China is narrowing the gap against the U.S. when it comes to AI research

The gap between AI researchers from China and the United States is narrowing, according to a new study.

Hundreds of researchers attend the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) to hear presentations on the latest developments in AI. It’s become something of the de facto conference for the elite in AI to mingle and show off.

The study, publiched by researchers from the University of Toronto, found that 23 percent of the papers presented at the 2017 AAAI Conference were Chinese. For comparison, just 10 percent were Chinese in 2012.

Perhaps more interesting, the share of U.S. authors publishing AI research fell from 41 percent to 34 percent over the seven-year period.

Last year, our sister publication AI News reported on Goldman Sachs’ belief that China is catching up to the U.S. in AI superiority — something which this latest study appears to support.

“China understandably generates (about) 13 percent of the digital information globally. By 2020, we expect this to grow to around 20 percent to 25 percent as China’s economy emerges as the world’s largest,” Goldman Sachs predicts.

Healthy competition is great, but it must be conducted ethically.

Do you think China will surpass the United States in AI research? Let us know in the comments.

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Executives lack confidence when it comes to Industry 4.0, says Deloitte

Executives lack confidence when it comes to Industry 4.0, says Deloitte

Recruitment and training at every level in the corporate hierarchy may need a rethink, if companies are to reap the full benefits of industrial IoT, says a new report from Deloitte. 

Senior business executives are optimistic about the potential offered by Industry 4.0, but lack confidence when it comes to investing in the industrial IoT. 

That’s according to a new report from Deloitte, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Here – Are You Ready? Released to coincide with the World Economic Forum this week in Davos, Switzerland, this explores the business world’s readiness to  harness the opportunities offered by the Industry 4.0 trend that sees machines increasingly become connected and able to report on their status and performance, as well as the environment around them.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, it is set to define the business world over the next few years, as technologies such as sensors, analytics, AI, cognitive computing are increasingly applied to industrial processes. 

Deloitte Global, part of the management consultancy firm, surveyed 1,600 C-level executives from 19 countries for its report, quizzing them on their ability to leverage these technologies. 

Read more: Survey shows IIoT has “crossed the chasm”, claims Zebra

Lack of confidence

Almost nine out of ten respondents (87 percent) said that they expect Industry 4.0 to create social and economic equality and stability for their companies. But regardless of this, many firms feel that they’re not ready to harness these changes. Only one in three said they’re highly confident about stewarding their organisations in the connected world and just 14 percent said they were ready to implement Industry 4.0 technologies. Because of these attitudes, says Deloitte, businesses and executives risk falling behind.

At the same time, executives don’t feel that their organizations have the right talent to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution, either – but they’re trying their best to build more suitable teams. Again, more than four out five respondents (86 percent) said they’re working to hire people with the right skillsets for technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT. 

And companies that are already focused on Industry 4.0 are exploring roles that allow staff to leverage “greater innovation, alternative work environments and new approaches to learning and development”.

Overall, key decision-makers are aware that they must invest in technology to succeed in an increasingly connected world. But many of them are struggling to make a business case due to a lack of comprehensive strategies.

Read more: IIoT adoption increases, but projects still early-stage, says Bsquare

A unique opportunity

Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, has claimed that the fourth industrial revolution will have huge impact on the world as a whole, and not just the workplace. “The rapidly advancing technologies driving Industry 4.0 are bringing about social and economic change rapidly in an environment of unparalleled global connectivity and demographic change,” he said. 

“It’s a time of great opportunity, but also risk. We developed this research to better understand how executives are navigating the pervasive shift and to uncover areas where they can more effectively influence how the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacts their organisations and society.”


Our Internet of Manufacturing event is coming to Munich on 6-8 February 2018. Attendees will get the chance to learn more about how connected technologies open up new paths to increased productivity and profitability for industrial companies. 

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When It Comes to Smart Toys, It Pays to Shop Smart

When your in-laws give your child a loud toy for the holidays, you know you are going to have to hear it for the next few months. But when that toy connects to the Internet, how can you be sure that you’re the only ones listening?

This holiday season, “smart toys” (Internet or Bluetooth-enabled toys) are some of the most popular toys on the market. A lot of these toys look awesome, including:

  • remote control cars that connect with an app and allow you to race against AI controlled cars;
  • stuffed animals that play back messages sent from loved one’s smartphones; and
  • soccer balls that track your form when you kick them.

Smart toys come with fantastic features, but if left unsecured, smart toys can present a serious privacy risk to those who use them. For instance:

Unsecured smart toys present serious risks to the children who play with them. You wouldn’t buy a toddler a toy that is a choking hazard. You wouldn’t buy a toy with lead paint. So you should make sure you buy smart toys that will keep children safe and respect their privacy.

