Future Tech: Featuring an elevator-riding robot & AI-generated celebrities.
A fleet of autonomous cabs will soon take to the roads
Waymo is working on an autonomous taxi fleet, modeled after the pilot program it currently offers outside of Phoenix. The big difference here is that once fully launched, Waymo’s service won’t have a driver behind the wheel.
Additionally, the company will up its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans from 100 to 500. As you’d imagine, the entire ride-hailing process will be handled via a mobile app. While the initial service area will be limited to the Phoenix metro area, in a post on Medium, the company says eventually it will “cover a region that’s larger than the size of Greater London.”
Waymo says that the public will be able to start taking autonomous rides “over the next few months” in the agricultural suburb, Chandler, Arizona.
This robot can climb the stairs, but prefers the elevator
From Popular Mechanics:
The ETH Zurich ANYmal is a four-legged robot that the Swiss university (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) hopes will be useful in any number of real-world applications. But to get to the real world, you often have to take an elevator, which is why the ANYmal can do that as well.
“Thanks to incorporated laser sensors and cameras,” ETH says on its description of the ANYmal, “the robot can perceive its environment to continuously create maps and accurately localize. Based on this information, it can autonomously plan its navigation path and carefully select footholds while walking.” In this case, the QR code beneath the elevator door was helpful.
AI creates fake celebrity faces
Celebrity scandals are about to get a lot more complicated. Nvidia has developed a way of producing photo-quality, AI-generated human profiles — by using famous faces.
Researchers trained a dual-network algorithm called generative adversarial networks (GANs); two computer systems — a generator and a discriminator — are pitted against each other to achieve a certain goal. In this case, the generator whips up life-like images for the discriminator to label as good or bad (like the golden egg sorters in Willy Wonka’s factory).
Starting with a library of 30,000 low-resolution images, Nvidia’s GAN slowly but somewhat surely increases the resolution by adding more layers to the networks. This approach, according to the company, allows the AI to gain a broad perspective before tuning in on the finer details — ”instead of having to learn all scales simultaneously.” …
Watch the video above, and see if you can spot any real people among the morphing synthesized faces (I think I saw Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Channing Tatum, Elisabeth Moss, Kim Kardashian, and Ryan Reynolds in the mix).
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