As we enter 2018, it’s clear the expectations of intelligent assistance providers and enterprise practitioners are more in balance than ever before. It’s also clear that the number of “known knowns” is growing rapidly.
Above: Google HomeAmazon’s Echo has long ruled the smart home market, but Google Home’s recent updates make it a contender for the top slot. The smart home market is evolving faster than you can say “third-party device,” and the competition between these heavyweight companies is good for your wallet. Understanding the pros and cons of each platform is essential, especially when integrating home security devices.
Year after year, blockbuster films are replete with Turing-test-passing examples of AI — and this past year was no exception. From Blade Runner 2049 to Marjorie Prime to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it seems the public’s appetite for depictions of truly intelligent AI is insatiable.
As AI evolves, the tech industry learns how bots can fail humans; whether it’s based on humans’ inherent distrust and fear of robots, like the uncanny valley, or the problems presented by artificial ignorance, which reinforce harmful tropes like gender bias. This is why my team at Mezi considered human psychology and personality traits that facilitate communication as we developed our chatbots. We studied how we could improve everyday interactions between our customers and our chatbots by infusing these traits in the bots’ programming.
Above: A photo taken days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010One Concern today announced it has closed a $20 million funding round to “future proof the world,” according to a company spokesperson. The funding will be used for research and development to expand One Concern’s use of machine learning to predict and mitigate the impact of natural disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes after they happen.
Chatbots are an increasing part of our daily lives, redefining how we engage with the internet and with businesses. Canadian messaging company Kik explains it like this: “First there were websites, then there were apps. Now, there are bots.” Just like the early internet, bots are set to transform commerce as we know it, making it easier than ever for consumers to reach, engage, and transact through instant commands.
Lemonade, a mobile-first, AI-infused insurance firm backed by chatbots and self-proclaimed ethics, has announced a $120 million series C funding round led by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank. The round saw participation from some existing investors, which include big names such as GV (Google Ventures), Sequoia Capital, and Allianz.
The Channel 4/AMC science fiction series Humans depicts a world where humanoid robots (known as Synths) can perform a range of household tasks such as running errands and doing the laundry. Synths can also help in the kitchen and care for the young and the elderly.
Without a doubt, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home will be some of the most popular gifts this holiday season. But unlike last year, when there were only a handful of choices, you now have dozens of ways to speak with AI assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana.
Two acronyms are sure to grab headlines in 2018: AI and GDPR.Gartner called AI the most disruptive technology of the next 10 years. The technology will certainly continue to generate increased attention about its advances and new applications in 2018.

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