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Apple & IBM combine Watson and Core ML for the smartest ever mobile apps

Apple and IBM have announced an exciting expansion of the partnership started back in 2014 to bring enterprise apps to iOS devices. The latest step is designed to combine IBM’s powerful Watson AI system with Apple’s Core ML framework to create the smartest mobile apps yet developed.

The companies said that Coca-Cola is currently testing the setup …



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Apple COO Jeff Williams says AI will change the world, with healthcare ‘ripe for change’

Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams attended the 30th anniversary celebrations of A-series chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and took the opportunity to say a few words about the importance of AI in general – and the phone as an AI tool in particular.

I think we’re at an inflection point, with on-device computing, coupled with the potential of AI, to really change the world.



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AR Sudoku-solving app showcases the combined power of Apple’s Vision, Core ML and ARKit [Video]

An augmented reality Sudoku-solving app that only works with completely empty puzzles might be kind of pointless, but it definitely serves as an impressive demonstration of just what can be done when you use the combined power of three Apple frameworks.

Magic Sudoku uses Apple’s image analysis software Vision to read the puzzles, the Core ML framework to solve them and ARKit to present the solution as an overlay on the puzzle itself …



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Apple AI expert, Tom Gruber explains Siri’s ‘humanistic AI’ at TED

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Apple’s AI expert, Tom Gruber, delivered a TED talk back in April extolling the benefits that AI may provide for us in the years to come. The video of the onstage presentation has now been released and gives us a better glimpse into the future Gruber imagines. His presentation focuses on what he calls “humanistic AI”, the belief that when machines get smarter, so will we.



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Microsoft launches amazing AI-powered iPhone app that narrates the world to blind people [Video]

Arthur C Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic, and Microsoft’s Seeing AI app gets pretty close to qualifying. It’s an app designed to ‘narrate the world’ to people who are blind or visually impaired, and the video demo (below) shows off some incredibly impressive capabilities.

It can, for example, recognize friends, guess the emotions of people from their facial expressions, read text, identify bank notes, identify products from their bar-codes, and even recognize images in apps like Twitter …



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Apple’s machine-learning framework has trouble recognizing a 1st-gen Mac Pro … [Video]

One of the most interesting things Apple announced at WWDC was a new framework designed to allow developers to embed machine learning capabilities into their apps. One of the things Core ML can be trained to do is identify and caption real-world objects in real-time, which Apple demos via a sample app trained with 1000 objects …



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Adobe shows off stunning AI retouching tool likely destined for a future version of Photoshop/Lightroom

Retouchers can transform the most mundane of photos into truly stunning ones – but it takes a great deal of skill and time. A joint Adobe-Cornell collaboration has just demonstrated that fully-automated AI systems can do the same thing, suggesting a tool that is likely to make it into a future version of Photoshop or Lightroom at some point.



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Apple expanding Seattle offices focused on AI and machine learning, strengthening ties to UW for talent search

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Apple is known for its secrecy when it comes to ongoing product development, but the company is operating a little different with its efforts around artificial intelligence and machine learning. Apple’s director of machine learning, Carlos Guestrin, openly discussed Apple’s plans to grow its engineering presence in Seattle in a new GeekWire interview.



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Apple set to join AI industry group to agree best practice on ethics, fairness, privacy & more [U: Confirmed]

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Upate: Partnership on AI has now confirmed that Apple has joined.

A tech industry body established to agree best practice in the use of artificial intelligence had one notable omission in the impressive list of member companies. IBM, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon all signed up, but Apple didn’t.

The Partnership on AI was formed in September, with part of its brief to make recommendations in the areas of ethics, fairness, inclusivity, privacy and trustworthiness – all values you might expect Apple to fully endorse. But while the company didn’t sign up at the time, it appears this is about to change …



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More from Apple’s AI talk: LiDAR research & beating Google’s image recognition algorithm

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Earlier this week Apple’s director of AI research Russ Salakhutdinov made an appearance at a machine-learning conference to announce that Apple will allow its researchers to freely publish their findings, a rare move for the normally secretive company. Today a new report from Quartz offers more details from Apple’s talk at the NIPS 2016 conference, including slides that detail AI research related to “volumetric detection of LiDAR” and “prediction of structured outputs” next to visuals of vehicles and more.



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Apple AI researchers will be able to publish, likely a move to attract the best minds

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Apple’s director of AI research Russ Salakhutdinov has announced at a conference that the company’s machine-learning researchers will be free to publish their findings. This is an apparent reversal of Apple’s previous position.

It was suggested in October that Apple’s extreme secrecy was harming its prospects in AI …



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Apple bolstering Siri intelligence by hiring expert to lead AI research team

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One of the areas where Apple has seemingly fallen behind its competition — or, more likely, not yet ready to disclose its technology’s full potential — is artificial intelligence. However, there’s no denying that the company is pushing hard towards bettering its existing products (like Siri) behind closed doors, and the latest AI hire is but another proof of such commitment…



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Interview: Tim Cook says Apple’s aim is a cashless society; working to boost the role of AI

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Tim Cook has told the Nikkei Asian Review that the company hopes that Apple Pay will help to bring about a cashless society. The statement was made a month before the iPhone 7 becomes the first iPhone to support FeliCa, the contactless payment standard used in Japan.

We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system. We don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.

Cook also spoke rather mysteriously about the work that will be performed by the R&D center the company is building in Yokohama, expected to open in March …



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iPhone maker Foxconn has replaced more than half its workforce with robots since iPhone 6 launch

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The South China Morning Post reports that iPhone maker Foxconn has replaced more than half of its workforce with robots since the launch of the iPhone 6. The figures were provided by the local government in Kunshan, where the company is based.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian … 



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Opinion: Viv is exactly what Siri should have been by now

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As long-time readers will know, I’ve long been a fan of Siri. As I’ve often noted, it’s my primary means of interacting with my iPhone (part of the reason I don’t need a larger screen). I dictate most of my messages, and if it’s possible to ask Siri to do something for me rather than doing it myself, I do.

But Siri does have one major failing: it has no access to third-party apps. There are countless apps where I’d love to be able to get Siri to do the heavy lifting, as I wrote last year in a Feature Request:

What I can’t yet do is ask the time of my next train home, despite having an app on my phone that can answer that question. I can’t ask it to show me today’s Timehop, nor can I ask it to post that to Facebook. I can’t ask it to post something to a Hipchat or Slack chatroom. I can’t ask it to call an Uber car. I can’t ask it to translate ‘Where is the nearest pharmacy’ into Mandarin. I could name many other examples, but you get the idea.

If Apple offered an API to allow third-party developers to take advantage of Siri, I’m confident that many would do so. And I’m certainly not alone in wanting that – in our poll, 95% of you agreed with me.

But it turns out that Siri’s original developers wanted to take things a step further …



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