Mitsubishi Electric Develops Even Smarter AI

February 13th, 2018 by

University Mitsubishi Electric Artificial Intelligence

Alright, Mitsubishi Electric. This is starting to get a little freaky. We knew automakers were putting artificial intelligence into vehicles with autonomous self-driving technology. That’s okay. But Mitsubishi Electric has built two artificially intelligent devices that sound like something out of a sci-fi film. One is an interconnected platform that can talk to other smart devices. The other is able to handle problem solving without the need for human input. We’ll get into the details today and discuss exactly what is going on. It’s fascinating, and at the same time, a little spooky.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Interconnected Platform

This device was actually pretty neat when we first heard about it. In a nutshell, the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation developed a platform that “enables networked smart appliances to use their sensors and functionalities to cooperate in new home services without the need for cloud computing or internet connection.” Now what does that mean? “Cooperate?”

The word choice is a little off there; we’d prefer “integrate”. Here’s why. Take a smart device, for example, Amazon Alexa. User can connect to their Amazon Alexa/Echo by using their phone when far away and can talk to Alexa when in close range. Most users simply ask Alexa to play music from Amazon Music Services (requires Prime) or their music streaming app, like Spotify. Consumers can also ask Alexa questions, like, “What’s the weather like today?”

Alexa can even search Wikipedia when asked a question that requires a knowledgeable answer. For instance, if one were to say, “Alexa, what is climate change?” They will receive a reply with the first tidbit found on every Wikipedia page, and then Alexa will ask the user if they wish to learn more (continue reading). Consumers can also ask Alexa to enable certain apps, called “skills” that allow it to do a lot more than play music or answer simple questions.

The Mitsubishi Electric Interconnected Platform, currently untitled, acts as a central hub for smart devices. Instead of needing to operate multiple smart devices and appliances throughout the house, a consumer simply needs to communicate with this platform. All one needs to do is pair their device with this platform, and then the new platform can do anything that new device can do. In other words, if Alexa is across the house and this platform is nearby, all one needs to do is ask the platform to play some music, and the platform will “borrow” Alexa’s ability to play music. The crazy thing is, this new platform doesn’t need to be connected to the internet or the cloud to perform such tasks – it simply connects to the device via its Bluetooth or integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, and presto!

The AI is Learning

Now here’s where is starts to get a little creepy. Mitsubishi Electric recently announced that it developed a technology that uses model-based artificial intelligence (AI) to control equipment autonomously. What that means is, the AI technology can be presented with a problem, and then through trial-and-error, builds a virtual model of the problem and the current roadblocks (errors), and then finds a solution based on what it knows. Sounds a lot like how humans learn just about anything.

This AI tech was tested with a circular maze where the objective is to drive a ball to the center of the maze by tipping and tilting the platform of the maze itself. In the end, the technology successfully learned how to drive the ball to the goal without the need for human programming. That means the AI tech actually learned how to solve a tactical problem without the need for human input.

With model-based AI, the technology basically interacts with a system’s dynamics, learns through repeated trial and error, and then records and integrates the control rules needed to reach pre-defined goals. Then, the AI learns how to manipulate the situation based on these control rules and complete its objective. Going a step further, Mitsubishi Electric is working to improve the speed and accuracy of autonomous learning so that such AI technology can reduce the time and cost of manual, human-based program development.

All-in-all, it’s pretty nuts. We, for one, accept our new robot overlords. Maybe they’ll be nice? What do you think? Let’s discuss it on University Mitsubishi social media and start the resistance–err–revolution!

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