back to article Google and Intel cook AI chips, neural network exchanges – and more

Welcome to our roundup of major AI news from the past two weeks. Machine learning is so hyped right now, it doesn't help when companies such as Intel and Nvidia announce new chips and reveal little information about the specs, but make lofty claims of increased speed and precision. It's also difficult to keep track of all the …

  1. steelpillow Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And AlphaGo Zero

    And on the software side there is IBM's AlphaGo Zero, which has stripped the human pump-priming out of (constrained) deep learning and allowed the AI to teach itself, both faster and better than before. Put that technique on some of these new gizmos and we are bound to see some fireworks. Wor, us mudden e'n see Alexa coppin' us regional accen'.

    1. jacksmith21006

      Re: And AlphaGo Zero

      AlphaGo zero is Google not IBM. Have not seen IBM do anything really big in AI for a long time.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: And AlphaGo Zero

        "Have not seen IBM do anything really big in AI for a long time."

        IBM have their Watson platform that they are developing for various solutions. For instance automated reasoning, visual recognition and natural language processing / translation. So they are already fairly big in AI.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And AlphaGo Zero

          I would not call it "already fairly big in AI." In terms of number of dollars invested in AI, yes they are fairly big. Way more invested save the other large players. There's Watson, of course, and TrueNorth, their co-invention Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics, or SyNAPSE. Their problem is that they lack customers, paying customers, one's paying huge amounts of cash for access on a continuing basis in particular verticals. As I recall, their attempt to break into and branch out in the medical vertical died when it failed to deliver fast, accurate cancer detections. [Not going to hunt down that referrence.]

          They really do have a chance if they can keep Ginni Rometty from even worse redundancies in that department, not likely. Everything must go to meet share price goals of her own invention. And it doesn't help when the IBM Cloud keeps dying due to clerical gaffes a near novice in the web hosting business would manage to avoid.

          I love IBM. The old one that put me on the path of database, system, software, and hardware engineering. For a start. I can still picture pages from the man pages in my mind. TrueNorth is very, very interesting due to the 70 mW power profile with serious performance. Just, Ginni needs to go so what few engineers left can get back to their real job. New inventions with what used to be the best documentation in the business.

          /rant

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: And AlphaGo Zero

            "Their problem is that they lack customers, "

            Is anyone actually making any money off large scale AI yet? IBM are as big as anyone else I would have thought.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: And AlphaGo Zero

        More at quanta of course: Artificial Intelligence Learns to Learn Entirely on Its Own.

        Dr. Miles Bennett Dyson has been spotted being rather busy working at home in the evening.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And AlphaGo Zero

      "Google's first custom smartphone chip, transferring neural networks across languages – and more"

      Google - bringing a whole new meaning to spyware by design!

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: And AlphaGo Zero

      Sure, we covered AGZ in depth here.

      C.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And AlphaGo Zero

      AI is probably coming in almost everything electronic sooner or later. That might not always be a good thing:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRq_SAuQDec

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember folks

    That a lot of AI is being used to better target AD's for you to spend what little money you have on overpriced bling that falls apart the day after the warranty expires. This especially applies to Google and FB etc.

    I remember reading an SF story once that took planned obsolesence to the extreme. It was illegal to keep and use old stuff. with IOT, it will be easy for things to be told to break down just after the warranty expires. Naturally nothing will be repairable by us mortals. That will be the domain of the repair bot. It will just take one look at the device, go 'Ohhhhhh' and crush it on the spot.

    Then in phase 2, the AI managed Robots will put most of us out of work so we won't have any money (as if many of us have any spare at the moment...?) to spend but the adverts will keep on coming.

    They will promise us 'never-never land' riches and lifestyle. so we will go deeper into debt to fund the impossible dream.

    Back to the days of the workhouse people as the clock marked Google strikes 13.

    Yes, I am cynical but thankfully, I probably won't be around to see the next wave of Luddite revolts.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Remember folks

      Nah, just download AIblockPlus for Firefox v 1984 and you'll be fine.

    2. Oneman2Many

      Re: Remember folks

      I think you are confused about 'owning' things in the future and worrying about them becoming obsolete. Devices and services will be provided on a subscription model for the masses and they will be in a continual upgrade cycle.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

      Except here in Scotland we are planning two trials of Universal Income. But hurry, after we vote Aye next time and we are in the EU and you are Oot we may have to put up a Trump style wall to keep riff-raff economic migrants from Engwalland from flooding us.

      Don't say you weren't warned. Be an Engwalland serf or a Free Scot living in the People's Communitarian Republic of iScotland (TM).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

        "after we vote Aye next time and we are in the EU and you are Oot"

        You do realise that a) Scotland currently has a larger budget deficit than Greece that the rest of the UK is subsidising so good luck with meeting the entry requirements, and that b) the only way for you to join the EU is from scratch as a new member as is specifically stated in the treaty? (That's also still the case even if you left the UK while the UK is still an EU member!)

