Displaying items by tag: AI
US technology giant Apple has announced that it will impose a recruitment cutback - which has been primarily forced due to weak sales on the company’s iPhone devices in the lucrative Chinese market.
Bloomberg has reported that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced the recruitment cutbacks just a day after he sent a letter to Apple investors that warned the company was bracing itself for a year-on-year decline in revenue for its fiscal Q1, which would shave $5bn from its guidance.
In a series of meetings that were held following the disclosure, it was reported that Cook informed some staff that a number of divisions would reduce hiring, but stated that he didn’t think a complete freeze in recruitment would be an appropriate solution to take.
In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that the CEO is also yet to determine which divisions will face hiring cutbacks. However, it is believed that divisions such as Apple’s AI team will not be affected due to the leverage of investment made by the US tech company into the emerging technology.
The move will also not affect plans to open a state-of-the-art new office in Austin, Texas or its expansion plans in Los Angeles, where the company is fleshing out its original video content ambitions.
Bloomberg also pointed out that Apple has hired new staff at a significant rate over the past decade. The company recruited 9,000 workers in its most recent fiscal year, taking the total up to 132,000, while adding 7,000 a year earlier.
Head of Google, Sundar Pichai, has expressed feelings of “deep responsibility” as a leader in the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
In an interview with The Washington Post, he encouraged his tech competitors such as Apple and Amazon to ‘self regulate’ their technology when designing AI that has the potential to harm.
Pichai said it was important to factor in ethics during early stages of production, rather than afterwards; accepting concerns surrounding AI’s potential to hurt people as “very legitimate”.
"I think tech has to realize it just can't build it, and then fix it," Pichai said. "I think that doesn't work."
In June of this year, Google published a set of internal AI principles, that software created would first and foremost be ‘socially beneficial’. It vowed the technology would never be designed or deployed to violate human rights, to be used in surveillance outside international norms or ever be used in weapons.
Pichai’s comments follow the controversy surrounding Amazon’s Rekognition app, which has faced scrutiny regarding its accuracy and has raised ethical concerns. CEO Jeff Bezos met with Border Control Officials to sell the facial recognition software, which could track human beings and take them back to potentially dangerous situations overseas.
"This is why we've tried hard to articulate a set of AI principles. We may not have gotten everything right, but we thought it was important to start a conversation," Pichai says.
The company noted that it would continue to work with the military or governments in areas such as cybersecurity, training, recruitment, healthcare, and search-and-rescue.
"As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right."
Google has plans to roll out a controversial new app in which AI will make phone calls on behalf of users to arrange appointments, book tables and order food. Duplex will run through Google Assistant, and is described as “a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out ‘real world’ tasks over the phone.”
At a conference in May, CEO Sundar Pichai played two recordings of Google Assistant running Duplex, arranging a hairdressing appointment and booking a table. The assistant understood the context and responded appropriately, even when the conversation didn’t go as expected.
In both phone calls, the receiver did not suspect they were talking to a robot; the bot speaks with realistic sounding human inflections and pauses. The next-generation voice assistant has raised some ethical questions as to whether humans should be told they are speaking to a robot and be clear that the conversation is recorded.
“It’s important to us that users and businesses have a good experience with this service, and transparency is a key part of that,” Says Yaniv Leviathan, Principal Engineer at Google.
“We want to be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context. We’ll be experimenting with the right approach over the coming months.”
Currently, only Pixel owners in selected US cities can run the app, and are, for now, limited to making restaurant reservations.
“We hope that these technology advances will ultimately contribute to a meaningful improvement in people’s experience in day-to-day interactions with computers.”
Chinese AI firm SenseTime and Qualcomm Technologies announced plans to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for future mobile and IoT products. This collaboration will draw from the expertise of both companies in AI by leveraging SenseTime’s ML models and algorithms with Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, which offer advanced computing capabilities for client based AI.
