In our last post, A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence, we covered some of the major breakthroughs on the long and colorful timeline of AI. Now that we know how we got here, it's time to look at where we are now. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite developments in artificial intelligence in 2020.
Artificial intelligence news 2020: recapping Q1 and Q2
Before we move on to AI's latest developments, let's take a look at AI's progress from January to June 2020.
Top 5 AI news items and developments in Q1 2020
In January, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 conference showcased some of the most exciting developments in AI technology. One of the many intriguing developments was FORPHEUS, a robotic table tennis tutor equipped with emotional intelligence. FORPHEUS' emotional sensors detect the player's emotional state and use that information to motivate the player.
BrainCo's Dexus Prosthetic Arm won best product at CES from DigitalTrends. Just like a real arm, the Dexus is controlled by the brain. It's capable of using fine motor skills to play the piano and perform all the gestures a human hand can. The algorithm learns new gestures as quickly as 15 minutes.
Our home service clients will be particularly interested in learning about the Wiser Energy System. This AI-powered system detects all appliances and electronic devices and allows users to manage and monitor their energy usage in real-time. Homeowners can receive notifications to find out if their devices are powered on or off or requires repairs.
Healthcare monitoring mogul Binah.ai launched an app that's capable of reading vital signs through video. Using a smart device camera, the app detects heart rate, oxygen levels, respiration rate, and more within 45 seconds.
Samsung also unveiled NEON, the first artificial human. Yes, you heard us correctly — artificial human. NEONs are pretty convincing, and Samsung claims they're capable of emotion. However, CNET likens them to humanoid chatbots. While they look like humans, they're not all-knowing. This is one development we'll be keeping an eye on.
Top 5 AI news items and developments in Q2 2020
The beginning of Q2 saw some of AI's upcoming startups secure vital funding. That includes QCraft, a startup that's optimizing self-driving AI tech for urban environments and challenging driving conditions. QCraft's simulation testing trains autonomous vehicles to handle "especially unusual", virtually simulated traffic scenarios.
Another startup that secured funding was Kebotix, which is developing AI-powered lab assistants to automate the process of discovering new chemicals and creating new materials. Kebotix has also partnered with one of its sponsors, BP, to research and create sustainable alternatives to plastic.
In May 2020, Microsoft made headlines after replacing two dozen journalists who curated news content for the MSN homepage and Edge browser with AI. The journalists, employed by Microsoft's former partner PA Media, voiced their concerns about finding new jobs in an industry that's known for its ruthless cost-cutting initiatives.
Chinese news agency Xinhua unveiled its brand new 3D AI-powered news anchor in May. Modeled after a popular human news anchor, the AI version utilizes facial recognition, transference learning, and many other algorithms to look and speak like a real human. Xinhua first released a 2D version of these news anchors in late 2018. The updated AI anchor is 3-dimensional and capable of reporting while sitting or standing.
In June 2020, some social platforms found themselves in legal trouble. Google-owned media giant YouTube faces a class-action lawsuit for alleged racial profiling of content creators. Accusations include using AI to screen for racially sensitive topics like "Black Lives Matter" to demonetize accounts, interrupt livestreams, freeze view counts, and apply other censorship tactics.
Artificial intelligence news and developments in Q3 2020
July kicked off with the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. Speakers included Turing Award winners, UN Chairmen, and even Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO revealed the company is "very close" to successfully creating Level 5 autonomous vehicles. (For context, there are 6 "levels" of autonomy in vehicles. Level 0 is no automation, while Level 5 is full automation.) Some criticized Musk's claim, citing the fact that current Tesla vehicles are Level 2.
In mid-July 2020, SLAMcore and Eyedaptic won the Edge AI and Vision Alliance Vision Tank Start-up Competition. SLAMcore gives spatial intelligence to robots and drones, allowing them to understand the space around them. Eyedaptic developed a pair of augmented reality glasses that improve eyesight for people with age-related macular degeneration.
VentureBeat's Transform 2020 virtual conference explores how to use AI to accelerate your business. One particularly useful panel discussed trends on using AI to assess risk, optimize customer service, and personalize the customer experience. All videos from the conference are free and accessible on VentureBeat's website.
In late August and early September, the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI) 2020 will reveal Europe's groundbreaking research in AI. The Conference on Prestigious Applications of Intelligent Systems (PAIS) will showcase research on AI's applications in everything from medicine to tourism. Other noteworthy conference events include the Frontiers in AI and Women in AI.
Developments in AI: wrapping up
While there are some exciting developments in AI, not all of the news is positive. Still, we're excited to see some of the research on show at upcoming conferences like ECAI and learn more about how AI is evolving to transform, and even recreate, life as we know it.
We'll continue to monitor AI news and developments throughout 2020, and we'll update this post after Q3 with new developments. In our next post, we're looking ahead to make some predictions about the future of artificial intelligence. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!