Natural Language Processing is one of AI's hottest fields, yielding both practical products in the marketplace and bleeding-edge research.
The big picture: A virtual assistant that you can truly converse with — which depends on highly accurate speech and text recognition — is still beyond the horizon, but the field is making real progress.
Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.
Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.
The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few years' lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.
Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.
As e-commerce sales spiked during the pandemic, backroom warehouse labor rose to meet the demand.
Why it matters: With more Americans employed in the warehouse sector, the quality of those jobs — and the effect automation will have on them — will be increasingly important.
More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.
The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.
Margaret Mitchell, the co-lead of Google's Ethical AI team, says that the company has fired her following an investigation into her use of corporate email.
Why it matters: Google was already under fire for its ouster of Timnit Gebru, the other co-lead of the team. Mitchell has been locked out of the corporate email since last month after what a source says was her effort to search corporate correspondence for evidence to back up Gebru's claim of discrimination and harassment.
Google told employees Friday it has wrapped up its investigation into the ouster of prominent AI researcher Timnit Gebru. The company declined to say what the internal inquiry found, but said it is making some changes to how it handles issues around research, diversity and employee exits.
Why it matters: The treatment of Gebru, both before and after she was forced out of the company, has outraged people within Google's Ethical AI team and others inside and outside of the company. Google's handling of the matter has also raised questions about the company's commitment to diversity and to employing ethicists who are free to question the company's actions.
Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of IBM's Watson AI system crushing its human competition on "Jeopardy!"
Why it matters: Watson's victory marked one of the first times Americans could witness an AI system using natural language processing. But, 10 years later, the field still has far to go.
A startup has developed a way to use AI to detect when doctors may be prescribing the wrong drug — or overprescribing opioids.
Why it matters: A system that could identify prescription mistakes before they happen could help save the thousands of Americans who die each year because of preventable medication errors, and it could contribute to controlling the opioid epidemic.
Scientists are working on a way to use AI to create quantitative measurements for chronic pain.
Why it matters: Chronic pain is an epidemic in the U.S., but doctors can't measure discomfort as they can other vital signs. Building methods that can objectively measure pain can help ensure that the millions in need of palliative care aren't left to suffer.