And now back to our regularly scheduled programming… In the last issue of 2016, we looked at self-driving cars, Zuckerberg’s AI assistant, and what’s new with IoT, drones, and chat bots.
This week, we recap the year in artificial intelligence before looking ahead to what 2017 holds for AI, data science, and the shape of things to come.
Plus, we check out the latest White House report on Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy.
📢 Want to contribute to Emergent // Future? I’m looking for people curious about the future to contribute to both this newsletter as well as our community on Medium.
Looking Back 🔙
Let’s take a minute to reflect on the top artificial intelligence stories from last year before looking ahead to what’s on the horizon:
The year started with Marvin Minsky passing away at 88 in January. Minsky was a pioneer and a founding father of artificial intelligence and cognitive science.
Then, a team from Microsoft, ING, and the Delft University of Technology were able to use deep learning to create a 3D-printed imitation Rembrandt painting based on the master’s style in April.
Google revealed its TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) in May, a hardware accelerator for its TensorFlow deep learning algorithm.
Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft formed a partnership in September to advance the public understanding of artificial intelligence.
Self-driving taxis became reality when autonomous Uber’s hit the streets of Pittsburgh in September.
In December, OpenAI and Google DeepMind open sourced their AI training platforms for researchers and developers to experiment with.
And, Google spun off its self-driving car unit as a new company within Alphabet called Waymo.
2016 was also a watershed year for autonomous vehicles, with BMW, Intel, Mobileye, Uber, Volvo, Ford, Delphi, and others all having set 2021 as the year by which steering wheels become optional.
Bloomberg asked several technology investors and entrepreneurs what happened in 2016 that nobody noticed. The responses won’t surprise Emergent // Future readers, but the experts’ answers ranged from machine learning-related chips to digital currencies climbing to a $14.9B market cap to the internet speeding up.
Looking Ahead 🔜
The future can be hard to predict, so let’s take a survey of what the Technorati are saying:
- TechCrunch explores the technology trends changing the world around us from building intelligent applications, virtual assistants, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality.
- WIRED staffers temper tech expectations with their predictions on what’s going to happen to tech in 2017 (hint: follow @InternetOfShit and @SavedYouAClick).
- The Backchannel identifies six trends shaping our world from AI, to VR, to Voice, to medical, to even Pokemon Go. Here’s what they say matters most in 2017.
- VentureBeat predictions for 2017 include standardized AI ethics and guidelines, AI becomes pervasive in all software, making every app a smart app. Plus, advances in health care and agriculture, while some jobs go fully automated.
- PC World thinks developer tools, bots, and containers will go mainstream this year. We’re a fan of this one, tbh.
The White House On AI ✨
In October, the the Obama Administration released a report on artificial intelligence and society.
They’ve now released a new report on the ways that artificial intelligence will transform our economy over the coming years and decades.
They’re predicting nearly all truck, taxi, and delivery driver jobs will be automated.
In essence, while artificial intelligence could cost millions of jobs, the White House says we need more of it, and recommends an increase in education and training for jobs likely to thrive in an increasingly automated future—specifically science, technology, engineering, and math.
What We’re Reading 📚
- Can large-scale solar power storage become a reality? An unexpected finding by a team of engineers could lead to a revolutionary change in how we produce, store and consume energy. (Stanford)
- Alexa, Amazon’s Operating System. Amazon is building the operating system of the home — its name is Alexa — and it has all of the qualities of an operating system you might expect. (Stratechery)
- Finding A Voice. Computers have got much better at translation, voice recognition and speech synthesis, says Lane Greene. But they still don’t understand the meaning of language. (The Economist)
- Our Automated Future. How long will it be before you lose your job to a robot? (The New Yorker)
- Elon Musk: Too Crazy to be Lucky. We can quantifiably say that Elon Musk has been the best tech entrepreneur of the modern era. (Pando)
Things To Try At Home 🛠
- Data visualization with LEDs and a Raspberry Pi
- TensorKart: self-driving MarioKart with TensorFlow
- Generating startup names with a neural network
- Build your own hackable automated cat feeder for $20
- What It Takes to Build True FPGA as a Service
Emergent Future is a weekly, hand-curated dispatch exploring technology through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. Subscribe here.