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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/25/2017 7:43:43 AM
1 Recommendation   of 496
 
Sneak a peek at the smartphone of tomorrow


What will your phone look like in ten years? We tour the design schools and research labs to discover the innovations coming to our mobile devices.

(A sequential series of slides)

computerworld.com

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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/26/2017 7:28:04 AM
   of 496
 
Apple’s Core ML Brings AI to the Masses



AI is one of the core themes on which we focus at Loup Ventures. And as analysts, we heard Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple emphasizing their focus on AI over the last several years. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has commented on each of the past three Google earnings calls that Google is transitioning from mobile-first to AI-first. Facebook has recently spent a lot of time and resources developing chat bots on its platform, and has utilized AI to create a better news feed, and improve photo recognition. Amazon uses AI extensively with recommendations, and is integrating third-party AI models into AWS. While Google, Facebook and Amazon are each making significant progress as it relates to AI, it’s worth noting that Apple was the first company of the four to embrace it.

Apple’s AI roots date back to the mid 1990s with handwriting recognition on the Newton. In June Apple announced Core ML, a platform that allows app developers to easily integrate machine learning (ML) into an app. Of the estimated 2.4m apps available on the App Store, we believe less than 1% leverage ML today – but not for long. We believe Core ML will be a driving force in bringing machine learning to the masses in the form of more useful and insightful apps that run faster and respect user privacy.

http://loupventures.com/apples-core-ml-brings-ai-to-the-masses/

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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/26/2017 7:33:58 AM
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HomePod Uniquely Positioned to Win Smart Speaker Market



In December, Apple will ship HomePod, a smart speaker with a unique focus on music. Don’t be fooled, however, by HomePod’s music-focused marketing; Apple has a grander vision than delivering a better sounding Echo. The company is making Siri a ubiquitous, ambient presence that connects and controls all your connected devices and services – and making a leap forward in the transition to voice-first computing.

The importance of natural language interface. The way humans interact with computers is changing. Today, we use our keyboards, mice, and touchscreens to interact with computers. In the future, we’ll simply rely on our voice, gestures, or even our thoughts. In the near-term, voice is quickly becoming a preferred interface.

At Google I/O in May, CEO Sundar Pichai said that 20% of mobile queries are now made via voice search. Moreover, 42% of people in a MindMeld study said they have started using voice commands in the last six months. Natural language as a computing input is not only a more natural way to interact with our devices, but it can also be remarkably more efficient. When typing or clicking, users will be very brief, leaving the computer with little information to act on. Asking a verbal question, however, allows for more involved queries with which a machine can much more easily determine intent and deliver more specific information.

This is one area in which Siri excels. Siri is able to process commands with multiple steps, such as, “make a note called Slide 4 in my Presentation Notes folder that says: change transition.” Users will also be able to say, “send directions to Steve’s house to my phone,” or, “turn on the TV and play the newest episode of Westworld.” These functionalities are not unique to Siri, but Apple’s seamlessly integrated ecosystem of devices puts them in a position to employ voice-first computing in ways their competitors can’t match.

http://loupventures.com/homepod-uniquely-positioned-to-win-smart-speaker-market/

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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/29/2017 10:54:12 AM
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MIT Achieves Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion



Researchers operating fusion reactor experiments at MIT, along with partnered scientists in Brussels and the U.K., have developed a new type of nuclear fusion fuel that produces ten times as much energy from energized ions as previously achieved. The experiments with the new fusion fuel, which contains three types of ions—particles with an electric charge due to the loss or gain of an electron—were conducted in MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak, a magnetic confinement reactor that holds the records for highest magnetic field strength and highest plasma pressure in a fusion experiment.

The Alcator C-Mod conducted its final run in September 2016, but data from experiments in the tokamak device were recently analyzed, revealing a unique type of nuclear fusion fuel greatly increases ion energies within the plasma. The results were so encouraging that researchers operating the Joint European Torus (JET) in Oxfordshire, U.K., the largest operational magnetic confinement fusion experiment in the world, repeated the experiments and achieved the same increases in energy generation. A study detailing the findings was recently published in Nature Physics.

The key to increasing the efficiency of the nuclear fuel was to add in trace amounts of helium-3, a stable isotope of helium that only has one neutron rather than two. The nuclear fuel used in the Alcator C-Mod previously contained just two types of ions, deuterium and hydrogen. Deuterium, a stable isotope of hydrogen with one neutron in its nucleus—compared to common hydrogen which has no neutrons—accounts for about 95 percent of the fuel.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a27961/mit-nuclear-fusion-experiment-increases-efficiency/


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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/31/2017 1:29:32 PM
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FDA Approves Groundbreaking Gene Therapy for Cancer

A revolutionary cancer therapy that uses genetically engineered immune cells has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ushering in a new era of cancer treatment.

