April 24, 2019

AI/ML

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IT Innovation for Competitive Advantage

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Sponsored by: The Index Group, one of the largest distributors of computer products in Turkey, has been in business for 27 years with $1.2 billion in revenue and 40 percent market share. A combination of aggressive competitors combined with changes in consumer buying habits forced Index Group to rethink how it uses IT to gain operating …
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Machine Learning and AI: An Investment Perspective

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Sponsored by: Software systems that learn are on the cutting edge of practical A.I. But what’s the market for these mysterious technologies, and how will they transform the business economy? James Cham, a partner in the investment firm Bloomberg Beta, explains the machine learning market and how these technologies will change our world. Mr. James Cham is …
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Building AI: A Software Maker’s Perspective

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Sponsored by: Artificial Intelligence is surrounded by marketing hype, making it difficult to assess what’s real and useful. In this episode, we talk with a venture capital investor and two software entrepreneurs to learn what’s involved with creating products that rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Join us as we cut through the hype …
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Buying AI: How to Invest in Artificial Intelligence

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Sponsored by: Artificial intelligence can make companies dramatically more efficient, but investing in the technology can come with risks and complications. Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact, tells Michael Krigsman of CXOTalk about the best strategies for buying AI to improve your business. Tyagarajan says companies interested in AI sometimes adopt disparate solutions that aren’t properly connected …
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UBS Bank: Amelia AI and Customer Service

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Sponsored by: What is Amelia artificial intelligence? How can the AI platform help improve banking and financial services while keeping operating costs low? Tom DeCarlo, UBS head of client services in the Americas, tells industry analyst Michael Krigsman at CXOTalk during the IPsoft Digital Workforce Summit in New York about the company’s efforts to improve …
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Royal Caribbean: Improving the Cruise Experience with AI and Augmented Reality

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Sponsored by: Royal Caribbean is making vacations more relaxing and enriching than ever, thanks to augmented reality, VR and artificial intelligence. Mike Giresi, Chief Information Officer at Royal Caribbean, spoke with industry analyst Michael Krigsman at CXOTalk during the IPsoft Digital Workforce Summit in New York about how the cruise ship company is improving its …
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Exponential Healthcare: Technology, AI, Wearables

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Sponsored by: What is the exponential future of healthcare? John Nosta, a faculty member at Singularity University, speaks with CXOTalk about the changing environment of health care and innovative technology solutions, from artificial intelligence to wearables. Nosta is the founder of NOSTALAB, a digital health think tank, and regarded as one of the top global …
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Digital Transformation: MicroStrategy on IT and Business Intelligence

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Sponsored by: Farnaz Bengali, VP of Enterprise Applications at MicroStrategy, speaks with CXOTalk about digital transformation and the new services economy. The enterprise software company uses FinancialForce to manage IT, treating clients and internal projects alike as customers for the business intelligence tool. “Just like if you were to hold a product conference like the one …
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Oracle in Focus: The Industry Analysts’ View

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Sponsored by: What is Oracle and where do its software, database, and cloud products stand today in relation to cloud technology and big data? Three prominent analysts – Mike Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd; Liz Forrester, vice president and primary analyst at Forrester; and Neil Ward-Dutton, co-founder and research director at MDW Advisors – talk …
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US Navy: IT Transformation at Scale

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Sponsored by: What is it like to be an assistant chief information officer (CIO) in the U.S. Navy? Anthony Joyce, information and business systems director for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), talks with CXOTalk about information technology at a very large scale, including issues, challenges, opportunities and digital transformation in IT. Joyce’s 40 plus …
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Databricks launches Delta Lake, an open source data lake reliability project

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Databricks is launching open source project Delta Lake, which Databricks CEO and cofounder Ali Ghodsi calls the company’s biggest innovation to date, bigger even than its creation of the Apache Spark machine learning library. Delta Lake is a storage layer that sits on top of data lakes to ensure reliable data sources for machine learning and other data science-driven pursuits.The announcement was made today at the Spark + AI Summit in San Francisco and follows Databricks’ $250 million funding round in February, bringing the company’s valuation to $2.75 billion.Data lakes are a way to pool data and break down data silos and have grown in popularity with the rise of big data and machine learning....
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Eightfold raises $28 million for AI that matches job candidates with employers

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It’s tough finding qualified candidates. In the U.S., it takes about 43 days from the time a listing is published to the day a would-be employee accepts an offer, and bringing on a single job seeker can cost upwards of $4,129. Unsurprisingly, 63% of executives in a Gartner survey named talent shortage as the top risk facing their organizations.Eightfold seeks to address those hiring challenges with AI and machine learning, and it’s raising venture capital to gear up for growth. The Mountain View, California-based talent platform provider today announced that it’s raised $28 million in series C financing led by IVP, with participation from Foundation Capital and Lightspeed Ventures. The capital infusion follows on the heels of a $5.7 million series A round in September 2017 and an $18 million series B round last April, and it brings Eightfold’s total raised to $55 million....
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Indian music streaming giant Gaana reaches 100 million monthly users, expands into video

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Gaana, India’s biggest music-streaming service, said today that’s it is introducing videos to its app and offering artists more listeners’ data as it races to attract more users and talent to widen its market dominance.The eight-year-old service, owned by conglomerate Times Internet, also revealed that it has amassed 100 million monthly active users, up from some 80 million it had stated in December last year. Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal said his app is about 1.4 times bigger than its closest rival in terms of streaming hours.The first feature, dubbed Gaana Video, will showcase made-for-mobile, vertical videos from India’s top music artists, the company said. In a statement, Agarwal said the videos will be exclusive to the platform....
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Mozilla highlights AI bias and ‘addiction by design’ tech in internet health report

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Mozilla today released the 2019 Internet Health Report, an analysis that brings together insights from 200 experts to examine issues central to the future of the internet. This year’s report chose to focus primarily on injustice perpetuated by artificial intelligence, what NYU’s Natasha Dow Schüll calls “addiction by design” tech like social media apps and smartphones, and the power of city governments and civil society “to make the internet healthier worldwide.”The Internet Health Report is not designed to issue the web a bill of good health or declare it resoundingly healthy or unhealthy, but is designed as a call to action and urges people to “embrace the notion that we as humans can change how we make money, govern societies, and interact with one another online.”...
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Digital Transformation: IT and Customer Experience

