June 20, 2019

AI/ML

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Bringing AI to Business Users With Microsoft Power Platform, Acquisitions of Tableau by Salesforce, Looker by Google

AI/ML
Three big recent tech moves - one announcement and two acquisitions -- exemplify the trend of making data more available to business users.
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What No One Will Tell You About Data Science Job Applications

AI/ML
Here I am expanding on my answer and post it in public for anyone who’s having trouble finding a data science job, but who doesn’t understand why.
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18 Impressive Applications of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

AI/ML
A Generative Adversarial Network, or GAN, is a type of neural network architecture for generative modeling. Generative modeling involves using a model to generate new examples that plausibly come from an existing distribution of samples, such as generating new photographs that are similar but specifically different from a dataset of existing photographs. A GAN is …
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How Microsoft hopes to preserve privacy while gathering AR map data

AI/ML
As augmented reality (AR) technologies barrel toward ubiquity, a key concern among ethicists remains preserving privacy in data on which the underpinning AI models train. In order to localize themselves in space, AR apps require access to device cameras, which they use to construct digital maps of their surroundings. These maps are often stored persistently either on-device or remotely, and although images aren’t retained along with them, malicious actors with access to them could theoretically infer geometry, appearance, the layout of private spaces, knowledge about objects contained in those spaces, and other sensitive information.That’s why a team at Microsoft and academic collaborators are investigating techniques that obfuscate data without sacrificing performance or accuracy. In a pair of papers scheduled to be presented at the Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2019) conference next week in Long Beach, California, they demonstrate that 3D point clouds and camera localization features are prone to privacy attacks, and they offer a solution that involves transforming the 3D points such that scene geometry is concealed....
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This Dota 2 AI predicts player death within a 5-second window

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If there’s one insight that might be gleaned from continuing AI research, it’s that many events once assumed unknowable are, in fact, predictable with relatively high accuracy. Case in point? A paper (“Time to Die: Death Prediction in Dota 2 using Deep Learning“) published by researchers at the University of York describes a system that can reliably anticipate (within a 5-second window) which player characters won’t survive Dota 2 matches.For the uninitiated, Valve’s Dota 2 — a follow-up to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a community-created mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos — is what’s known as a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA. Two groups of five players, each of which occupy and defend a base, attempt to destroy structures located at opposite ends of the map. Players have a distinct set of abilities, and collect experience points and items that unlock new attacks and defensive moves....
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U.S. Congress targets deepfakes ahead of 2020 election

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The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the U.S. Congress today spoke with a panel of legal and AI experts to discuss the potential of AI-powered manipulated media like deepfakes to degrade trust in democratic institutions and news media, and enable attacks by foreign adversaries on people’s sense of reality.Participants wondered out loud what will happen if deepfakes to defame people like Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are released in the coming election year or if media, intelligence, or military organizations can no longer verify facts about events seen in a video.In business, a deepfake scenario considered at the hearing was the release of a malicious video imitating a CEO ahead of an IPO to tank a company’s stock value on its first day of trading....
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Ditch the data scientists and weaponize your data with AI tech (VB Live)

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Presented by Bold 360 by LogMeInA significant investment in AI technology doesn’t guarantee a positive return. Join this VB Live webinar to learn about the five biggest mistakes companies make when they bring cutting-edge customer service technology to their workflows, and how to leap over these pitfalls and into real results.Register for free right here.Most business leads are aware of the importance of AI, says Michael Butler, head of customer success at Ople, but often don’t know how to get started – or if an investment in AI technology is the smartest route to stacking up real ROI.Previously, as director of global ecommerce at VMWare, he was relying entirely on his data science team, Butler says. The team consisted of about 35 people on staff full time, and the problem was that they were slow to produce models and results. For instance, coming up with a model to score customers most likely to buy a new release would take six weeks; when an anniversary sale came along, it would take another six weeks, starting from scratch each time....
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AI improves Alexa’s error rate with challenging training sets

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Machine learning algorithms at the core of voice assistants learn to make predictions from libraries of labeled samples. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa is regularly fed text snippets like “Play the Prince song 1999,” where “1999” and “Prince” are mapped to the categories “SongName” and “ArtistName,” respectively. It’s a highly effective means of driving systems to classify data on their own, but it’s not exactly easy — annotation is a painstaking process that must be undertaken by hand.That’s why researchers at Amazon’s Alexa AI division devised a so-called active learning approach that selects which training examples to annotate automatically, based on the likelihood they’ll yield a reduction in Alexa’s error rate. They claim that in experiments, it boosted the accuracy of AI models by 7% to 9% relative to training on randomly selected examples....
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San Francisco hopes AI will prevent bias in prosecutions

