Coming Soon to Nagoya: RoboCup 2017: The Video

It’s almost time for this year’s  RoboCup competition in Nagoya, Japan, July 27-30. This event has expanded to include more discussions and competitions in a diverse range of robotics activities. The robots demonstrate incremental developments in autonomous goal-directed behavior, improving a little bit each year.  RoboCup is a springboard for discussion of critical areas of robotic development and also provides a showcase for university robotic programs and recruitment.

RoboCup has been held annually for 21 years. More than 3,500 dedicated scientists and developers from more than 40 countries are expected. The event features a number of activities:

RoboCup Soccer includes autonomous mobile robots separated into leagues: Humanoid, Standard Platform, Middle Size, Small Size and Simulation.

RoboCup Industrial, includes RoboCup Logistics and RoboCup@Work. It is a competition between industrial mobile robots focusing on logistics and warehousing systems in anticipation of Industry 4.0.

RoboCup Rescue includes Rescue Robot League and Rescue Simulation League. It employs technologies developed from RoboCup Soccer, to promote simulations that will contribute toward development of autonomous robots for use in rescue efforts at disaster sites.

RoboCup @Home  applies these technologies to people’s everyday lives, evaluated according to how the robots cooperate with human beings to complete various tasks.

RoboCupJunior includes Soccer, Rescue and Onstage Competition to stimulate children’s curiosity and encourage them to participate in robot design and production.

Official RoboCup 2017 Video

Best Goals of RoboCup 2016 (CNET )

Published on Jul 14, 2016

Can Robots Beat Elite Soccer Players? (TEDxYouth)

Published on Apr 23, 2013

As Professor of Computer Science at UT Austin, Dr. Peter Stone’s interests run from competing in the international RoboCup soccer tournament to developing novel computing protocols for self-driven vehicles. His long-term research involves creating complete, robust, autonomous agents that can learn to interact with other intelligent agents in a wide range of complex and dynamic environments.

What Soccer-Playing Robots Have to do with Healthcare (TEDx Talks)

Published on Sep 29, 2012

Steve McGill is a second year PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania studying humanoid robotics and human robot interaction under Professor Dan Lee. As part of Team DARwIn, he captured the first place medal at the international RoboCup humanoid soccer competition in Istanbul, Turkey. Steve is interested in applying this robotic technology for deployment in the field for human intercommunication.



RPA as the Software Salient of AI: The Video

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is bringing together elements of Robotics and AI to fuel a new vision of automation across numerous industries. RPA is not about industrial robots,  but it is about knowledge-based processes and services handled through intelligent software. Some of its most intriguing uses are within the financial services industry.

RPA is growing quickly, but the concept is somewhat flexible and still being refined. AI is a great enabler, but software robots have been performing many of these tasks for some time. Adoption figures are likely to be misleading, since any organization can tick off the “RPA box” with a few simple software agents. RPA represents the beginning of  AI /process integration. It is generally understood to be a part of the transition to a more complex AI-centered back office.

In these videos, we review discussions of the current state of RPA, what it entails, and where it is heading. The videos are provided under YouTube license, with discussions provided from their landing pages mildly edited.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The Next Productivity Revolution (PwC Australia)

Published on Mar 7, 2016

Being relatively simple to implement, RPA can deliver benefits quickly and return on investment of over 300%.

RPA Future (EdgeVerve)

Published on Mar 16, 2017

Robin George, AVP & Head of Business Development, EdgeVerve systems (an Infosys company) interviews Craig Le Clair, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester.


Applying Robotic Process Automation in Finance and Risk (Accenture )

Published on Oct 12, 2016

Accenture Finance & Risk Practice is helping our financial services clients better manage the onslaught of data and regulations with the use of robotic process automation (RPA). Robots can drive cost, time and accuracy efficiency, and work 24/7 around key tasks such as anti-money laundering and order-to-cash. Ultimately, this frees up valuable employees to focus on higher value work that only humans can do.

HfS Webinar: Beyond RPA (HfS Research)

Published on Apr 24, 2017

With RPA already on its path to being adopted by mainstream enterprise organizations, the question that keeps coming up is where the industry is heading and what is next for those already on this path.

The emergence of AI and machine learning powered robots is deeply entwined with the way organizations are looking to structure their front and back office operations in this emerging Digital OneOffice environment.

Phil Fersht, CEO and Chief Analyst of HfS Research, Guy Kirkwood, COO of UiPath, Andrew Rayner, CTO of Genfour, and David Poole, CEO of Symphony Ventures will discuss the cultural shift brought by the advancements in cognitive RPA solutions.



Microsoft Adding AI Startup Hexadite to its Security Arsenal

Microsoft is acquiring Hexadite, a 2014 startup delivering agentless, automatic incident investigation and remediation solutions. The terms of the agreement are not disclosed, but the price is said to be in the $100 million range, which is a respectable bounty.

Hexadite’s Automated Incident Response Solution (AIRS™) takes an expert system approach to security, using an AI engine. It is modeled after the investigative processes used by cyber analysts, and driven by AI. AI processes investigate every alert generated by existing security solutions and can take remediation actions when a threat is verified–without human intervention. It can also operate in a semi-automated mode requiring analyst approval. Rapid deployment and automatic functionality lets customer organizations get up to speed and customize response without requiring coding skills.

The addition of AI tools to every aspect of security is inevitable, particularly as hackers incorporate them into their own tools and methods. We looked at some of these issues earlier in the video collection, AI and Risk Management: The Video, as well as in The Internet of Intelligent Things and Your Security.