        I think what would have happened to your economy (mostly due to the oil price drop) had you left the UK last time has probably not gone unnoticed by many swing / otherwise marginal voters so imo a vote in favour of leaving the UK is unlikely in the near future anyway.

        Not to mention that democracy is not generally about voting repeatedly until you get the result you want so I suspect that it will be at least decade or two before you get another go.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

          democracy is not generally about voting repeatedly until you get the result you want

          Representative democracy may not be, but direct democracy, aka the referendum, is about little else.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

            "but direct democracy, aka the referendum, is about little else."

            Well if you think it works like that then you presumably look forward to ongoing referendums to re-join the UK if Scotland ever decides to leave....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

        "we may have to put up a Trump style wall to keep riff-raff economic migrants from Engwalland from flooding us."

        Well if you do leave the UK then duty free might actually give us a reason to visit "Grece without the sun".

        I'm sure in that case we wont mind paying a few Scotistan Groats to pass your border!

        1. David Roberts Silver badge

          Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

          All gentle joshing aside the EU response so far to Catalonia might prove instructive. They aren't bending over backwards to welcome a potential new member state.

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Remember folks

      Don't worry.

      There will be plenty of opportunities for a new and exciting life in the off-world colonies!

    5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Remember folks

      so we won't have any money

      We don't have any money already. Anything a central bank can print up at will is not money. It can be used on the bog though.

      1. David Roberts Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Remember folks

        Have you tried wiping with those new shiny plastic notes? Reminds me of the bad old days of Izal hard toilet paper.

        Always carry a copy of the Daily Mail in your pocket in case of emergencies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember folks

        "Anything a central bank can print up at will is not money."

        That describes pretty much every conventional currency on the planet...

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    The IPU is difficult to program

    That probably means it's even more difficult to program securely, so there may be no great privacy advantage in having your personal data crunched locally.

    1. jacksmith21006

      Re: The IPU is difficult to program

      You will program it through TensorFlow. The security aspect is interesting. Ideally you have a MPU to basically firewall off on chip problems manipulating host memory.

      Google tends to be very good about security so will be interesting to see how this is architected. The problem is much more teams like the Broadcom team with this type of thing.

      BTW, we do not know much details and there could be a MPU between host memory and this Google SoC. Plus this SoC has NO access to the outside world which also helps compared to things like the Broadcom issues.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: The IPU is difficult to program

        The security aspect is interesting. Ideally you have a MPU to basically firewall off on chip problems manipulating host memory.

        Oooor... Y'know, you could just let a camera be a camera instead of turning that aspect of your smartphone into something that's intelligent enough to catalog the contents of every picture you own, then report back to the mothership to 'Enhance your consumer experience".

        Remember when technology was there to make your life easier and more secure? And Not make your life less secure and more accessible to anybody?

        Not if you're under 30!

  4. jacksmith21006

    Pretty interesting that Google beat Apple to doing an AI chip in a mobile device by a couple of weeks.

    But what is so amazing is the Google chip is over 5x more powerful than the Apple chip. This is the start of the silicon of the future. Scalar processors (CPUs) have really hit a wall and just are not where the action is any longer.

    1. prismatics

      Proof required.

      Please provide proof for your statement "the Google chip is over 5x more powerful than the Apple chip" as I highly doubt the correctness of this statement.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Special-purpose hardware always is faster than a general-purpose CPU at some tasks. But in the end someone is going to have to do the symbolic processing (or run the floating-point or UNUM-intensive engineering job, control the washing machine, or take out the trash). The "action" there will continue.

      And maybe 5th generation "special purpose hardware / logic programming in silicon" will be back eventually, who knows.

  5. Christoph Silver badge

    Hardly new

    Re EON: My Garmin DriveAssist 50 already warns me if I'm drifting out of lane, warns me of imminent collisions, tells me if the cars in front in a queue have started moving, various other functions.

  6. DougS Silver badge

    Pixel IPU

    The reviews I read said that the next software update is required to enable developer access to the chip, but it is already being used for the camera app.

  7. Mephistro Silver badge

    "...computations to be implemented as fixed-point multiplications and additions while allowing for large dynamic range using a shared exponent..."

    Intel seems to have ripped a page or two from the Stonesoup Group, the people that made Fractint!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      It's not like any of these ideas are new to people who have been around the block a few times.

      tired_sadfrog.jpg

  8. Tromos

    Don't tell me, let me guess.

    "The Partnership of AI, which includes Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, DeepMind, and Apple and several other companies"

    Would AI be Advertising Industry?

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    AI Meme about to die from overexposure

    Ex-Obama advisor to lead the Partnership of AI The megagroup created by industry leaders in AI will be headed up by Terah Lyons.

    The Partnership of AI, which includes Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, DeepMind, and Apple and several other companies focuses on guiding AI "to benefit people and society".

    This sounds like a fscking total trainwreck powered by slush money in the full making. It will probably end with politicians in a trasheap of brown envelopes, getting their arse photgraphed for the broadsheets for a "scandal of the day" kind of story, up to the minute when the next lurid story about "Russia did it" breaks wind.

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