The FDA calls the treatment, made by Novartis, the “first gene therapy” in the U.S. The therapy is designed to treat an often-lethal type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects children and young adults. Known as a CAR-T therapy, the approach has shown remarkable results in patients. The one-time treatment will cost $475,000, but Novartis says there will be no charge if a patient doesn't respond to the therapy within a month.

“We’re entering a new frontier in medical innovation with the ability to reprogram a patient’s own cells to attack a deadly cancer,” said FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.

The therapy, which will be marketed as Kymriah, is a customized treatment that uses a patient’s own T cells, a type of immune cell. A patient’s T cells are extracted and cryogenically frozen so that they can be transported to Novartis’s manufacturing center in New Jersey. There, the cells are genetically altered to have a new gene that codes for a protein—called a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR. This protein directs the T cells to target and kill leukemia cells with a specific antigen on their surface. The genetically modified cells are then infused back into the patient.

In a clinical trial of 63 children and young adults with a type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 83 percent of patients that received the CAR-T therapy had their cancers go into remission within three months. At six months, 89 percent of patients who received the therapy were still living, and at 12 months, 79 percent had survived.

An estimated 3,100 patients aged 20 and younger in the U.S. are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia each year, making it the most common childhood cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Current treatment options include chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants, but about 600 pediatric and young adult patients with the disease relapse each year, and many remain incurable.

David Mitchell, founder of an advocacy group called Patients for Affordable Drugs, said in a statement that the $475,000 cost is “excessive” and claims the federal government spent $200 million in early research on CAR-T therapy before Novartis purchased rights to the treatment. The group recently met with the company to appeal for a “fair” price for its therapy. Previous estimates predicted a price tag between $600,000 to $750,000.

The historic approval bodes well for rival companies Kite Pharma and Juno Therapeutics, which are also developing CAR-T therapies. Kite Pharma, which is awaiting FDA approval for its CAR-T therapy to treat a form of blood cancer in adults, was this week bought out by Gilead in a deal worth $11.9 billion.

Though the Novartis therapy has shown extraordinary results in patients, questions remain about how the company will be able to manufacture personalized therapies quickly enough to get them to patients across the country. Novartis says it takes an average of 22 days to create the therapy, from the time a patient's cells are removed to when they are infused back into the patient. Kymriah will initially be available at 20 U.S. hospitals within a month, Novartis says. Eventually, 32 total sites will offer the therapy.

CAR-T therapy has also been known to cause potentially life-threatening side effects in some patients, including neurological problems and a reaction called cytokine release syndrome. Juno Therapeutics ended a CAR-T study earlier this year after patients died from cerebral edema, or swelling in the brain. No patients treated with the Novartis CAR-T therapy have died from that complication, according to the company.

The FDA defines gene therapy as a medicine that “introduces genetic material into a person’s DNA to replace faulty or missing genetic material” to treat a disease or medical condition. This is the first such therapy to be available in the U.S., according to the FDA. Two gene therapies for rare, inherited diseases have already been approved in Europe.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608771/the-fda-has-approved-the-first-gene-therapy-for-cancer/?utm_source=MIT+Technology+Review&utm_campaign=05b835a50e-The_Download&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_997ed6f472-05b835a50e-153650033


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From: Paul H. Christiansen8/31/2017 1:33:43 PM
   of 496
 
Magna pitches new self-driving vehicle system

Auto supplier Magna International Inc on Thursday said it is developing a system automakers can use to enable vehicles to drive themselves without requiring bulky rooftop sensors or other compromises to vehicle styling.

Magna is one of several major automotive technology suppliers competing to profit from helping automakers offer automated driving functions in future cars. Delphi Automotive PLC, Continental AG, Siemens AG, Robert Bosch GmbH and Japan’s Denso Corp are among the incumbent auto suppliers jumping into the self-driving car race against technology companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, Intel Corp and China’s Baidu Inc.

Magna said in a statement that its Max4 system is designed to provide fully autonomous driving combining cameras, LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors and a computing platform that are integrated into the car’s body. Other autonomous vehicle sensor systems rely on LiDAR sensors that spin on top of the vehicle’s roof.

