'One of the reasons we are so excited about this is that it makes it easier to create content and add it into a virtual world,' Nvidia vice president Bryan Catanzaro told journalists in a conference call.

Nvidia has found a new way to build 3D virtual environments for PC games: The company is tapping artificial intelligence to create them from real-world images.

On Monday, Nvidia unveiled the new AI system, which can automatically build 3D gaming environments modeled on videos and photos taken in real life.

The technology is still a work-in-progress, but in a demo, Nvidia's researchers showed that the AI system can recognize the different elements in a street video — such as the sidewalks, parked cars, and buildings — and redraw them into 3D urban environments for a driving game.



The AI research could potentially streamline the way developers build their games by adding a new level of automation to the world-building process. "One of the reasons we are so excited about this is that it makes it easier to create content and add it into a virtual world," Nvidia vice president Bryan Catanzaro told journalists in a conference call.

For instance, a game developer could take footage of New York or a sports arena and use the AI system to quickly build a virtual model of it. The same model can then be edited or modified in whatever way the developer desires.

The AI system can also be applied to virtual avatars. Catanzaro laid out a scenario where you would take a selfie and let the AI system scan it to re-create a photorealistic digital version of yourself for the game. Nvidia demonstrated how this can work by using the AI system to create fake videos of a company researcher doing the Gangnam Style dance. The computer algorithms were able to do this by capturing the poses of an actual dancer and then mapping the motions on to images of the researcher.


Nvidia AI Research 2

Nvidia's AI system uses computer algorithms called generative adversarial networks or GANs, which have proven to be adept at synthesizing photorealistic, but ultimately fake images. GANs work by pitting two neural networks against each other toward completing a certain goal. In this case, one network focuses on creating the life-like images, the other acts as a "discriminator" that flags the bad images.

The competing missions can train the AI-powered system to fine-tune itself over time. For example, Nvidia's researchers managed to train the system over 10 days to create photorealistic videos of street scenes at a 2K screen resolution.

Although the technology clearly shows promise, it does have some limitations. For instance, it might not be as useful for game developers who want to render fantasy or science-fiction environments. The AI system also isn't mature enough to automatically create game worlds with the detailed graphics you'd find in a title such as Battlefield V.

"This is not ready to be talked about becoming a product," Catanzaro said. Nevertheless, Nvidia is hopeful the AI research will eventually be used to help designers in the gaming industry build bigger and more realistic virtual environments, but at the fraction of the cost.

Read Source Article PCMAGAZINE

#Nvidia #AI #magazine #GameEnvironment #VirtualReality #pcgames  

Machines are getting smarter, faster, and more creative. With AI now making an impact in every sector, here’s an insight on its development and how humans can take advantage of such technology to drive greater business value.

Over the past few decades we’ve witnessed an increasing number of computers beating humans at activities we thought (or perhaps hoped) we would always have the upper hand in. It all started in 1997, when IBM’s Deep Blue beat chess world champion, Garry Kasparov, in match play. By the mid-2000s, AI was consistently beating chess grandmasters in almost every game-playing context. Naturally, AI developers moved on to more complex games to test increasingly sophisticated algorithms, and in 2016-17 we saw computers beating humans in a variety of games – from the ancient game of ‘Go’ to Texas Hold-Em Poker.

Whilst its impressive to see these technologies in action against gamemasters, the goal has never been to make a great chess or Go-playing program. The ultimate objective is to advance AI by building smarter machines that can learn, adapt, and think for themselves.

Then and now – the rise of smart machines

As machines are getting smarter, they are being given more complicated jobs – jobs that were once strictly the domain of humans. Computers are learning to drive vehicles, read medical test results and make treatment recommendations, write news articles, and manufacture goods.

However, we need to remember that technology like AI and Machine Learning (ML) are only as smart as the data being looking at. Where these systems can truly start to evolve is through continuous feedback and corrections. This is why organisations need to look at whether they have a data strategy, data literacy strategy and a culture of data trust in place, before they can start employing techniques to help assist users to be more effective in their jobs. Data literacy is a skill I’m particularly passionate about that can help us better understand the information being produced by machines and enable us to act on it.

