August 24, 2019

AI/ML

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AI Weekly: Detroit’s facial recognition battle is about the ends justifying the means

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This week, after U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) criticized on Twitter the Detroit Police Department’s use of facial recognition software, they invited her to visit its Real Time Crime Center so she could see the technology in action. Rep. Tlaib readily agreed to a visit (how could she not), and so presumably we’ll get to enjoy Act II of some choice political theater if and when she actually makes such a visit.Rep. Tlaib’s remarks followed presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) proclamation this week that he would ban all use of facial recognition technology in policing as part of his criminal justice reform plan. Tlaib had already planted a flag for herself opposing some facial recognition with the bill she co-sponsored with Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Called the “No Biometric Barriers 5 to Housing Act of 2019,” it prohibits “the use of biometric recognition technology in certain federally assisted dwelling units, and for other purposes.”...
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Waymo cars refuse to drive in unsafe conditions

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Heavy rain and blizzards aren’t the only forms of severe weather Waymo’s self-driving vehicles encounter on the regular. In a blog post published this morning, the Alphabet subsidiary laid out the ways its cars in over 25 cities tackle fog, dust, smoke, and other dangerous conditions that trip up even human drivers.“Challenging [environmental] conditions, which affect human driver and vehicle performance, are one of the leading contributors to crashes on our roads … Poor perception creates significant risk for other road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicle occupants,” wrote Waymo chief safety officer Debbie Hersman. “Waymo is working hard to master a variety of weather scenarios as part of our mission to improve road safety.”...
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Huawei unveils high-end AI chip for servers alongside MindSpore framework

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Huawei has unveiled a high-end artificial intelligence chip for servers along with an AI computing framework called MindSpore. The Huawei Ascend 910 is the “world’s most powerful AI processor,” according to a press release on Friday. The chip’s specs were first announced during last year’s Huawei Connect event in Shanghai. Eric Xu, Rotating Chairman of […] The post Huawei unveils high-end AI chip for servers alongside MindSpore framework appeared first on AI News.
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Huawei details AI chips for training and inference

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In a bid to establish a foothold in an AI chip market that’s anticipated to be worth $91.18 billion by 2025, Huawei today brought to market the Ascend 910, a new chipset in its Ascend-Max family optimized for AI model training, and the Ascend 310, an Ascend-Mini series inferencing chip designed to tackle tasks like image analysis, optical character recognition, and object recognition. It also announced MindSpore, a computing framework intended to support AI app development.Both chips were first detailed in October 2018, but this week marks their commercial debut. The Ascend 910 is aimed principally at datacenter workloads, while the Ascend 310 targets internet-connected devices like smartphones, smartwatches, and other internet of things devices....
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Sphero acquires modular electronics company LittleBits

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Sphero, the nine-year-old Colorado-based company best known for its lineup of programmable robots, this week completed a major acquisition that catapults it to the top of the burgeoning science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) product market. Today, the company announced it has purchased New York City-based modular electronics startup LittleBits for an undisclosed sum, giving Sphero a combined portfolio of over 140 patents in robotics, electronics, software, and the internet of things (IoT).“Sphero and LittleBits are on a mission to make hands-on learning fun and memorable,” said Sphero CEO Paul Berberian. “Together, we’re able to make an even greater impact by delivering the best possible solution — whether it is programming a robot to solve a maze or building an electronic music synthesizer. There are infinite learning possibilities — and they’re all fun.”...
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iDevices’ Instinct is a light switch with Alexa built in

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If you’ve been pining after a sleek wireless light switch with Alexa built right in, now’s your chance. iDevices, Hubbell’s smart home subsidiary, today took the wraps off of the Instinct, a wireless switch natively integrated with Amazon’s voice assistant. It’s hub-free and compatible with existing internet of things devices, and it boasts nice-to-haves like an LED light ring and motion and ambient light sensors.“By combining Amazon Alexa with a smart light switch, counter space is no longer a barrier to whole-home voice control,” said iDevices president Chrris Allen. “Instinct is the epitome of sophisticated intelligence, functionality. and design — a critical breakthrough in the smart home evolution. It represents the latest innovation from iDevices, and a clear shift in how we’ll interact with our homes going forward.”...
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Lane Splitting Motorcyclists And AI Autonomous Cars

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AI software for self-driving cars needs to include the ability of self-driving cars and the AI to be able to contend with lane splitting.
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Facial Recognition Making Its Way in Banking

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Facial recognition technology is making its way into the banking industry, used primarily for physical security and ID recognition.
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Put AI Chips in Your Brain for Better Thoughts

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Some technologists are exploring implanting chips with powerful AI in the human brain to create superhuman capabilities.
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CDC Creating a ‘Ruckus’ Around Mortality Reporting

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Real-time death data can be used for patient outcome assessments, as well as to get a better understanding of the current health of the country.
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A Gentle Introduction to BigGAN the Big Generative Adversarial Network

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Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs, are perhaps the most effective generative model for image synthesis. Nevertheless, they are typically restricted to generating small images and the training process remains fragile, dependent upon specific augmentations and hyperparameters in order to achieve good results. The BigGAN is an approach to pull together a suite of recent best …
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Carnegie Mellon and Oregon State team wins first leg of DARPA Subterranean Challenge robot competition

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The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kicked off the Subterranean Challenge in December 2017, with the goal of equipping future warfighters and first responders with tools to rapidly map, navigate, and search hazardous underground environments. The final winner of the four-event competition won’t be selected until 2021, but Team Explorer from Carnegie Mellon University and Oregon State University managed to best rivals for the initial prize.On four occasions during the eight-day Tunnel Circuit event, which concluded today, each team deployed multiple robots into National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research mines in South Park Township, Pennsylvania, tasked with autonomously navigating mud and water and communicating with each other and a base station for an hour at a time as they searched for objects. Team Explorer’s roughly 30 university faculty, students, and staff members leveraged two ground robots and two drones to find 25 artifacts in its two best runs (14 more than any other team), managing to identify and locate a backpack within 20 centimeters of its actual position....
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Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant gets a digital photo frame

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The Lenovo Smart Clock, a smart speaker with 5-inch display tailor-made for bedside nightstands, can now act as a digital photo frame for the display of Google Photos albums.The Lenovo Smart Clock can show a clock, timer, weather, alarms, or video doorbell footage, but is less functional than other Google Assistant smart displays like the Nest Home Hub and Hub Max, due out September 9.The digital photo frame is likely being added to keep up with Amazon’s Echo Show 5. Similar in size and functionality, the Echo Show 5 with Alexa made its debut in June and can also act as a digital photo frame.Continued Conversation is also being extended to Google Assistant with Lenovo Smart Clock, a feature that makes it possible to talk with the AI assistant without the need to say “Hey, Google” after the first exchange....
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Amazon’s voice-synthesizing AI mimics shifts in tempo, pitch, and volume

