Typische CDO Erwartungsperspektiven:

  • Neue(s) Business Modell(e) finden, entwickeln und bitte gleich den Return on Investment im ersten Jahr sicherstellen
  • Change Manager (Disruption, Innovation…) der die gesamte Organisation in die neue Arbeitswelt führt
  • Neue Vertriebs- und Finanzierungskanäle – vom Crowdfunding über Crowdstorming, Crowdworking und Social Marketing
  • Digital Mindset / Organisationsentwicklung – nachhaltige Veränderung der Unternehmenskultur
  • Board Coaching / Trainer für die anderen Vorstände
  • Smart Factory – die intelligente Fabrik, digitalisierte, automatisierte und vernetzte Produktionsumgebungen mit neuen agilen Werkzeugen bis zur Losgröße 1 (zugleich stetig wachsender Fokus auf Service-Orientierung stattfindet – also „nicht-produktion“)
  • BigData / Analytics / Predictive – alles was man mit Daten, deren Analyse und Vorhersagbarkeit so treiben kann
  • Rechtsanwalt – Arbeit 4.0, Zusammenarbeit mit Externen, Compliance… siehe unten „illegal“
  • Neues IT Framework – moderne Softwarearchitekturen, Werkzeuge und Apps einführen
  • Digitales Vorbild / Botschafter – Sichtbar werden für neuen Arbeitsstil, Führungskultur – am Besten auch nach außen werbewirksam
  • Digitale Prozesse / Digitale Effizienz – den systemischen Organisationsmotor generalsanieren
  • Social Media extern – von Arbeitnehmerattraktivität über Recruiting (von natürlich Digital Professionals) bis zu Wirkungsverbesserung durch virales Marketing
  • Interne Kommunikation und Zusammenarbeit (Enterprise Social Networking)… – die gesamte Belegschaft, inklusive Fabrikarbeiter mobil, vernetzt, zeit- und orts-unabhängig sowie skallierbar in Arbeit 4.0 führen

Diese Liste an Erwartungen ist sicher alles andere als vollständig, soll aber zeigen, dass es nicht einfach ist, das Profil für diese Position so zu definieren, dass der Inhaber überhaupt eine Chance hat Wirkung zu entfalten. Schließlich gilt es neben den fachlichen Aufgaben auch die bestehende Kultur, Politik, Seilschaften etc. kennen zu lernen und dann nachhaltig zu verändern.

Herausforderung: Woher nehmen, diese CDO – eierlegende WollMilchSau?

Wie einer der Headhunter mal so schön formulierte:

„der Kreis derer, die als CDO überhaupt nur annähernd in Betracht kommen, hat den Radius „null““

Es gibt keine Ausbildung zum CDO, typische Karrierewege erzeugen meist „system-stabilisierende“ Vertreter, wer will einem „jungen Wilden“ die Verantwortung über einen Konzern geben. Die Zahl derer, die in ähnlichen Rollen erfolgreich sind, ist äußerst überschaubar – Nachahmung schwierig- und oft auch nicht einfach übertragbar… auch die großen Consulting Riesen sind hier sicher keine Hilfe, da deren Reifegrad hier ähnlich jungfräulich ist (Es gibt keine Blaupausen, die man aus der Schublade ziehen könnte, keine Beweise, kaum Studien die als Handlungsanleitung taugen)

Also wird nach Kompromissen gesucht, das kann dann z.B. so aussehen:

  • wir nehmen eine(n), der schon Vorstand war/ist … dort findet man kaum Digital Natives (damit ist nicht vorrangig das Alter, vielmehr deren Haltung gegenüber neuen, disruptiven Entwicklungen gemeint, die noch nicht allgemein als erfolgreich, bleibend und wichtig/prägend anerkannt sind), aus Karrieregründen kaum jemanden, der mit Transparenz, Beteiligung und agilen Methoden risikofreudig umgeht
  • wir nehmen eine(n), der IT kann … wohl einer der häufigsten Fehler, Digitale Transformation mit IT zu verwechseln. Wohl ist ein guter Teil (ca. 20%) mit Software, Tools und IT KnowHow verbunden, der Großteil geht aber um völlig andere (oft sehr IT fremde) Themen – es geht sehr viel um Führung! siehe Liste oben
  • wir nehmen eine(n), der schon ein Startup erfolgreich gemacht hat … das führt auf beiden Seiten zu großen Enttäuschungen: Freiheit, Sicherheit, Vorgaben, Rahmenbedingungen, Größe, Internationalität… Assimilation garantiert
  • wir nehmen jemanden, der Karriere machen will und großes Potential zeigt … Wer Karriere machen will ist meist doch recht Regel-konform unterwegs. Wer traut es sich „alles“ in Frage zu stellen bei einem System, in dem er/sie groß werden will? Risikobereitschaft, Fehler machen (dürfen) sind nicht die üblichen Treiber einer erfolgreichen Karriere
  • wir suchen jemanden von Extern – klar, neue Besen kehren gut… wie sieht es aber mit der damit verbundenen sehr langen Anlaufzeit aus. Kann es sich z.B. ein Automobilkonzern in der heutigen Lage leisten jetzt mit jemandem bei null anzufangen, was die internen Kenntnisse, Netzwerke (oder besser Verstrickungen), Politik, Kultur angeht?