The real benefit of AI requires humans

In many fields, AI will provide a fantastic opportunity for workers to reduce the time they spend on mundane tasks, i.e. data entry or filing, allowing them to free up time for thinking creatively, or to focus on more strategic activities that deliver higher value to an organisation and to an individual’s self-worth.

In my field, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), for example, we are already seeing how a cognitive engine can be used for routine data analysis and recommending visualisations. It’s the kind of field that seems perfect for AI – virtual mountains of data at the disposal of AI programs to learn from, analyse and find the most reliable algorithms to make recommendations. What we’re increasingly seeing is that when humans work with AI, it provides even better opportunities to amplify our brainpower with machine intelligence for faster, smarter and bolder discoveries.

So, what can each of us do to future-proof our roles and the wellbeing of our teams? Focus on your strengths. Humans have the ability to problem-solve in an interdisciplinary style – something that most AI doesn’t do well. We’re naturally flexible and can do different types of work and think in creative ways. Rather than trying to beat machines at their own games, the better move is to merge our strengths with AI. A partnership, rather than “us vs. them” scenario.

Machines will bring their speed and processing power to the table as we use our creativity and non-linear thinking – together we can solve the business problems of today and tomorrow.

Read Source Article at The CEO Magazine

#AI #Magazine #CEOMagazine #BussinessIntelligence #DatAnalytics


The 523-room Novotel Ambassador in Seoul offers around-the-clock services, including voice-recognition room controls for lighting and air conditioning.

South Korea’s telecommunications company KT Corp says it has opened a tech-centric hotel in central Seoul that offers guests artificial intelligence (AI)-based features around the clock.

The Novotel Ambassador Hotel and Residence, built on the site of its former Euljiro office in Jung-gu, was South Korea’s first-ever “AI hotel”, KT said on Wednesday.

The hotel, which opened on July 3, has 523 rooms with Accor Ambassador Korea handling the management.


The hotel features KT’s voice-recognition AI platform, Giga Genie, which enables guests to control lighting and television as well as air conditioning and heating through voice commands or with a touch-screen display.

Guests can also request amenities such as bath gels using the AI features.

6 new luxury hotels raising the bar in Shanghai

KT, which is the nation’s second-largest mobile carrier, said that it would continue to enhance its technology to offer AI concierge services to guests.

The additional services would allow guests to check out of the hotel from their room and order room service by voice commands.

The company said its AI hotel system was capable of recognising English and that it expected positive feedback from foreign guests.

It planned to add Japanese and Chinese to the voice-command system as early as November to attract more foreign guests, it said.

How AI and virtual reality will drive future hotels and tourism

KT will also offer a smartphone, the “Genie phone”, which guests can pick up at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport or at the hotel.

Guests can use it to make international or domestic calls, obtain data and get tourist information.

KT has been expanding its hotel business, with real estate sales estimated at about 400 billion won (US$355 million) last year. It said it planned to increase the figure to 700 billion won by 2020.

The company’s hotel business uses sites of its telephone offices, which were built in prime locations nationwide but are no longer in full use.

KT said it planned to open three more hotels with advanced technologies in Seoul by 2022, including a hotel brand under Hyatt near Apgujeong Station, which is expected to open next year.

Millennial holidaymakers less loyal to hotel brands: travel survey

“We will offer a new concept of hotels and services to guests in and outside the country by injecting KT's IT infrastructure,” said Choi Il-sung, CEO of KT estate, a subsidiary dedicated to the real estate business.

“We will provide tourists with innovative conveniences and new experiences while offering local communities an opportunity for new growth.”

The company, which was a public enterprise until former president Kim Dae-jung’s government privatised it in 2002, operated telephone offices around the nation.

  •  However, the properties are increasingly being merged, with some falling into disuse because of rapid developments in technology which have led to the phasing out of wired telephones.

