The Spy Who Doctored You ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš•๏ธ

So many mixed emotions on this bit of news. Place a device in your small apartment/home and let it monitor your health via electromagnetic disturbances, even through walls. ๐Ÿ˜จ

On one hand, it’s really cool to think of the positive impacts this could have. Uncovering trends, monitoring habits, divorcing the data collection from the feebleness of human memory to put a device on or charge it. And then there are the home automation aspects that it could be adapted for. The truly immersive smart home hub. ๐Ÿ’ก

On the other hand, the surveillance possibilities and sketchy corporate uses from the benign health tracking are rather terrifying. I could see China undertaking a mass rollout of devices like these to augment their camera and digital tracking network. Just as I could see insurance companies requiring the use of these devices to issue policies, and using the data to “personalize” pricing in real time, and not to the benefit of the customer. ๐Ÿ™€

These are exciting and terrifying times. ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Src: MIT Tech Review

Your Phone, Your Clone? ๐Ÿ“ฑ

Essential Products is working on a phone that is largely controlled by voice commands and has an AI built in that is supposed to become a digital version of you in order to respond to messages for you. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

I think this sort of functionality and interaction is a big part of the future, but why a phone? ๐Ÿค”

Why try to execute a paradigm shift by working in a known form factor that pits you against Apple and Android. If Amazon and Facebook both failed to launch a phone, why should an interface-altering startup succeed? Why not a watch and/or earbuds? Why not a screen less device that acts as a phone add-on to start? While I applaud the message, I question the medium. โ“

Src: The Verge

Thinking in part informed by Ben Thompson at Stratechery.

Alibaba Wants Their Own Chip

There are two undeniable trends these days: major tech players want their own silicon and the new class of uber-rich want to own classy publications. ๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ

I’m more interested in the first trend (though the second could have interesting implications in this era of doom for publishers). Alibaba is the newest tech giant to announce they are making their own AI chips. ๐Ÿญ

The chip will reportedly power the company’s cloud technology and IoT devices, and could be used for things like autonomous cars, smart cities and logistics.

This time it’s bigger than just wanting full control and integration. This move is also to reduce Alibaba’s reliance on the West and the impact of the shiny new trade war between China and the US. It also plays nicely into China’s national plan to be the AI superpower of the world. ๐Ÿ’ช ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ

Src: CNet

Facebook Spreads the Chips Around ๐Ÿ’ซ

It appears that Facebook is forgoing developing their own chips in favor of partnering with multiple top chip makers to add in their Glow machine learning accelerator. ๐ŸŽ

It’ll be interesting to compare this approach to the other tech players looking to make their own. But this play makes sense. It follows Big Blue’s approach with prior software, doesn’t split their focus, and they also don’t have public-facing hardware offerings like Google (cloud) or Apple (duh). โš–๏ธ

Also, Facebook showed off a new AI tool that uncovers bugs in code. That could be pretty nifty. ๐Ÿž

Src: TechCrunch

Chips Are Special Again ๐Ÿค—

Remember the last time you agonized over choosing which CPU to get in your new computer? Yeah, I thought so. Maybe you put some thought about which number came after the “i”, but that was about it. We haven’t had to think a lot about computing chips lately, but that’s changing. ๐Ÿ”€

The chip continuum

Deep learning and crypto has caused a chip gold rush. Nvidia has blown up thanks to their GPUs being the tool of choice for machine learning. Crypto has already moved beyond the GPU stage and is firmly in ASICs. Bitmain, a maker of mining ASICs, is primed to have one of the richest tech IPOs ever. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

The chip market is going to be really interesting as start ups try to carve out a slice of the market and new chips and architectures are created for all kinds of specialized purposes. Buckle up, this is gonna be fun. ๐ŸŽข

Src: VentureBeat

rAIdio ๐Ÿ“ป

Deepwave has released an AI radio transceiver. It’s got bits and chips that mean you can run AI applications on radio frequencies. ๐Ÿ“ก

The post contains some interesting potential use cases, but I’m having more fun imagining all kinds of weird AI radio futures. Being a podcast nerd and having a weird nostalgia for the golden age of radio I never experienced just makes this idea sound cool. ๐Ÿ•ถ

A smart radio that learns your preferences and auto-tunes to shows and music you would like. A radio that will announce sports scores during a music program on another station. A radio that interprets a TV broadcast and turns it into a radio show, adding context and narration and not just playing the show’s audio portion. An emergency radio that always monitors the weather bands and announces when alerts or warnings go into effect. ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Src: Military Embedded Systems

You Get A Custom Chip! And You Get A Custom Chip! ๐ŸŽ

As expected, Tesla is one of the newest companies to announce they’re getting into the AI chip game. Wait, what? ๐Ÿคฏ

Yup, Elon is doing Elon things and building custom chips built to spec specifically for Tesla’s neural network architectures to drive their vehicles. ๐ŸŽ

It’s really not that crazy when you think about it. They get more control over the car’s brain and it’s not like they’ll be selling them. As tweets in the article point out, it’s basically what Apple did when they started making their own A series chips. ๐Ÿ

Really the coolest part about this is that these new chips/computers are supposed to be able to replace all existing Tesla computers. So instead of having to buy a new super expensive car to get the shiny bells and whistles (like all other tech devices and cars) you just get your hands on the new brain and swap them out. This might be the most modular a car has ever been. ๐Ÿ”€

Src: TechCrunch

DARPA Gets Chipy ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ

Looks like tech companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the chip game. DARPA is adding its muscle to the sector in an effort to make sure hardware development and innovation doesn’t get overlooked or minimized. ๐Ÿ’ช

What are they focusing on? ๐Ÿค”

Using ML to automate and expedite development time, and having the tools accessible to n00bs. ๐Ÿญ

โ€œWeโ€™re trying to engineer the craft brewing revolution in electronics,โ€

Getting funky with materials and integration ideas. ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

The ultimate goal is to effectively embed computing power in memory, which could lead to dramatic increases in performance.

Creating new architectures to make chips modular and changeable in real-time. Basically, they want one chip to be able to do more and different things. ๐Ÿ“

Today, multiple chips are needed, driving up complexity and cost.

Src: MIT Tech Review

Chips Meet Edge ๐Ÿค

The edge is gonna be big, so it’s no surprise that the tech giants are racing to combine AI and edge. Google is the first of the non-chip makers I’m aware of bringing their new hardware to edge devices. So you’ll soon be able to build IoT and other small devices that harness the power of TensorFlow without needing a constant connection. ๐Ÿ“Ÿ

The beauty of the edge is that you can load pre-trained models on all kinds of smaller devices that will then run the models using the data they collect without needing to constantly shuttle data back and forth to the cloud. โ˜๏ธ

Google also recently announced that TensorFlow officially works on the Raspberry Pi after teaming up with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to make it easier to install. ๐Ÿ“

Src: TechCrunch

More at CNET

Sayonara Screens ๐Ÿ‘‹

This article lays out a vision of the future I both think is likely and look forward too. Well designed, powerful AI voice assistants could open up a new realm of ambient computing reducing our reliance on screens and making tech more human-centric. We’ve evolved to be social creatures accustomed to interacting via spoken words, not by tapping on a magic box. ๐Ÿฆ•๐Ÿ‘ค๐Ÿ“ฑ

Also really sad to see screens usurping the world of LEGO via AR. It’s all about the bricks, man! ๐Ÿฐ

Src: New York Times