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Nvidia wants to drive the future of AI (with ice hockey)

When processors can't get smaller, they need to get smarter. Nvidia wants its tech to be at the heart of that smart future with machines taking the lead.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang shows off the company's vision for the future -- self-training AI.
Claire Reilly/CNET

According to Nvidia, the age of Moore's Law is coming to an end.

The solution? We don't just need to get smaller, we need to get smarter.

Nvidia took to the stage at Computex in Taipei today, talking up the future of artificial intelligence and machine learning, all powered by its GPU computing technology and what it's calling the Isaac Initiative.

The name might look back to Asimov, but the Isaac Initiative is all about building an AI future on four key pillars: smart processors (Nvidia certainly has a legacy on this front), smart software, reference designs for robots (created by partners like Ford) and something called Isaac's Lab.

That last part is where we get futuristic. Nvidia wants create a virtual world -- what it's calling a Holodeck -- where machine learning can be developed and artificial intelligence can self train. Think of it like the Matrix, but for AI.

Nvidia demo'd a version of Isaac's Lab on screen at its keynote, where row upon row of 3D-rendered robots were practising hitting a 3D hockey puck into a goal.

In the words of Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, "We train for a while ... we replicate the smartest brain, and then we continue... Imagine if we could teach children like that!"

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a robot playing hockey, forever.


Nvidia's Jensen Huang explains the company's vision for the future of AI -- the Isaac Initiative.

Claire Reilly/CNET

Nvidia is no stranger to machine learning. At CES this year, the company showed off a supercomputer designed for self-driving cars.

The company's driverless concept car, BB8, also got a showing today, but Nvidia isn't stopping at driverless cars.

"If we can solve this technology [machine-learning] for self-driving cars, it's the beginning of the road for solving it for all kinds of machines," said Huang.

That means you won't just see driverless cars, you'll see smart drones that can intelligently map their surroundings, robots that can learn to mimic famous artists to paint their own works and technology that can identify diseases.

And plenty of ice hockey, too.

Be sure to check out CNET's full coverage from the Computex 2017 show floor right here.