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Sponsored by: How is the relationship between IT and its customers changing? HP’s Gwen Becknell and digital transformation influencer Tamara McCleary tell Michael Krigsman of CXOTalk about digital transformation in information technology. Becknell is Senior Director of End-User Experience Services within Infrastructure Services at HP, Inc. Her team is responsible for the IT employee experience for …
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Fraud Prevention: Data and Analytics in Law Enforcement

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Sponsored by: How does law enforcement use data to prevent fraud? Kelly Tshibaka, Chief Data Officer of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and Caryl Brzymialkiewicz, Assistant Inspector General & Chief Data Officer at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, speak with CXOTalk about how different agencies at the …
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Accelerate Sales with Data and Analytics

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Sponsored by: Collaboration between Marketing and Sales is a prerequisite for customer success today. However, marketers must use data and analytics to gain insight into customer behavior and establish a personalized relationship with buyers. Rishi Dave, the Chief Marketing Officer at iconic brand Dun and Bradstreet, explains how to use data to achieve these crucial …
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AIG: Data Science in the Insurance Industry

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Sponsored by: Murli Buluswar, former Chief Science Officer at AIG, speaks with CXOTalk co-hosts Michael Li, CEO of The Data Incubator, and Michael Krigsman about data science and innovation in the insurance industry. How can insurance and financial services companies adapt and thrive in a world of data and digital disruption? Buluswar is a trailblazing …
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Healthcare Innovation, Virtual Reality, and Patient-Centered Medicine

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Sponsored by: Technologies such as virtual reality and distance medicine are changing healthcare delivery and medical education. Industry analyst, Michael Krigsman, speaks with a medical technology and innovation pioneer on this special episode of CXOTalk. Professor Shafi Ahmed is a multi award winning surgeon, teacher, futurist, innovator, entrepreneur and an evangelist in augmented and virtual …
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Future of Retail: Technology and Innovation

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Sponsored by: Technology innovation is driving change and transformation in retail. On this episode, CXOTalk host Michael Krigsman talks with Scott Emmons, founder and head of the Innovation Lab at major retailer Neiman Marcus. Top digital transformation analyst and expert, Brian Solis, is guest co-host on this show. As founder and Head of the Neiman …
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CIO Value, Advice for Chief Information Officers

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Sponsored by: What is the optimal role for a CIO today and how can they add value to organizations? Isaac Sacolick tells CXOTalk about his years of experience as a Chief Information Officer, offering advice and insight for future CIOs and where they should innovate today. Sacolick is a successful CIO who has led digital …
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Google kills Chrome’s Data Saver extension

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Data Saver, a Chrome browser feature that automatically improves page loading times using “built-in optimizations” and dedicated servers, is no more — at least in name. Google this afternoon announced that it’ll kill off the desktop Data Saver extension and relaunch Data Saver on Android as Lite mode.Data Saver made its debut in March 2013 as part of the Chrome beta release for Android, and it officially arrived in January 2014 with Chrome 32 for Android and iOS. At the time, Google said it could reduce data usage by up to 50 percent.“Since we introduced Data Saver in Chrome, we’ve reduced users’ data usage by up to 60 percent,” wrote Lite mode technical lead Ben Greenstein and Chrome product manager Nancy Gao in a blog post today. “But now, the feature is expanding to provide more benefits in addition to data savings.”...
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Artificial Intelligence: ‘The Alpha Trend’

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Sponsored by: AI is one of the most profound technologies of our time, with practical implications for business, society, politics, economics, governance, customer experience, and even ethics. In this video interview, industry analyst, Michael Krigsman, speaks with Accenture’s Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Paul Daugherty, about his new book called Human + Machine. This conversation …
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AI: Impact on Jobs and Training

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Sponsored by: Artificial intelligence will have a profound impact on jobs, education, and worker retraining. Industry analyst and CXOTalk host, Michael Krigsman, explores this crucial issue with two experts during an informative and important episode. Shirley Malcom is Head of Education and Human Resources (HR) Programs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science …
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Changing Company Culture with Data and Technology

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Sponsored by: How can digital transformation change a company’s culture? Heidi Wood, senior vice president for strategy and technology at L3 Technologies, speaks with CXOTalk about how the U.S. defense company uses IT, data and SAP to keep a radically transparent focus on the future. “True strategy involves really looking out into the future. Many …
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Data Protection and Governance

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Sponsored by: With the growth of consumer and enterprise data, the need for transparency and data protection has increased dramatically. Watch industry analyst and CXOTalk host, Michael Krigsman, explore this crucial topic with Mike Palmer, the Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Veritas. As Chief Product Officer, Mike is responsible for driving Veritas’ …
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Architectural Innovations in Convolutional Neural Networks for Image Classification

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A Gentle Introduction to the Innovations in LeNet, AlexNet, VGG, Inception, and ResNet Convolutional Neural Networks. Convolutional neural networks are comprised of two very simple elements, namely convolutional layers and pooling layers. Although simple, there are near-infinite ways to arrange these layers for a given computer vision problem. Fortunately, there are both common patterns for …
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New way to 'see' objects accelerates the future of self-driving cars

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The laser sensors currently used to detect 3D objects in the paths of autonomous cars are bulky, ugly, expensive, energy-inefficient -- and highly accurate.These Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors are affixed to cars' roofs, where they increase wind drag, a particular disadvantage for electric cars. They can add around $10,000 to a car's cost. Despite their drawbacks, most experts have considered LiDAR sensors the only plausible way for self-driving vehicles to safely perceive pedestrians, cars and other hazards on the road.Now, Cornell researchers have discovered that a simpler method, using two inexpensive cameras on either side of the windshield, can detect objects with nearly LiDAR's accuracy and at a fraction of the cost. The researchers found that analyzing the captured images from a bird's eye view rather than the more traditional frontal view more than tripled their accuracy, making stereo cameras a viable and low-cost alternative to LiDAR....
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Innovation in Healthcare: Opportunities, Patient Treatment

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Sponsored by: There are opportunities for innovation in healthcare, but how can hospitals and doctors balance patient focus against economic considerations? Dr. Rasu B. Shrestha, chief innovation officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells CXOTalk why we need digital transformation in healthcare, how to commercialize innovation, and the complexities behind delivering high-quality patient …
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CIO Gender Diversity: Smashing the Glass Ceiling