Unfortunately, security and privacy are hard things to determine from the back of a toy box. Packaging may state a choking hazard, but it is not likely to show if a toy uses strong encryption or will not sell your data. Yet, there are several things you can do to be smart when buying toys this holiday season:

  1. Read the reviews. Consumer organizations and others review connected devices and toys as part of their buying guides. Mozilla and Which? Both released buying guides for smart toys this holiday season.
  2. Read the user agreement. User agreements should tell you what data a smart toy collects. They also should tell you who they share that data with. Will they send your child’s data to advertisers or other third parties?
  3. After you buy it, keep up with updates. Even if a smart toy is secure when you buy it, you have to keep up with updates to keep it secure. When buying a device, make sure it can be updated. Another factor to consider is how long the developer will support the device with updates.
  4. Ask yourself, does this need an Internet connection or Bluetooth functionality? If you cannot tell if a toy is safe and privacy respecting, it may be better to buy a similar toy without the Internet or Bluetooth functionality.

Shopping smart doesn’t only keep you and the ones you love safer, but also helps send a clear message to toy companies. Security and privacy are too important to be an afterthought. They must take a central role in designing any smart toy.

Every business has to respond to the will of its consumers. If we all shop a little smarter, toy companies will have to wise up to security and privacy too.

Are you a manufacturer wondering how to make your products more secure? See the Online Trust Alliance’s IoT Trust Framework. The Trust Framework provides guidance for device manufacturers and developers to enhance the security, privacy and sustainability of their devices and data they collect.

Read the Internet Society’s policy brief on IoT.

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Linux support comes to Arduino Create

We’re excited to announce a new update to the Arduino Create web platform, which will enable fast and easy development and deployment of IoT applications with integrated cloud services on Linux-based devices.

What this means is that users will be able to program their Linux boards as if they were regular Arduinos. Multiple Arduino programs can run simultaneously on a Linux board and programs can communicate with each other leveraging the capabilities of the new open source Arduino Connector. 

Arduino Create Cloud now allows users to manage individual IoT devices, and configure them remotely and independently from where they are located. To further simplify the user journey, we’ve also developed a novel “out of the box” experience that will let anyone set up a new device from scratch via the cloud without any previous knowledge by following an intuitive web-based wizard

The initial release has been sponsored by Intel® and supports X86/X86_64 boards. As a reference implementation, a simplified user experience has been designed for the AAEON® UP² board, although other platforms are already supported by the Arduino Create Cloud platform, such as the Intel® NUC, Dell Wyse®, Gigabyte™ GB-BXT.

In the coming months, we plan to expand support for Linuxbased IoT devices running on other hardware architectures. Until then, you can find more information here and follow the tutorials below to help get you going:

 

Arduino Blog

Mesh networking comes to Bluetooth

Mesh networking comes to Bluetooth

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the arrival of new mesh networking capabilities for the wireless connectivity standard, enabling many-to-many device communications. 

Mesh networking capability is now part of Bluetooth. According to the Bluetooth SIG, which oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and licensing to manufacturers, this enables the standard to support many-to-many device communications and will help to create large-scale IoT device networks.

In other words, Bluetooth might now be suitable for environments where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another, such as building automation, for example.

Read more: Smart city of Aarhus uses Bluetooth sensors to improve traffic flows

No single point of failure

As a blog post from the Bluetooth SIG put it late last year: “Mesh changes Bluetooth from your typical point-to-point, star-based network topology to a true mesh networking topology. This will fundamentally open up a ton of great use cases for developers, and that means great innovation happening in the industry.”

The new features claim to support self-healing networks with no single points of failure, with thousands of nodes offering “industrial-level performance”, and providing security for protection against “all known attacks”. That’s a big promise.

Bluetooth uses a ‘flood message relay architecture’, a simple, reliable form of message routing suited for low-bandwidth networks that handle a significant volume of multicast messaging traffic.

The mesh capability will take a full-stack approach that defines the low-level radio up to the high-level application layer, ensuring that all aspects of the technology are fully specified. The Bluetooth SIG added that the mesh networking has undergone comprehensive, multi-vendor interoperability testing. This was conducted during the specification development process, it stressed, rather than after specification release.

Read more: Bluetooth 5 launches with emphasis on IoT

Additional services

“Within the building automation market, there is a growing focus on connected lighting and the role it can play as a platform for providing automation services throughout a facility,” commented Szymon Slupik, president and CTO of smart lighting specialist Silvair and chairman of the mesh working group within the Bluetooth SIG.

“A smart lighting platform built on top of Bluetooth mesh networking can also support asset tracking, points of interest, and wayfinding services. These value-added capabilities are part of why we believe Bluetooth is an ideal technology for enabling a mesh network.”

Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG said that by adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is “continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish.”

“In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe Bluetooth mesh networking can play a vital role in helping early stage markets, such as building automation and wireless sensor networks, experience more rapid growth,” he commented.

The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support, will be available on the Bluetooth website.

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