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Voice assistants like Alexa convert written words into speech using text-to-speech systems, the most capable of which tap AI to verbalize from scratch rather than stringing together prerecorded snippets of sounds. Neural text-to-speech systems, or NTTS, tend to produce more natural-sounding speech than conventional models, but arguably their real value lies in their adaptability, as they’re able to mimic the prosody of a recording, or its shifts in tempo, pitch, and volume.In a paper (“Fine-Grained Robust Prosody Transfer for Single-Speaker Neural Text-to-Speech”) presented at this year’s Interspeech conference in Graz, Austria, Amazon scientists investigated prosody transfer with a system that enabled them to choose voices in recordings while preserving the original inflections. They say it significantly improved on past attempts, which generally haven’t adapted well to input voices they haven’t encountered before....
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Facebook: Expect Oculus Insight tracking in future wearable AR glasses

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Ask any Oculus Quest or Rift S user to name the headset’s most impressive new feature, and there’s a good chance they’ll point to Insight, the tracking system that accurately senses your head and body movements without external cameras. In blog posts today, Facebook is revealing some of Insight’s little-known technical details while making an interesting prediction: “the future for this technology is in all-day wearable AR glasses that are spatially aware.”Engineers already knew that Insight uses computer vision and visual-inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technologies for tracking, relying on multiple wide-angle cameras to track controller locations and your relative position in a room. But making Insight run on a mobile processor for VR purposes was no simple feat, due in equal parts to the heavy computational requirements of real-time 3D space mapping and a headset wearer’s intolerance for tracking imperfections that might not be noticeable on mobile displays — jitter, swimminess, and inaccuracy. Oculus engineers decided that Insight’s “spatial AI” system needed to work to a sub-millimeter level of accuracy, and do so without eating the Quest’s entire processing budget....
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Caavo’s Control Center gains support for Sonos speakers and Nest Cam

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Caavo, the startup behind Control Center, a set-top box designed to unify disparate streaming devices, today detailed an upcoming firmware update that will enable support for Google Nest camera viewing, integration with Sonos speakers, and universal search on smart TVs like Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV (including Dolby Vision models). Caavo also announced a new Control Center SKU that packs in its premium service plan, which previously retailed separately for $4 per month or $129 for a lifetime subscription.“Control Center puts all of your content in one place, and now everything else in your connected home as well,” said cofounder and CEO Andrew Einaudi in a statement. “You can now watch your Nest camera, search your Sonos playlists, and watch all your favorite entertainment across live and streaming TV on the best screens in your home.”...
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Drop raises $44 million to reward loyal shoppers with gift cards

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Drop, a coalition customer loyalty company headquartered in Toronto, Canada, today announced that it’s raised $44 million in series B funding led by HOF Capital, with participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Sierra Ventures, and Royal Bank of Canada. The fresh funds come after a $21 million series A round in January 2018, and they bring Drop’s total raised to $71 million, which CEO Derrick Fung says will accelerate user experience improvements and bolster the company’s AI capabilities.Notably, the financing follows on the heels of Drop’s acquisition of Y Combinator graduate Canopy Labs, a predictive analytics software company focused on improving and optimizing customer journeys. At the time, Fung said the purchase would enable Drop to “significantly advance” its ongoing AI and machine learning efforts....
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Report: Companies like Amazon and Microsoft are ‘putting world at risk’ of killer AI

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A survey of major players within the industry concludes that leading tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft are putting the world ‘at risk’ of killer AI. PAX, a Dutch NGO, ranked 50 firms based on three criteria: If technology they’re developing could be used for killer AI. Their involvement with military projects. If they’ve committed […] The post Report: Companies like Amazon and Microsoft are ‘putting world at risk’ of killer AI appeared first on AI News.
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Amazon Forecast hits general availability

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The ability to forecast events at scale, given a set of variables, is something most companies would find useful. So Amazon is aiming to make prediction more accessible with a fully managed service called Forecast that uses AI and machine learning to deliver highly accurate forecasts. It’s now generally available through Amazon Web Services in US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Singapore), and EU (Ireland) regions, after debuting in preview during Amazon’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last November.As Amazon explained in a press release, Forecast — which is based on the same technology the Seattle company uses to anticipate demand for hundreds of millions of products every day — can be used to build precise forecasts for virtually any business condition, including product demand and sales, infrastructure requirements, energy needs, and staffing levels. It automatically provisions the necessary cloud infrastructure and processes data, building custom AI models hosted on AWS without requiring an ounce of machine learning experience on the part of developers....
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Understanding the animal brain could help robots wash your dishes

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Anthony Zador, M.D., Ph.D., has spent his career working to describe, down to the individual neuron, the complex neural networks that make up a living brain. But he started his career studying artificial neural networks (ANNs). ANNs, which are the computing systems behind the recent AI revolution, are inspired by the branching networks of neurons in animal and human brains. However, this broad concept is usually where the inspiration ends.In a perspective piece recently published in Nature Communications, Zador describes how improved learning algorithms are allowing AI systems to achieve superhuman performance on an increasing number of more complex problems like chess and poker. Yet, machines are still stumped by what we consider to be the simplest problems....
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Google’s Nest Mini will reportedly succeed the Home Mini

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Google Nest is reportedly working on the release of a second-generation version of the Google Home Mini named the Nest Mini, according an anonymous source who spoke with 9to5Google.The Nest Mini will be about the same size as the first-gen Google Home Mini — about the size of a hockey puck — but will have higher-volume sound and better bass. A VentureBeat test review found that the Home Mini emits better sound than Amazon’s 2nd-gen Echo Dot.The Echo Dot and Home Mini are routinely two of the top-selling smart speakers in the world.The Nest Mini will also come with a wall mount, an addition that could help the speaker remain as unobtrusive as possible. Third-party manufacturers first made wall and ceiling mounts for small smart speakers, but a first-party offering could become popular, potentially doing away with the eyesore and clutter of cords. Mounts may also make it easier to place a speaker in multiple rooms of a home....
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Researchers attempt to fool AI with magic tricks

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What can stage magic reveal about cognitive biases? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Researchers at the Institute of Neuroscience in Spain, Teatro Encantado in Madrid, and University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona sought to apply AI and machine learning to quantify a professional magician’s skills in “naturalistic conditions.” They say that their trained system — which was designed to follow coins as a magician made them appear and disappear — not only served as a tracking tool but as an “artificial spectator” that could infer their location, paving the way for experiments in a subfield they describe as “artificial illusionism.”“Magic is not the violation of the natural order of things, but the command of cognitive processes,” wrote the researchers. “The insights that magic offers to psychology and cognitive science are not new, yet attempts for a science of magic are only recently flourishing. [Our system] … offers an unparalleled opportunity to measure human behavior in complex activities outside the lab, such as the magician’s prestidigitation.”...
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Intel, Google, Microsoft, and others launch Confidential Computing Consortium for data security

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Major tech companies including Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, IBM, Intel, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and Red Hat today announced intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium to improve security for data in use. Established by the Linux Foundation, the organization plans to bring together hardware vendors, developers, open source experts, and others to promote the use of confidential computing, advance common open source standards, and better protect data.“Confidential computing focuses on securing data in use. Current approaches to securing data often address data at rest (storage) and in transit (network), but encrypting data in use is possibly the most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data,” the Linux Foundation said today in a joint statement. “Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.”...
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Self-folding 'Rollbot' paves the way for fully untethered soft robots