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Sponsored by: Although women are gaining ground in information technology, the Chief Information Officer role in IT is still a male-dominated position. For this special episode of CXOTalk industry analyst, Michael Krigsman, speaks with two experienced IT leaders. The conversation explores Deloitte’s recent report on female leaders in technology and gender diversity. Kavitha Prabhakar is a principal with Deloitte …
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Inside Enterprise Software and Cloud Computing

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Sponsored by: What’s going today in enterprise software and cloud computing? Two members of the Enterprise Irregulars, an elite group of enterprise software analysts and executives, share their thoughts on the state of enterprise applications and cloud today. Dave Kellogg is an experienced enterprise software executive, angel investor, board member, advisor, thought leader, and blogger. …
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Business Transformation and the CIO Role

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Sponsored by: What is business transformation? Arthur Hu, CIO for Lenovo Group, speaks with CXOTalk about embedding technology in businesses, shadow IT, and managing the balance of high uncertainty and high likelihood of change. As the Chief Information Officer for Lenovo Group, Hu is responsible for the overall delivery of information services, digital technology, and business …
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Data Science: Applications, Lessons in Finance and Entertainment

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Sponsored by: Data science has useful applications in financial services and the entertainment industry. Matthew Marolda, Chief Analytics Officer at Legendary Entertainment, and Dr. Anthony Scriffignano, Chief Data Scientist at Dun & Bradstreet, tell CXOTalk about the core techniques of data science, its common elements across industries, and lessons to be learned. Marolda formed and …
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OpenAI’s Sparse Transformers can predict what comes next in lengthy text, image, and audio sequences

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Some months back, OpenAI debuted an AI natural language model capable of generating coherent passages from millions of Wikipedia and Amazon product reviews, and more recently, it demonstrated an AI system — OpenAI Five — that defeated 99.4% of players in public Dota 2 matches. Building on those and other works, the San Francisco research organization today detailed Sparse Transformers, an open source machine learning system it claims can predict what comes next in text, image, and sound sequences 30 times longer than was previously possible.“One existing challenge in AI research is modeling long-range, subtle interdependencies in complex data,” wrote OpenAI technical staff member Rewon Child and software engineer Scott Gray in a blog post. “Previously, models used on these data were specifically crafted for one domain or difficult to scale to sequences more than a few thousand elements long. In contrast, our model can model sequences with tens of thousands of elements using hundreds of layers, achieving state-of-the-art performance across multiple domains.”...
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Innovation in the US Government

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Sponsored by: How can the government innovate at scale while remaining agile and cost-effective? CXOTalk host, Michael Krigsman, speaks with two prominent leaders to explore this important question. Mr. Jim Geurts was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), following his confirmation by the Senate November 2017. As …
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CIO Role: Become a Transformational Leader

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Sponsored by: As the CIO role goes beyond transactions and even digital, what does it mean for the Chief Information Officer to be a transformational leader? Industry analyst, Michael Krigsman, explores this topic with innovative and outspoken CIO Jay Ferro. Jay Ferro is the Chief Information Officer for Quikrete, the largest manufacturer of packaged concrete in the United …
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Cybersecurity: CISO Secrets

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Sponsored by: Two top Chief Information Security Officers explore key topics on cyber-security. Industry Analyst, Michael Krigsman, speaks with two female experts in this male-dominated field. Tammy Moskites is a Managing Director and Senior Security Executive at Accenture. She has 30 years of experience with expertise envisioning, building and leading security, technology and operational support organizations …
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Autonomous Construction Vehicles: IT and Efficiency

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Sponsored by: Where does the mining industry meet data mining? Colin Boyd, chief information officer at Komatsu America, tells CXOTalk about how autonomous vehicles are the future of IT and efficiency for construction and mining – and how a CIO’s role is changing as well. “The most complex machines have maybe 8,000 monitors on them …
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The Future of Commerce: Customer Experience

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Sponsored by: What is the future of commerce and the customer experience? Katrina Gosek, senior director of digital customer strategy at Oracle, and Scott Silverman, principal at Scott Silverman Associates, tell CXOTalk about the importance of frictionless, fast service. “I think consumers own the brand,” Gosek says. “They have the ability to change how others …
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AI in Medicine: Life Sciences and Drug Discovery

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Sponsored by: Artificial intelligence offers the promise of better health, faster drug discovery and testing, to create improved medical outcomes for patients. We talk with a world expert on using AI in life sciences to discover and develop drugs faster and less expensively. Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov is the founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, a leader in the next-generation artificial …
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Wing gains FAA approval to launch commercial drone delivery service in Virginia

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Wing’s drone delivery service is one step closer to becoming a reality stateside, thanks to approval from federal regulators. The Alphabet X lab graduate announced this morning that it has been certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as a small-sized air carrier, which will enable it to kick off drone deliveries from local merchants in the Virginia towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg within months.That unique classification — which was initially created to cover traditional charter flights — will allow Wing to charge for service and paves the way for expansion to additional U.S. cities. Under current drone-specific regulations, companies can’t exact payment for deliveries over distances beyond a human operator’s line of sight....
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Waymo will build its driverless cars in Detroit

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Months after Waymo announced that it would select a factory in southeast Michigan to dedicate to the production of level 4 autonomous cars — that is, cars capable of driving without human supervision in most conditions — the Alphabet subsidiary this morning revealed that it has settled on a location in Detroit. Waymo will partner with Detroit-based American Axle & Manufacturing, a manufacturer of automobile driveline and drivetrain components and systems, to repurpose the factory, with the goal of “bringing a workforce back to an area where jobs in the automotive industry were recently lost.”Waymo also said that it’ll work with a range of automotive partners — including Canadian company Magna — to outfit cars with its driverless system, and it claims the retrofitted factory will be the world’s first of its kind when it kicks off operations in mid-2019. The plan is supported by a $13.6 million investment from Waymo, an $8 million grant from Michigan Strategic Fund, and a $25,000 investment from MichAuto, the automotive economic development division of the Detroit Regional Chamber. It could pay the salaries of up to 400 new workers by 2025....
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India’s Mfine raises $17.2 million to expand telemedical doctor network

