All posts on May, 2017


The AI fight is escalating: This is the IT giants’ next move

Artificial intelligence is where the competition is in IT, with Microsoft and Google both parading powerful, always-available AI tools for the enterprise at their respective developer conferences, Build and I/O, in May. 

It’s not just about work: AI software can now play chess, go, and some retro video games better than any human — and even drive a car better than many of us. These superhuman performances, albeit in narrow fields, are all possible thanks to the application of decades of AI research — research that is increasingly, as at Build and I/O, making it out of the lab and into the real world.

Meanwhile, the AI-powered voice technologies behind virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon.com’s Alexa and Samsung Electronics’ Bixby may offer less-than-superhuman performance, but they also require vastly less power than a supercomputer to run. Businesses can dabble on the edges of these, for example developing Alexa “skills” that allow Amazon Echo owners to interact with a company without having to dial its call center, or jump right in, using the various cloud-based speech recognition and text-to-speech “-as-a-service” offerings to develop full-fledged automated call centers of their own.

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How to make Fully Homomorphic Encryption “practical and usable”

Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) for years has been a promising approach to protecting data while it’s being computed on, but making it fast enough and easy enough to use has been a challenge.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which has been leading the Department of Defense’s examination of this topic, recently awarded research and development firm Galois a $1M contract to explore ways to bring FHE to programmers. 

The goal, says Galois Principal Investigator Dr. David Archer, is making FHE “practical and usable,” and his outfit is working with researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology on this front via the Rapid Machine-learning Processing Applications and Reconfigurable Targeting of Security (RAMPARTS) initiative

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