Source Article: This article was originally written by Jun Ji-hye for The Korea Times.

#AIHotel  #KoreaTimes #Technology #AI  #tourism #virtualreality  #FutureHotels #Telecom

The ‘tireless’ artificial news readers simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real-life broadcasters

China’s state news agency Xinhua this week introduced the newest members of its newsroom: AI anchors who will report “tirelessly” all day every day, from anywhere in the country.

Chinese viewers were greeted with a digital version of a regular Xinhua news anchor named Qiu Hao. The anchor, wearing a red tie and pin-striped suit, nods his head in emphasis, blinking and raising his eyebrows slightly.

“Not only can I accompany you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news,” he says.

Xinhua also presented an English-speaking AI, based on another presenter, who adds: “The development of the media industry calls for continuous innovation and deep integration with the international advanced technologies … I look forward to bringing you brand new news experiences.”

Developed by Xinhua and the Chinese search engine, Sogou, the anchors were developed through machine learning to simulate the voice, facial movements, and gestures of real-life broadcasters, to present a “a lifelike image instead of a cold robot,” according to Xinhua.

Chinese viewers were greeted with a digital version of a regular Xinhua news anchor named Qiu Hao.
 Chinese viewers were greeted with a digital version of a regular Xinhua news anchor named Qiu Hao. Photograph: Xinhua news

The broadcasters made their debut during China’s annual World Internet Conference, an event meant to be China’s Davos for the tech sector as well as a platform for China’s vision of the internet.


While China is home to some of the world’s largest tech companies and some 800 million internet users, its internet is one of the most controlled in the world. Observers worry China is turning into a digital police state, with technology from iris and gait recognition being deployed to monitor activists, ethnic minorities in places like Xinjiang, and regular citizens.

At the conference in Wuzhen in southern China, attendees saw their photos flash on a screen as soon as they passed through security checks using facial recognition. In a session on fintech, companies discussed cooperating with law enforcement, providing information for negligent citizens to be put on social credit blacklists.

“We are an important advocate for peace in cyberspace and a guardian of order,” said Huang Kunming, head of Communist Party’s propaganda department, speaking at the event. “China stands ready to safeguard the sound order of cyberspace.”

According to Xinhua, the AI technology is not limited to news presenting. The systems can be customised to different clients in other industries. Wang Xiaochuan, the head of Sogou, gave the example of a popular book reading app, Uncle Kai. “In the future, it could be your parents telling the story,” he said in an interview.

For Xinhua’s already tightly-scripted and controlled state news presenters, the AI anchors take things a step further. Video of the Chinese anchor quickly spread on social media in China, with many viewers impressed as they were alarmed. “A little bit horrible,” one said, to which another responded: “Really scary.”

While praising the anchors, Xinhua and Sogou acknowledged their limits. “I, who was wholly cloned from a real-life host, have mastered broadcasting as well as the real host,” the Chinese-speaking AI anchor said. “As long as I am provided with text, I can speak as a news host.”

Since you're here…

… we have a small favour to ask. Three years ago we set out to make The Guardian sustainable by deepening our relationship with our readers. The same technologies that connected us with a global audience had also shifted advertising revenues away from news publishers. We decided to seek an approach that would allow us to keep our journalism open and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

More than one million readers have now supported our independent, investigative journalism through contributions, membership or subscriptions, which has played such an important part in helping The Guardian overcome a perilous financial situation globally. We want to thank you for all of your support. But we have to maintain and build on that support for every year to come.

Sustained support from our readers enables us to continue pursuing difficult stories in challenging times of political upheaval, when factual reporting has never been more critical. The Guardian is editorially independent – our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. Readers’ support means we can continue bringing The Guardian’s independent journalism to the world.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Read Source Article TheGuardian

#news #AI #Anchor #AINewsAnchor #china #RealLifeBroadcaster


More banks are planning to replace their front-office employees with chatbots and conversational user interfaces to serve clients and enhance customer experience, according to multinational law firm Baker McKenzie’s latest report.