Den „fertigen“ CDO zu finden dürfte also ein schwieriges Unterfangen sein – eine Lösung wäre in meinen Augen mit der aktuellen Priorität zu beginnen und zu versuchen die fehlenden Merkmale zu intern zu entwickeln (ideal parallel mit allen anderen). Neben Kultur, Führung ist sicher „neues, konstantes Lernen“ auf allen Ebenen höchst relevant.

aus: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/der-cdo-wirds-schon-richten-harald-schirmer

What mobile carriers should do next: Become banks

mobile-banking

If banking is something you do on an app, why shouldn’t your mobile carrier actually be your bank? It’s more than just an idea. Orange, Telenor, and O2 are all building their own operations.

In the UK alone, people use mobile banking apps more than 7,610 times a minute, or 4 billion times a year.

According to the “Way We Bank Now” report by the British Banking Association, they downloaded more than 13.8 million banking apps in 2015, up 25 percent from 2014.

All over the world people are switching away from branch-based banking, and even desktop Internet banking, to manage their financial lives through an app.

Why wouldn’t they? There’s no need to go anywhere. The user interface is typically better than it is on a PC. And the addition of biometrics (typically fingerprint) makes signing in so much easier and safer than passwords.

Of course, banking apps are made by banks. The carriers just provide the data packages that allow people to use use them.

But in the last year, a small number of European carriers have come to a radical conclusion: Let’s do more than just enable mobile banking apps; let’s build our own.

Orange has made headlines recently for just this reason. Earlier this year, it moved to acquire Groupama Banque, enabling it to leverage its banking license and benefit from its existing client network, thereby creating its own banking operation. Now, authorities in France and Europe have approved the deal.

Groupama Banque is currently owned by insurance firm Groupama. When the deal is completed, Orange will own 65 percent of it. Thus, the telco will be able to launch Orange Bank in France in January 2017, with Spain and Belgium to follow.

Actually, Orange already has some experience in the area. In October 2014, it launched Orange Finanse as a joint venture between mBank and Orange Polska. It’s not alone. O2 Germany launched a bank with Fidor in July, while Telenor is two years into its Banka Serbia launch.

Other operators are experimenting. Telefonica Spain announced a joint venture with CaixaBank and Santander, while in the US, T-Mobile launched a Visa card with banking features linked to a smartphone app (though it is now being wound down).

Needless to say, financial services are nothing new for mobile operators. In developing markets, they have launched text-based mobile money systems that have transformed the lives of millions. Vodafone’s M-Pesa has 25 million customers and 261,000 agents in 11 countries.

Meanwhile Orange has its own Orange Money service, which launched in Ivory Coast in 2008 and has 18 million customers in 14 countries across Africa.

In mature markets, the emphasis has been on NFC payments. The typical model was a contactless wallet app, with account credentials stored in the secure element of a SIM card. There were numerous launches — Softcard (US), Valyou (Norway), Buyster (France), SixPack (Denmark), and so on. Most have closed.

So why would operators switch focus to banking? The simple reason is that they believe they can build new and intuitive products. Why? Because they are mobile-first.

The theory goes that banks have a tendency to approach new mobile services by layering them on top of legacy IT systems. By contrast, operators should have the know-how to build much better mobile experiences that are consumer centric.

So O2 Banking customers can, for example, sign up via a video chat session with an agent. They can have a current account with a free MasterCard inside five minutes. They can also earn rewards of mobile data rather than pennies of interest.

