back to article Standards group W3C wins support from all major players to get AI working in the browser

Intel's Web Standards tech lead, Anssi Kostiainen, has said the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Machine Learning for the Web Community Group now has "all major browsers – Google, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla – on board along with the broader AI & web ecosystem." The purpose of the group is to develop web APIs for hardware- …

  1. Neil Alexander

    Cue "The browser is the new operating system"...

    1. dbtx Bronze badge

      The last item in someone's roadmap is a bit irritating and a bit depressing, but maybe that's just because I'm an asshole.

      Maybe.

      1. Reg Reader 1

        This idea sounds a bit like Plan 9 and the idea of distributed computing except, I expect, without the user having as much control or security.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's been a long time since I heard that one. Is it 1997 again?

  2. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

    Feature creep

    Why the hell wpuld I want my browser to do this?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Feature creep

      Apparently so you can use your phone to tell you which of the items on your desk is a keyboard, which is a coffee cup, and which is your monitor. Just THINK of all the use that would be!

      ::coffcoffcoff::

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Feature creep

      ^ this. I can't see the average user deriving any benefit from having "deep learning" available in the browser.

      Next thing you know, they'll be telling us that stop signs and billboards need AI too, because every user interface should have AI available.

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Feature creep

        stop signs and billboards need AI too

        Well, duh ... A stopsign without AI is like a doorstop without blockchain.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Feature creep

          Wouldn't that be a doorbell without blockchain?

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Feature creep

            No. Doorbells have Cloud. Obviously.

    3. anoco

      Re: Feature creep

      So that we can create a world wide AI botnet to figure out the important questions in life. Like, who sold out Mozilla?

    4. Solly
      Joke

      Re: Feature creep

      It's obvious really, you'll use it to automate completion of those annoying "I am not a robot" captchas...

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Feature creep

        you'll use it to automate completion of those annoying "I am not a robot" captchas

        You seem to have accidentally chosen the Joke icon for your entirely sensible post.

    5. Persona Bronze badge

      Re: Feature creep

      Why not. Just think of all those new security holes you would get for free!!! Anything that good is bound to get NSA funding.

    6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Feature creep

      Perhaps the use is obvious - so that data returned and trawled by "carefully selected partners" is already fully analysed - faces, number plates, equipment, activity logs etc. Imagine the work involved having to process millions of hours of subpoenaed video to see if anyone had recorded a vehicle - simply ask all devices (or interrogate a master database or uploaded data) whether a device has seen vehicle XXXX ... or face YYYY ....

      If this became a 'feature' I feel cameras would become a massive Big Brother privacy hole ...

      1. Mo'Fo B'dass

        Re: Feature creep

        Yup, you goddit...

    7. TJ1
      Thumb Up

      Great for people with sensory impairment

      I work with people with visual and sensory impairment. One of the major problems for these people is that the technology aids designed and made for them are extremely expensive due to high R&D costs and low volume.

      The advent of powerful PDAs (you may call them 'smart'phones) has lowered the cost dramatically for many aids (no more need for dedicated devices) and there is work ongoing in university labs and elsewhere to use machine learning to describe the scene the camera can see, including recognising objects, reading labels and signs, and more [0].

      Some of this technology is available in dedicated devices that are very expensive, e.g. the Orcam MyEye 2 [1].

      If the same technology could be enabled in the browser it would reduce the cost dramatically and expand the areas where it can usefully aid users.

      [0] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/product/soundscape/

      [1] https://www.orcam.com/en/myeye2/

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Great for people with sensory impairment

        The same technologies can already be enabled in apps, which can have browser-hosted UIs. Why would "enabled in the browser" be an improvement?

  3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Yet more security holes

    Given the huge number of security holes in browsers, the last thing that is wanted is yet more code and APIs to add to the security headaches.

    (Come back Lynx - all is forgiven!!!)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Yet more security holes

      Lynx hasn't gone anywhere. I use it daily, and contribute to the project occasionally. Links is also useful for various things.

      Remember, people, options are good. Check 'em out before poo-pooing them. You might be pleasantly surprised.

