Exploring the World of Pixar, Holographic Cars, Intelligent AI, and More at GTC 2017

Nvidia’s 2017 GPU Technology Conference was a whirlwind of technological marvels and advancements. The keynote presentation was especially interesting, and just a non-stop barrage of everything Nvidia has in store, from smart cars to a new breed of intelligent A.I. The keynote speaker, Nvidia’s President and CEO Jensen Huang, was full of life and energy as he paced the stage and interacted with industry heads, like Amazon and Microsoft, as well as fellow coworkers speaking from a fully functional holodeck.

Holographic Car

The holodeck presentation faced a few technical issues in the beginning of the presentation, but that did nothing to diminish just how cool it was to see. Christian von Koenigsegg, the creator of the world’s fastest supercar, the Koenigsegg Regera, took the audience on a virtual tour of the vehicle. The holodeck captured an exact 3D replica of the Regera, from its beautiful exterior to the powerful engine.

An x-ray feature of the holodeck offered glances of the inside of the car, including the engine and computer systems. The holodeck could also split the car into every single one of its individual parts. Both of these features are going to revolutionize how mechanics-in-training get to interact with unfamiliar vehicles.

Koenigsegg even showcased how the objects in the holodeck were “solid.” His hands could not pass through the parts of the car, no different than the real world. He even got into the car, started the engine, and was able to grip the steering wheel and drive around. From outside the holodeck, even I could feel the power of the Regera emanating from the hologram. It looked so cool. If that holodeck can feel as amazing as it looks, video game VR might be facing a major upgrade in the near future.

The New Tesla V100

Square Enix Takes the Stage

Square Enix was one of the last companies I expected to see during Huang’s keynote presentation. They showcased what a trailer for their animated film Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive, as well as what their video game character models and environments, would look like with Nvidia’s new Volta GPU. I have never seen graphics that good. For the first 10-15 seconds of the trailer, I honestly could not even tell I was watching CGI. Everything looked so lifelike.

I was able to experience this new engine first-hand on the exhibit floor later that day. I got to play Mass Effect: Andromeda with graphics I had never seen before. I could see individual pieces of code dance across Ryder’s wrist whenever he used his Omnitool. It was stunningly beautiful and I wish I had photos that captured how good it looked. I was way too busy exploring Andromeda and wishing I could play the whole game right then and there. When it comes out, the Volta will be a must for any gamer looking to build a gaming PC.

The End of Our Galaxy

Speaking of Andromeda, did you know that (if the human race is still around by then) that galaxy is going to crash into the Milky…

AI Weekly: Microsoft chases Amazon, Toyota taps Nvidia, humans brace for dystopia

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

This week, Amazon and Microsoft launched new attacks in the intelligent assistant wars.

On Tuesday, Amazon added a touchscreen to its Echo device and introduced calls and messaging. (This Sunday, don’t forget to say, “Alexa, call Mom.”)

And yesterday at the Build conference, Microsoft upped its ante by releasing a Cortana Skills Kit for developers and launching 26 new voice apps. Despite these salvos, as our Khari Johnson writes, Google Assistant has more than 230 actions from third-party developers. Amazon, which opened its Alexa Skills Kit to developers back in 2015, passed 10,000 skills three months ago.

Microsoft has some catching up to do.

Meanwhile, those who fear an AI-powered future may see these developments as more evidence that tech companies are like children playing catch with knives. Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram Research and Irwin Gotlieb of GroupM confronted the utopian and dystopian views of this issue at Collision 2017. Even as he welcomes technological advancements, Gotlieb warned, “There’s a little voice in the back of my head that’s saying the dystopian outcome is perhaps more likely.” (Watch the video below.)

For AI coverage, send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Please be sure to visit our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,
Blaise Zerega
Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video from Collision, “Is there a future for humans?”

From the AI Channel

Lurking beneath the fear of artificial intelligence and automation threatening people’s jobs lies a deeper, far more profound threat. Do artificial intelligence and automation imperil humanity itself? Those predicting a dystopian future include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and many others. For some of them, it’s only a matter of time before the prophecy of Yuval Noah Harari’s […]

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that Toyota will use Nvidia’s Drive PX supercomputers for autonomous vehicles. Those cars will debut in the market in the next few years, Huang said. The Drive PX uses a…

AR/VR Weekly: Don’t doubt virtual reality

Virtual reality is here to stay — shove your doubts aside.

Last year, we saw a couple of mood shifts on the VR scene. It was up — meteoric, really — as consumer solutions rolled out from HTC, Oculus, and Sony. Games and other entertainment experiences came out on a steady drumbeat, and some like Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator found fame and fortune.

But VR entered a “trough of disillusionment” hit at the end of the year, spilling over into early 2017. How’s it going now? GamesBeat turned to Dennis Scimecca, who’s been covering the emerging VR game industry, to dive deep into the scene at the recent Game Developers Conference. In his interviews and reports from numerous sessions, we find an industry that’s looking ahead and, instead of trying to find where it fits, it’s looking for how to grow into its own thing — and this, it appears, will rest on the people making games and experiences for VR.

One of my favorite parts of this how even the best designers are still learning how to move VR development forward. Carrie Witt of Owlchemy said that “Believability is more important than fidelity,” while others talked about how they’re moving forward on, well, movement.