Telenor Banka in Serbia launched in September 2014. It carefully targeted “premium” tech-savvy customers and cultivated them as brand ambassadors and to quickly spread the word on social media. By summer 2016, the bank had 180,000 customers (the biggest traditional bank in the country has 500,000 mobile users).

The Telenor Banka app was built around specific “pain points” such as currency transfer. In Serbia, people like to transfer their dinars for euros. Typically, they queue to do so with an agent, then queue again at the bank to deposit the cash back into their accounts. Telenor Banka lets them do the same in two clicks inside the app.

Users can also activate and deactivate their cards from inside the app. This helps people combat online fraud as they can “turn off” their cards apart from when they are actually making a payment.

All these launches are indicative of a dynamic moment in banking. Technology is making it easier for digital-only challenger banks (including mobile operators) to launch rival products. Regulation is helping too. The EU Payment Services Directive 2, coming into force in 2018, mandates that banks must open up APIs so that third parties (with user permission) can have access to account information.

In its Essentials 2020 review, Orange set a target of making €400 million ($435 million) from financial services by 2018. This compares to overall group revenues at Orange of €10.3 billion ($11.2 billion) in the third quarter of 2015 alone.

This is ushering in the idea of “banking as a marketplace,” which operators are keen to leverage. Here, banking apps offer account services but also act as a mini mall in which users can “shop” for foreign exchange, insurance, loans, and so on from specialists.

For telcos, it’s an opportunity to experiment with new customer centric business models while delivering CRM and achieving churn reduction. For banks and other key players in financial services, it’s a call to action to leverage their own assets in a way that creates value for the discerning mobile consumer.

What mobile carriers do next: Become banks

Web 3.0 A decentralized web would give power back to the people online

Recently, Google launched a video calling tool (yes, another one). Google Hangouts has been sidelined to Enterprise, and Google Duo is supposed to be the next big thing in video calling.

So now we have Skype from Microsoft, Facetime from Apple, and Google with Duo. Each big company has its own equivalent service, each stuck in its own bubble. These services may be great, but they aren’t exactly what we imagined during the dream years when the internet was being built.

The original purpose of the web and internet, if you recall, was to build a common neutral network which everyone can participate in equally for the betterment of humanity. Fortunately, there is an emerging movement to bring the web back to this vision and it even involves some of the key figures from the birth of the web. It’s called the Decentralised Web or Web 3.0, and it describes an emerging trend to build services on the internet which do not depend on any single “central” organisation to function.

So what happened to the initial dream of the web? Much of the altruism faded during the first dot-com bubble, as people realised that an easy way to create value on top of this neutral fabric was to build centralised services which gather, trap and monetise information.

Search Engines (e.g. Google), Social Networks (e.g. Facebook), Chat Apps (e.g. WhatsApp) have grown huge by providing centralised services on the internet. For example, Facebook’s future vision of the internet is to provide access only to the subset of centralised services it endorses (Internet.org and Free Basics).

Meanwhile, it disables fundamental internet freedoms such as the ability to link to content via a URL (forcing you to share content only within Facebook) or the ability for search engines to index its contents (other than the Facebook search function).

paltalk-tinychat

The Decentralised Web envisions a future world where services such as communication, currency, publishing, social networking, search, archiving etc are provided not by centralised services owned by single organisations, but by technologies which are powered by the people: their own community. Their users.

The core idea of decentralisation is that the operation of a service is not blindly trusted to any single omnipotent company. Instead, responsibility for the service is shared: perhaps by running across multiple federated servers, or perhaps running across client side apps in an entirely “distributed” peer-to-peer model.

Even though the community may be “byzantine” and not have any reason to trust or depend on each other, the rules that describe the decentralised service’s behaviour are designed to force participants to act fairly in order to participate at all, relying heavily on cryptographic techniques such as Merkle trees and digital signatures to allow participants to hold each other accountable.

There are three fundamental areas that the Decentralised Web necessarily champions:privacy, data portability and security.

  • Privacy: Decentralisation forces an increased focus on data privacy. Data is distributed across the network and end-to-end encryption technologies are critical for ensuring that only authorized users can read and write. Access to the data itself is entirely controlled algorithmically by the network as opposed to more centralized networks where typically the owner of that network has full access to data, facilitating  customer profiling and ad targeting.
  • Data Portability: In a decentralized environment, users own their data and choose with whom they share this data. Moreover they retain control of it when they leave a given service provider (assuming the service even has the concept of service providers). This is important. If I want to move from General Motors to BMW today, why should I not be able to take my driving records with me? The same applies to chat platform history or health records.
  • Security: Finally, we live in a world of increased security threats. In a centralized environment, the bigger the silo, the bigger the honeypot is to attract bad actors. Decentralized environments are safer by their general nature against being hacked, infiltrated, acquired, bankrupted or otherwise compromised as they have been built to exist under public scrutiny from the outset.

