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Microsoft's Project Adam knows the difference between an engineer and a dog

Major breakthrough for canine identification
Tue Jul 15 2014, 16:46
Bad news for Android good news for BlackBerry

MICROSOFT'S RESEARCH ARM has shown off the latest iteration of its algorithms that will enable people to identify a dog using a smartphone.

Project Adam is an artificial intelligence engine that specialises in object recognition. At the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit taking place this week in Redmond, Harry Shum, Microsoft EVP of Technology and Research demonstrated its use in dog identification.

The finished software will allow your smartphone to identify any object by pointing the camera at it.

Using a database of 14 million images taken from the websites and photo archives such as Flickr, which had been tagged and identified by users, researchers trained an artificial neural network made up of over two billion connections.

The result is twice as accurate and fifty times faster than previous systems and is fully scalable.

In the demonstration, three live dogs were brought into the arena, and Adam, paired with Cortana, was asked to identify them. It nailed the first two, and was able to deduce that the Cobberdog was at least part terrier.

The INQUIRER canine correspondent tells us that a "Cobberdog" is an Australian version of the Labradoodle.

Finally, the camera was pointed at Shum. Cortana answered, "I believe this is not a dog".

"The computing paradigm is shifting from personal computing of the past to the future, as the user is now in the center," Shum said. "It's no longer the computing power or storage or bandwidth, it's about people's time and attention."

"Woof" said the Cobberdog, before cocking its leg and knawing on a bone.

The possibilities of this technology go beyond identifying dogs. It can also identify cats, marmosets, or the nutritional content of the meal you photograph, or the cause of the weeping sores on your leg, if that is what it has been trained to do.

In June, a group of Russian scientists controversially claimed to be the first in the world to beat the Turing Test for artificial intelligence. Microsoft is already using Azure Machine Learning in its quest to create a supercomputer to rival IBM's Watson. µ


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