Automakers will be responsible for completing the systems to enable autonomous driving. Magna’s parts of the system are either production ready or nearly production ready, the company said.

Magna said the Max4 system can be designed so that drivers can turn on the autonomous driving function using a button, and turn it off as they do cruise control by either tapping the brake or hitting a button.

Magna outlined the Max4 system ahead of the Frankfurt auto show, which opens to the public Sept. 16.

reuters.com


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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/2/2017 10:59:56 AM
   of 496
 
The Consortium Conundrum and the Race for Autonomous Driving



The ambitious and multifaceted endeavor that is fully autonomous driving seems simply too large a task for one company to undertake. In the race for autonomy, automakers, software experts, hardware manufacturers, and ridesharing companies are turning to each other in an effort to expedite their collective progress on the matter.

Foregoing traditional practice and the opportunity for market dominance, several companies are hoping their combined efforts will bring them further than they could get on their own. Bringing a self-driving car to market not only poses many technical challenges, but it will involve a cultural shift in the way humans are transported and how they interact with machines every day. Such an unprecedented project has spurred unprecedented relationships that involve everything from young and nimble tech startups to century-old auto manufacturers coming together. These strategic partnerships present a challenging conundrum.

Lay of the land. The web of players banding together to tackle autonomy is tangled. In the interest of brevity, here is a list of some of the more significant partnerships:

The Open AutoDrive Forum attempts to act as an open dialogue to standardize the area of autonomous driving with participation from over 60 companies across auto, software, mapping, ridesharing, hardware, and education. BMW, Intel (and Mobileye), Fiat Chrysler, and Delphi have partnered to establish an industry standard for self-driving fleets and hope to bring vehicles to market by 2021. Fiat Chrysler is also working with Waymo to develop autonomous vans based on their Pacifica model. Waymo partnered with Avis to augment their fleet service capabilities. Uber has announced partnerships with Daimler, Volvo, GM, Didi Chuxing, and Toyota. Waymo and Lyft have entered into an arrangement. Jaguar Land Rover is investing $25 million in Lyft to fund autonomous vehicle activities. Intel, Toyota, Ericsson, and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone have formed what is called the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium to develop the technology for an ecosystem of connected cars. HERE mapping, a 3D mapping initiative, is owned by a consortium of companies including German automotive companies BMW, Daimler, and Audi, along with now Intel and Tencent. There have also been several other groups arising that include Nvidia, LiDAR company Velodyne, and auto engineering firm Bosch. Where a consortium makes sense. In an area of commodity technology like wi-fi or Bluetooth, industry standards make certain that a rising tide lifts all boats and the collective group benefits from cooperation more than each could on its own. This concept manifests itself in bodies like the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This model can sometimes be an effective way to implement standards that encourage broadly adopted technology and safety, and bolster more substantial relationships with the government. For example, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is one area in which a consortium could be effective. ‘Out-communicating’ your rivals does not afford you an edge, so competition for this technology does not make sense – the higher goal is safety. Cooperation on building and implementing the best system possible would benefit all companies and, most importantly, consumers.

But partnering up is usually inefficient. Innovation feeds off of competition. Great competitors play offense to attack their rivals. Partnerships that bring entities together inorganically, often out of obligation, typically play defense. While sharing technology, patents, or engineering talent may create synergies or expedite the time to market on paper, it often creates a clash of competing interests, muddled accountability, and a diminished sense of urgency. In an area of intense competition, like building an autonomous vehicle for public roadways, small differences in technology can create large gaps in capability and time to market. This is an area in which a consortium would be ineffective. Although a strategic partnership may bring together certain components of the system (e.g., an automaker, a chipmaker, a software company, or a ridesharing network), the group’s combined efforts cannot match those of a single, capable entity on a clear mission. We believe the most effective player is one who can quickly deploy resources at scale and one that is nimble enough to react quickly and decisively in the highly dynamic field of autonomy. For instance, General Motors may not have the balance sheet (mkt cap $51B) or the knowledge to spend $5 billion on a battery factory, but could most likely garner the necessary insights via a strategic partnership. Even so, due to their image as a traditional automaker and their adherence to the status quo, it is unlikely that they could raise or deploy the funds necessary to do so. On the other hand, Tesla has effectively been given an open checkbook from their investors to pursue new manufacturing paradigms, battery production, and autonomy.