 

Just as the internet itself triggered a grand re-levelling, taking many disparate unconnected local area networks and providing a new neutral common ground that linked them all, now we see the same pattern happening again as technology emerges to provide a new neutral common ground for higher level services. And much like Web 2.0, the first wave of this Web 3.0 invasion has walked among us for several years already.

Git is wildly successful as an entirely decentralised version control system – almost entirely replacing centralised systems such as Subversion. Bitcoin famously demonstrates how a currency can exist without any central authority, contrasting with a centralised incumbent such as Paypal. Diaspora aims to provide a decentralised alternative to Facebook. Freenet paved the way for decentralised websites, email and file sharing.

Less famously, StatusNet (now called GNU Social) provides a decentralised alternative to Twitter. XMPP was built to provide a decentralised alternative to the messaging silos of AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN, and others.

Telephone switchboard operators circa 1914. Photo courtesy Flickr and reynermedia.

Telephone switchboard operators circa 1914. Photo courtesy Flickr and reynermedia.

However, these technologies have always sat on the fringe — favourites for the geeks who dreamt them up and are willing to forgive their mass market shortcomings, but frustratingly far from being mainstream. The tide is turning . The public zeitgeist is finally catching up with the realisation that being entirely dependent on massive siloed community platforms is not entirely in the users’ best interests.

Critically, there is a new generation of Decentralised Startups that have got the attention of the mainstream industry, heralding in the new age for real.

Blockstack and Ethereum show how Blockchain can be so much more than just a cryptocurrency, acting as a general purpose set of building blocks for building decentralised systems that need strong consensus. IPFS and the Dat Project provide entirely decentralised data fabrics, where ownership and responsibility for data is shared by all those accessing it rather than ever being hosted in a single location.

The real step change in the current momentum came in June at the Decentralised Web Summit organised by the Internet Archive. The event brought together many of the original “fathers of the internet and World Wide Web” to discuss ways to “Lock the web open” and reinvent a web “that is more reliable, private, and fun.”

Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, saw first hand the acceleration in decentralisation technologies whilst considering how to migrate the centralised Internet Archive to instead be decentralised: operated and hosted by the community who uses it rather being a fragile and vulnerable single service.

Additionally, the enthusiastic presence of Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Brewster himself and many others of the old school of the internet at the summit showed that for the first time the shift to decentralisation had caught the attention and indeed endorsement of the establishment.

Tim Berners-Lee said:

The web was designed to be decentralised so that everybody could participate by having their own domain and having their own webserver and this hasn’t worked out. Instead, we’ve got the situation where individual personal data has been locked up in these silos. […] The proposal is, then, to bring back the idea of a decentralised web.

To bring back power to people. We are thinking we are going to make a social revolution by just tweaking: we’re going to use web technology, but we’re going to use it in such a way that we separate the apps that you use from the data that you use.

We now see the challenge is to mature these new technologies and bring them fully to the mass market. Commercially there is huge value to be had in decentralisation: whilst the current silos may be washed away, new ones will always appear on top of the new common ground, just as happened with the original Web.

Github is the posterchild for this: a $2 billion company built entirely as a value-added service on top of the decentralised technology of Git — despite users being able to trivially take their data and leave at any point.

 Similarly, we expect to see the new wave of companies providing decentralised infrastructure and commercially viable services on top, as new opportunities emerge in this brave new world.

Ultimately, it’s hard to predict what final direction Web 3.0 will take us, and that’s precisely the point. By unlocking the web from the hands of a few players this will inevitably enable a surge in innovation and let services flourish which prioritise the user’s interests.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others have their own interests at heart (as they should), but that means that the user can often be viewed purely as a source of revenue, quite literally at the users’ expense.

As the Decentralised Web attracts the interest and passion of the mainstream developer community, there is no telling what new economies will emerge and what kinds of new technologies and services they will invent. The one certainty is they will intrinsically support their communities and user bases just as much as the interests of their creators.

A decentralized web would give power back to the people online

Google Hits a Samsung Roadblock With New AI Assistant – Viv & Adam Cheyer

Google just debuted a digital assistant, which it hopes to place inside smartphones, watches, cars and every other imaginable internet-connected device. It’s already hit a snag.

