Benchmarks — from MNIST to ImageNet to GLUE — have played a hugely important role in driving progress in AI research. They provide a target for the community to work toward; a common objective to exchange ideas around; and a clear, quantitative way to compare model performance. It is hard to imagine the progress we have made in AI in a …

  In the 20th century, politicians’ views of human nature shaped societies. But now, creators of new technologies increasingly drive societal change. Their view of human nature may shape the 21st century. We must know what technologists see in humanity’s heart. The economist Thomas Sowell proposed two visions of human nature. The utopian vision sees …

“Hey Alexa, turn on the kitchen light.” “Hey Alexa, play soothing music at volume three.” “Hey Alexa, tell me where to find my keys.” You can ask an Alexa or Google home assistant questions about facts, news, or the weather, and make commands for whatever you’ve synced them to (lights, alarms, TVs, etc.). But helping …

Imagine you’re on your daily commute to work, driving along a crowded highway while trying to resist looking at your phone. You’re already a little stressed out because you didn’t sleep well, woke up late, and have an important meeting in a couple hours, but you just don’t feel like your best self. Suddenly another …

Pandemics and natural disasters cause pain and suffering to millions worldwide and can challenge the very foundations of human belief systems. They can be particularly challenging for those who believe in an all-knowing and righteous God. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755, for example, shook the previously unquestioned faith of many and led Voltaire to question …

As a student pursuing a doctorate in systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo, Alexander Wong didn’t have enough money for the hardware he needed to run his experiments in computer vision. So he invented a technique to make neural network models smaller and faster. “He was giving a presentation, and somebody said, ‘Hey, …

Researchers have developed a method for helping robots plan for multi-step tasks by constructing abstract representations of the world around them. Their study is a step toward building robots that can think and act more like people. Planning is a monumentally difficult thing for robots, largely because of how they perceive and interact with the …

AI, as conceived of in popular culture, does not yet exist, even if autonomous and expert systems do. Smartphones might not be supercomputers, but they are called “smartphones” for good reason, in terms of how their operating systems function. Equally, we are happy to talk about a computer game’s “AI”, but gamers quickly learn to …

Like it or loathe it, the robot revolution is now well underway and the futures described by writers such as Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl and Philip K. Dick are fast turning from science fiction into science fact. But should robots have rights? And will humanity ever reach a point where human and machine are treated …

Right now, artificial intelligence (AI) and countless algorithms are integrated into our daily life. Because of the efficiency they bring into the table, the use of AI is only expected to widen. With humanity becoming more and more reliant on this technology, it is only natural to think about the implications. In contrast to the common …