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Google and Facebook Team Up to Open Source the Gear Behind Their Empires

Google and Facebook Team Up to Open Source the Gear Behind Their Empires | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Half a decade ago, Jonathan Heiliger compared the world of Internet data centers to Fight Club.

It was the spring of 2011, and the giants of the Internet—including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft—were erecting a new kind of data center. Their online empires had grown so large that they could no longer rely on typical hardware from the likes of Dell, HP, and IBM. They needed hardware that was cheaper, more streamlined, and more malleable. So, behind the scenes, they designed this hardware from scratch and had it manufactured through little-known companies in Asia.

This shadow hardware market was rarely discussed in public. Companies like Google saw their latest data center hardware as a competitive advantage best kept secret from rivals. But then Facebook tore off the veil. It open sourced its latest server and data center designs, freely sharing them with the world under the aegis of a new organization called the Open Compute Project. “It’s time to stop treating data center design like Fight Club and demystify the way these things are built,” said Heiliger, then the vice president of technical operations at Facebook. 

Google was the first company to rethink data center design for the modern age.

With the Open Compute Project, Facebook aimed to create a whole community of companies that would freely share their data center designs, hoping to accelerate the evolution of Internet hardware and, thanks to the economies of scale, drive down the cost of this hardware. That, among other things, boosts the Facebook bottom line. It worked—in a very big way. Microsoft soon shared its designs too. Companies like HP and Quanta began selling this new breed of streamlined gear. And businesses as diverse as Rackspace and Goldman Sachs used this hardware to expand their own massive online operations. Even Apple—that bastion of secrecy—eventually joined the project.

Two big holdouts remained: Google and Amazon. But today, that number dropped to one. At the annual Open Compute Summit in San Jose, California, Google announced that it too has joined the project. And it’s already working with Facebook on a new piece of open source hardware.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

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Gerald Black's curator insight, March 10, 9:27 AM

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

George Goodman's curator insight, March 10, 10:09 AM

Open Compute has been transformative since day 1, and with Google finally joining, the number of missing elephants in the room has dramatically reduced.

What still puzzles me is the loud silence of European players in the field although we have a tremendous breed of companies and talent in that space. #HardwareIsNotDead

Agra hotal's curator insight, March 10, 11:27 AM

Book Now Hotel with cheap rate near Tajmahal on http://www.hotelatagra.com

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Autopilot : The Whole Tesla Fleet Operates As A Network

Autopilot : The Whole Tesla Fleet Operates As A Network | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

While Tesla’s new hands-free driving is drawing a lot of interest this week, it’s the technology behind-the-scenes of the company’s newly-enabled autopilot service that should be getting more attention.


At an event on Wednesday Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk explained that the company’s new autopilot service is constantly learning and improving thanks to machine learning algorithms, the car’s wireless connection, and detailed mapping and sensor data that Tesla collects.


Tesla’s cars in general have long been using data, and over-the-air software updates, to improve the way they operate.

Machine learning algorithms are the latest in computer science where computers can take a large data set, analyze it and use it to make increasingly accurate predictions. In short, they are learning. Companies like Google , Facebook and now Tesla are using machine learning as a way to train software to help customers or sell them new services.

Machine learning is the way that computers can become artificially intelligent, and the technology is a form of AI. While Musk has taken a sort of alarmist stance against the dangers of AI, he clarified during the event on Wednesday that he’s only concerned with artificial intelligence that is meant for nefarious purposes.


When a reporter asked Musk during the media Q&A what made his company’s autopilot service different than other computer-based driving assistance features that competing big auto makers are working on, Musk emphasized learning.


“The whole Tesla fleet operates as a network. When one car learns something, they all learn it. That is beyond what other car companies are doing,” said Musk. When it comes to the autopilot software, Musk explained that each driver using the autopilot system essentially becomes an “expert trainer for how the autopilot should work.”

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

As per @elonmusk , each driver using the Tesla autopilot system essentially becomes an “expert trainer for how the autopilot should work.”

Interesting blur between the product and the service line here...

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Google s’offre un génie de l’intelligence articifielle, Demis Hassanis, fondateur de DeepMind | @FrenchWeb

Google s’offre un génie de l’intelligence articifielle, Demis Hassanis, fondateur de DeepMind | @FrenchWeb | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Google serait prêt à débourser 400 millions de dollars pour s’offrir les travaux de Demis Hassanis, un ingénieur surdoué de 37 ans, spécialiste de l’intelligence artificielle. Basée à Londres, DeepMind précise avec humilité sur sa page d’accueil être spécialisée dans les algorithmes de simulation pour les jeux et l’e-commerce. Mais la startup a développé une expertise que beaucoup qualifient d’unique au monde, dans l’analyse de la neuroscience et l’intelligence artificielle. La startup anglaise aurait par ailleurs créé des approches inédites de l’AI (Artificial Intelligence) appliquées à l’e-commerce sous forme de recommandations. DeepMind, qui a seulement 3 ans d’existence, aurait bénéficié du soutien financier des membres de Founders Fund, et de celui d’Horizon Ventures.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

La seule limite est le talent. Voir sa présentation à la Singularity University, étonnant.

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Tesla's Autopilot is learning fast: Model S owners are already reporting self-improving

Tesla's Autopilot is learning fast: Model S owners are already reporting self-improving | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

During the press conference for the release of the Autopilot, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referred to each Model S owners as an “expert trainer” – meaning that each driver will train the autonomous features of the system to feed the collective network intelligence of the fleet by simply driving the electric vehicle on Autopilot.


He said that the system should improve every day, but that improvements might only become noticeable every week or so by adding up. Just a few weeks after the release, Model S owners are already taking to the Tesla Motors Club forum to describe how the Autopilot is improving…


A common problem with the early version of the system was that it had a tendency to try to take exits on the highway when it wasn’t supposed to, but after a few tugs on the Autopilot’s leash, trainers have corrected the issue.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

The car is the network.

Model S owners could add ~1 million miles of new data every day, which is helping the company create “high precision maps” according to Elon Musk

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A Computer Program Finally Passed the Turing Test? Not So Fast.

A Computer Program Finally Passed the Turing Test? Not So Fast. | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Last week at Reading University, 30 judges text-chatted with a bunch of humans and a bunch of computer programs pretending to be human, and the judges tried to figure out who was who. That is the setup behind the famous Turing test—in which a computer program tries to convince an interlocutor, through free conversation on any subject whatsoever, that it is human—posited by legendary computer scientist Alan Turing in 1950 as a measure of artificial intelligence. The results out of Reading claim that one particular program, “Eugene Goostman,” has passed the Turing test, successfully tricking 10 out of 30 judges in five-minute conversations into thinking it was human. On closer inspection, though, the first question to ask is whether computers are getting smarter or people are getting dumber.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Looks like the selfiesphere, ponderingsphere, likosphere have been unleashing early enthusiasm whithout further thinking, evidencing in a way that we are indeed getting dumber... 

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Robot Revolution, will machines surpass humans? Fascinating NHK video

Robot Revolution, will machines surpass humans? Fascinating NHK video | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

A fascinating 40 minutes documentary which aired on NHK Saturday May 4th 2013. Titled Robot Revolution: Will machines surpass humans?  Features Honda Asimov, Hubo, Big Dog from Boston Dynamics, Baxter from Rethink Robotics, Nextage and other Humanoids.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Looks like the book is worth a read too.

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