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Is There a Smarter Path to Artificial Intelligence? Some Experts Hope So

For the past five years, the hottest thing in artificial intelligence has been a branch known as deep learning. The grandly named statistical technique, put simply, gives computers a way to learn by processing vast amounts of data. Thanks to deep learning, computers can easily identify faces and recognize spoken words, making other forms of humanlike intelligence suddenly seem within reach.Companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have poured money into deep learning. Start-ups pursuing everything from cancer cures to back-office automation trumpet their deep learning expertise. And the technology’s perception and pattern-matching abilities are being applied to improve progress in fields such as drug discovery and self-driving…

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Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.

BERKELEY, Calif. — Many people have grown accustomed to talking to their smart devices, asking them to read a text, play a song or set an alarm. But someone else might be secretly talking to them, too.Over the past two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Inside university labs, the researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites. In the wrong hands, the technology could…

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Why A.I. and Cryptocurrency Are Making One Type of Computer Chip Scarce

SAN FRANCISCO — Two technology booms — some people might call them frenzies — are combining to turn a once-obscure type of microprocessor into a must-have but scarce commodity.Artificial intelligence systems, made by companies ranging in size from Google to the Chinese start-up Malong Technologies, rely heavily on a computer chip called a graphics processing unit, or G.P.U. The chips are also very useful in mining digital currencies like Ethereum, a Bitcoin alternative riding the same wave of hype as its more famous cousin.With people and companies involved in the two surging tech niches buying up the same chips, G.P.U.s have been in short supply over the…

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