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The research is published in Science Robotics."The ability to integrate active materials within 3D-printed objects enables the design and fabrication of entirely new classes of soft robotic matter," said Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS and co-lead author of the study.The researchers turned to origami to create multifunctional soft robots. Through sequential folds, origami can encode multiple shapes and functionalities in a single structure. Using materials known as liquid crystal elastomers that change shape when exposed to heat, the research team 3D-printed two types of soft hinges that fold at different temperatures and thus can be programmed to fold in a specific order....
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Why financial services companies need to invest in voice and chat (VB Live)

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Presented by Envestnet | YodleeVoice-enabled digital assistants are on the rise — and financial services companies should start investing. Join this VB Live event to learn how this important tech can be effectively used to drive digital engagement, streamline customer communications, and build revenue and more. Register here for free!There’s a reason that digital voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant are surging in popularity: Conversation is the most natural and arguably the most expressive interactive medium. Money matters are also some of the most emotional and personal topics in a consumer’s life.And conversational assistants, which include voice and text, actually hold the potential to keep customers engaged and feel seen and listened to and heard — and go way beyond the basic use cases such as asking “What’s my balance?” or “What was my last transaction?”...
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TapClicks raises $10 million to automate marketing campaigns

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TapClicks, which describes itself as a marketing tech company for agencies, media organizations, brands, and enterprises, today announced that it’s raised $10 million in equity financing from Boathouse Capital, bringing its total raised to date to nearly $30 million. CEO Babak Hedayati said the fresh capital will be used to develop and incorporate predictive analytics, modeling capabilities, and attribution solutions based on intelligence gathered from marketing campaign data into its suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products.“Recent acquisitions in the data analytics space — Datorama and Tableau by Salesforce, Looker by Google, and Origami Logic by Intuit — signal the hunger for technologies that can draw intelligence from massive sets of data. But competing solutions can be expensive, require extensive support for deployment, and don’t make the best use of the available data,” said Hedayati. “TapClicks is on a mission to make the results of marketing investments easier to predict through the integration of artificial intelligence into an easy-to-use, simple-to-deploy solution.”...
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Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

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Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date.“[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”...
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Box Shield launches in private beta to prevent data compromise

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Last year, Box took the wraps off of Box Shield, a machine learning-based security platform that provides admins an overview of their company’s content while flagging potential instances of data compromise. It’s been in preview for the better part of a year, and at an event in New York City today Box announced the launch of Shield in private beta for select customers.“The pace of business today demands that every enterprise move its content to the cloud to power collaboration and drive business processes both inside and outside the organization,” said Box chief product officer Jeetu Patel. “Box Shield is a huge improvement that will make it easier than ever to secure valuable content and prevent data leaks without slowing down the business or making it hard for people to get their work done.”...
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Capacity raises $13.2 million to index emails, files, and more with AI

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Capacity (formerly Jane.ai), a startup developing a platform that indexes data from apps, teams, and more and enables users to search through the corpus using natural language, today revealed that it recently raised $13.2 million in series B funding from undisclosed Midwest angel and private investors. The influx of capital brings the company’s total raised to over $20 million, following an $8.4 million series A round in June 2018.“We created [Capacity] to help everyday workers be more successful by eliminating the wasted time and effort that comes from searching for basic workplace information,” said Capacity cofounder and CEO David Karandish, formerly the CEO of Answers.com. “We’ve all grown accustomed to the convenience of on-demand, personalized services and voice-controlled speakers at home, but we have yet to benefit from these same conveniences at work. [Capacity] is an intuitive, intelligent AI-powered Teammate who gives employees instant access to the information they need to do their jobs well.”...
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Intel unwraps its first chip for AI and calls it Spring Hill

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Intel has unwrapped its first processor that is designed for artificial intelligence and is planned for use in data centres. The new Nervana Neural Network Processor for Inference (NNP-I) processor has a more approachable codename of Spring Hill. Spring Hill is a modified 10nm Ice Lake processor which sits on a PCB and slots into […] The post Intel unwraps its first chip for AI and calls it Spring Hill appeared first on AI News.
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TriEye raises $2 million more for cameras that can see in the dark

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TriEye, an Israel-based semiconductor company pioneering short wave infrared (SWIR) imaging technology for adverse weather and nighttime conditions, today announced that it’s expanded its series A round from $17 million to $19 million with an investment from Porsche. CEO Avi Bakal says that the newfound funds, which bring the startup’s total raised to date to $22 million, will accelerate ongoing product development, operations, and hiring.“Our mission is to save lives and reduce risks of accidents in all weather and lighting conditions,” added Bakal. “The expansion of our series A round and the addition of Porsche as a strategic investor further prove that SWIR is a critical component in the necessary sensor fusion solution to enable safer and better advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles.”...
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Amid Epstein fallout, MIT’s Center for Civic Media director resigns

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MIT Center for Civic Media director Ethan Zuckerman today resigned his position in protest due to alleged business relationships between the MIT Media Lab, accused billionaire sex trafficker Jeff Epstein, and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, a relationship that included trips Ito took to Epstein properties. Ito apologized last week for accepting money from Epstein for MIT Media Lab and startups backed by Ito.“My logic was simple: The work my group does focuses on social justice and on the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view,” Zuckerman said in a Medium post. “It’s hard to do that work with a straight face in a place that violated its own values so clearly in working with Epstein and in disguising that relationship.”...
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Intel unveils its first AI chip Springhill

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(Reuters) — Intel on Tuesday unveiled its latest processor that will be its first using artificial intelligence (AI) and is designed for large computing centers.The chip, developed at its development facility in Haifa, Israel, is known as Nervana NNP-I or Springhill and is based on a 10 nanometer Ice Lake processor that will allow it to cope with high workloads using minimal amounts of energy, Intel said.Facebook, it said, already has started using the product.Intel said its first AI product comes after it had invested in Israeli AI startups, including Habana Labs and NeuroBlade.“In order to reach a future situation of ‘AI everywhere’, we have to deal with huge amounts of data generated and make sure organizations are equipped with what they need to make effective use of the data and process them where they are collected,” said Naveen Rao, general manager of Intel’s artificial intelligence products group....
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9 Books on Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

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Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs for short, were first described in the 2014 paper by Ian Goodfellow, et al. titled “Generative Adversarial Networks.” Since then, GANs have seen a lot of attention given that they are perhaps one of the most effective techniques for generating large, high-quality synthetic images. As such, a number of books …
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OpenAI releases curtailed version of GPT-2 language model

