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Emergent // Future Weekly: Notes From The Frontier, Chat Bots, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Cars, and More

Issue 24
This week we debut
Notes from the Frontier, a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions from the Emergent // Future community. Catch up on the chat bot boom, check in on Apple’s plans for augmented reality, and look at the latest news in the self-driving car trend.

Plus, we compile our top projects to try at home, and favorite articles from the past week.


The Chat Bot Boom 🤖

You Might Have Heard: The chat bot revolution is upon us, and has the potential to save us time, hassle, and tedium by automating mundane tasks.

The sea change is driven primarily by three shifts in consumer behavior:

  • How we experience computers. Namely the always-connected, personal computer in your hand you’re reading this on.
  • The enablement of personal messaging channels by your personal computer.
  • And a sputtering of the app ecosystem.

tl;dr many apps are better off as services, natively integrated into messaging tools, because conversation is fluid and more natural.

It makes sense to be texting with a friend about meeting for drinks, and immediately summoning an Uber within the context of that conversation, rather than hunting around for the app.

But Did You Know: The chat bot boom is driven in part by a resurgence in artificial intelligence?

Computing is cheaper than ever and phone sensors are collecting more data from more places, allowing for insights to be extracted using machine learning algorithms.

That’s why we’re building a simple, scalable, machine intelligence API for creating smarter products with your data.

Or, as WIRED says: Need Some AI? Yeah, There’s a Marketplace for That.

PLUS: Nvidia debuts new AI-focused processors for data centers; says the new chips have 4x speed, 3x efficiency of previous models.


Augmenting Reality at Apple 🤓

Apple’s latest hires suggest they’re getting serious about augmented reality.

The company has started stockpiling AR talent, like Yury Petrov, a former Oculus researcher, Zeyu Li, former Magic Leap engineer, and they outright bought the startup Metaio in May.

FWIW, Tim Cook favors AR over VR, suggesting it allows users to be more “present.”


More Self-Driving Car News 🚙

This is the week self-driving cars became reality when autonomous Uber’s hit the streets of Pittsburgh. The move comes few weeks after self-driving taxis emerged in Singapore.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick considers missing out on the self-driving, sharable car market to be an “existential threat” to the company.

Lyft outlines their plans for self-driving cars: semi-autonomous cars by 2017, and a fully autonomous fleet by 2022.

Even the US Gov’t thinks highways will be safer with more cars driven by machines than people! They released guidelines outlining safety standards and encouraged uniform rules for the nascent technology. Madrona Venture Group calls for self-driving vehicles between Seattle and Vancouver.

🤔 A few researchers are trying to arrive at self-driving technology by pointing their learning algorithms at Grand Theft Auto, the hyper nefarious video game.


Notes From The Frontier 🔮

This week we debut Notes from the Frontier, a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions from the Emergent // Future community on Medium.

Emergent // Future is about exploring emerging technologies through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. Notes from the Frontier is the dialogue, and amplification of voices and views from the community.

Contribute your take on frontier technologies and their impact on society on Medium. We’ll share the most insightful posts and comments each week with more than 2k like-minded subscribers.

Let us know what you think about Notes from the Frontier.

1 // Self-driving cars will change everything (Sean Lynch)

2 // What Happens When Technology is Faster than the Law?(Erik P.M. Vermeulen)

3 // Where to Apply Machine Learning (Connor Doherty)

4 // Spam detection using neural networks in Python (Aman Goel)

5 // Predicting the Future: The Steamrollers and Machine Learning (Igor Carron)


What We’re Reading 📚

  • Ten Myths About Machine Learning. Machine learning is both more powerful than we often assume it to be and less. What we make of it is up to us — provided we start with an accurate understanding of it. (Pedro Domingos)
  • Elon Musk on How to Build the Future. In terms of things that I think are most like to affect the future of humanity, I think AI is probably the single biggest item in the near-term that’s likely to affect humanity. (Y Combinator)
  • The Cypherpunk Revolution. How the tech vanguard turned public-key cryptography into one of the most potent political ideas of the 21st century. (CS Monitor)
  • The Neural Network Zoo. With new neural network architectures popping up every now and then, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Here’s a cheat sheet. (Asimov Institute)
  • Natural language understanding: How deep is too deep?Is Deep Learning always the best tool for Natural Language Understanding tasks? Not necessarily! (Ilya Eckstein)
  • Quora Session with DJ Patil, US White House Chief Data Scientist (Quora)