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Mfine, an AI health care startup headquartered in Bangalore, today announced that it has raised $17.2 million in a series B funding round led by Japan-based venture group SBI Investment, with participation from SBI Ven Capital, Beenext, Stellaris Venture Partners, and Prime Venture Partners. This comes after a $4.2 million series A round in May 2018 and brings Mfine’s total raised to $24 million, according to Crunchbase. CEO and cofounder Prasad Kompalli says the funds will be used to acquire new customers and expand service across India.“We believe that India will leapfrog the methods of health care delivery that were adopted in the developed nations, and mobile will be at the center of this disruption. The current funding is an endorsement to Mfine’s unique model of working with reputed and accredited hospitals and using technology to make quality health care accessible to millions of people,” he said. “The consumer traction proves that our model works, and with this investment we want to scale the service across the country. We are delighted to have SBI and Beenext on board, as they share our vision of providing quality health care on-demand using AI and mobile tech.”...
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Blueshift raises $15 million from Softbank for its AI customer engagement tools

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Four-year-old Blueshift, which describes itself as an AI-driven “customer data activation” company, has attracted backing from Japanese conglomerate Softbank. It today announced that it’s raised $15 million in series B funding led by Softbank Ventures Asia, Softbank’s AI-focused early stage fund, with participation from Storm Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners, bringing Blueshift‘s total raised to $30 million. It follows an $8 million series A raise in January 2016, and comes as former LendingTree VP of marketing Josh Francia joins the San Francisco-based startup as chief growth officer.CEO and cofounder Vijay Chittoor said the funds will be used to accelerate product growth. “At Blueshift, our mission is to put AI in the hands of every marketer so they can transform their customer data into intelligent engagement on every channel,” he said. “With this latest round of financing … we are poised to accelerate our growth and deliver the power of AI to even more brands.”...
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Microsoft: AI’s next frontier is experts teaching machines

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Microsoft executives say the next frontier in artificial intelligence will involve using human professionals’ expertise to train machine learning models. “Machine teaching” is essentially an interface that sits atop a machine learning layer to give people without the ability to code a way to train and deploy systems.Machine teaching can be applied to a number of areas, including text classification, conversational dialog, computer vision, and robotics, Microsoft VP for Business AI Gurdeep Pall told VentureBeat in a phone interview.Recent AI startup acquisitions and years of Microsoft Research work will fuel initiatives to make machine teaching more widely available in the future, he said. Microsoft Research created the machine teaching group promising such capabilities in 2015....
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Salesforce debuts AI enhancements to Sales Cloud, updates Quip with live file embedding

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Believe it or not, sales reps spend less than 36% of their time selling. That’s according to a recent study published by ClickFunnels, which found that administrative tasks take up close to 15% of the average salesperson’s working hours.Salesforce say it has the answer, with a slew of new features intended to streamline access to information and collaboration. The San Francisco company today took the wraps off of Salesforce Inbox Now with Einstein Insights — a refreshed mobile email experience that serves up insights and actions — alongside Einstein Campaign Insights and Social Intelligence Module, AI tools that identify similarities among sales prospects and surface curated social media feeds....
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Intellimize raises $8 million to optimize websites with AI

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What if ecommerce and retail websites could be dynamically, autonomously personalized for every visitor? That’s the idea behind Intellimize, a San Mateo, California-based startup that today announced it’s raised $8 million in series A funding led by Amplify Partners, with Homebrew, Precursor Ventures, and several angel investors participating. Together with a previously unannounced $2 million series A round, it brings the startup’s total raised to $10 million.The way cofounder and CEO Guy Yalif tells it, Intellimize didn’t have to look long and hard for customers. Within three months of the company’s launch, it was generating revenue, and revenue in the past two years was up a whopping 1,338%....
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Brightback raises $11 million for automated subscription retention service

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Subscription retention and churn management software company Brightback today announced the close of an $11 million funding round. The startup will use this money to hire engineers and marketing and sales employees and to further develop its data and integrations platform, which is built to classify and segment high-volume customer bases.“A lot of these methods can be used to help companies identify which of their customers are at risk and then proactively drive experiences to engage that percentage of customers who cancel [by presenting] an alternative solution,” Brightback CEO Guy Marion told VentureBeat in a phone interview.Pilot customers like Crazy Egg have used the solution to reduce subscription cancellations by 20% through things like customer segmentation, workflow automation, and dashboards that visualize data and track progress....
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Harness raises $60 million to automate continuous app delivery with machine learning

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Harness, a San Francisco startup developing a continuous app delivery and release platform for engineering and DevOps teams, today announced that it’s raised $60 million in an oversubscribed series B round co-led by Institutional Venture Partners and GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from incubator Big Labs, Menlo Ventures, and Unusual Ventures. It previously raised $20 million in series A financing.The fresh capital, which brings Harness’ total raised to around $80 million and values the company at $500 million, will be put toward R&D and hiring, said CEO Jyoti Bansal — particularly on the development, sales, and customer success side of the business.“We were not actively seeking new investment at this point, but our strong market traction created heavy investor interest in Harness, resulting in a fast-moving and heavily oversubscribed series B round,” Bansal said. “We are thrilled to partner with world’s leading investment and technology firms … as we continue to build Harness into the next major software platform company.”...
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Tesla plans to launch driverless taxi service in 2020

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Tesla says that next year, it’ll leverage a fraction of the millions of Tesla cars on the road to launch an autonomous taxi service powered by its Autopilot software — one that might compete with Waymo’s eponymous Waymo One and other launched and forthcoming driverless ride-hailing programs.It won’t go live in all regions simultaneously — regulatory approval will dictate its rollout. And only the Model 3 and Model S will be eligible initially. But any owner will be able to add or remove their car from the Tesla network and earn revenue (of which Tesla will take a 25% to 30% cut), and in areas where there aren’t a large pool of vehicles available, Tesla will supply its own.Robo-taxi customers will be able to summon participating cars “from [their] parking lots” using a bespoke mobile app, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a presentation to investors this afternoon, and “get in and go for a drive.” He expects the network will have as many as a million cars in the next year and a half....
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Google’s SpecAugment achieves state-of-the-art speech recognition without a language model

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Google AI researchers are applying computer vision to sound wave visuals to achieve state-of-the-art speech recognition system performance without the use of a language model. Researchers say the SpecAugment method requires no additional data and can be used without adaption of underlying language models.“An unexpected outcome of our research was that models trained with SpecAugment out-performed all prior methods even without the aid of a language model,” Google AI resident Daniel S. Park and research scientist William Chan said in a blog post today. “While our networks still benefit from adding a language model, our results are encouraging in that it suggests the possibility of training networks that can be used for practical purposes without the aid of an language model.”...
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Tesla claims its latest self-driving chip is 7 times more powerful than its rivals’