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OpenAI today said it plans to release a version of GPT-2, an advanced conversational AI model that stirred controversy after it release in February. The version released today is 774 million parameters, and follows the release of smaller versions for select researchers in February and May.OpenAI also shared an open source legal agreement today to help companies that create large AI models to establish their own model-sharing agreements. The full model with roughly 1.5 billion parameters has not yet been released, though OpenAI said it has spoken with 5 organizations that have replicated the model since February.Details about OpenAI’s approach to GPT-2 and its staged release approach were delivered today in a white paper by OpenAI researchers and Harvard University research associate Ariel Herbert-Voss....
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Gmail in G Suite now uses AI for inline spelling and grammar suggestions

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Ever been stumped by spelling or sentence syntax while pecking out an email to colleagues? Fortunately for G Suite users, Google will soon introduce improved spelling and grammar correction tools in Gmail that offer corrections as you type.Starting August 20 for rapid release domains and September 12 for scheduled release domains across all G Suite editions, Google will begin applying AI to make real-time spell-check suggestions while detecting potential grammar issues. For some common spelling mistakes, it’ll also add “as-you-type” autocorrection for improved accuracy.The inline grammar suggestions are a carryover from Google Docs, which gained them back in February 2019. Squiggly blue lines appear under erroneous phrases as you write them, and right-clicking on them accepts or dismisses the corrections. The Mountain View company says its engine can handle basic cases like “affect” versus “effect” and “there” versus “their,” in addition to more complicated rules like how to use prepositions correctly or to pick the right verb tense....
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Microsoft poaches former Siri chief from Apple for its AI division

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Microsoft has poached former Siri chief Bill Stasior from Apple to join the company’s artificial intelligence division. Although Apple was his most recent employer, Stasior actually left the company in May. Stasior will now join Microsoft later this month as corporate vice president and will report to CTO Kevin Scott. Stasior worked at Apple for […] The post Microsoft poaches former Siri chief from Apple for its AI division appeared first on AI News.
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Google Go launches globally on Android

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Google today launched Google Go globally in the Google Play Store. The lightweight search app for accessing the internet on a spotty connection, which can also read and translate text in the world around you, is now available for all devices running Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop and above.Google Go is one of several “lite” Go-branded apps Google has introduced in recent years. Others include YouTube Go (available in dozens of markets, but not the U.S.), Google Maps Go (available globally), and Gallery Go (launched globally last month).Google Go arrived in preview for India and Indonesia in December 2017 and rolled out to more emerging markets the following year. Now, Google Go has gone global....
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Flying Debris and AI Autonomous Cars

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Some say that AI self-driving cars should ignore flying debris; others say the car's sensors need to be detecting that a flying debris situation exists.
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Waymo expands driverless car testing to Florida

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Google parent company Alphabet’s Waymo today announced that it will soon begin piloting autonomous cars in Florida, expanding from its initial test cities of Novi, Kirkland, Washington, San Francisco, and Phoenix. The company says in the coming weeks it will bring both its modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans and a Jaguar I-Pace to the Sunshine State to drive on a closed track in heavy rain, ahead of tests on public Miami roads later in the month.“At Miami-Dade County, we are constantly exploring ways to improve and provide more mobility options for our community,” said Miami-Dade County department of transportation and public works director Alice N. Bravo. “I’m supportive of Waymo’s presence in the county as they continue to push technological boundaries and discover new ways to help us move.”...
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Starship Technologies raises $40 million for autonomous delivery robots

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It’s anticipated that the autonomous delivery robots market will be worth $34 billion by 2024, up from $11.9 billion in 2018. Some analysts predict that by then, in cities around the world, thousands of drones and rovers will regularly ferry food, drink, toiletries, and parcels on command to customers miles away.It’s a future on which the investors behind robotics startup Starship Technologies are confidently banking. To that end, Starship this morning revealed that it’s secured $40 million in series A funding led by Morpheus Ventures, with participation from Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, MetaPlanet Holdings, TDK Ventures, Qu Ventures, and others. The fresh capital brings the San Francisco-based company’s total raised to over $80 million, following two seed rounds totaling $42.2 million, which CEO Lex Bayer says will be used to grow Starship’s geographic footprint....
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Databricks launches AutoML Toolkit for model building and deployment

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Databricks today introduced its AutoML Toolkit, an automated end-to-end machine learning service made to accommodate developers with a range of experience.Available from Databricks Labs, the AutoML Toolkit can automate things like hyperparameter tuning, batch prediction, and model search. AutoML Toolkit is built on existing Databricks tools like MLflow, an open source machine learning platform that integrates with frameworks like TensorFlow and Amazon SageMaker. AutoML Toolkit executions are automatically tracked using MLflow.The toolkit also utilities Apache Spark, an open source project created by Databricks founders and turned over to the Apache Spark Software Foundation in 2014.The AutoML Toolkit differs from other AutoML solutions in that it allows data scientists and engineers with varying levels of expertise to work together, Databricks head of ML project management Clemens Mewald told VentureBeat in a phone interview....
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Zendrive raises $37 million to encourage good driving behaviors with AI

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Why should defensive drivers settle for roughly the same monthly insurance premiums as their less responsible, more aggressive peers? That niggling question motivated Google and Facebook veteran Jonathan Matus to found Zendrive, a service that collects data about driving habits and awards drivers for making safe decisions. It’s been chugging along since 2013, the year the San Francisco startup quietly emerged from stealth. But now, Zendrive is gearing up for growth with an influx of capital from enthusiastic backers, some of whom are new.Zendrive today revealed that it’s raised $37 million in series B funding led by XL Innovate, with participation by Hearst Ventures, BMW iVentures, ACME Capital, NYCA, SignalFire, and others. The fresh cash brings the company’s total raised to nearly $60 million following a $13.5 million series A in February 2016, which Matus says will enable Zendrive to accelerate its product development and hiring efforts....
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Reputation.com raises $30 million to help businesses manage their online presence

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Reputation.com (formerly ReputationDefender) is a Redwood City, California-based company that provides solutions for tracking and improving online reviews and local search visibility for businesses. Today, Reputation revealed it has secured $30 million in equity financing led by Ascension Ventures, bringing its total raised to over $100 million. New investors Akkadian Ventures, Industry Ventures, and River City Ventures also participated in the firm’s most recent fundraising round, alongside prior backers Kleiner Perkins, August Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Heritage Group, and Icon Ventures.The capital infusion comes roughly a year after Reputation sold off its direct-to-consumer business, and it follows a period of sustained expansion during which the company grew net revenue retention 124% year over year. In addition to brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, GM, Target Optical, Ford, Enterprise, and U.S. Bank, Reputation currently counts three of the top five automotive OEMs, more than 10,000 auto dealerships in the U.S., over 250 health care systems, and more than 100 property management firms among its customers....
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H2O raises $72.5 million to simplify enterprise AI deployment

