Google I/O 18 AI everywhere

Spring geekfest goes on. Around one week ago we could see Facebook F8, taking place at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center. Now, we are right after Google I/O 2018, probably the biggest developer and product conference (7000+ people attending), happening near to Googleplex, Mountain View. Here’s my short summary of what we could see in Shoreline Amphitheatre this year.

Continue readingGoogle I/O 18 AI everywhere

Facebook F8 2018 Data protection, AI ethics, people-first

F8, the annual Facebook’s event intended for software engineers and entrepreneurs is over. If you couldn’t attend McEnery Convention Center in San Jose at May 1st to 2nd to get your 200$ Oculus Go for free, here are some takeaways from Zuck himself and the Facebook team.

If you quickly compare 2017 and 2018 you will realize that main theme is a bit different this time. “Keep building services for connecting people” now have the second part — “keep people safe”. And this was the starting point of Mark Zuckerberg’s show.

Continue readingFacebook F8 2018 Data protection, AI ethics, people-first

How VUIs change our lives Voice user interface, a great step in mobile-first to AI first transition

A couple days ago Google published the 2017 summary of their voice-first solutions: Google Home (hardware) and Google Assistant (software). And it seems that the new way of how we interact with the technology knocks on our door. With “Google Home usage increased 9X this holiday season over last year’s”, and one Google Home Mini sold in each second since its premiere, it’s become clear that voice interfaces are slowly going out of an early adoption stage and they’ve begun to settle for good in our homes and minds.

But what is so revolutionary in VUIs and what are the real benefits of having voice-controlled devices around?

Continue readingHow VUIs change our lives Voice user interface, a great step in mobile-first to AI first transition

Surface Capabilities in Google Assistant Skills Adjust your conversation to audio and screen surfaces

This post was published in Chatbots Magazine: Surface Capabilities in Google Assistant Skills.

This post is a part of series about building the personal assistant app, designed for voice as a primary user interface. More posts in series:

  1. Your first Google Assistant skill
  2. Personalize Google Assistant skill with user data
  3. This post

Continue readingSurface Capabilities in Google Assistant Skills Adjust your conversation to audio and screen surfaces

Personalize Google Assistant skill with user data Actions on Google — permissions handling

This post was published in Chatbots Magazine: Personalize Google Assistant skill with user data.

This post is a part of series about building the personal assistant app, designed for voice as a primary user interface. More posts in series:

  1. Your first Google Assistant skill
  2. This post
  3. Surface capabilities in Google Assistant skills

Continue readingPersonalize Google Assistant skill with user data Actions on Google — permissions handling

Your first Google Assistant skill How to build conversational app for Google Home or Google Assistant

This post was published in Chatbots Magazine: Your first Google Assistant skill.

Smart home speakers, assistant platforms and cross-device solutions, so you can talk to your smartwatch and see the result on your TV or car’s dashboard. Personal assistants and VUIs are slowly appearing around us and it’s pretty likely that they will make our lives much easier.
Because of my great faith that natural language will be the next human-machine interface, I decided to start writing new blog posts series and building an open source code where I would like to show how to create new kind of apps: conversational oriented, device-independent assistant skills which will give us freedom in platform or hardware we use.
And will bring the most natural interface for humans – voice.

This post is a part of series about building personal assistant app, designed for voice as a primary user interface. More posts in series:

  1. This post
  2. Personalize Google Assistant skill with user data
  3. Surface capabilities in Google Assistant skills

Continue readingYour first Google Assistant skill How to build conversational app for Google Home or Google Assistant

Moravec’s paradox

There is a discovery in the field of AI, called Moravec’s paradox which tells that activities like abstract thinking and reasoning or skills classified as “hard” – engineering, maths or art are way easier to handle by machine than sensory or motor based unconscious activities.

It’s much easier to implement specialized computers to mimic adult human experts (professional chess or Go players, artists – painters or musicians) than building a machine with skills of 1-year old children with abilities to learn how to move around, recognize faces and voice or pay attention to interesting things. Easy problems are hard and require enormous computation resources, hard problems are easy and require very little computation.

Researchers look for the explanation in theory of evolution – our unconscious skills were developed and optimized during the natural selection process, over millions of years of evolution. And the “newer” skill is (like abstract thinking which appeared “only” hundreds thousands of years ago), the less time nature had to adjust our brains to handle it.

It’s not easy to interpret Moravec’s paradox. Some tell that it describes the future where machines will take jobs which require specialistic skills, making people serving an army of robotic chiefs and analysts. Others argue that paradox guarantees that AI will always need an assistance of people. Or, perhaps more correctly, people will use AI to improve those skills which aren’t as highly developed by nature.

For sure Moravec’s paradox proves one thing – the fact that we developed computer to beat human in Go or Chess doesn’t mean that General Artificial Intelligence is just around the corner. Yes, we are one step closer. But as long as AGI means for us “full copy of human intelligence”, over time it will be only harder.

(Book) The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

Yesterday I published my brief summary of DeepMind’s paper “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence” – publication about how much different fields of AI are inspired by research in neuroscience.

If you are a techie person like me and you don’t know much about the human brain, there is a really great book which I would like to recommend:

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

It’s not only full of information about processes happening inside our heads or roots of our behaviors. It also shows how do we actually know what we know about our brain.

If you have at least general knowledge about AI, you will find a lot of similarities between engineering and biology. Definitely worth reading to broaden your horizons!

 

Where does AI come from? Summary of “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence”

As a technical people, we usually see AI solutions as a bunch of really smart algorithms operating on statistical models, doing nonlinear computations. In general something extremely abstract, what its roots in programming languages.
But, as “neural network” term may suggest, many of those solutions are inspired by biology, primarily biological brain.

Some time ago, DeepMind researchers published paper: Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence, where they highlighted some AI techniques which directly or indirectly come from neuroscience. I will try to sum it up, but if you would like to read full version, it can be found under this link:

https://deepmind.com/documents/113/Neuron.pdf

Roots of AI

One of many definitions describes AI as hypothetical intelligence, created not by nature but artificially, in the engineering process. One of the goals of it is to create human-level, General Artificial Intelligence. Many people argue if such an intelligence is even possible, but there is one thing which proves it: it’s a human brain.

It seems natural that neuroscience is used as a guide or an inspiration for new types of architectures and algorithms. Biological computation very often works better than mathematical and logic-based methods, especially when it comes to cognitive functions.
Moreover, if current, still far-from-ideal AI techniques can be found as a core of brain functioning, it’s pretty likely that in some time in the future engineering effort pays off.
At the end, neuroscience can be also a good validation for existing AI solutions.

In current AI research, there are two key fields which took root in neuroscience — Reinforcement Learning (learning by taking actions in the environment to maximise reward) and Deep Learning (learning from examples such as a training set which correlates data with labels). Continue readingWhere does AI come from? Summary of “Neuroscience-Inspired Artificial Intelligence”

Google Home at home 🏠

Voice interfaces are slowly showing up in our lives. In most cases, they replace complexity of mobile devices. But there are also new features which do make sense only when they are used just with our voice.

To see quick summary where Google is with its Google Assistant take a look at this video from last Google Developers Day (starting from 33:00):

Continue reading “Google Home at home 🏠”