Microsoft’s take on the acquisition:

“Our vision is to deliver a new generation of security capabilities that helps our customers protect, detect and respond to the constantly evolving and ever-changing cyberthreat landscape,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft. “Hexadite’s technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft’s robust enterprise security offerings.”

According to Hexadite:

“This serves as validation of all the team has done to create something truly amazing in the market. It also means that the technology is going to be used worldwide by hundreds of millions of people as part of Microsoft’s security portfolio.”

According to the company, the name “Hexadite” is a neologism where “Hexa”  refers to the “sixth sense” of AIRS, which automatically understands what to do about each cyber-alert received; and “DITE” is for ‘dynamic investigation and threat elimination’.

Hexadite headquarters are in Boston, with a team of researchers in Israel. Following the close of the deal and after a period of integration, Hexadite will be fully absorbed into Microsoft as part of the Windows and Devices Group.

This is also Microsoft’s fourth recent acquisition of security companies with research facilities in Israel. Israel has always been a hotspot for security technologies, and spreading AI research capabilities around the globe seems to be a growing phenomenon.

Companies need to understand that developments in AI will affect both the magnitude of the cybersecurity threat, and its response.


SoftBank Buys Boston Dynamics, Promises More Robots

Japanese technology company SoftBank is acquiring acclaimed robot maker Boston Dynamics from Alphabet (Google), along with Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft, both of which were acquired by Alpahabet in 2013. This is part of SoftBank’s move into the robotics space, exemplified by the SoftBank Robotics “Pepper” humanoid robot whose roles have been increasing beyond the consumer space recently. SoftBank’s robot lineup now includes Pepper, Boston Dynamics’ BigDog and Handle, Schaft’s S-One, and related projects, and Fetch robotics’ warehouse fulfillment robots, making it a versatile player in this space with multi-mission capability.

According to the press release, Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group, said:

“Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities. Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution, and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots. I am thrilled to welcome them to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling.”

Boston Dynamics is known for its DARPA military-oriented robots, including BigDog, Handle, and the humanoid robot Alpha. It has been struggling to find a market for its products, in this stage of  development, and Alphabet has been trying to sell the operation since last year.

SoftBank has a wide range of related interests and commitments within this area, including advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT, clean energy technology providers, and ARM processors. It entered the robotics market through acquisition of Aldebaran Robotics in 2012. Aldebaran, creator of the Nao and Romeo robots, was renamed Softbank Robotics and created a social robot called Pepper, which is being tested in a growing range of consumer and business settings.

Softbank’s robotics ventures are centered in its Tokyo-based subsidiary SoftBank Robotics Holding Corp, established in 2014, with offices in Japan, France, U.S. and China. SoftBank Robotics has more than 500 employees working in Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Boston and Shanghai. Its robots are used in more than 70 countries for research, education, retail, healthcare, tourism, hospitality and entertainment.

The CEO of Boston Dynamics Explains Each Robot in the Fleet (jurvetson)

SoftBank Robotics Meet Pepper (SoftBank Robotics America)




Microservices, Platforms, and the Infrastructure of AI: The Video

AI and Machine Learning are often at their best as composite services  performing as part of a coordinated platform. In this brief set of videos, we look at AI APIs, microservices, platforms, and how they can be brought together to achieve larger goals.  These are recent discussions in a rapidly evolving territory where exciting visions continue to emerge.

The videos are a mixture of seminars and discussions avaialable under standard YouTube license, with landing page descriptions added. Minor edits have been made where necessary.

Machine Learning APIs by Example (Google Cloud)

Published on Mar 9, 2017

Think your business could make use of Google’s machine learning expertise when it comes to powering and improving your business applications, but do you get stuck on building and training your own custom model? Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers five APIs: Google Cloud Vision API, Cloud Speech API, Cloud Natural Language API, Cloud Translation API and Cloud Video API. These APIs access pre-trained machine learning models with a single API call. In this video, Sara Robinson shares an overview of each API. Then she dives into code with a live demo.

Fireside Chat: Crafting the Future of Technology – Microservices & Platforms (Zinnov Management Consulting)

Published on Mar 30, 2017

Kevin Prendeville, Managing Director – PE & LS, Accenture
Pankaj Chawla, MD & CTO – Products and Platforms Engineering, Accenture
Peter Schmutzer, Director Purchasing, Intel
Siddhartha Agarwal, VP, Product Management & Strategy, Oracle

We are in the midst of a revolution in artificial intelligence: the art and engineering of getting computers to perform tasks that, until recently, required natural intelligence — in other words, people. We can speak to our phones, software can identify faces, and algorithms can teach themselves to play Atari video games. Top-of-the-line sedans have the ability to drive autonomously on the open road. Progress has been driven by machine learning techniques, such as deep convolution networks, dating to the 1980s, by Moore’s law, and by continual improvements in machine architecture. Progress is so dizzying that a few futurists, technologists, and philosophers have publicly mused about where the swift ascension of machines is taking us. In this session, we will have a sneak-peek into the future of AI and what it holds for us.

APIs and Artificial Intelligence (Google Cloud)

Published on Mar 9, 2017

A fundamental goal for every business is to keep users attention and focus on their products or services. Combining APIs with AI leads to better stickiness.

Having Fun with Robots Using Microservices on Docker and Kubernetes (Devoxx)

Published on Nov 10, 2016

Controlling and building a single robot is already a challenge, but how would that work if you want to have a swarm of robots interact with each other? How do we control and interact with them whilst all robots are slightly different?