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AI and machine learning can be complicated for a layperson to fully grasp, yet surveys show this hasn’t deterred enterprises from adopting the technology in droves. Business use of AI grew a whopping 270% over the past four years, according to Gartner, while Deloitte says 62% of respondents to its corporate October 2018 report deployed some form of AI, up from 53% a year ago.But adoption doesn’t always meet with success, as the roughly 25% of companies who’ve seen half of their AI projects fail will tell you. That’s why managed machine learning solutions firms like H2O.ai are growing at a healthy clip. Indeed, more than 200,000 data scientists and over 18,000 organizations, including Aetna, Booking.com, Comcast, Hitachi, Nationwide Insurance, PwC, and Walgreens, actively use H2O’s data science tools. In perhaps another sign of the industry’s upward momentum, H2O today announced that it has raised $72.5 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs and the Ping An Global Voyager fund, with continued investments from Wells Fargo and Nexus Venture Partners....
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How ergonomic is your warehouse job? Soon, an app might be able to tell you

AI/ML
Musculoskeletal disorders happen at work when people use awkward postures or perform repeated tasks. These behaviors generate strain on the body over time. So it's important to point out and minimize risky behaviors to keep workers healthy on the job.Researchers at the University of Washington have used machine learning to develop a new system that can monitor factory and warehouse workers and tell them how risky their behaviors are in real time. The algorithm divides up a series of activities -- such as lifting a box off a high shelf, carrying it to a table and setting it down -- into individual actions and then calculates a risk score associated with each action.The team published its results June 26 in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters and will present the findings Aug. 23 at the IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering in Vancouver, British Columbia....
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Microsoft hires former Siri boss for AI leadership role

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After leading Apple’s Siri team for six and a half years, Bill Stasior left the company for greener pastures elsewhere. Now he’ll be traversing Microsoft’s bucolic meadows, where The Information reports that he’ll head up an artificial intelligence group for the Redmond-based software giant.Stasior’s latest resume confirms that he joined Microsoft this month as a corporate VP of technology, working under CTO Kevin Scott on unspecified projects, and today’s report suggests that he’ll “work to help align technology strategies across the company.” Given Stasior’s background, that could mean either a wholesale revisiting of Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, which has recently started to fade out of the company’s consumer offerings, or something else entirely....
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Google open-sources gesture tracking AI for mobile devices

AI/ML
Real-time hand shape and motion trackers are an invaluable part of sign language recognition and gesture control systems, not to mention a number of augmented reality experiences. But they’re often hobbled by occlusion and a lack of contrast patterns, preventing them from performing reliably or robustly.Those challenges and others motivated scientists at Google to investigate a new computer vision approach to hand perception — one bolstered by machine learning. They say that in experiments, it managed to infer up to 21 3D points of a hand (or multiple hands) on a mobile phone from just a single frame.Google previewed the new technique at the 2019 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June and recently implemented it in MediaPipe, a cross-platform framework for building multimodal applied machine learning pipelines to process perceptual data of different modalities (such as video and audio). Both the source code and an end-to-end usage scenario are available on GitHub....
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New artificial compound eye could improve 3D object tracking

AI/ML
In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters, researchers from Tianjin University in China report their new bio-inspired compound eye, which not only looks like that of an insect but also works like its natural counterpart. Compound eyes consist of hundreds to thousands of repeating units known as ommatidia that each act as a separate visual receptor."Imitating the vision system of insects has led us to believe that they might detect the trajectory of an object based on the light intensity coming from that object rather than using precise images like human vision," said Le Song, a member of the research team. "This motion-detection method requires less information, allowing the insect to quickly react to a threat."...
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Boosting computing power for the future of particle physics

AI/ML
Prototype machine-learning technology co-developed by MIT scientists speeds processing by up to 175 times over traditional methods.
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Cerebras Systems unveils a record 1.2 trillion transistor chip for AI

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New artificial intelligence company Cerebras Systems is unveiling the largest semiconductor chip ever built.The Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine has 1.2 trillion transistors, the basic on-off electronic switches that are the building blocks of silicon chips. Intel’s first 4004 processor in 1971 had 2,300 transistors, and a recent Advanced Micro Devices processor has 32 billion transistors.Most chips are actually a collection of chips created on top of a 12-inch silicon wafer and are processed in a chip factory in a batch. But the Cerebras Systems chip is a single chip interconnected on a single wafer. The interconnections are designed to keep it all functioning at high speeds so the trillion transistors all work together as one....
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Google Assistant wins IQ test, but Alexa and Siri are catching up

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Google Assistant continues to lead the virtual assistant pack, but its rivals are close behind according to a new IQ study by Loup Ventures. Loup Ventures asked each of the three main virtual assistants – Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri – a total of 800 questions. The assistants understood almost every question, even if not […] The post Google Assistant wins IQ test, but Alexa and Siri are catching up appeared first on AI News.
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New Report: Don't Be Evil - A Survey of the Tech Sector’s Stance on Lethal Autonomous Weapons

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As we move towards a more automated world, tech companies are increasingly faced with decisions about how they want — and don’t want — their products to be used. Perhaps most critically, the sector is in the process of negotiating its relationship to the military, and to the development of lethal autonomous weapons in particular. Some companies, including industry leaders like Google, have committed to abstaining from building weapons technologies; Others have wholeheartedly embraced military collaboration. In a new report titled “Don’t Be Evil,” Dutch advocacy group Pax evaluated the involvement of 50 leading tech companies in the development of military technology. They sent out a survey asking companies about their current activities and their policies on autonomous weapons, and used each company’s responses to categorize it as “best practice,” “medium concern,” or “high concern.” Categorizations were based on 3 criteria:  ...
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A Gentle Introduction to StyleGAN the Style Generative Adversarial Network

AI/ML
Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs for short, are effective at generating large high-quality images. Most improvement has been made to discriminator models in an effort to train more effective generator models, although less effort has been put into improving the generator models. The Style Generative Adversarial Network, or StyleGAN for short, is an extension to …
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Nvidia CEO calls AI ‘the single most powerful force’ as earnings beat expectations

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has called AI “the single most powerful force of our time” as the company posts earnings beating analysts’ expectations. While gaming remains Nvidia’s primary source of growth, the company’s artificial intelligence business is growing rapidly. In the second fiscal-quarter, Nvidia reported increased demand for both its graphics and AI chips. For […] The post Nvidia CEO calls AI ‘the single most powerful force’ as earnings beat expectations appeared first on AI News.
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AI Alignment Podcast: China's AI Superpower Dream with Jeffrey Ding

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“In July 2017, The State Council of China released the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. This policy outlines China’s strategy to build a domestic AI industry worth nearly US$150 billion in the next few years and to become the leading AI power by 2030. This officially marked the development of the AI sector as a national priority and it was included in President Xi Jinping’s grand vision for China.” (FLI’s AI Policy – China page) In the context of these developments and an increase in conversations regarding AI and China, Lucas spoke with Jeffrey Ding from the Center for the Governance of AI (GovAI). Jeffrey is the China lead for GovAI where he researches China’s AI development and strategy, as well as China’s approach to strategic technologies more generally. ...
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Traffic Lights And AI Autonomous Cars

AI/ML
Once AI self-driving cars become more prevalent, it will be a life or death matter as to whether they can handle traffic signals.
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How to Train a Progressive Growing GAN in Keras for Synthesizing Faces

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Generative adversarial networks, or GANs, are effective at generating high-quality synthetic images. A limitation of GANs is that the are only capable of generating relatively small images, such as 64×64 pixels. The Progressive Growing GAN is an extension to the GAN training procedure that involves training a GAN to generate very small images, such as …
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Esteemed consortium launch AI natural language processing benchmark

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A research consortium featuring some of the greatest minds in AI are launching a benchmark to measure natural language processing (NLP) abilities. The consortium includes Google DeepMind, Facebook AI, New York University, and the University of Washington. Each of the consortium’s members believe a more comprehensive benchmark is needed for NLP than current solutions. The […] The post Esteemed consortium launch AI natural language processing benchmark appeared first on AI News.
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Are Siri and Alexa making us ruder?

