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Tech Talk Thursday: Dec. Announcements Worth Noting

Tech Talk Thursday: Dec. Announcements Worth Noting

As we put a bow on 2018, it’s only fitting the announcements this month are wrapped around Artificial Intelligence. The four AI featured below offer a different prospective from scary to interesting. The last development works together with AI: 3D Printing.

Top Tech Announcements for December

AI Now Concerned about Facial Recognition Use

Part of New York University with sponsors that include Microsoft, Google and Ford, AI Now is an international watchdog in this arena. They recently shared that China has more than 200 million surveillance cameras and is using facial recognition to track party minority members, block individuals from entering certain housing complexes and shaming debtors by displaying their faces on billboards. Given this, AI Now calls for all governments to regulate facial recognition before it undermines individual civil liberties.

Business Impact: As with any innovation, Facial Recognition can be used in both a positive and negative fashion. If your company doesn’t have a policy on the use Facial Recognition, now is the time to develop one, clearly spelling out how and why it will be used.

Amazon’s Alexa is Self-Learning

Alexa AI Director of Applied Science, Ruhi Sarikaya, announced that Alexa is now learning through contextual clues which will raise its ability to understand what each user wants based on their past conversations. Through Natural Skill Interaction, Alexa will know what you want without being so specific to an action.

Business Impact: If digital assistants, such as Alexa are adopted in the workplace, this may increase worker productivity for repetitive requests (turn down the temperature). On the other hand, for more complex requests (start up the machine in a few hours) might be misinterpreted, especially if multiple people give the same command. Again, clearly, you need an IoT/AI strategy in 2019 for this very reason.

Wal-Mart Received Eavesdropping Patent

This week, Wal-Mart was granted a patent for a new listening device that will be able to track the number of items in your cart and bags used at checkout. Sold as an anti-theft tool, it will do so much more, including processing the audio between employees and each store’s guests.

Business Impact: While Wal-Mart states this patent is intended for shopping security, it has a lot more implications than that. In addition to privacy concerns, there’s employee confidentiality (or lack thereof) and whether this is their entrée into facial recognition, cashless systems, that rival Amazon is currently testing in nine locations.

Nvidia Announces 3D Rendering

This AI company is moving toward Virtual Reality by using a neural network to render real-time 3D environments, allowing VR objects to populate based on video input.

Business Impact: The company believes this will open new opportunities for them in the automotive, architecture, robotics and gaming industries. It should help developers to create prototypes at a fraction of current costs. In addition, this level of deep learning should help bring products to market earlier and scrap test products that don’t have market potential at a faster pace. Look for more in 2019 on this exciting breakthrough.  

MarkerBot Method 3D Printer

Believe it or not, 3D printers came to market in 2009. While this technology has a wide price range, the Method printer offers the “click and print” option of less expensive units but with industrial grade standards that include better reliability and more precision.

Business Impact: Much like the Nvidia announcement, 3D printers allow small scale prototypes to come to life without the materials or labor associated with product development. As more devices come to market, prices drop and quality improves, examine the use of these units for your R&D department.

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