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Tech Giants Takes a Big Leap In Artificial Intelligence

09 Jan Tech Giants Takes a Big Leap In Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) – technology that thinks and makes decisions like a human – isn’t a new concept. The world’s first exploratory steps in AI – were built in the mid-20th century. However, with advancements to democratize AI and use it for good, nearly every business started believing in this technology and technique in 2016. According to a recent research study by Transparency Market Research (successful market intelligence company), the global artificial intelligence market valued at US$126.2 billion in 2015, and it is estimated to reach a value of US$3,061.3 billion by the end of 2024 posting an impressive CAGR of 36.1% between 2016-2024.

Today, AI is being used in various applications including text and voice recognition software, sensors for unmanned vehicles, speed cameras, voice assistants and medical research.  Almost all of the major technology companies made significant announcements related to artificial intelligence in 2016:

1. Google  – Google’s AI system, AlphaGo, became the first AI program that could beat a professional player at the most complex board game humanity has devised, using deep learning and reinforcement learning. In 2016, Google also announced the voice-based helper Google Assistant, updates to its machine learning toolkit TensorFlow, and the release of the Cloud Natural Language API (that gives developers access to Google-powered sentiment analysis, entity recognition, and syntax analysis) and Cloud Speech API.

Google Home turned out to be a significant highlight in the talking-devices AI category. A voice-activated speaker, Google Home, offers tough competition to Amazon’s smart speaker, Echo. These at-home digital helpers are useful assistants with abilities to not only recognize human needs but predict them to create an ecosystem of reliance and reciprocity.

Google Home was released in the United States on November 4, 2016 (Photo & Video: courtesy of Google)


2. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) – During early 2016, Amazon secured permission from the UK Government to test out Drone deliveries in the UK.

On December 7, 2016, Amazon successfully delivered a Prime Air parcel to an actual customer in the Cambridge area of England, UK (Photo & Video: courtesy of Amazon.com)

During late-2016, it made a series of launch related to new AI-based technological products, leveraging its new Amazon AI platform, for developers outside the Company:

(i) Lex, framework for creating chatbots;

(ii) Polly, a cloud-based text to speech service, which supports languages and accents around the world and;

(iii) Rekognition, an image identification service that can identify scenes and objects in an image, as well as human emotions and feelings.


3. Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) – Nvidia has invested heavily in chips made specifically for AI and machine learning applications and has established a partnership with tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM, and Baidu that will focus on using AI.

Recently, NVIDIA introduces the new NVIDIA DRIVE™ PX 2 for auto cruise driving and Hd mapping. It is the open AI car computing platform which allows automakers and their tier 1 suppliers to stimulate the production of automated and autonomous vehicles.

The Drive PX 2 targets to train autonomous cars by analyzing data gathered from cameras, GPS, ultrasonic sensors, radar, lidar and other components (Photos & Videos: courtesy of Nvidia Corp)

In the healthcare front, NVIDIA announced a new collaboration with the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy to supply AI software during late-2016, that it hopes will accelerate cancer research.

NVIDIA Teams with National Cancer Institute, U.S. Department of Energy to Create AI Platform that will change the way we understand cancer (Photos & Videos: Nvidia Corp)


4. Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) – After much speculation, Apple acknowledged for the first time, that it is investing in autonomous car technology. The Company revealed, in late 2016, it is investing heavily in the research of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.

Other than Apple, leading technology companies such as Uber, Google (Waymo), Baidu and a handful of traditional car manufacturers including Tesla, Ford, BMW and Daimler are also working on automated vehicles.

In September 2016, Uber rolled out its self-driving cars in a pilot program in Pittsburgh (Photos: courtesy of Uber)


5. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) – Microsoft has released a deluge of AI-bolstered features in its operating system and standalone software since the launch of its first virtual personal assistant (PA), Cortana, in 2014. Recently, the Company announced the formation of the Microsoft AI and Research Group, comprising of more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers focused on the Company’s AI product efforts.

Microsoft plans to evolve its Cortana digital personal assistant from a feature of Windows to an essential part of our daily lives (Photos & Videos: courtesy of Microsoft Corp)

Microsoft’s AI initiatives for blinds is one of the prominent examples that have caught massive attention. The Company is making a great focus on a neural network that will provide an additional source of information/guidance to someone who is visually impaired. It is also using machine learning and AI to help doctors in India to diagnose and treat eye diseases.

Using APIs from Microsoft Cognitive Services, Pivothead is bringing “vision” to the visually-impaired  (Photos: courtesy of Pivothead)


6. Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) – Social network giant, Facebook is targeting to build over 1.5 billion AI agents—one for its every single user, leveraging its internal platform for machine learning, FBLearner Flow. This platform links several machine-learning models to process several billion data points, extracted from the activity of the site’s 1.5 billion users, and forms predictions about thousands of things.

FBLearner Flow helps engineers in testing, building and executing the machine learning algorithms which form the backbone of the deep neural networks (Photos: courtesy of Facebook)

Facebook’s DeepFace AI system is the ultimate facial recognition software. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) system which Facebook has been developing for over a year. The Company claims that its algorithms can determine whether two distinct photos feature the same person with a 97.25% level of accuracy.

DeepFace employs a 9-layer neural net with over 120 million connection weights, and was tested on 4-million images uploaded by Facebook users (Photos: courtesy of Facebook)

While Amazon Echo and Google Home gained widespread popularity, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has built an artificially intelligent assistant, Jarvis, that can learn his tastes and patterns, can control appliances, play music, recognize faces and can even entertain his toddler.

While, AI is one of the most exciting and transformative opportunities of our time, but humanity could be heading for a dark future.

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race…. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” — Stephen Hawking

Companies on the leading edge of this technology are racing to secure patents, snapping up AI start-ups, as they try to defend and extend their competitiveness and are actively spreading into compelling products and services whose markets have a long growth story.

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