“To develop an AI ecosystem, it takes efforts from players in multiple industries,” said Dr Li Xu, co-founder and CEO of SenseTime. “The strategic collaboration between SenseTime and Qualcomm Technologies will advance on-device intelligence by leveraging our algorithm and Qualcomm Technologies’ chipset. Together we’ll push the envelope and extend AI to places that are currently beyond reach.”
Devices such as smartphones and connected cameras are becoming more intelligent with the proliferation of AI. The companies expect to drive the popularity and development of on-device AI in areas such as innovative vision and camera-based image processing.
Implementing AI on the device provides a number of advantages over cloud-only implementations, enabling edge devices to provide reliable execution with or without a network connection. Additional benefits of on-device AI include real-time performance, privacy protection and enhanced reliability.
“Qualcomm has been conducting fundamental research in AI over a decade,” said Keith Kressin, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies. “In fact, many devices shipping today using our Snapdragon mobile platforms already utilize on-device AI. We look forward to the results of our collaboration with SenseTime to further accelerate new and exciting capabilities of on-device AI for millions of customers using mobile devices.”
Currently, Qualcomm Technologies is focused on optimizing the Snapdragon mobile platform to accelerate myriad AI use cases in the areas of computer vision and natural language processing — for smartphones, IoT and automotive — and is researching broader executions in the areas of wireless connectivity, power management, and photography.
SenseTime is a leading company in artificial intelligence and its applications. It plays an important role in deep learning algorithm innovation and has built a proprietary deep learning platform called Parrots. The company's deep learning technology makes it possible to innovate and develop a variety of algorithms with low cost and quick turn-around.
SenseTime has made breakthroughs in algorithm model miniaturization. Its strategic collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies is expected to drastically improve the speed and efficiency of combining algorithm and chipset, making SenseTime's AI technology more pervasive.
Huawei has unveiled its first smartphones fitted with its first AI mobile chipset, the Kirin 970. The Huawei Mate 10, Huawei Mate 10 Pro and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 were unveiled in Munich on October 16, and combine the Kirin 970 chipset and EMUI 8.0 Android interface. The Mate 10 Series continues its legacy of long-lasting battery life, while integrating New Leica Dual Camera technology.
With an all-new FullView Display, the Huawei Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch screen with a 16:9 display and HDR10 to support vivid colors. The 6-inch Huawei Mate 10 Pro features an 18:9 OLED display, high screen-to-body ratio and HDR10 for dynamic video viewing. The devices feature 3D Glass Body and the back of the devices feature a reflective band design to highlight the New Leica Dual Camera. The Mate 10 Pro is IP67 Water and Dust Resistant.
The Huawei Mate 10 (64GB + 4GB) will sell for €699; the Huawei Mate 10 Pro (128GB + 6GB) will sell for €799; and the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 (256GB + 6GB) will sell for €1,395.
“As we enter the age of intelligence, AI is no longer a virtual concept but something that intertwines with our daily life. AI can enhance user experience, provide valuable services and improve product performance,” said Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group. “The Huawei Mate 10 Series introduces the first mobile AI-specific Neural Network Processing Unit, launching a new era of intelligent smartphones.”
The Kirin 970 chipset, launched this year during IFA Berlin, is built using an advanced TSMC 10nm semiconductor manufacturing process, and features an octa-core ARM Cortex CPU, a first-to-market Mali-G72 12-core GPU and the first NPU designed specifically for a mobile device. The Kirin 970 also has a new dual ISP for AI-powered intelligent photography.
The specialized NPU, combined with Huawei’s HiAI mobile computing platform, means the Kirin 970 delivers 25x better performance and 50x greater energy efficiency for AI-related tasks, compared to four Cortex-A73 cores, Huawei said. The Huawei Mate 10 Series also supports fast LTE connectivity and download speeds. The device comes with the world’s first dual 4G SIM support and dual VoLTE connections.