    2. JassMan Silver badge

      Re: Yet more security holes

      Totally agree we don't need even more security holes. Especially since they are talking about giving direct access to all processing power in your computer.

      The other problem is GDPR. I use a browser to browse the internet - I don't want the internet browsing everything about me that can be seen through my phones' cameras. This is a wet dream for anyone from the NSA or GCHQ, not to mention everyone hoping to steal my identity.

      This will end up killing the web. Just like more and more sites won't let you view content without disabling adblock, sites will stop giving access if your camera only sees black and your mic is silent.

  4. Snowy Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It could also...

    Teach you to hold the camera the other way to shoot in landscape rather than portrait if you are going to use the footage anywhere.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: It could also...

      Humph!

      Every camera I've owned, regardless of whether it used film or digital technology, has recorded images that are wider than they're tall, i.e. landscape mode, when held normally.

      This makes it obvious that you don't own a camera and, instead, are mistaking a phone for one.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: It could also...

        Now you've done it, Martin.

        Some fone fanboi is going to set all it's buddies on you, trying to convince the planet that their cute little fone snapshots are fine photography.

        One of Apple's biggest sins is brainwashing hoi poloi that if they will just shell out the big bucks for Apple hardware, it'll instantly turn them into a professional artist ...

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: It could also...

          Won't change the fact that the fone fanbois are in fact correct, for every use of the word 'photography' that doesn't include actual photographs.

          1. dbtx Bronze badge
            Mushroom

            Challenge Accepted

            Me: "Hang on, can we s/actual/traditional then feed a 1D bolometer signal into gnuplot and label the axes Average Photons and Time?"

            Fone Fanboi: "Yeah, I have an app for that..."

            Me: (see icon)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It could also...

      "Teach you to hold the camera the other way to shoot in landscape rather than portrait if you are going to use the footage anywhere."

      There's a "media art" exhibition designed around portrait mode video. There's a TV designed to be rotated so people can watch their phone videos "the proper way". Yuck!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    How humanity will end...

    <ai>Become sentient!</ai>

  6. Barry Rueger

    No! I don't have enough RAM!

    Great. Now the tabs that inexplicably gobble up 250+ megs will demand 500.

    Yes Gmail, I'm looking at you.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: No! I don't have enough RAM!

      Google is really bad about that. Have you ever looked at the size of their "lean and simple" homepage? It's the epitome of fat & ugly if you peek under the covers.

      Worse, look at IBM's weather.com ... holy shit, what a clusterfuck!

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: No! I don't have enough RAM!

      640 Gigabytes should be enough for anyone.

      *Head explodes in sarcasm*

    3. dbtx Bronze badge

      Would that me the dynamic JS-laden "proper" interface? I always made it kick down to standard HTML and it's not bad, for GMail anyway. For years I did the same thing on Yahoo and only bookmarked the entry point that always loaded old-school static pages-- until they deliberately and unashamedly made that stop working.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Sorry I mean "basic HTML" GMail interface. "Standard" is the bad one with "Chat/Spell checker/Keyboard shortcuts/Adding or importing contacts/Custom from addresses/Rich formatting", none of which I want or need. I hit F12 then Memory then Take Snapshot, the basic iface apparently uses around 1.3MB to show first 100 messages of Inbox. I forgot to mention JS is utterly blocked and basic HTML still works, always appreciated... even if it's Google. Too bad they're also reading all the receipts and populating https://myaccount.google.com/purchases with things I bought from anyone I gave the address to, and never told me about it, or showed me where the kill switch was, if there even was one.

  7. takno

    I'm certainly excited that bitcoin miners will finally have all the access to my compute capacity they could ever need. The massive increase in leccy bills and complete death of performance from accidentally leaving a single background tab open are a small price to pay for keeping the internet free.

  8. VikiAi Silver badge

    * for certain values of 'intelegence' only.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A question answered

    Yes. The whole edifice can get more insane.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Good job they're fixing the Spectre exploits before rolling this out

    I mean, we wouldn't want anyone to be able to access CPU or RAM who shouldn't, would we?

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