Autonomous vehicles could spell the end of urban design as we know it

Ever since the first mass produced cars made it to the roads in the early 20th century, the whole urban infrastructure has been designed to accommodate them. Modern cities are automobile-centred by default, although side effects like congestion, slow commutes and shortage of parking spaces often cast doubt on that statement. Today’s vehicles are evolving fast, adopting more and more autonomous features on their way towards fully fledged self-driving status. Cities can’t afford to fall behind in their effort to remain fit for the autonomous vehicles (AVs) of the near future.

The disruptive effect of AI-enhanced media manipulation

Artificial intelligence techniques such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and their variant generative adversarial networks (GANs) can be used to create extremely convincing fake images, voices and videos. The technologies are being developed within research institutions, enterprises and the open source community and being deployed in multiple applications – for good (such as Hollywood fantasy blockbusters) and ill (such as fake celebrity videos). Such are the capabilities of AI to help improve the traditional ways of creating manipulated media that there is the potential to disrupt sectors of commerce – as well as presenting a challenge to news organisations and publishers. Two industries that might feel the impact are cyber security and entertainment.

Robotic carers: what can they do and what should they be allowed to do?

Technology advancements and the severe shortage of caregivers are about to turn homes for assisted living into futuristic places where robots are trusted with various aspects of patient care. Although the concept of robotic carers is still in its early days, more countries around the world are seeing it as a reliable tool for tackling the demographic crisis.

What could robotic carers do and what should they be allowed to do to improve the lives of the elderly? As the demand for qualified caregivers already exceeds supply in many countries with aging population, robots are initially faced with a series of gap-filling duties such as helping patients with chores ...

Robot Olympics: more exciting than the human version?

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang showcased the East Asian nation’s robotics heritage by including robots in many areas of the event ... but there was also a mini-event taking place at the same time a two-hour drive from PyeongChang: robotic skiing. Eight teams sent their full metal skiers down a slalom run. The results were mixed, with near equal helpings of cuteness, idiocy and admiration ... could this presage more robotic sports?

These are the most important short-term trends in AI

Forward Partners, a London-based company that specialises in early stages venture capital investing, has come up with a series of observations and predictions on the microtrends that are expected to shape the AI business in the next five years. The company’s insights are drawn from its interactions with nearly 500 applied AI start-ups. Chris Corbishley, an investor with Forward Partners, took part in the AI Expo 2018 held in London Olympia on 18 and 19 April. In his public speech Corbishley outlined the trends that could potentially define the AI start-up scene in the years to come...

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