A history lesson. It’s a challenge to find examples of strategic partnerships that have yielded revolutionary innovation. In fact, Peter Simoons suggests that 80% of ad hoc partnerships fail outright. If history repeats itself, the countless companies collaborating on autonomy may form solid organizations, but true innovation will evade them.

Shared Mission. A couple of years ago Tesla found that about 15% of Model S vehicles were making a strange noise when the car hit 17 mph. On a Saturday morning, Musk gathered the Tesla motor design team along with a group from SpaceX. He instructed the team to fix the issue by Monday, setting into motion what’s known inside of Tesla as “heroics.” By Monday the problem was solved. Having Tesla and SpaceX working together to solve a problem may sound like a strategic partnership, but it’s decisively different. Most SpaceX and Tesla employees believe they work for Musk, and walk through walls to inch towards his goals. It’s a lack of this type of shared mission that causes consortiums to stumble.

http://loupventures.com/the-consortium-conundrum-the-race-for-autonomous-driving/


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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/3/2017 4:50:54 AM
   of 496
 
What are Amazon’s future plans for Whole Foods?



Excerpted from NY Times 9/1/2017 “Bits” column.

Farhad: Then we have Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, which just closed. To mark the kickoff, Amazon cut prices on a variety of Whole Foods staples. I went to my local Whole Foods around lunchtime yesterday and found it unusually packed. But have you been able to glean anything else about Amazon’s long-term plans for Whole Foods, beyond this marketing push?

Nick: The initial price cuts were a way to get curiosity seekers in the door on day one, which seems to have worked. Amazon has already talked about various plans to integrate Amazon services with Whole Foods, like making Amazon Prime the loyalty program for the stores.

Checkout lines are the single most annoying experience everyone I know has at supermarkets. Amazon has insisted they won’t use the cashier-free checkout technology they’re testing at their Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle to put people out of work. But if they can get the system working smoothly, I could see Amazon sticking to their promise by giving cashiers new roles inside Whole Foods stores — for example, spending more time answering customer questions.


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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/4/2017 3:12:53 PM
   of 496
 
Tesla, Netflix And Other U.S. Innovators Shine As Tech Revolution Accelerates



The 2016 presidential election was won on visions of idled coal workers and manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico and China, of collapsed inner cities and a country fallen behind in almost every critical economic measure.

But the stock market has told a different tale over the past several years, one of an economy that's not just holding its own, but is generating new technologies and revolutionizing industries at a blistering pace. This has come not only in the form of technical innovations, such as driver-assist technologies and horizontal drilling for gas and oil, but in new ways of imagining industry clusters as traditional as taxi cabs, retail shopping and entertainment, as well as even more deeply embedded cultural traits, such as the way we communicate with family and friends.

The result is a new world that has rapidly taken hold across developed countries, in which U.S. companies command dominant global roles, and which has produced many of the early 21st century's most significant stock market winners. The explosive change challenges investors to keep a close eye on their longer-term holdings and stay on the lookout for truly visionary companies with ideas and technologies that may ripple out to all corners of the global economy.

"I really can't think of too many, if any, major industries that aren't being significantly affected by the high-tech revolution," said Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at institutional investment consultant Yardeni Research. "It's disrupting business plans and models everywhere."

Change has been so steady and pervasive that it can be difficult to describe how different life is today than it was at the turn of the century.

Toyota Motor ( TM) began shipping its novel hybrid-electric auto, the Prius, to the U.S. in 2000. The quick response from consumers verified the U.S. appetite for fuel-efficient transportation. In 2002, Honda Motor ( HMC) joined in with a Civic model hybrid, and the trend gained momentum when Ford ( F) brought out its Escape SUV hybrid in 2004.

Tesla ( TSLA), breaking barriers with its fully electric, luxury vehicles, was born in 2003, with innovator Elon Musk coming aboard as chairman and financier a year later. In June 2010, Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor's IPO in 1956.

But electric and hybrid cars were only the tip of the spear in the auto industry's reformation. Driver-assist technologies, global-positioning-system navigation, and alloy and composite materials also rapidly revolutionized auto design and consumer expectations.

There were only iPods, no iPhones, when Facebook ( FB) launched its social networking service in February 2004 — eight years before the company went public. At about that same time, the shale gas drilling revolution was getting underway, picking up momentum just as natural gas prices spiked to more than $15 per BTU in 2005. That revolution spread to the oil side of the business a half-decade later, after oil prices swelled to above $147 per barrel in 2008. Today, both oil and gas trade steadily at about a third of their peak prices.