“In 2016, only 20% of the survey respondents said the biggest potential of artificial intelligence (AI) was its ability to improve the customer experience. In 2018, this figure more than doubled to 42%. No other segment saw such a sizeable jump in just two years,” says the report.


How can this be done? An example is the launch of Bank of America’s mobile app a year ago, which allows its 25 million customers to chat via voice or text messaging with its virtual assistant, Erica. Meanwhile, Swiss investment bank and financial services company UBS Group AG has been “experimenting with a digital clone of its chief economist using the computer gaming industry’s latest animation techniques”.

The report, titled Ghost in the Machine:

Revisited, was published on Nov 14. It looks at how financial institutions are incorporating AI into their services and pointing out that other financial services companies, such as insurers, are also leveraging the technology to enhance their customer experience. China-based Ping An Insurance is one of the leaders in this field. “It is using AI-enabled solutions in its customer centre to speed up car insurance claims and even to develop music to boost user stickiness among its 400 million-plus clients,” says the report.

The report, which was produced based on the feedback of 355 senior executives with financial institutions and financial technology (fintech) companies globally, says there is a growing number of financial institutions aiming to leverage AI to increase the efficiency of their operations (from 39% in 2016 to 52% in 2018), to expand into new business areas (from 22% to 28%) and to keep pace with their competitors (from 17% to 28%).

Fears and challenges

However, the report points out that fears and challenges in the financial services sector are slowing down the development of AI technology in the industry. One of the biggest concerns is job displacement. This is despite the fact that most of them believe the technology can benefit financial institutions in various areas, particularly in credit assessment, risk management and compliance.

Another concern is that financial institutions may not fully understand the risks related to AI. “A large number of respondents remain concerned that all AI-related legal risks have not been understood by their organisations. In the light of the ongoing debate on the potential abuse of data, there is recognition that ethical risks need to be more carefully considered, as well as an admission by many that they are confused about how to respond,” says the report.

The biggest challenge for financial institutions is the cost of implementing AI systems. The report says 53% of the respondents with smaller companies cited cost as their biggest hindrance while 37% of those with large companies said so.  

The second key challenge is the shortage of specialist skills to operate the AI technology (36% of smaller companies and 50% of large companies) while the third is cybersecurity concerns (21% of smaller companies and 30% of large companies).

The lack of understanding by regulators regarding fintech and its impact on the current financial services sector is another obstacle to AI technology being more widely adopted and implemented, says the report.

Regulations yet to catch up

The report points out that 32% of the respondents believe that regulators have yet to improve their understanding of AI and fintech. “Some regulators have been slow to see this coming, adopting a wait-and-see approach, while others have been very proactive, making statements about the rules they expect companies developing the technology to follow. It would be good to see more regulators take the latter approach and make statements about what they expect to see,” it says, quoting Maria McDermott, director of corporate affairs and risk management at global fintech firm Know Your Customer Ltd, as saying.

The company provides know-your-customer and anti-money laundering solutions.

The report singles out the Monetary Authority of Singapore as one of the forerunners of fintech regulations as it recently announced that it was working with a group of industry players to develop a guide to promote the responsible and ethical use of AI and data analytics by financial institutions.

The report also mentions that the development of AI in the financial services industry in the EU could be slower due to its stricter rules and regulations on protecting personal data. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has been at the forefront of innovation in financial services and is promoting machine learning to make better decisions and creating “machine-readable rules”.

John Price, commissioner at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is quoted in the report as saying that regulatory issues on the use of AI in financial markets have become “sharper and more nuanced recently”. “More focused questions are being asked about accountability — who is responsible for the algorithms making what can be life-changing decisions? There is also a focus on issues such as algorithm bias and how to deal with algorithms that have gone wrong.”

Read Source Article by  Kuek Ser Kwang Zhe  The Edge Malaysia
#AI #Banking #Fintech #article

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