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San Francisco will soon implement AI in a bid to prevent bias when prosecuting a potential criminal. Even subconscious human biases can impact courtroom decisions. Racial bias in the legal system is particularly well-documented (PDF) and often leads to individuals with darker skin being prosecuted more, or with tougher sentencing, than people with lighter skin […] The post San Francisco hopes AI will prevent bias in prosecutions appeared first on AI News.
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Volvo’s Vera autonomous trucks will transport DFDS goods on public roads

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Volvo has announced a commercial first for its electric autonomous trucks.The Swedish automotive titan has partnered with ferry and logistics giant DFDS to use Volvo Trucks’ autonomous, electric vehicles to transport goods between a logistics hub and a port in Sweden.By way of a quick recap, Volvo has been ramping up its autonomous trucking efforts over the past few years and has engaged in several pilot projects, including a self-steering truck to help sugarcane farmers in Brazil improve their crop yield and an autonomous garbage collection truck. Back in November, Volvo also revealed its first commercial self-driving trucks would be used in mining, transporting limestone along five kilometers of roads and tunnels from mines to a nearby port....
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Elizabeth Warren wants answers from federal agencies about algorithmic bias

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Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today called on multiple federal agencies that deal in finance to address questions about algorithmic bias such as how the Federal Reserve fights lending discrimination.The agencies were asked in a letter whether they carry out analysis to understand the impact of algorithmic decision-making on people of color in the financial services sector, and whether the agencies have seen growth in the number of reported cases of lending discrimination.The letter cites research published in May by University of California, Berkeley that the use of algorithms can lead to discrimination.The use of algorithms can in some instances lead to lower levels of discrimination than when decision-making is carried out by people alone, but overall fintech companies charge African-American and Latinx homeowners 6-9 basis points higher interest rates than white or Asian borrowers. Researchers estimate this adds up to $250-500 million a year in mortgage interest payments by black and Latinx borrowers....
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Telerobotic hands and fingers become your avatar at Amazon re:MARS

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Sometimes robots replace human workers, but other times they augment those workers instead. At Amazon’s re:MARS 2019 conference, a quartet of companies showed off a set of telerobotic arms and hands that let a human operator “feel” what the robot hands were touching. The idea is that the robotic limbs and digits become essentially an avatar for the human operator, who may be standing right there (as was the case with the show floor demo), or may be operating remotely thousands of miles away.The system on display was curiously unnamed, but it’s the result of four companies bringing their technologies together.It uses SynTouch‘s BioTac biomimetic tactile sensor that’s designed to work like a human fingertip, Shadow Robot Company‘s dextrous hand, and haptic feedback and advanced motion capture technology from HaptX. Demonstrators were able to pick up and move a small ball, stack rings on a toddler toy, and even stack red Solo cups....
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Algorithm tells robots where nearby humans are headed

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The robot was programmed to stop momentarily if a person passed by. But the researchers noticed that the robot would often freeze in place, overly cautious, long before a person had crossed its path. If this took place in a real manufacturing setting, such unnecessary pauses could accumulate into significant inefficiencies.The team traced the problem to a limitation in the robot's trajectory alignment algorithms used by the robot's motion predicting software. While they could reasonably predict where a person was headed, due to the poor time alignment the algorithms couldn't anticipate how long that person spent at any point along their predicted path -- and in this case, how long it would take for a person to stop, then double back and cross the robot's path again....
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Essential tips for scaling quality AI data labeling

AI/ML
Presented by CloudFactoryAcross every industry, engineers and scientists are in a race to clean and structure massive amounts of data for AI. Teams of computer vision engineers use labeled data to design and train the deep learning algorithms that self-driving cars use to recognize pedestrians, trees, street signs, and other vehicles. Data scientists are using labeled data and natural language processing (NLP) to automate legal contract review and predict patients who are at higher risk of chronic illness.The success of these systems depends on skilled humans in the loop, who label and structure the data for machine learning (ML). High-quality data yields better model performance. When data labeling is low quality, an ML model will struggle to learn....
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Uber rolls out next-generation self-driving Volvo

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(Reuters) — Uber on Wednesday will unveil its newest Volvo self-driving car in Washington as it works to eventually deploy vehicles without drivers under some limited conditions.Uber said the new production XC90 will be assembled by Volvo Cars in Sweden and have human controls like steering wheels and brake pedals, but added it has factory-installed steering and braking systems designed for computer rather than human control.Other companies are also working to deploy self-driving vehicles in limited areas as the race to push out autonomous cars across the globe heats up.Ford’s majority-owned autonomous vehicle unit, Argo AI, launched its new fleet of self-driving test vehicles — Ford Fusion Hybrid — in Detroit on Wednesday, expanding to five U.S. cities....
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Could playing computer games improve your peripheral vision?