Netflix ( NFLX) initially launched as a mail-order DVD sales and rental business in 1997. But in 2007, it became a tech name after introducing its streaming film-rental business. In June of that same year, people lined up to buy Apple's ( AAPL) first iPhone, officially setting in motion the smartphone revolution. Other smartphones were on the market at the time, led by RIM's BlackBerry, but Apple's touchscreen keyboard, sexy design and potent, app-capable processor set a new standard.

In February 2005, Amazon Prime arrived. Amazon.com's ( AMZN) $79-per-year subscription service upended the mall-store retail sector by offering free two-day shipping within the U.S. That same month, Federated Department Stores acquired Macy's owner May for $11 billion. In a news conference, the deal's architect, Terry Lundgren, said the chains combined under the Macy's ( M) name were competing with "everything today from Wal-Mart ( WMT) to Louis Vuitton, and consumers have demonstrated that they are willing to cross-shop at all kinds of stores.''

Investors have sent Apple's shares up 837% since it introduced its first iPhone. Netflix has gained more than 14,000% since its 2002 IPO, and Amazon is up more than 2,100% since launching Amazon Prime. Facebook traded 339% above its 2012 IPO price this week. Tesla was more than 1,900% above its initial offering price.

But it's a tough game to call. Toyota shares have only gained 14% since its introduction of the Prius. And oil and gas producers that soared after launching the shale production boom have since fallen victim to the global glut created by their innovation.

For those engulfed in the change, it can be difficult to assess how this revolution compares with those of the past.

"Sorting out the reality from the hype is always difficult," said Richard Cooper, professor of international economics at Harvard University. But "every generation goes through a period like we're going through now."

The current storm of modernization compares to that of the late 1950s and 1960s, Cooper says. That transformation introduced the transistor, commercial jet aircraft, the U.S. space program, the buildup of the Defense Department's nuclear arsenal and the U.S. interstate highway system.

One technological aspect shared between that revolution and the current one? Automation. Workers on assembly lines — in machine shops, textile and printing operations — were among the many whose jobs were threatened by machines.

"There was a big concern in the late 1950s and early 1960s about automation, substituting machines for people," Cooper said.

The transistor set the stage for the semiconductor chip, which Yardeni asserts provides the basis of the current revolution. Even in the harsh and gritty trenches of oil and natural gas production, computers drive much of the decision-making and analysis enabling the shale revolution.

"There is a tremendous amount of computing power necessary to optimize where you drill and how you drill," Yardeni said.

Computers drove the PC revolution that reshaped the economic landscape in the 1990s, advancing beyond simply replacing horses, or welders or lathe operators.

"The focus of this technology revolution is on the brain," Yardeni said, "on increasingly using technology to do what the brain does."

The new focus, aided by chips and microprocessors calculating tens of thousands of metrics per second, enable technologies that promise to free consumers from driving their cars, managing their home energy systems and shopping for necessities. It is allowing deep dives into exploring the genetic and molecular underpinnings of maladies such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

But it is also putting on notice a countless array of job descriptions, from taxi driver and factory warehouse manager to accountant, financial analyst, journalist and, God forbid, movie star.

"Through the ages, technological advancement has led to job loss, dislocation, anxiety," said David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist with Toronto-based wealth management firm Gluskin Sheff & Associates.

The process ultimately leads to a higher standard of living, Rosenberg says. In the meantime, workers at risk undergo stress and uncertainty. He contends that stressed workers only partly explain the discrepancy between a phenomenally low 4.5% unemployment rate and a U.S. GDP growth rate unable to hold above 2% over the past decade.

There are many reasons for the disconnect, Rosenberg says, not least of which are a tight labor market and a capital-spending environment held back by the current clouded policy outlook.

Rosenberg and Cooper both view labor and productivity numbers as distorted by factors such as automated labor and a shift to service-sector jobs. Those and other changes are wreaking havoc on the data and on traditional economic models understood and respected by economists.

"Those models are changing and changing fast," Rosenberg said.

The unemployment rate would be closer to 8% than 4% if data included the 55 million Americans, age 16 to 64, currently not participating in the labor force, Rosenberg says. The same is true if labor calculations included robots as a competitive factor in the market.

Gauges that have shown U.S. productivity stalling over the past several years are highly suspect, both Cooper and Rosenberg say, as are data reporting the average workweek effectively unchanged at 34.5 hours for the past decade.

Also, Cooper says, "We do a terrible job of measuring output in the service sector," particularly in education and health care. This is increasingly critical as the economy expands faster on the services side. More than 3.1 million of the record 6.2 million advertised, unfilled positions reported in the Labor Department's June Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey were in professional services, education and health care.