By combining individual and collective intelligence for on-device AI, the devices deliver real-time responses to users, including AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition and an AI Accelerated Translator. Kirin 970 is an open, mobile AI computing platform for third parties to create new and imaginative AI applications and which extends Huawei’s processing capabilities to the entire value chain.
New Leica Dual Camera
Huawei again partnered with Leica to co-engineer the dual-lens camera for the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. They combine 12-megapixel RGB + 20-megapixel monochrome sensors, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), dual lenses with the world’s largest aperture of f/1.6, AI-powered Bokeh Effect and AI-powered Digital Zoom.
New AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition, which automatically chooses camera settings based on the object and scene, supports an advanced AI-powered Digital Zoom function with AI Motion Detection for clearer and sharper pictures.
The devices pack a 4000 mAh high-density battery featuring a smart battery management system that understands user behavior and intelligently allocates resources to maximize battery life.
It supports 4.5V / 5A low-voltage fast charging, powering the device from 1 percent to 20 percent in 10 minutes, and from 1 percent to 58 percent in 30 minutes. Additionally, Huawei SuperCharge is the world’s first fast charging technology to receive TÜV Fast-Charge Safety Certification, ensuring safe end-to-end charging.
The devices will launch with Huawei’s all-new EMUI 8.0 powered by Android 8.0. Features include an AI Engine to fully leverage the capabilities of the Kirin 970; an AI Accelerated translator to deliver faster and more accurate interactive translation for a smoother communication experience; an easy projection feature to connect the new Huawei Mate Series to a larger screen; support for a full desktop experience – either mirroring or extending the smartphone display like a PC.
The new Mate 10 will be available starting in late October in more than 15 countries and regions including Spain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. The Mate 10 Pro will be available beginning in mid-November in more than two dozen countries, including Germany, France, Italy, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 will also be available starting in mid-November.
Huawei has outlined its ambition to become a “global iconic tech brand”. Ms. Glory Cheung, Huawei Consumer Business Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, made the statement at the Chinese company’s ‘Future of Innovation’ event held in Dubai on Sept. 20. Ms. Cheung was joined by two other Huawei Business Consumer Group executives, who emphasized the company’s ambition to become the number one smartphone brand.
Ms. Cheung spoke highly of Dubai and the wider Middle East region, praising the growth of innovation in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. She said Huawei is pleased to support the region’s agenda of fostering innovation. Ms. Cheung added, “We look forward to being a part of the region’s innovation agenda and continue to be its champion by bringing cutting-edge technologies to the Middle East’s rapidly evolving digital arena.”
Huawei has grown significantly as a smartphone brand the past few years. Huawei surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales consistently for June and July this year, according to research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse for July 2017. Huawei’s global growth, according to Counterpoint Research Director, Peter Richardson, can be attributed to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, coupled with aggressive marketing and sales channel expansion.
“Globally, Huawei is a top investor in R&D (research and development) and we focus on bringing together the world's best intellectual resources to strengthen our innovation capability,” said Ms. Cheung discussing Huawei’s growth. “This is to ensure we are constantly delivering intelligent innovations to enhance and exceed mobile experiences of our customers.”
However, a weak presence in the South Asian, Indian and North American markets has limited Huawei’s potential growth in the near-to mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung, Mr. Richardson claims. The company is “over-dependent on its home market China where it enjoys the leadership position and operator-centric markets in Europe, Latin American and Middle East,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ms. Cheung emphasized Huawei’s commitment to fueling innovation and collaborating with leading partners around the world to transform customers’ experience, as well as Huawei’s growing market share year-on-year. With the release of Apple’s new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X, Huawei could slip back into third place, which the company is clearly aware of, hence its focus on driving brand recognition.
Mr. Clement Wong, Head of Global Product Marketing, Huawei CBG, highlighted the company’s vision of the next frontier in mobile and introduced Huawei’s newest 970 Kirin – an artificial intelligence (AI) powered chipset. By combining the power of the cloud with the speed and responsiveness of native AI processing, Huawei confirmed that it will unveil the Huawei Mate 10 series with Kirin 970 at an event in Munich on October 16.