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"Hey Siri, is the way we talk to you making humans less polite?"OK, OK, they didn't ask Siri. Or Alexa. Instead they asked 274 people, and after surveying and observing those people, they found some good news: Artificially-intelligent digital assistants are not making adult humans ruder to other humans. Yet."Worried parents and news outlets alike have fretted about how the personification of digital assistants affects our politeness, yet we have found little reason to worry about adults becoming ruder as a result of ordering around Siri or Alexa," said James Gaskin, associate professor of information systems at BYU. "In other words, there is no need for adults to say "please" and "thank you" when using a digital assistant."...
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A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

AI/ML
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes, these robots have limited autonomy and are cumbersome to wear at best.Cutting soft robots' tetherResearchers in EPFL's Soft Transducers Laboratory (LMTS) and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), in collaboration with researchers at the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo, Japan, have developed the first entirely soft pump -- even the electrodes are flexible. Weighing just one gram, the pump is completely silent and consumes very little power, which it gets from a 2 cm by 2 cm circuit that includes a rechargeable battery. "If we want to actuate larger robots, we connect several pumps together," says Herbert Shea, the director of the LMTS....
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Google details Project Euphonia work to improve voice recognition inclusivity

AI/ML
Google has provided details of its Project Euphonia work designed to improve the inclusivity of voice recognition for people with disabilities that impair their speech. Degenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are known for causing speech impairments. Today’s voice recognition systems often cannot recognise the speech of individuals suffering from such diseases, despite those […] The post Google details Project Euphonia work to improve voice recognition inclusivity appeared first on AI News.
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How Can AI Systems Understand Human Values?

AI/ML
Machine learning (ML) algorithms can already recognize patterns far better than the humans they’re working for. This allows them to generate predictions and make decisions in a variety of high-stakes situations. For example, electricians use IBM Watson’s predictive capabilities to anticipate clients’ needs; Uber’s self-driving system determines what route will get passengers to their destination the fastest; and Insilico Medicine leverages its drug discovery engine to identify avenues for new pharmaceuticals. As data-driven learning systems continue to advance, it would be easy enough to define “success” according to technical improvements, such as increasing the amount of data algorithms can synthesize and, thereby, improving the efficacy of their pattern identifications. However, for ML systems to truly be successful, they need to understand human values. More to the point, they need to be able to weigh our competing desires and demands, understand what outcomes we value most, and act accordingly. ...
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How to Implement Progressive Growing GAN Models in Keras

AI/ML
The progressive growing generative adversarial network is an approach for training a deep convolutional neural network model for generating synthetic images. It is an extension of the more traditional GAN architecture that involves incrementally growing the size of the generated image during training, starting with a very small image, such as a 4×4 pixels. This …
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Blind Pedestrians and AI Autonomous Cars

AI/ML
One aspect of robust AI software for driving is that it considers how to deal with pedestrians, including the case of pedestrians that are blind.
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UK government to invest £250m in NHS AI lab

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The UK health secretary Matt Hancock has announced £250m to be put forward for a new National Artificial Intelligence Lab, aimed at improving the healthcare system in the country. The lab would bring the industry’s finest academics, specialists, and tech firms to tackle some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, which includes cancer detection, dementia […] The post UK government to invest £250m in NHS AI lab appeared first on AI News.
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Robots need a new philosophy to get a grip

AI/ML
According to a new article by the National Centre for Nuclear Robotics, based at the University of Birmingham, this could herald a profound change for the world of robotics, but one that is necessary.Lead author Dr. Valerio Ortenzi, at the University of Birmingham argues the shift in thinking will be necessary as economies embrace automation, connectivity and digitisation ('Industry 4.0') and levels of human -- robot interaction, whether in factories or homes, increase dramatically.The paper, published in Nature Machine Intelligence, explores the issue of robots using objects. 'Grasping' is an action perfected long ago in nature but one which represents the cutting-edge of robotics research.Most factory-based machines are 'dumb', blindly picking up familiar objects that appear in pre-determined places at just the right moment. Getting a machine to pick up unfamiliar objects,randomly presented, requires the seamless interaction of multiple, complex technologies. These include vision systems and advanced AI so the machine can see the target and determine its properties (for example, is it rigid or flexible?); and potentially, sensors in the gripper are required so the robot does not inadvertently crush an object it has been told to pick up....
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A Gentle Introduction to the Progressive Growing GAN

AI/ML
Progressive Growing GAN is an extension to the GAN training process that allows for the stable training of generator models that can output large high-quality images. It involves starting with a very small image and incrementally adding blocks of layers that increase the output size of the generator model and the input size of the …
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AI luminary Marvin Minsky allegedly had sex with trafficking victim on Jeffrey Epstein’s island

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An alleged sex trafficking victim said she was told to have sex with former MIT professor and AI luminary Marvin Minsky on Jeffrey Epstein’s island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.The accusation was revealed in a 2016 deposition unsealed today with Virginia Giuffre. Giuffre said she was also instructed to have sex with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Prince Andrew of Britain, and other prominent men.At the time of the alleged incident, Giuffre was 17 and Minsky was 73, according to reporting by The Verge.Epstein initially struck a plea deal on sexual assault charges in 2008 in Florida. In July the U.S. Department of Justice’s Southern District of New York indicted Epstein on multiple charges and accused of running a sex trafficking operation of underage girls....
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AI Weekly: Sorry, Donald Trump, you can’t be a credible AI leader and a bigot

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It happened again, this time in El Paso: A person filled with racial hate killed people, and instead of appealing to our better angels, as past presidents have put it, Donald Trump went in the opposite direction. The president read a scripted speech with all the right words about how hate is bad, but nobody really believed him. The president has consistently shown, from his comments on Charlottesville to border fights to mass shootings, that he’s a bigot more interested in fanning the flames to rally his base than in uniting the nation. Today the focus is on mass shootings and gun reform laws, but the consequences for inflaming hatred reach beyond emboldening white supremacist shooting sprees....
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Researchers craft AI framework that explains your social media feeds