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As predicted, Tesla discussed its car lineup’s forthcoming self-driving features during an “Autonomy Day” keynote ahead of its Q1 2019 earnings call later this week. Autopilot Hardware 3.0 — which it claims is the “world’s most advanced computer for autonomous driving” — is significantly improved over the current-gen Hardware 2.5, according to Telsa chip architect Pete Bannon.The new Samsung-manufactured hardware, which squeezes into the top part of cars’ glove boxes, features over 144 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) of neural network performance. (That’s compared with Nvidia’s Drive Xavier’s theoretical performance of 21 TOPS.) It’s got a batch size of one — as soon as an image shows up, it processes it immediately — and it packs two fully independent Full Self-Driving (FSD) packages, each with their own with DRAM chips for memory, flash chips for storage, and power supplies....
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Chatlets.ai makes customer data collection easier with chatbots

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Chatbot usage is on the rise worldwide, and not without good reason — according to Juniper Research, conversational assistants will drive cost savings of over $8 billion annually by 2022 (up from $20 million in 2017). In fact, it’s anticipated that chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020, and already, 42% of consumers, 53% of millennials, and 72% of business executives use them on the regular.That’s why Pramati Technologies, a Mountain View, California-based tech incubator cofounded in 1998 by Jay and Vijay Pullur, launched Chatlets.ai in beta earlier this year, a conversational user experience platform that enables customers to design bespoke web and in-app chatbots. As Chatlets.ai cofounder and vice president Vivek Lakshman explained, the idea is to free up companies from time-consuming third-party behavior and user intent gathering, enabling them to focus on conversion optimization....
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Snake-inspired robot slithers even better than predecessor

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The robot is made using kirigami -- a Japanese paper craft that relies on cuts to change the properties of a material. As the robot stretches, the kirigami surface "pops up" into a 3D-textured surface, which grips the ground just like snake skin.The first-generation robot used a flat kirigami sheet, which transformed uniformly when stretched. The new robot has a programmable shell, meaning the kirigami cuts can pop up as desired, improving the robot's speed and accuracy.The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."This is a first example of a kirigami structure with non-uniform pop-up deformations," said Ahmad Rafsanjani, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. "In flat kirigami, the pop-up is continuous, meaning everything pops at once. But in the kirigami shell, pop up is discontinuous. This kind of control of the shape-transformation could be used to design responsive surfaces and smart skins with on-demand changes in their texture and morphology."...
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Amazon’s AI system could cut Alexa speech recognition errors by 15%

AI/ML
A few months back, Amazon detailed some of the underlying systems that prevent Alexa from responding when someone says the wake word “Alexa” on TV, in an internet ad, or on the radio. But how does Amazon’s voice assistant filter out everyday background noise? A blog post and accompanying research paper (“End-to-End Anchored Speech Recognition“) lay out a novel noise-isolating technique that could improve the assistant’s ability to recognize speech by 15%.The approach is scheduled to be presented at this year’s International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in Brighton.“One of the ways that we’re always trying to improve Alexa’s performance is by teaching her to ignore speech that isn’t intended for her,” explained senior applied scientist in the Alexa AI group Xin Fan. “We assume that the speaker who activates an Alexa-enabled device by uttering its ‘wake word’ — usually ‘Alexa’ — is the one Alexa should be listening to. Essentially, our technique takes an acoustic snapshot of the wake word and compares subsequent speech to it. Speech whose acoustics match those of the wake word is judged to be intended for Alexa, and all other speech is treated as background noise.”...
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OpenAI’s Dota 2 bot defeated 99.4% of players in public matches

AI/ML
OpenAI Five — the AI-imbued bot designed by San Francisco, California-based research organization OpenAI that defeated a professional esports team at Valve’s Dota 2 earlier this month — became publicly playable last week via Arena, a mode which allowed players to challenge its game-playing abilities for themselves. So after a whopping 42,729 cooperative and competitive matches (688 of which were played against as many as 1,583 players simultaneously) between April 18 and April 21, how’d OpenAI Five perform? Impressively, claims OpenAI: it managed to win 4,075 games for a victory rate of 99.4%, which compared pretty favorably to the 24 percent win rate of human teams with at least 1 win....
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Audioburst raises $10 million to parse podcasts and audio content with AI

AI/ML
Audioburst, a four-year-old startup developing AI that parses, labels, and segments live and recorded audio clips, today announced two new strategic and investment partnerships totaling over $10 million (an even $5 million split) from Japanese advertising firm Dentsu and car maker Hyundai, with participation from existing investors Samsung Ventures, Nippon, and Advanced Media. They come after a $14.4 million series A round and bring the company’s total raised to $25 million, ahead of its expansion into new smart speaker, mobile, in-car infotainment, wearable tech spaces, and its launch in Japan, the last of which it’ll mark in the coming months by adding Japanese language support.“The investments signal an industry acknowledgment for consumer demand of voice-based experiences, and Audioburst’s unmatched ability to deliver that technology,” said cofounder and CEO Amir Hirsh, who added that the company will team up with Dentsu to build out channels that deliver rich listening insights and content to clients advertising in audio. “It also provides us the ability to expand and expedite our technology offering, and tap into a larger ecosystem of investors and partners in the car, media, advertising, and technology spaces.”...
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Zillow launches AI-powered 3D home tours in the U.S. and Canada

AI/ML
For prospective home buyers, touring a house traditionally entails commuting to top prospects and painstakingly documenting rooms with photos, but Zillow wants to drag the process into the 21st century. To that end, the Seattle, Washington-based real estate database company today announced the debut of 3D Home, an AI-powered iOS app that allows potential buyers to view 360-degree pics and tours of properties.The service is available in the U.S. and Canada starting this week , a little more than a year after the launch of a pilot program that involved the creation and viewing of thousands of 3D tours. One early partner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, captured scans of over 600 listings....
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A Gentle Introduction to Pooling Layers for Convolutional Neural Networks

AI/ML
Convolutional layers in a convolutional neural network summarize the presence of features in an input image. A problem with the output feature maps is that they are sensitive to the location of the features in the input. One approach to address this sensitivity is to down sample the feature maps. This has the effect of …
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Google Assistant and Alexa can now answer questions about U.K. passports, bank holidays, and more