So as the health care sector inevitably expands to cater to the aging baby boomer generation, more data fall through the cracks.

"As a result, measured productivity goes down, even though people are better and better off," he said.

One encouraging, and vexing, piece of the GDP growth picture is the record number of unfilled jobs cited in the June survey. The vacancies effectively equal the 6 million Americans who are unemployed and actively looking for work.

"The level of job openings in the private sector has never been as high as they are today," Rosenberg said. "And yet … the (number of) applicants for those jobs who have the necessary skills is practically at an all-time low."

This points to education as one area still ripe for technological restructuring. Truck drivers are already high on the list of tech targets. And homebuilding — an industry in which growth is currently being held back by labor shortages — is also long overdue for a high-tech makeover.

So what does the future hold? Drone deliveries and self-driving automobiles, taxis and trucks in the not too distant future, and maybe even a hyperloop. From a historical standpoint, Cooper says, the U.S. economy is particularly well-suited to change.

"We're always at a crossroads, but generally (the American economy is) quite good at adapting to change," he said.

The capitalist structure of that economy, first and foremost, bets on the ability of markets to be open to new entrants, Yardeni says, and high technology itself is inherently beneficial to capitalistic organization of markets.

"It breaks down barriers and allows new entrants to challenge established order," he said. "And, again, that is very revolutionary."

investors.com


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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/6/2017 10:28:27 PM
   of 496
 
Intel’s Myriad X chip is a game-changer for AI



When Intel’s Movidius team released the Myriad 2 visual processing unit (VPU) it was a marvel of technology and design. The tiny chip contained AI accelerators and a performance-to-power ratio that placed it, arguably, without peer. A developer looking to give the power of sight to a device couldn’t ask for much more than the Myriad 2. Yet, somehow, Intel decided to give them more anyway.

AI chipsets aren’t exactly new; this isn’t Intel’s first, or second one. The company released the Myriad X chip last week — despite the fact that the Myriad 2 was still considered cutting edge. Intel seems to be in competition with itself – which is good for everyone.

We asked the VP of marketing for Movidius under Intel, Gary Brown, what made the Myriad X different than its predecessor:

In terms of firsts, the Myriad X is our first VPU that features the Neural Compute Engine, or NCE. We’ve also been able to increase performance from two TOPS to four TOPS overall.

The chip is a tiny little powerhouse that might be leagues beyond anything else out there, sure, but what does it do?

[iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pWnUuLSFgCc?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fthenextweb.com" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" name="fitvid0" id="widget2" style="box-sizing: border-box; -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; outline: 0px; text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; max-width: 100%; border-width: 0px; font-family: inherit; height: 352.922px; left: 0px; padding: 0px; position: absolute; top: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; width: 628px; margin: 0px;"] [/iframe] The Myriad X chip makes life easier for AI researchers and developers, according to Brown:

The NCE is really meant to accelerate the deep neural networks (DNN) that our customers want to use at the edge. These are things like tracking or surveillance cameras, for example. The power efficiency, or the amount of performance you can get per watt, is the biggest metric, and we’re better than GPUs or anyone else in the space.

Intel isn’t the only company in the AI hardware business. Microsoft recently coined the HPU, or holographic processing unit, when it built its own chips for the newest iteration of Hololens. Smartphone manufacturer Huawei recently announced it’s next phone will come with AI baked into the processor.

Google and NVidia both have chips purpose-built for AI as well, and there are several startups dedicated specifically to the task. It’ll be a crowded development area within a couple years. Still, Intel doesn’t feel like there’s much competition in the space. It’s confident that Movidius, and the Myriad X, represent the gold standard for AI chips. But they aren’t content to rest according to Brown:

We’re predicting that within two to three years there’s going to be an overwhelming need for advanced NCEs. It’s very exciting, all of us on the Movidius team are on an adventurous trek into a new realm of vision intelligence.

The world of tomorrow features AI that handles the details, like drones that know how to capture the moment. There’s no way to predict all the uses for robots that have the ability to see and process the world visually.

Brown sounded even more excited when he spoke about the unseen potential for Intel’s Movidius chips:

We envision its use beyond the current categories that we’re using it in, VPUs will be used by developers in categories and ways that you and I can’t even imagine right now.

https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2017/09/07/visual-processing-units-let-robots-see-the-world-like-humans-but-better/#.tnw_VshWFRfa


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