“Huawei is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud,” said Mr. Wong. “The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience. The Kirin 970 is the first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition.”
While Huawei climbed to be the world’s second largest brand overall this month, Counterpoint Research analysts pointed out that none of its models broke into the top ten rankings. Senior Analyst, Pavel Naiya said Huawei’s diverse portfolio allows the company to fight on multiple fronts, but it “does little to build overall brand recognition; something Huawei badly needs if it continues to gain share.”
Huawei will be banking on the release of its forthcoming AI-powered smartphone to boost its brand recognition in the premium smartphone segment.
The event also provided an understanding of Huawei’s vision and plans for the Middle East. Mr. Gene Jiao, President of Huawei CBG, Middle East and Africa, said the Middle East is “one of the most crucial markets for Huawei and over the last couple of years, we have grown from strength to strength, focusing on improving the quality of our products, services and market performance.”
According to the 2017 H1 GFK report, Huawei is now ranked number two in the Middle East and Africa region in terms of sales volume with 13.8 percent market share, after Samsung. Mr. Jiao said Huawei will continue to invest in partnerships with key government entities across the region to support innovative growth.
At IFA 2017 in Berlin, Huawei unveiled its vision for the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with the launch of the Kirin 970 chipset. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said the company is committed to turning smart devices into intelligence devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices and the cloud.
Through the Kirin 970, Huawei aims to provide a significantly better user experience, Yu said. The chipset is the “first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition,” Yu added.
“As we look to the future of smartphones, we’re at the threshold of an exciting new era.”
After years of development, Cloud AI has seen broad application, but user experience still has room for improvement in areas such as latency, stability, and privacy. The goal is for Cloud AI and On-Device AI to complement each other, Yu explained.
On-Device AI offers strong sensing capabilities that are the foundation of understanding and assisting people. Sensors produce a large amount of real-time, scenario-specific, and personalized data. Supported by strong chip processing capabilities, devices will become more cognitive of user needs, providing truly personalized and readily accessible services.
The Kirin 970 is powered by an 8-core CPU and a new generation 12-core GPU. Built using a 10nm advanced process, the chipset packs 5.5 billion transistors into an area of only one cm².
Huawei’s new flagship chipset is its first mobile AI computing platform featuring a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Compared to a quad-core Cortex-A73 CPU cluster, the Kirin 970's new heterogeneous computing architecture delivers up to 25x the performance with 50x greater efficiency.
Simply put, the Kirin 970 can perform the same AI computing tasks faster and with far less power. In a benchmark image recognition test, the Kirin 970 processed 2,000 images per minute, which was faster than other chips on the market.
New developments in AI require joint effort across the entire value chain, involving tens of millions of developers, and the experience and feedback of hundreds of millions of users. Huawei is positioning the Kirin 970 as an open platform for mobile AI, opening up the chipset to developers and partners who can find new and innovative uses for its processing capabilities.
Amazon and Microsoft announced that Alexa, Amazon’s AI personal assistant, will soon be able to communicate with Cortana, the personal assistant for Windows 10, and vice versa. Users of Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo speaker will be able to turn on their device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or turn to their Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa.”
The two US technology giants said Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year. Under the agreement, Microsoft customers first will be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows PCs, and later on Android and iOS devices, said Andrew Shuman, corporate vice president, Cortana Engineering.
Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana's unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.
"Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal."
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said, "The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience.”
Tractica analyst Mark Beccue speculates that Amazon and Microsoft have mutual interest in developing the ability for their AI assistants to communicate, because neither company has enough presence in the mobile space to stand alone.
He told TechNewsWorld: “Neither Microsoft nor Amazon have the market penetration that Apple and Google do. Their virtual assistants are not very multimodal yet. Maybe they feel stronger together.”
Both Amazon and Microsoft have their own strengths that they can bring to the table; for example, Microsoft is stronger in productivity and search, whereas Amazon is known for e-commerce and has a vast ecosystem of skill applications, including many related to smart home technologies.
