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The Rapid Advance of Artificial Intelligence


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Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot can sense what needs to be done and adapt itself to the task.

The latest work in the field of artificial intelligence could transform the world within the next five years.

Credit: Sally Ryan/The New York Times

The annual Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference is a showcase for the latest work in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) by scientists, roboticists, and others, which could potentially transform the world within the next five years.

Replacing humans with robots for hazardous jobs is a key focus of such research, and in December the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will hold the first of two events in a $2-million contest to construct a machine that could substitute for rescue workers in dangerous environments. Some contest entrants will use the humanoid Atlas robot as the basis for their innovations, while others will take non-humanoid forms.

Also forthcoming are intelligent workplace machines that can monitor and even tactilely sense coworkers so as to avoid harming them. Experts say that rapidly advancing computer-vision technology is just one of several artificial intelligence-oriented technologies that are leading to a sea change in the technology industry beyond the personal and the Internet.

"During the next decade we’re going to see smarts put into everything," says the University of Washington's Ed Lazowska. "Smart homes, smart cars, smart health, smart robots, smart science, smart crowds, and smart computer-human interactions."

From The New York Times
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