AI/ML
Wondering how to apply for a new passport, which organizations offer free childcare, or when the next bank holiday might be? If you’re based in the U.K. and you’ve got a speaker, smartphone, or smart display powered by Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, you’ll be able to get answers to those questions hands-free starting this week.As spotted by Android Police, the U.K.’s Government Digital Service (GDS) — the cabinet office unit charged with maintaining and streamlining online government information and services — yesterday announced that voice assistant users can now surface more than 12,000 pieces of information on Gov.UK, including things like “What age can I retire?” and “What is the national minimum wage?”...
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GM’s Cruise is preparing for a self-driving future in the cloud

AI/ML
According to marketing firm ABI, as many as 8 million driverless cars will be added to the road in 2025. Meanwhile, Research and Markets is predicting that in the U.S. alone, there will be some 20 million autonomous cars in operation by 2030.How realistic are those numbers?If you ask Adrian Macneil, not especially. And he should know — he’s the director of engineering at Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016. “I think the best way that I’ve heard this described [is], the entire industry is basically in a race to the starting line,” Macneil told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “The penetration of driving the majority of miles with autonomous miles isn’t going to happen overnight.”...
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DJI R&D head dreams of drones fighting fires by the thousands in ‘aerial aqueduct’

AI/ML
While the world watched in shock as part of Notre Dame cathedral burned, few realized the surprising roles machines played in the incident. Sadly, a possible computer glitch may have been responsible for the fire. But technology was also crucial to the recovery efforts. French firefighters used DJI drones to survey the blaze and assess their attack plan — something a Paris Fire Brigade spokesperson said was important in saving the historic building. And a water cannon-manned robot named Colossus also helped battle the raging fire.When talking about dream future drone applications at a Techcrunch AI and robotics event held at UC Berkeley on Thursday, DJI head of U.S. research and development Arnaud Thiercelin shared his obsession with the idea of fighting fires with drones in what he refers to as an “aerial aqueduct.”...
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Pony.ai tests robo-taxi program on its employees, promises self-driving trucks next

AI/ML
Guangzhou, China-based self-driving startup Pony.ai is joining an exclusive club of companies that have launched autonomous ride-hailing programs. At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, it took the wraps off of PonyPilot, a test project for “product-ready” driverless cars within a geofenced area in Guangzhou. It’s currently available to Pony.ai employees and “select affiliates” by invitation only, and CEO James Peng says it’s the culmination of years of continuous testing in the city’s Nansha district.“We could see the enormous AI wave on the horizon, and [we] had always wanted to leverage this to create something that would truly deliver value to people’s lives everywhere,” said Peng in a statement....
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VentureBeat is looking for an edge reporter

AI/ML
VentureBeat is looking for a skilled technology writer who can cover the emerging, red-hot area of the “edge.”With AI bringing vast compute power to devices — whether those are phones, sensors, or robotic arms — data is increasingly being crunched at the edge. This beat covers the sub-themes of 5G, the cloud, memory/storage, and security as they come together at the edge and cause significant disruption and opportunity. Companies are increasingly using analytics and AI in real time to sort what data to send to the faraway data-center, and what to keep locally on the device. And 5G speed, a desire to avoid latency, and increased concerns around privacy and security, are all conspiring to keep more things on that edge. Consumers like it, because their data doesn’t leave their devices. It’s creating revolutions across industries, including retail, manufacturing, and healthcare....
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Qualcomm joins Tencent and Vivo on new AI initiative for mobile gaming

AI/ML
As smartphones become more powerful, they’ll be able to offer better artificial intelligence performance for gaming and other applications. Qualcomm wants to make sure that it stays at the bleeding edge of AI mobile technology, so the chipmaker is working with Tencent and Vivo on a new initiative called Project Imagination.The companies announced their joint partnership earlier today during Qualcomm AI Day in Shenzhen, China. According to a press release, Project Imagination is meant to “to bring smarter, more efficient, and more immersive experiences to consumers” through AI. The first step involves Vivo’s new iQOO line of hardcore smartphones for gamers. They use Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 855 chipset, which includes the company’s fourth-generation AI engine....
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AI helps four-legged robots find their footing

AI/ML
There’s quite a few quadrupedal robots out there, the most impressive of which might be Boston Dynamics’ Spot. But they have a problem in common: figuring out where to step so that they don’t become stuck or fall over. Luckily, a team of scientists at the University of Oxford, Sabanci University in Istanbul, and the French National Center for Scientific Research have developed a novel algorithm that generates viable guide trajectories for most any environment.“[W]e present an approach to automatically compute a contact plan on challenging and uneven terrains,” the researchers wrote in a preprint paper on Arxiv.org (“Contact Planning for the ANYmal Quadruped Robot using an Acyclic Reachability-Based Planner“). “Navigating through highly uneven and cluttered environments, often with only a small set of potential footholds, is still an open problem.”...
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AI Weekly: Boston Dynamics robots are terrifying by design

AI/ML
There’s no beating the Terminator. It’s the undisputed heavyweight champion of AI held up as proof of machines hell-bent on the destruction of humanity. In my experience seeing Atlas do parkour and backflips, and four-legged Spot robots get pushed around by humans, Boston Dynamics is a close second.These robots fascinate and terrify people. If facial recognition software and Amazon’s Alexa are held up as popular examples of surveillance capitalism, Boston Dynamics videos are usually shoved in my face by people afraid of these robots’ mobility and physical prowess. This is partially due to the advanced robotics and unique design, and partially due to the success of a YouTube campaign over the course of the past six months in which each video sucks up millions of views....
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What New Data Scientists Need to Know for Their First Job

AI/ML
Three things separate the great data scientists from the good data scientists I work with—customer thinking, data munging, and DevOps.
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Meet OilX – Startup Using AI to Transform the Oil Trade

AI/ML
The space of AI-enabled energy trading providers is relatively empty. One notable recent addition to it was OilX, an oiltech startup.
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Toyota, Denso, and Softbank invest $1 billion in Uber’s self-driving division

AI/ML
(Reuters) — Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering.Uber said on Thursday that the investment valued its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota and automotive company Denso will combined invest $667 million.Reuters had reported in March talks of the investment in ATG, which has locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.The funding allows Uber to transfer some of the substantial cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors. That is likely to appease some investor concerns over Uber’s spending on the autonomous unit, which has topped $1 billion since the program started in 2016....
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Microsoft’s confusing facial recognition policy, from China to California