The Alphabet division launched new smartphones last week with the artificially intelligent assistant deeply embedded. It also rolled out a speaker with the feature at its core and announced plans to let other companies tie their apps and services to the assistant.

A day later, Samsung, which just announced it was ending production of its problematic Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, said it was acquiring Viv Labs, a startup building its own AI voice-based assistant.

At first, the deal looked like a counter-punch to Samsung rival Apple — Viv is run by the creators of Apple’s Siri assistant. But buying Viv may be more of a problem for Google, because Samsung is the biggest maker of phones running Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Google strategy is now centered on the assistant, rather than its search engine, because it’s a more natural way for people to interact with smartphones and other connected devices. Getting all Android phone makers to put the Google assistant on their devices would get the technology into millions of hands quickly. But Samsung’s Viv deal suggests assistants are too important for phone makers to let other companies supply this feature.

Last week, despite the Note 7 crisis, Samsung executive Injong Rhee said the company plans to put Viv’s technology in its smartphones next year and then embed it into other electronics and home appliances. A Samsung representative and a Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

That’s a necessity for Samsung, according to some analysts and industry insiders.

„As AI is becoming more sophisticated and valuable to the consumer, there’s no question it will be important for hardware companies,“ said Kirt McMaster, executive chairman of Cyanogen, a startup that makes Android software. Mr. McMaster, a frequent Google critic, said other Android handset makers will likely follow Samsung’s move.

„If you don’t have an AI asset, you’re not going to have a brain,“ he added.

Google may already have known that some Android phone makers — known as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs — were reluctant to embrace its assistant.

„Other OEMs may want to differentiate“ Google’s Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer told Bloomberg before it released its own smartphones. „They may want to do their own thing — their own assistant, for example.“

Samsung and Google have sparred in the past over distribution. Google requires Android handset makers to pre-install 11 apps, yet Samsung often puts its own services on its phones. And the South Korean company has released devices that run on its own operating system, called Tizen, not Android.

Viv was frequently on the short-list of startups that could help larger tech companies build assistant technology. Founded four-years ago by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, the startup was working on voice technology to handle more complex queries than existing offerings.

While it drummed up considerable attention and investment, Viv has not yet released its product to the public. And some analysts are skeptical of Samsung’s ability to convert the technology into a credible service, given its mixed record with software applications.

„It will be very hard to compete with Google’s strength in data and their AI acquisitions,“ said Jitendra Waral, senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. „Samsung would need to prove that its AI solutions are superior to that of Google’s. They are handicapped in this race.“

Samsung is also focused on handling the fallout from its exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones, potentially taking management time away from its Viv integration.

But it’s a race Samsung has to join. In recent years, Samsung acquired mobile-payments and connected-device startups to keep up with Apple, Google and Amazon. Digital voice-based assistants may be more important, if they become the main way people interact with devices.

Silicon Valley titans are rushing into the space because of this potential. Amazon is trying to sign up developers for its Alexa voice technology. Apple has recently touted more Siri capabilities and opened the technology to other developers. And now Google, considered the leader in artificial intelligence, is making its own push.

„I don’t ever remember a time when every single major consumer tech company — and even enterprise companies — have been singularly focused on an identical strategy,“ said Tim Tuttle, chief executive officer of MindMeld Inc., a startup working on voice interaction software. „They’re all following the exact same playbook.“

 

http://adage.com/article/digital/google-hits-a-roadblock-ai-assistant/306244/

Amazon has a secret plan to replace FedEx and UPS called ‚Consume the City‘

Amazon has been quietlybeefing up its own shipping logistics network lately.

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Although Amazon publicly says it’s meant to complement existing delivery partners like FedEx and UPS, a new report by The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens says Amazon has broader ambitions.

Eventually, Amazon aims to build a full-scale shipping and logistics network that will not only ship products ordered from Amazon, but also will ship products for other retailers and consumers.

In other words, Amazon is looking to compete against delivery services like FedEx and UPS, the report says. Internally, some Amazon execs call the plan „Consume the City.“

Here are other new details around Amazon’s logistics plan, according to the report:

  • Amazon recently hired former Uber VP Tim Collins as VP of global logistics.
  • It recruited dozens of UPS and FedEx executives and hundreds of UPS employees in recent years.
  • Test trials for last-mile deliveries are running in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.
  • The company also experimented with a program called „I Have Space“ to store Amazon’s inventory in warehouses owned by other companies.