The VR scene remains vibrant. And now, the people making games are full of confidence. And so are we.

–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Last week’s discussion at GamesBeat Summit about the future of augmented reality.

From GamesBeat

Uncorporeal Systems, a maker of virtual and augmented reality software, and Radiant Images, a digital cinema innovator and rental house, have partnered to enable Hollywood companies to create VR and AR experiences. Radiant Images will provide studio services and production support that’s paired with Uncorporeal’s cloud software. The partnership will initially focus on deploying Uncorporeal’s […]

Nvidia is expanding the capabilities of its VRworks toolkit to streamline the development process. The tech company revealed its new VRWorks audio and 360-degree video software development kits today. As part of the company’s presence at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Nvidia showed off how the VRWorks Audio SDK can do real-time calculations […]

Nvidia and SAP use AI to spot brand appearances in the real world

Nvidia and SAP have teamed up to use artificial intelligence and computer vision to figure out how many times a brand appears in the real world.

Somewhere, somebody whose job it is to count how many times a logo appears on a race car in front of a TV camera or a crowd in the real world is saying thanks. Normally, it takes humans a lot of work to estimate how many advertising impressions are made in the real world. Nvidia showed a demo of the capability at its GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Calif.

But SAP…

Nvidia unveils massive AI processing chip Tesla V100

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled an ambitious new processor for artificial intelligence applications, the Tesla V100.

The new chip has 21 billion transistors, and it is an order of magnitude more powerful than the 15-billion transistor Pascal-based processor that Nvidia announced a year ago. It is a huge chip –815 square millimeters, or about as big as an Apple Watch face. It has 5,120 CUDA processing cores, and it performs at 7.5 FP64 teraflops.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia, the biggest maker of graphics and AI chips, made the announcement at its GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Calif.

Before he introduced the chip, Huang traced the recent history of AI. He noted that deep learning neural network research started to pay…

Nvidia CEO: ‘AI is going to infuse all of software’

Jen-Hsun Huang is a big fan of artificial intelligence, as it helps his company Nvidia sell a lot more AI chips.

In an earnings call yesterday, the CEO responded to a question by saying, “AI is going to infuse all of software.” He’ll talk more about this topic today at the Nvidia GPU Tech conference in San Jose, Calif., where he is delivering a keynote speech. The event draws about 7,000 people, many for talks on AI. Nvidia also said yesterday it plans to train 100,000 developers this year on deep learning technology, which is one form of AI that is delivering rapid advances across a variety of industries.

Huang wasn’t the only one singing AI’s praises during the call.

“AI has quickly emerged as the single most powerful source of technology,” said Colette Kress, chief financial officer at Nvidia, during the call. “And at the center of AI are Nvidia GPUs.”

Above: Nvidia Metropolis will use video analytics to monitor public safety.

Image Credit: Nvidia

Here’s what Huang had to say during the conference call.

First of all, AI…

H2O.ai teams up with Nvidia to take machine learning to the enterprise

H2O.ai and Nvidia today announced that they have partnered to take machine learning and deep learning algorithms to the enterprise through deals with Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs).

Mountain View, Calif.-based H20.ai has created AI software that enables customers to train machine learning and deep learning models up to 75 times faster than conventional central processing unit (CPU) solutions. The company made the announcement at Nvidia’s GPU Tech event in San Jose, Calif.

H2O.ai will offer its machine learning algorithms in a newly minted GPU-edition and its Deep Water product on Nvidia GPUs. In addition, H2O.ai’s platform will now be optimized for the Nvidia’s DGX-1 AI processor.

Enterprises can use this end-to-end solution to operate on large data sets, iterate faster, deploy quickly, and gain real-time…

Nvidia Metropolis video analytics paves the way for AI cities

In a city of the future, it would be nice to know quickly if there’s a fire burning out of control, a crime in progress at a certain location, or a traffic snarl at a particular corner.

Nvidia hopes to detect such problems in smart cities using Nvidia Metropolis, which the company said could pave the way for the creation of smart artificial intelligence cities. Nvidia announced the tech ahead of its GPU Technology conference this week in San Jose, California.

Metropolis is a video analytics platform that applies deep learning AI to video streams for applications such as public safety, traffic management, and resource optimization.

Nvidia said that Metropolis could make cities safer, and more than 50 partner companies are already providing products and applications for AI city uses based on graphics processing units (GPUs) made by Nvidia.

“Deep learning is enabling powerful intelligent video analytics that turn anonymized video into real-time valuable insights, enhancing safety and improving lives,” said Deepu…

Get Hands-on With the Nvidia Jetson TX2 Developer Kit at GTC 2017

AI is hot right now, and Nvidia is leading the prototyping with their new Jetson TX2 board for AI at the edge. Its high-performance, low-power capabilities put machine learning squarely into the hands of makers.

Normally costing $599, Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 Developer Kit will be on sale for $399 at this year’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC), taking place May 8-11 at the San Jose Convention Center. If you are going to GTC and are interested in the kit, there will be three Jetson TX2 focused hands-on labs, each geared towards helping attendees familiarize themselves with different aspects and functions of the board.

GTC is a fabulous opportunity for makers looking to further their understanding of graphics processing units and…