Fight Air Pollution in China

IBM is testing a new way to alleviate Beijing’s choking air pollution with the help of artificial intelligence. The Chinese capital, like many other cities across the country, is surrounded by factories, many fueled by coal, that emit harmful particulates. But pollution levels can vary depending on factors such as industrial activity, traffic congestion, and weather conditions.

The IBM researchers are testing a computer system capable of learning to predict the severity of air pollution in different parts of the city several days in advance by combining large quantities of data from several different models—an extremely complex computational challenge. The system could eventually offer specific recommendations on how to reduce pollution to an acceptable level—for example, by closing certain factories or temporarily restricting the number of drivers on the road. A comparable system is also being developed for a city in the Hebei province, a badly affected area in the north of the country.

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IBM Shows Off Artificial Intelligence in New Watson Spots

IBM Corp. is rolling out two new TV ads during the U.S. Open this week to showcase its cognitive computing system Watson. The spots feature startups that are using the platform to build apps serving industries from healthcare to travel to retail.

Watson, which is named after IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson, was introduced to the public in 2011, when a computer powered with the artificial intelligence technology competed on the “Jeopardy” game show (and won).

Last year, IBM formalized a Watson Group business unit — pumping $1 billion into its development — and it promised to set aside $100 million to seed companies that are developing mobile apps with the technology.

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Toyota buckles down on artificial intelligence for safer driving

Toyota is investing $50 million into artificial intelligence research in partnership with MIT and Stanford University.

Toyota is getting serious about embedding artificial intelligence in its cars to cut down on accidents.

On Friday, the Japanese automaker said it’s partnered with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create two joint research centers focused on using technology to make driving safer.

Toyota will fork over $50 million over the next five years that will be divided between the two universities to study the use of artificial intelligence. AI is a hot area of computer science related to teaching computers to learn and make decisions like humans can.

Dr. Gill Pratt, a former program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and leader of its well-known robotics competitions, is joining Toyota to oversee its AI research. He will be based in Silicon Valley.

“We believe this research will transform the future of mobility, improving safety, reducing traffic congestion, and raising quality of life for everyone,” Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota, said Friday.

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