Hunting for Frankenstein Amid Switzerland's Melting Glaciers and Nuclear Bunkers


Most people visit the Swiss Alps to ski or hike, maybe to launder money. British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews went to find Frankenstein. Mathews, a fan, brought along her old copy to read, letting the text guide her journey through the landscape. "My eyes scanned the barren white lands for Frankenstein's creature, crossing the glacier at'super-human speed'," she writes in the introduction to her new photo book, In Search of Frankenstein - Mary Shelley's Nightmare. "I imagined catching a darting figure in my peripheral vision or coming across a makeshift cabin that had sheltered the fugitive for the night."

Microsoft Buys Conversational AI Company Semantic Machines

Forbes Technology

As Microsoft has been focused on developing speech recognition and natural language technology for over two decades, the company has a goal of expanding its vision where computers around the world can see, hear, talk and understand as humans. This led to the introduction of the Cognitive Services framework in 2016. The Cognitive Services framework revolves around the development of bots and the integration of speech recognition and natural language understanding into intelligent assistants. There are now over 1 million developers using Microsoft Cognitive Services and over 300,000 developers using the Azure Bot Service.

Pilot schools cash in as drone business takes off in Japan

The Japan Times

As Japan positions itself to take advantage of the growing trend in drones, another sector is popping up in the promising market -- drone schools. Industries ranging from agriculture to security are setting their eyes on the benefits of the device. And although the aerial vehicles are capable of autonomous flight, skilled pilots need to be on hand in case something goes wrong. "The industrial use of drones will grow more to replace some work previously handled by humans," said Kazunori Fujiwara, a spokesman at the Drone Pilot Association, a Tokyo-based group that promotes pilot education. "There are still not enough pilots.

Machine Learning Is Stuck on Asking 'Why?'


Artificial intelligence owes a lot of its smarts to Judea Pearl. In the 1980s he led efforts that allowed machines to reason probabilistically. In his latest book, The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect, he argues that artificial intelligence has been handicapped by an incomplete understanding of what intelligence really is. Three decades ago, a prime challenge in artificial-intelligence research was to program machines to associate a potential cause to a set of observable conditions. Pearl figured out how to do that using a scheme called Bayesian networks.

Apple's HomePod speaker is selling, but it's no iPhone, iPad or even Apple Watch sized hit


Apple hasn't shed much light on how its HomePod-connected speaker is selling, but research firm Strategy Analytics has some insight. The $349 speaker, Apple's high-end answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, doesn't look to be sizing up to an iPhone, iPad or even Apple Watch-sized hit. Strategy Analytics says Apple sold 600,000 HomePod speakers -- which first went on sale in February -- during the first quarter, representing 6% market share of the smart speaker market. At the same time, Amazon shipped some 4 million Echo speakers, representing 43.6% market share, to 2.4 million speakers for Google, which had 26.5% share. This is quite a drop for Amazon, which had 81.8% market share in the same quarter a year ago, to Google's then 12.4%.

Applying machine learning to challenges in the pharmaceutical industry

MIT News

MIT continues its efforts to transform the process of drug design and manufacturing with a new MIT-industry consortium, the Machine Learning for Pharmaceutical Discovery and Synthesis. The new consortium already includes eight industry partners, all major players in the pharmaceutical field, including Amgen, BASF, Bayer, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Sunovion, and WuXi. A large number of these have a research presence in Cambridge or the surrounding areas, allowing for close cooperation and the creation of a center for artificial intelligence (AI) applications in pharmaceuticals. The drug discovery process can often be exceedingly expensive and time-consuming, but machine learning offers tremendous opportunities to more efficiently access and understand vast amounts of chemical data -- with great potential to improve both processes and outcomes. The consortium aims to break down the divide between machine learning research at MIT and drug discovery research -- bringing MIT researchers and industry together to identify and address the most significant problems.

AI recreates activity patterns that brain cells use in navigation


Rats use brain cells called grid cells to help them navigate, and this ability has been recreated by an AI program.Credit: Al Fenn/LIFE Coll./Getty Scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to recreate the complex neural codes that the brain uses to navigate through space. The feat demonstrates how powerful AI algorithms can assist conventional neuroscience research to test theories about the brain's workings -- but the approach is not going to put neuroscientists out of work just yet, say the researchers. The computer program, details of which were published in Nature on 9 May1, was developed by neuroscientists at University College London (UCL) and AI researchers at the London-based Google company DeepMind. It used a technique called deep learning -- a type of AI inspired by the structures in the brain -- to train a computer-simulated rat to track its position in a virtual environment.

North Korea Is Selling Facial Recognition Technology, Report Finds


North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition software, a new report states. This photo shows a German official identified by a computer with an automatic facial recognition system that was not mentioned in the report. North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition software, a new report states. This photo shows a German official identified by a computer with an automatic facial recognition system that was not mentioned in the report. North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition technology, fingerprint scanning and other products overseas.

Insect-size robots are breaking their tethers


Researchers have created the first flying wireless robotic insect. The news: Behold RoboFly, a laser-powered robot built by University of Washington researchers that weighs in at slightly more than a toothpick. Too small for propellers, this teensy-weensy bot takes off by rapidly flapping its wings. The challenge: Insect-bots require a relatively large amount of power to move their wings fast enough to take off. Batteries are too large and heavy to fly, so previous robots of this size had to be plugged in.

Americans Can't Have Audi's Super Capable Self-Driving System


Between Silicon Valley's disruption-happy tech giants and Detroit's suddenly totally on board automakers, it's easy to think of America as the center of the self-driving universe. And so it seems a bit backwards that Audi has decided to release the world's most capable semiautonomous driving feature in … Europe. When the 2019 A8 sedan hits dealer lots later this year, Europeans will have access to Traffic Jam Pilot, which will take control of the car on the highway at speeds below 37 mph; no need for the constant human supervision required by current systems like Tesla's Autopilot. On this side of das pond, however, as CNET reports, too many questions remain about laws that change from one state to the next, insurance requirements, and things like lane lines and road signs that look different in different regions. When the A8 goes on sale here, it won't come with Traffic Jam Pilot.