Ericsson has endured a difficult number of years in the telecommunications market, but newly-appointed CTO Erik Ekudden has expressed his optimism moving forward – vowing that the Swedish vendor will focus on key trends they’ve identified such as ‘automation’. The CTO disclosed that the key trends were identified following intense discussions with Ericsson’s customers and its leadership team since his appointment on July 1st.
Ekudden believes that Ericsson is well-placed to deliver on some of the technology trends which have been established. However, he did concede that it must develop new skills and capabilities in conjunction with other key industry players in order to be in a position to capitalize on the remainder.
One of the key trends identified is providing an adaptable technology base by combining software and hardware. According to the executive Ericsson’s experience and nous ensures that it can improve the efficiency of networks and ultimately ‘lower costs’.
Other keys trends identified by Ericsson which were disclosed by Ekudden include the need to establish an advanced machine intelligence system - he claimed that the ecosystem for machine learning and AI platforms were maturing and that the Swedish telecommunications colossus was enhancing its operations in relation to the development of such network platforms.
However, it was in the area of ‘automation’ and IoT which represents a great opportunity for Ericsson to assist its customer base in their ‘automation journey’ by offering better infrastructure and ultimately delivering an interaction between operations and networks which is much more intuitive and smooth.
Ekudden said, “Automation is a big theme among our customers. Ericsson is taking a leading role here, and we’ve got great experience in managed services and broader optimization capabilities. In addition to this, end-to-end security in IoT systems is crucial, and our goal is to establish what we call “hardware routes of trust” in every IoT device.”
However, the newly-appointed CTO stressed the importance of security and said it was imperative that it is considered when developing every new IoT device. He added, “It’s an architectural question, and it’s also about designing every node at a certain security level. This is something we take as a very important part of the products that we build on the network side.”
South Korean conglomerate Samsung have announced that its voice-based assistant entitled ‘Bixby’ is now available for Galaxy S8 users in over 200 countries worldwide following its release in the US last month.
The world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer had launched Bixby domestically and in the US, but now voice-assistant technology is available in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Samsung developed the feature in an attempt to catch-up with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.
Bixby currently only supports English and Korean, and issued a statement highlighting the fact that not all accents, dialects and expressions will be recognized. It stressed that it will take time for Bixby to adapt and understand regional dialects.
The statement read, “Natural language understanding allows Bixby to continuously improve its ability to interpret regional dialects. But since Bixby learns more frequently used command terms more quickly, it will take more time for Bixby to fully understand regional dialects that are used less frequently.”
The electronics colossus has revealed that Bixby’s features include Quick Commands which allows users to create a custom voice command to use instead of a sequence of one or more demands. In addition to this, Samsung’s voice-assistant can also grasp the understanding of cross-application commands and features deep learning technology which can improve over a period of time which can then recognize personal preferences and ways of talking.
The statement added that when an application becomes Bixby-enabled, the platform will support every task the application is capable of performing using voice, touch or text. EVP and Head of Research and Development at Samsung Electronics mobile, Injong Rhee has predicted that the emergence and evolution of Bixby will lead to a more seamless connection for users across a range of devices.
Rhee said, “The expansion of Bixby’s voice capabilities is an initial step in the continued rollout of Bixby functionality. In the future, Bixby will have the learning power to offer more intelligent and personalised interactions and seamless connections across more devices.”
It has also been disclosed that Samsung is intending on expanding Bixby’s voice capabilities to additional countries, languages, devices, features and third-party applications. Samsung first unveiled its voice-assistant back in March, but it suffered some teething problems when the launch of the English version of the product was delayed. It then targeted a launch date in May, but that was pushed back to the end of June, before Bixby was eventually launched in the US in July.
However, it now places Samsung amongst the ever-competitive AI voice-assistant market and analysts are predicting Bixby to be a biggest success for the South Korean colossus.