AI/ML
Feeds are the cornerstones on which modern music recommenders, news aggregators, and social media platforms are built. If you’re like most people, you spend minutes to hours each day scrolling through songs, clips, articles, questions, public service announcements, and advertisements informed by your interests and preferences. But wouldn’t it be great if the algorithms underpinning feeds (and their recommendations) were a little more transparent?Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics thought so, which is why they investigated a framework — Framework for Activity-Item Relationship Discovery, or FAIRY — that systematically discovers, ranks, and explains the connection between users’ actions and what appears in their social media feeds. It’s described in a paper (“FAIRY: A Framework for Understanding Relationships between Users’ Actions and their Social Feeds“) published on the preprint server Arxiv.org....
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ProBeat: Microsoft and Samsung move like molasses

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella didn’t say anything significant at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked this week. You could argue he didn’t have to. The CEO of a $1 trillion company showing up to your event is enough to make a statement.And the statement is that Microsoft and Samsung are strengthening their partnership in a variety of areas, including to bring Android and Windows closer. Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, LinkedIn, OneDrive, and Your Phone apps will come preinstalled on the Galaxy Note10. Samsung has built OneDrive sync support directly into its Gallery Android app and revamped DeX to support plugging into a Windows computer.Before Nadella hit the stage, Shilpa Ranganathan, general manager of Microsoft’s mobile experiences group, video-conferenced in to show off some of the integrations. Samsung aside, Ranganathan announced that Your Phone will support making and receiving calls directly on your PC later this year. That’s certainly noteworthy, but nowhere near as useful as the existing functionality — letting you access your text messages, photos, and notifications right on your PC....
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Artificial intelligence could yield more accurate breast cancer diagnoses

AI/ML
The new system, described in a study published in JAMA Network Open, helps interpret medical images used to diagnose breast cancer that can be difficult for the human eye to classify, and it does so nearly as accurately or better as experienced pathologists."It is critical to get a correct diagnosis from the beginning so that we can guide patients to the most effective treatments," said Dr. Joann Elmore, the study's senior author and a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.A 2015 study led by Elmore found that pathologists often disagree on the interpretation of breast biopsies, which are performed on millions of women each year. That earlier research revealed that diagnostic errors occurred in about one out of every six women who had ductal carcinoma in situ (a noninvasive type of breast cancer), and that incorrect diagnoses were given in about half of the biopsy cases of breast atypia (abnormal cells that are associated with a higher risk for breast cancer)....
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The brain inspires a new type of artificial intelligence

AI/ML
Machine learning, introduced 70 years ago, is based on evidence of the dynamics of learning in our brain. Using the speed of modern computers and large data sets, deep learning algorithms have recently produced results comparable to those of human experts in various applicable fields, but with different characteristics that are distant from current knowledge of learning in neuroscience.Using advanced experiments on neuronal cultures and large scale simulations, a group of scientists at Bar-Ilan University in Israel has demonstrated a new type of ultrafast artifical intelligence algorithms -- based on the very slow brain dynamics -- which outperform learning rates achieved to date by state-of-the-art learning algorithms....
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CBI: UK tech dominance is ‘at risk’ due to public mistrust of AI

AI/ML
Business industry group the CBI has warned that UK tech dominance is ‘at risk’ due to public mistrust of AI. In a report today, the CBI warns artificial intelligence companies of the need to ensure they’re approaching the technology in an ethical manner to help build trust. Among the measures suggested to achieve trust include […] The post CBI: UK tech dominance is ‘at risk’ due to public mistrust of AI appeared first on AI News.
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Amazon announces general availability of AWS Lake Formation

AI/ML
Businesses with large data sets on their hands can rest a little easier tonight — at least if they’re Amazon Web Services subscribers. Amazon this evening announced that AWS Lake Formation, a fully managed service that facilitates the building, securing, and management of data lakes, is now generally available. Customers with instances in the US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Europe (Ireland) regions can take advantage starting today.“Our customers tell us that Amazon S3 is the ideal place to house their data lakes, which is why AWS hosts more data lakes than anyone else — with tens of thousands and growing every day. They’ve also told us that they want it to be easier and faster to set up and manage their data lakes,” said vice president of databases, analytics, and machine learning at AWS Raju Gulabani. “That’s why we built AWS Lake Formation, so customers can spend more time learning from their data and innovating, rather than wrestling that data into functioning data lakes. [W]e’re excited to see how customers use it as one of the building blocks for growing and transforming their businesses and customer experiences.”...
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Automation will create problems in the enterprise — AR can solve them

AI/ML
There’s no question that automation and artificial intelligence will profoundly reshape how work will get done. They could be as transformational as the IT era was to enterprise business just a generation ago. But how many jobs will be erased in the process?  When a company unleashes AI, does it help or hurt its workforce?I predict that enterprise companies will always need humans. They’ll always need to optimize productivity, improve job satisfaction, close skills gaps and shrink downtime. And today — not years from now — augmented reality platforms can uniquely solve problems where automation and the workforce intersect. Augmented reality help can help retain, and even create jobs, that automation can never fill. By providing contextually aware information in a convenient and consumable format, workers now have the ability to pair innately human characteristics, such as critical thinking skills, with knowledge-on-demand to train and gain skill sets on the fly, with little to no previous experience....
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Enjoy Better Food with AI

AI/ML
The food industry is embracing AI to try to gain an edge in the dynamics of the many factors that make a food product successful.
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Active Shooter Responsiveness for AI Autonomous Cars

AI/ML
What the AI should do when the self-driving car has gotten itself into an active shooter setting is a hard problem to deal with, maybe a corner case.
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AAIH Positions Itself As ‘Trusted Voice’ For AI Use in Healthcare

AI/ML
The Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (AAIH) has big plans for aligning the healthcare sector around a shared vocabulary, standards of excellence and real-world potential of AI.
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Bias and Fairness: Striking a Balance

AI/ML
Bias in a dataset can be detected with statistics; fairness needs to be decided by balancing points of view of data scientists and business managers.
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How to Stay Employed in the AI Era

AI/ML
Half of enterprises are being held back from moving forward with AI because their staff is not recognizing the disruptive changes in their industry.
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Groupon acquires Presence AI to bolster booking capabilities with AI

AI/ML
Groupon today announced that it’s purchased Presence AI, a San Francisco-based company developing a communications platform that automates business-to-customer calls and messaging. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Groupon chief product officer Sarah Butterfass said that Presence AI’s portfolio will complement Groupon’s existing booking products and help to “accelerate” its development roadmap.Presence AI — a member of the 2018 Alexa Accelerator cohort — had attracted $20,000 in seed funding from investors, one of which was Amazon’s Alexa Fund.“We’re pleased to welcome the Presence AI team and their booking technology to Groupon. Booking is a key part of our voucherless initiative aimed at improving the redemption experience, providing always-on availability, giving consumers more reasons to buy through Groupon and opening up our marketplace to a broader range of merchants,” said Butterfass in a statement....
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Google’s AI learns how actions in videos are connected