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Researchers have found a significant improvement in the peripheral awareness of people who played computer games specially designed around using peripheral vision.This finding opens up the possibility that these types of games can be used to help improve players' performance in team sports -- so they can spot team-mates quicker -- or to help them to identify potential hazards at the side of their vision.Researchers at Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications were keen to explore how players' peripheral vision might be used within computer games and if playing games could help to improve a players' peripheral awareness."Most computer games involve looking directly at targets, or following the movement of characters, because that is the most natural and intuitive way we use our eyes," said Mr Ramirez Gomez. "We wanted to explore the opposite -- is it possible to play games just by using our peripheral vision, is it possible to develop strategies to overcome the challenge, would it be engaging and fun and could these games improve our peripheral awareness?"...
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Uber will deliver food via drone to San Diego residents in summer 2019

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The next time you order pad thai from your go-to neighborhood joint, a drone might handle delivery duties. Uber announced this morning that this summer it intends to begin operating autonomous quadcopters in San Diego — one of the 10 cities selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to test commercial drones — pending regulatory approval.It’s a project overseen by Uber Elevate, the ride-hailing company’s aerial R&D arm. In pilot tests earlier this year, Elevate orchestrated deliveries of McDonald’s meals up to a half-mile away, beyond the line of sight to customers on the campus of Viejas Arena at San Diego State University and surrounding areas. San Diego restaurant Juniper & Ivy, which doesn’t currently deliver, joined the program in May to offer an off-the-menu double-patty burger item....
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Alexa users in the U.K. can now call Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. for free

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Good news for Vodafone U.K. customers with Alexa-enabled devices on hand: They’ll soon be able to tap their mobile plans to make and receive calls from smart speakers, smart displays, and more via Amazon’s voice assistant. Amazon today announced that beginning this week, eligible subscribers can link their accounts to dial numbers hands-free. Alongside this integration — which the Seattle company’s calling a “global first” — Amazon launched Alexa Outbound Calling, a feature that allows U.K.-based Alexa users both with and without Vodafone plans to call mobile and landline numbers in the U.K., U.S., Canada, and Mexico at no charge.“Every day Alexa helps customers connect with the people who matter most to them,” wrote Amazon in a blog post. “Whether they’re busy with housework or cooking a meal they can stay connected without having to pick up the phone – just ask Alexa. When someone calls your mobile number, Alexa will let you know who is calling by saying ‘Mary would like to talk.’ Then simply say ‘Alexa, answer’ to start your conversation.”...
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Zendesk launches Answer Bot API and mobile SDKs, rolls out Guide Enterprise improvements

AI/ML
Zendesk debuted Answer Bot, a conversational addition to the company’s  Guide Enterprise knowledgebase product, in August 2017, following a months-long pilot involving select customers. At the time, the company said that the chatbot taps an AI model trained on over 12 million support ticket interactions to respond to questions about specs, order status, and subscription changes with articles from personalized libraries, and that it learns to associate relevant content over time with queries to cut down on call center workloads.Answer Bot was limited at launch to select channels, but that’s changing. Today at its annual Showcase London conference, Zendesk announced the expansion of Answer Bot to web and mobile platforms, alongside new Guide Enterprise features....
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Vade raises $79 million to shield email inboxes from phishing attempts, malware, and spam

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Vade Secure, a France- and Boston-based company developing an email filtering stack to protect against phishing, malware, and spam, today announced that it has entered into a €70 million ($79 million) financing agreement with General Catalyst and Neolane founder Stephan Dietrich (who will serve as Vade’s board chair), following the closure of a €10 million ($11.3 million) seed round in September 2017. If the capital infusion is approved by French authorities, it will bring the 10-year-old company’s total raised to €80 million ($90.5 million).CEO George Lotigier says this will support a go-to-market strategy focused on servicing customers through managed service providers in North America, Europe, and Japan; help further develop Vade’s machine learning-based threat detection; and expand its security solutions for third-party email platforms. He claims that Vade’s solutions currently shield more than 600 million inboxes across over 5,000 customers, including Comcast, British Telecom, Orange, SoftBank, Fujitsu Cloud Services, NTT Comm, Telstra, and Cisco....
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Testim raises $10 million to bring its automated software testing to native mobile apps

AI/ML
Automated software testing platform Testim has raised $10 million in a series B round of funding led by SignalFire, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Meron Capital, NHN Ventures, and Spider Capital.Founded in 2014, Testim is one of a number of startups offering companies artificial intelligence (AI)-based tools to continuously test their software. Quality assurance (QA) is a core component of software development, but it can be a time-consuming endeavor — automating these processes help speed things up and minimize bugs in public-facing versions of apps.“To remain competitive, software teams must move faster than ever,” noted Testim founder and CEO Oren Rubin. “We are helping them test more with much less effort, reducing their release risk and increasing their velocity to market.”...
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Facebook to open third London office with 100 new AI roles