On top of that, InternetRetailer.com recently reported that Amazon has hired Ed Feitzinger, the former CEO of UTi Worldwide, one of the largest supply chain management companies, as VP of global logistics. Add that to the fact that Amazon has now built facilities within 20 miles of 44% of the US population, and Amazon is starting to look like a real threat to existing logistics networks.

According to Baird Equity Research, Amazon is looking at a $400 billion market opportunity by launching all these initiatives. They could also help Amazon reduce some of its shipping costs, which have been increasing every year.

People in the industry are starting to take notice, too, according to Zvi Schreiber, the CEO of Freightos, an online marketplace for international freight.

„After dominating e-commerce and warehousing, Amazon is moving farther up the supply chain and eyeing the logistics sector from all angles, particularly looking to leverage technology, capital, and manpower to make logistics more efficient,“ Schreiber told Business Insider.

„Given their track record of disrupting industries — from retail to warehousing and e-commerce fulfillment to cloud computing — the trillion-dollar freight industry is certainly tracking Amazon nervously.“

http://www.businessinsider.de/amazon-secret-plan-replace-fedex-ups-called-consume-the-city-2016-9

Here’s the electric car Audi is building to take on Tesla

Audi E-tron quattroAudi

Tesla’s Model S and Model X are soon going to have some serious competition.

Last September, Audi revealed its all-electric e-tron quattro concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The SUV, which is slated to go into production by 2018, will have three electric motors, a range of 310 miles on a single charge, and quick charging capabilities.

Here’s a look at some of the features in the e-tron quattro that we hope to see in the production version.

Like the e-tron concept, Audi will most likely include piloted driving technology in its upcoming all-electric SUV.

Like the e-tron concept, Audi will most likely include piloted driving technology in its upcoming all-electric SUV.

Audi piloted techYouTube/Audi

The e-tron quattro concept has piloted driving technology, which uses radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors, and a laser scanner to collect data about the car’s environment and create a model of the vehicle’s surroundings in real-time.

Audi currently has a lot of this tech in its newer vehicles, so it’s likely we will see a more advanced piloted system in the production version of the e-tron quattro.

 

Cameras could replace side view mirrors.

Cameras could replace side view mirrors.

Audi

The e-tron quattro has curved displays built into the front section of the doors that lets the driver view what is around them. There’s no guarantee we’ll see this in the production version, but automakers are beginning to experiment with new kinds of mirror designs.

For example, GM’s a digital mirror in the Chevy Bolt and the Cadillac CT6that uses cameras to stream whatever is behind you.

It will likely be covered in screens.

It will likely be covered in screens.

Audi

The e-tron quattro concept features two touch displays in the cockpit, one to the driver’s left to control lights and the piloted driving systems and one to the right where media and navigation is controlled.

The center console has two more OLED displays for climate control and infotainment.

With its 95 kWh battery, the e-tron quattro has an impressive range of 310 miles on a single charge.

With its 95 kWh battery, the e-tron quattro has an impressive range of 310 miles on a single charge.

Audi

To put that into perspective, Tesla’s Model X SUV with all wheel drive and a 100kWh battery has a range of 289 miles on a single charge. Audi has already said its range will beat this.

It may be able to fully charge in just 50 minutes.

It may be able to fully charge in just 50 minutes.

Audi

We know the production version will have quick charging capabilities, but we don’t know exactly how fast it will work. However, we’re hoping it’s in line with the e-tron quattro concept’s charge time.

The concept car has a Combined Charging System (CCS), meaning it can be charged with a DC or AC electrical current. It can fully charge with a DC current outputting 150 kW in just about 50 minutes.

 

The e-tron quattro concept is equipped with induction charging technology, so it can be charged wirelessly over a charging plate.

The e-tron quattro concept is equipped with induction charging technology, so it can be charged wirelessly over a charging plate.

Audi

We can’t say if this is a definite feature the production version will have, but our fingers are crossed.

It will have super fast connectivity.

It will have super fast connectivity.

Audi

Audi announced at CES this year that it is the first automaker to support the latest standard for mobile communications: LTE Advanced.

LTE Advanced is the latest enhancement to LTE, meaning that it can deliver larger and faster wireless data payloads than 4G LTE. We can almost certainly expect to see the technology integrated into the upcoming production car.

http://www.businessinsider.de/audis-electric-vs-tesla-2016-9?op=1