AI/ML
AI systems have become quite competent at recognizing objects (and actions) in videos from diverse sources. But they aren’t perfect, in part because they’re mostly trained on corpora containing clips with single labels. Frame-by-frame tracking isn’t a particularly efficient solution because it would require that annotators apply labels to every frame in each video, and because “teaching” a model to recognize an action it hadn’t seen before would necessitate labeling new clips from scratch.That’s why scientists at Google propose Temporal Cycle-Consistency Learning (TCC), a self-supervised AI training technique that taps “correspondences” between examples of similar sequential processes (like weight-lifting repetitions or baseball pitches) to learn representations well-suited for temporal video understanding. The codebase is available in open source on GitHub....
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How to Develop a CycleGAN for Image-to-Image Translation with Keras

AI/ML
The Cycle Generative Adversarial Network, or CycleGAN, is an approach to training a deep convolutional neural network for image-to-image translation tasks. Unlike other GAN models for image translation, the CycleGAN does not require a dataset of paired images. For example, if we are interested in translating photographs of oranges to apples, we do not require …
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DeepMind’s new AI tracks Serengeti herds from images alone

AI/ML
DeepMind, the U.K.-based AI research subsidiary acquired by Alphabet in 2014 for $500 million, today detailed ecological research its science team is conducting to develop AI systems that’ll help study the behavior of animal species in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. It hopes to expedite the analysis of data from hundreds of motion-detecting field cameras, which have captured millions of images since they were deployed by the Serengeti Lion Research program over nine years ago.“The Serengeti is one of the last remaining sites in the world that hosts an intact community of large mammals … As human encroachment around the park becomes more intense, these species are forced to alter their behaviours in order to survive,” wrote DeepMind in a blog post. “Increasing agriculture, poaching, and climate abnormalities contribute to changes in animal behaviors and population dynamics, but these changes have occurred at spatial and temporal scales which are difficult to monitor using traditional research methods.”...
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GitHub’s Actions gets continuous integration support and workflow suggestions

AI/ML
Microsoft’s GitHub Actions for workflow automation from the beginning of an idea to production got an upgrade today that brings CI/CD to teams building and sharing code. Continuous integration and continuous delivery or CI/CD is a way for developers working on the same project to merge and integrate changes into a code base without conflict.GitHub also announced today its code repository is now used by 40 million developers worldwide, up from 31 million in fall 2018 and 24 million in 2017.The latest version of GitHub Actions in beta extends support to programming languages and frameworks like C/C++, Ruby, PHP, and Python. GitHub first introduced Actions in developer beta at GitHub Universe in fall 2018 with support for Java and .NET projects....
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Cybersecurity and compliance startup Securiti.ai emerges from stealth with $31 million

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Cybercrime never sleeps. Juniper Research pegs the number of digital records that will be stolen in 2023 at 33 billion, compared with the 12 billion stolen in 2018. As recently as 2017, the U.S. outranked all other countries in the volume of ransomware attacks, according to Symantec. And analysts elsewhere estimate that the cybercrime economy has grown to $1.5 trillion in annual profits and that damages will reach $6 trillion by 2021.The costly threat of compromise has given rise to a market that’s projected to be worth $300 billion by 2024. Hundreds of startups already occupy the segment, but the competition isn’t deterring San Jose, California-based Securiti.ai, a developer building a platform designed to automate cybersecurity and compliance processes. It today emerged from stealth with $31 million in funding contributed mostly by Mayfield and its managing director Navin Chaddha, with participation from General Catalyst and its managing director Steve Herrod....
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Alexa gets better at understanding your requests

AI/ML
Amazon Alexa has tens of thousands of voice apps — skills, in Amazon’s vernacular — contributed by third-party developers. Usually, building said skills requires supplying examples of customer requests (e.g., “Order my usual”) together with the actions to which those requests should map, which are used to train the AI system that processes real requests in production. Needless to say, that’s labor-intensive, which is why scientists at Amazon are exploring techniques for pooling sample requests for similar requests from different skills at training time.In a paper presented last week at the Association for Computational Linguistics conference in Florence, the coauthors write that the additional data improved performance by “plugging holes” in lists of example requests. Evaluated on two different public corpora and an internal corpus, they report that training an AI system simultaneously on multiple skills yielded better results than training it separately for each skill....
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NHS creates AI Lab to tackle health care challenges

AI/ML
The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) today announced it’ll reroute £250 million ($302.86 million) in funds to create a new Artificial Intelligence Lab within a unit tasked with digitizing the country’s health care system, which it says will work to bring together academics, specialists, and tech companies to tackle “some of the biggest challenges in health and care.”“We are on the cusp of a huge health tech revolution that could transform [the] patient experience by making the NHS a truly predictive, preventive and personalized health and care service,” wrote Health Secretary Matt Hancock. “It’s part of our mission to make the NHS the best it can be. The experts tell us that because of our NHS and our tech talent, the UK could be the world leader in these advances in healthcare, so I’m determined to give the NHS the chance to be the world leader in saving lives through [AI] and genomics.”...
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IBM Research launches explainable AI toolkit

AI/ML
IBM Research today introduced AI Explainability 360, an open-source collection of state-of-the art algorithms that use a range of techniques to explain AI model decision making.The launch follows IBM’s release of AI Fairness 360 a year ago for the detection and mitigation of bias in AI models.IBM is sharing its latest toolkit in order to increase trust and verification of artificial intelligence and help businesses who comply with regulation in order to use AI, IBM Research fellow and responsible AI lead Saska Mojsilovic told VentureBeat in a phone interview.“That’s fundamentally important because we know people in organizations will not use or deploy AI technologies unless they really trust their decisions. And because we create infrastructure for a good part of this world, it is fundamentally important for us not because of our own internal deployments of AI or products that we might have in this space, but it’s fundamentally important to create these capabilities because our clients and the world will leverage them,” she said....
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WSC Sports raises $23 million to turn sports broadcasts into highlight reels with AI

AI/ML
WSC Sports, a Tel Aviv-based startup developing an AI-powered video creation tool for sports content, today revealed that it recently closed a $23 million series C round led by Ofer Global’s O.G. Tech Ventures, along with NTT DOCOMO Ventures and HBSE Ventures. A raft of other investors including Intel Capital, Dan Gilbert’s Detroit Venture Partners, Elysian Park Ventures, WISE Ventures (Wilf Innovative Sports & Entertainment Ventures, the investment firm founded by Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf), 2BAngels, and iAngels also participated, bringing the company’s total raised to $39 million.The newfound funds follow on the heels of a $12 million series B in September 2018, after a three-year period in which WSC doubled its customer base and revenue year-over-year. More recently, the company expanded its headcount over 100 people globally and hired on advisors David Stern, commissioner emeritus of the NBA, and John Kosner, former vice president of digital media at ESPN....
DailyHum News
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Google brings airfare insights and travel recommendations to Trips

AI/ML
Summer is the season to travel to far-flung destinations, going by the wisdom of the crowd. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that Americans take over 600 million long-distance trips between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. And in 2017, travelers within the U.S. spent $2.8 billion per day on trips.To help vacationers gear up for the busiest travel time of year, Google today rolled out a series of updates to Google Trips, its one-stop itinerary planner on the web. You might recall that Google folded Google Flights and Google hotels search under the Trips banner in May, and that it recently shut down the mobile Google Trips app to further consolidate its travel services....

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