AI/ML
On Tuesday, news broke that Microsoft refused to sell its facial recognition software to law enforcement in California and an unnamed country. The move led to some praise for the company for being consistent with its policy to oppose questionable human rights applications, but a broader examination of Microsoft’s actions in the past year indicates that the company has been saying one thing and doing another.Last week, the Financial Times reported that Microsoft Research Asia worked with a university associated with the Chinese military on facial recognition tech that is being used to monitor the nation’s population of Uighur Muslims. Up to 500,000 members of the group, primarily in western China, were monitored over the course of a month, according to a New York Times report....
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A Gentle Introduction to Padding and Stride for Convolutional Neural Networks

AI/ML
The convolutional layer in convolutional neural networks systematically applies filters to an input and creates output feature maps. Although the convolutional layer is very simple, it is capable of achieving sophisticated and impressive results. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to develop an intuition for how the shape of the filters impacts the shape of the …
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Adding human touch to unchatty chatbots may lead to bigger letdown

AI/ML
In a study, the researchers found that chatbots that had human features -- such as a human avatar -- but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it. However, people responded better to a less-interactive chatbot that did not have humanlike cues, said S. Shyam Sundar, James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory and affiliate of Penn State's Institute for CyberScience (ICS).High interactivity is marked by swift responses that match a user's queries and feature a threaded exchange that can be followed easily, according to Sundar."People are pleasantly surprised when a chatbot with low anthropomorphism -- fewer human cues -- has higher interactivity," said Sundar. "But when there are high anthropomorphic visual cues, it may set up your expectations for high interactivity -- and when the chatbot doesn't deliver that -- it may leave you disappointed."...
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Using the physics of airflows to locate gaseous leaks more quickly in complex scenarios

AI/ML
"Many existing approaches that employ robots to locate sources of airborne particles rely on bio-inspired educated but simplistic guesses, or heuristic techniques, that drive the robots upwind or to follow increasing concentrations," said Michael M. Zavlanos, the Mary Milus Yoh and Harold L. Yoh, Jr. Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke. "These methods can usually only localize a single source in open space, and they cannot estimate other equally important parameters such as release rates."But in complex environments, these simplistic methods can send the robots on wild goose chases into areas where concentrations are artificially increased by the physics of the airflows, not because they're the source of the leak....
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YouTube Music launches on Google Home

AI/ML
YouTube Music is heading to a smart speaker near you — if that smart speaker’s powered by Google Assistant, that is. Google this morning announced that its free, ad-supported streaming service is coming to Google Home, as well as its Pixel Buds earbuds and products from Sonos, Bose, Polk, and other third-party manufacturers.It’s available starting today on devices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, and Austria, and will roll out to more countries soon.To get started, head to the Account Settings screen in the Google Home app and tap Services and Music. Then, select YouTube Music as the default music service. If you’re setting up a new Google Home speaker, you’ll need to choose YouTube Music as the default service during setup....
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Facebook’s AI extracts playable characters from real-world videos

AI/ML
Remember those FMV games from the ’90s — the ones that blended prerecorded clips with animated sprites and 3D models? Facebook’s bringing them back in style, but improved tenfold. In a newly published preprint paper on Arxiv.org (“Vid2Game: Controllable Characters Extracted from Real-World Videos“), scientists at Facebook AI Research describe a system capable of extracting controllable characters from real-world videos.“Our method extracts a character from an uncontrolled video and enables us to control its motion,” the paper’s coauthors explain. “The model generates novel image sequences of that person … [and the] generated video can have an arbitrary background, and effectively capture both the dynamics and appearance of the person.”...
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Lack of STEM diversity is causing AI to have a ‘white male’ bias

AI/ML
A report from New York University’s AI Now Institute has found a predominantly white male coding workforce is causing bias in algorithms. The report highlights that – while gradually narrowing – the lack of diverse representation at major technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook is causing AIs to cater more towards white males. […] The post Lack of STEM diversity is causing AI to have a ‘white male’ bias appeared first on AI News.
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Can science writing be automated?

AI/ML
Now, a team of scientists at MIT and elsewhere has developed a neural network, a form of artificial intelligence (AI), that can do much the same thing, at least to a limited extent: It can read scientific papers and render a plain-English summary in a sentence or two.Even in this limited form, such a neural network could be useful for helping editors, writers, and scientists scan a large number of papers to get a preliminary sense of what they're about. But the approach the team developed could also find applications in a variety of other areas besides language processing, including machine translation and speech recognition.The work is described in the journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, in a paper by Rumen Dangovski and Li Jing, both MIT graduate students; Marin Soljačić, a professor of physics at MIT; Preslav Nakov, a senior scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU; and Mićo Tatalović, a former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT and a former editor at New Scientist magazine....
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Amazon Alexa scientists find ways to improve speech and sound recognition

AI/ML
How do assistants like Alexa discern sound? The answer lies in two Amazon research papers scheduled to be presented at this year’s International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in Aachen, Germany. Ming Sun, a senior speech scientist in the Alexa Speech group, detailed them this morning in a blog post.“We develop[ed] a way to better characterize media audio by examining longer-duration audio streams versus merely classifying short audio snippets,” he said, “[and] we used semisupervised learning to train a system developed from an external dataset to do audio event detection.”The first paper addresses the problem of media detection — that is, recognizing when voices captured from an assistant originate from a TV or radio rather than a human speaker. To tackle this, Sun and colleagues devised a machine learning model that identifies certain characteristics common to media sound, regardless of content, to delineate it from speech....
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How AI researchers used Bing search results to reveal disease knowledge gaps in Africa

AI/ML
What can you learn about the health needs of a population through search query data? Where are there opportunities to serve communities with little reliable data, and how can AI play a role?Those are the questions Rediet Abebe has attempted to answer through web-based data like search engine queries or social media data.To dive deeper into how data and AI can help address public health emergencies happening in the United States today, such as the nation’s disproportionately high maternal mortality rate, Abebe currently serves as a member of a 12-member body advising the National Institutes of Health on how machine learning can be better integrated into biomedical and clinical research.“They want us to envision what kind of stuff we’d do to create real bridges between AI and biomedical and public health research,” Abebe said. “I’m really excited about the broad set of techniques we have and the unique style of doing research that the AI community has, and using that to help address problems that impact underserved and marginalized communities.”...
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Why language technology can't handle Game of Thrones (yet)

