INTEL WANTS TO GIVE YOU SOME STICK, specifically a neural network for artificial intelligence on a USB stick.
The chipmaker's Neural Compute Stick 2 is effectively a package of AI tech that allows developers to carry out deep learning neural net testing - which is how AIs learn using effectively a computerised take on how human brains pick apart information - and prototype AI algorithms in real-world use.
Much like its predecessor released in 2017, the Neural Compute Stick 2 might look like a basic USB thumb drive, but it hides Intel's Movidius Myriad X VPU, a vision processing unit designed to effectively carry out computer vision and image recognition on so-called edge network devices; think devices like smart cameras and augmented reality devices.
Intel claims this is the first stick to feature a neural compute engine for dedicated hardware neural network inference (essentially the technique of putting AI smarts into action) accelerator.
The stick also comes with Intel's take on the OpenVINO toolkit which it claims gives developers more flexibility when it comes to prototyping.
In practical terms, a developer can slot the stick into a USB 3.0 port on their computer and set it up with AI and computer vision smarts. That stick can then be taken and plugged into something like a smart camera or drone and then set to test out its smart capability; no additional AI-centric hardware is needed.
Nor is any connection back to a central network or cloud needed, as the stick can handle the inference of machine learning algorithms by itself.
Priced at $100, some £77, it's relatively affordable and could be the gateway device into getting more developers messing around with creating devices that come loaded with AI smarts.
Mind you, at that price, all manner of tech-savvy nutters could turn their hand to making smart things, so who knows what nightmarish future lies ahead of us.... oh wait, that's Brexit. µ
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