Archive for the ‘ars-unite-2018’ Category

Why driving is hard—even for AIs

December 7th, 2018
Why driving is hard—even for AIs

Enlarge (credit: Dong Wenjie via Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in the city—get ready for a lot of smart buildings and self-driving stuff!

I have a couple of kids of learner’s permit age, and it’s my fatherly duty to give them some driving tips so they won’t be a menace to themselves and to everyone else. So I’ve been analyzing the way I drive: How did I know that the other driver was going to turn left ahead of me? Why am I paying attention to the unleashed dog on the sidewalk but not the branches of the trees overhead? What subconscious cues tell me that a light is about to change to red or that the door of a parked car is about to open?

This exercise has given me a renewed appreciation for the terrible complexity of driving—and that’s just the stuff I know to think about. The car itself already takes care of a million details that make the car go, stop, and steer, and that process was complex enough when I was young and cars were essentially mechanical and electric. Now, cars have become rolling computers, with humans controlling (at most) speed, direction, and comfort.

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All hail the AI overlord: Smart cities and the AI Internet of Things

December 7th, 2018
Urban highrises connected by invisible radio signals.

Enlarge / Shanghai. (credit: Dong Wenjie / Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in the city—get ready for a lot of smart buildings and self-driving stuff!

Cities generate lots of data. The exact amount depends on the size of the city and its sophistication and ambitions, but it's certainly more than mere humans can absorb and use. The Smart Cities movement, which looks for ways to find data-driven technological solutions to everyday urban challenges, is increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to deliver "services" to its residents—everything from locating gunshots and finding tumors to dispatching work crews to pick up trash.

New York is one of about 90 cities worldwide that uses a system called ShotSpotter, which uses a network of microphones to instantly recognize and locate gunshots. In Moscow, all chest X-rays taken in hospitals are run through an AI system to recognize and diagnose tumors. And Taiwan is building a system that will be able to predict air quality, allowing city managers to warn residents of health dangers and work to lessen what the data tells them will be the worst of the impacts.

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NASA’s next Mars rover will use AI to be a better science partner

December 6th, 2018
The Mars 2020 rover will likely carry artificial intelligence software to help manage the science workload.

Enlarge / The Mars 2020 rover will likely carry artificial intelligence software to help manage the science workload. (credit: NASA)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in manufacturing and space—stand by to blast off!

NASA can't yet put a scientist on Mars. But in its next rover mission to the red planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is hoping to use artificial intelligence to at least put the equivalent of a talented research assistant there. Steve Chien, head of the AI Group at NASA JPL, envisions working with the Mars 2020 Rover "much more like [how] you would interact with a graduate student instead of a rover that you typically have to micromanage."

The 13-minute delay in communications between Earth and Mars means that the movements and experiments conducted by past and current Martian rovers have had to be meticulously planned. While more recent rovers have had the capability of recognizing hazards and performing some tasks autonomously, they've still placed great demands on their support teams.

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Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine

December 6th, 2018
Robot, heal thyself.

Enlarge / Robot, heal thyself. (credit: Gmas3r, via Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in manufacturing and space—stand by to blast off!

Manufacturing is in the early states of a state of disruption brought on by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing. "Additive manufacturing" has already worked itself into companies such as Porsche and Bugatti, and aircraft builder Airbus is experimenting with UAV THOR, a drone made entirely of 3D-printed parts. At the same time, AI is coming into play in a number of ways, in everything from analytics to manufacturing robotics. So the "factory of the future," as envisioned by projects such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Adaptive Vehicle Make program, is one in which software drives the manufacturing process and the factory can be rapidly reconfigured to change what it makes.

AI has increasingly played a role in designing products in the form of generative design software. AI-driven generative design software makes it possible for humans and AI to work together to rapidly consider every conceivable design option and to test them all before choosing one for production.

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Where we’re going, we won’t need windows: How autonomy will change cars

December 5th, 2018
When AI is doing the driving, what we call a "car" may look and act like something else entirely.

Enlarge / When AI is doing the driving, what we call a "car" may look and act like something else entirely. (credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in transportation—buckle up!

As artificial intelligence technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it may have a profound effect on how everyday objects look and behave. That's especially true of autonomous vehicles. While the first self-driving cars in development have built upon human-controlled designs, AI will steer vehicle design past traditional shapes and features. With fewer human factors to worry about, the shape and behavior of vehicles could change radically. And it could all start with something as simple as headlights.

“As vehicles shift from drivers to autonomy, the importance of lights will diminish while the importance of sensors will increase,” explained Adam Rodnitzky, the vice president of marketing at Occipital, a spatial computing company. “Therefore, we’ll start to see common design features like headlights, tail lights and turn signals go from prominent styling features to vestigial and diminished design elements.”

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More than an auto-pilot, AI charts its course in aviation

December 5th, 2018
Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Enlarge / Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (credit: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars UNITE, our week-long virtual conference on the ways that innovation brings unusual pairings together. Each day this week from Wednesday through Friday, we're bringing you a pair of stories about facing the future. Today's focus is on AI in transportation—buckle up!

Ask anyone what they think of when the words "artificial intelligence" and aviation are combined, and it's likely the first things they'll mention are drones. But autonomous aircraft are only a fraction of the impact that advances in machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will have in aviation—the technologies' reach could encompass nearly every aspect of the industry. Aircraft manufacturers and airlines are investing significant resources in AI technologies in applications that span from the flightdeck to the customer's experience.

Automated systems have been part of commercial aviation for years. Thanks to the adoption of "fly-by-wire" controls and automated flight systems, machine learning and AI technology are moving into a crew-member role in the cockpit. Rather than simply reducing the workload on pilots, these systems are on the verge of becoming what amounts to another co-pilot. For example, systems originally developed for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) safety—such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) for traffic situational awareness—have migrated into manned aircraft cockpits. And emerging systems like the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) are being developed to increase safety when there's a need to compensate for aircraft handling characteristics. They use sensor data to adjust the control surfaces of an aircraft automatically, based on flight conditions.

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