AI/ML
Natural language processing (NLP) tools are commonly used in many day-to-day applications such as Siri and Google, but the effectiveness of these technologies is not thoroughly understood. Researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Dutch Royal Academy's Humanities Cluster have performed a thorough evaluation of four different name recognition tools on popular 40 novels, including A Game of Thrones. Their analyses, published in PeerJ Computer Science, highlight types of names and texts that are particularly challenging for these tools to identify as well as solutions for mitigating this. In addition, they extracted social networks from the novels to explore differences in story structure. These insights can help make such technologies more robust against genre differences, and can help for example make this technology more useful to journalists wanting to analyse large datasets such as the Panama Papers....
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Apple in talks with self-driving car sensor suppliers

AI/ML
(Reuters) — Apple has held talks with at least four companies as possible suppliers for next-generation lidar sensors in self-driving cars, evaluating the companies’ technology while also still working on its own lidar unit, three people familiar with the discussions said.The moves provide fresh evidence of Apple’s renewed ambitions to enter the autonomous vehicle derby, an effort it calls Project Titan. The talks are focused on next-generation lidar, a sensor that provides a three-dimensional look at the road.Apple is seeking lidar units that would be smaller, cheaper and more easily mass produced than current technology, the three people said. The iPhone maker is setting a high bar with demands for a “revolutionary design,” one of the people familiar with the talks said. The people declined to name the companies Apple has approached....
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Salesforce acquires MapAnything for its location-based intelligence products

AI/ML
Salesforce today revealed that it’s signed a definitive agreement to acquire MapAnything, a Charlotte, North Carolina location-based intelligence software and services provider, for an undisclosed amount. The announcement comes months after MapAnything’s latest funding round, which brought its total raised to nearly $84 million.As TechCrunch notes, the buyout doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. MapAnything’s products have long been available through Salesforce’s AppExchange store, and the ten-year-old startup has been named both a Salesforce SI Partner and ISV Premier Partner.“With MapAnything, Salesforce will be uniquely positioned to extend the power of Sales Cloud and Service Cloud post-closing to deliver market-leading location-based intelligence solutions that improve field sales and service employee productivity and deliver customer success,” Salesforce wrote in a press release. “The addition of MapAnything to Salesforce will help the world’s leading brands accurately plan: how many people they need, where to put them, how to make them as productive as possible, how to track what’s being done in real time and what they can learn to improve going forward. ”...
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Vivienne Sze wins Edgerton Faculty Award

AI/ML
EECS faculty member is recognized for technical innovation, educational excellence, and efforts to advance women and under-represented minorities in her field.
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Most businesses are not ready for voice searches

AI/ML
Amazon ushered in a new era of voice-first computing in mid-2015 when it launched the first Amazon Echo. Four years later, voice-activated assistants on myriad devices have proliferated widely, but Uberal, a location marketing company, found that few local businesses are ready to take advantage. In fact, only 4% have correct, up-to-date information on all the key platforms, according to Norman Rohr, the company’s SVP of marketing.“Google, Yelp, and Bing comprise approximately 90% of our voice search readiness score,” he said. “Unfortunately, only 3.82% of business locations analyzed had correct information even on these three major directories.” Rohr’s study analyzed 73,000 business listings for accuracy and completeness, checking for basic data such as address, hours of operation, contact information, and website. The results are not impressive....
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Giving robots a better feel for object manipulation

AI/ML
In robotic planning, physical simulators are models that capture how different materials respond to force. Robots are "trained" using the models, to predict the outcomes of their interactions with objects, such as pushing a solid box or poking deformable clay. But traditional learning-based simulators mainly focus on rigid objects and are unable to handle fluids or softer objects. Some more accurate physics-based simulators can handle diverse materials, but rely heavily on approximation techniques that introduce errors when robots interact with objects in the real world.In a paper being presented at the International Conference on Learning Representations in May, the researchers describe a new model that learns to capture how small portions of different materials -- "particles" -- interact when they're poked and prodded. The model directly learns from data in cases where the underlying physics of the movements are uncertain or unknown. Robots can then use the model as a guide to predict how liquids, as well as rigid and deformable materials, will react to the force of its touch. As the robot handles the objects, the model also helps to further refine the robot's control....
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AI estimates depression severity from sight and sound

AI/ML
Detecting emotional arousal from the sound of someone’s voice is one thing — startups like Beyond Verbal, Affectiva, and MIT spinout Cogito are leveraging natural language processing to accomplish just that. But there’s an argument to be made that speech alone isn’t enough to diagnose someone with depression, let alone judge its severity.Enter new research from scientists at the Institute of Technology in Patna, India and the University of Caen Normandy (“The Verbal and Non Verbal Signals of Depression – Combining Acoustics, Text and Visuals for Estimating Depression Level”), which examines how nonverbal signs and visuals can drastically improve estimations of depression level. “The steadily increasing global burden of depression and mental illness acts as an impetus for the development of more advanced, personalized and automatic technologies that aid in its detection,” the paper’s authors wrote. “Depression detection is a challenging problem as many of its symptoms are covert.”...
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Facebook is reportedly developing an AI assistant to take on Alexa and Google Assistant

AI/ML
Facebook is reportedly in the process to create its own AI assistant akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, former employees told CNBC. The virtual assistant project is reportedly being managed by employees out of Facebook’s Redmond, Washington office and started last year.The first consumer electronic device made in-house by Facebook, Portal made its debut last fall, but also includes hands-free access to Amazon’s Alexa.An AI assistant made especially for interaction with Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could be particularly unique or powerful, but today Portal only responds to simple voice commands related to starting Facebook Messenger video calls, while other AI assistant-related roles like playing music or weather updates are relegated to Alexa....
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Google’s MorphNet optimizes AI models without sacrificing accuracy

AI/ML
Machine learning algorithms have a fatal flaw: They’re costly to fine-tune (in terms of time and resources) from scratch for specific apps. Some automated approaches attempt to expedite the process by searching for suitable existing models, but researchers at Google’s AI research division have a better idea.In a blog post published this afternoon and accompanying paper (“MorphNet: Fast & Simple Resource-Constrained Structure Learning of Deep Networks“), they describe a technique — MorphNet, which is available in open source on GitHub — that takes as input AI systems and simplifies their architectures. The result is smaller, faster, and better-performing models that can be applied to “Google-scale” problems, said senior software engineer Andrew Poon and Google AI Perception product manager Dhyanesh Narayanan....

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