AI/ML
Facebook has announced that it’s opening a third office in London that will house 500 new technology jobs — 20% of which will focus on artificial intelligence (AI).Speaking at AI Summit, a two-day event within London’s annual Tech Week, Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), revealed that the company will add to its two existing London hubs with a new base on Shaftesbury Avenue, a prestigious thoroughfare in the center of the U.K. capital.Facebook is no stranger to AI-focused initiatives and has long leveraged automation to detect and remove prohibited content, as well as harnessing computer vision to map demographics and human movement, among other programs. But the company has faced growing criticism for its role in the spread of misinformation, abuse, and general toxicity — Mendelsohn hinted at this by saying that many of the new AI hires will be focused on “safety and security” but stopped short of divulging a specific number....
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Argo AI reveals its third-generation driverless car

AI/ML
Argo.ai, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based driverless car startup founded by former executives from Google’s and Uber’s autonomous technology divisions, today unveiled its third-generation test vehicle: A modified Ford Fusion Hybrid. It boasts mechanical, sensing, compute, and software upgrades, and it replaces the fleet currently on the road in Miami, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Palo Alto. Argo says that the first few cars are already cruising around neighborhoods where the second-gen models previously operated, including Michigan, where the company has expanded testing from Detroit to Dearborn, Corktown, and sections of downtown around Campus Martinus.In a forthcoming blog post on Medium, former Uber engineering lead and Argo AI president Peter Rander explains that the cars, which are outfitted with tech that’s “a step closer” to production specifications and which are designed to drive safely in a variety of conditions, are equipped with a “significantly” upgraded sensor suite. They sport new sets of radar and cameras with higher resolutions and wider dynamic ranges, along with a new computing system that affords more processing power than Argo’s previous cars and an improved thermal management system that minimizes in-vehicle heat and noise....
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Zuckerberg is deepfaked a month after Facebook refused to remove others

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A deepfake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making the rounds a month after his company refused to remove similar videos. Last month, Facebook refused to remove a deepfake video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Rather than making Pelosi appear to say things she never did, the video aimed to portray her as being intoxicated. […] The post Zuckerberg is deepfaked a month after Facebook refused to remove others appeared first on AI News.
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IBM’s Watson Studio AutoAI automates enterprise AI model development

AI/ML
Deploying AI-imbued apps and services isn’t as challenging as it used to be, thanks to offerings like IBM’s Watson Studio (previously Data Science Experience). Watson Studio, which debuted in 2017 after a 12-month beta period, provides an environment and tools that help to analyze, visualize, cleanse, and shape data; to ingest streaming data; and to train and optimize machine learning models in real time. And today, it’s becoming even more capable with the launch of AutoAI, a set of features designed to automate tasks associated with orchestrating AI in enterprise environments.“IBM has been working closely with clients as they chart their paths to AI, and one of the first challenges many face is data prep — a foundational step in AI,” said general manager of IBM Data and AI Rob Thomas in a statement. “We have seen that complexity of data infrastructures can be daunting to the most sophisticated companies, but it can be overwhelming for those with little to no technical resources. The automation capabilities we’re putting Watson Studio are designed to smooth the process and help clients start building machine learning models and experiments faster.”...
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DJI’s RoboMaster S1 is a four-wheeled robot that teaches kids how to code

AI/ML
DJI, which was founded over a decade ago by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology enrollee Frank Wang,  is perhaps best known for drones like the Mavic Pro and Air, the Ronin S, the Matrice, and the Phantom 4. The Shenzhen, China-based company has an estimated 85% of the worldwide drone market, and while it prefers to keep shipment numbers close to the chest, DJI reportedly has more than $2 billion in sales across 100 countries and raised capital last year at a valuation of $15 billion.While semiautonomous quadcopters remain DJI’s bread and butter, the company has dipped its toes into complementary segments, like gimbal-stabilized camcorders (Osmo) and virtual reality heads-up displays (Goggles). Now, in what appears to be a grab for an anticipated $1 billion market, DJI is launching its first-ever product built explicitly for education: the RoboMaster S1....
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The 3 critical AI research questions (VB Live)

AI/ML
Presented by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.AI is dramatically enhancing industries, products, and core capabilities. But to make AI truly ubiquitous, it needs to run on end devices within a tight power and thermal budget. To learn more about the research that is advancing AI adoption, don’t miss this VB Live event featuring Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Engineering, Jilei Hou, and analyst.Jack Gold.Register here for free. “We’re not anywhere near a steady state with AI,” says Jack Gold, tech analyst and founder and president of J. Gold Associates. “AI is starting to take off, but we’re nowhere near the top of the hockey stick.”The truth is that what we’re seeing now implemented in AI, while useful, is really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s still very much a custom environment in the sense that you have to do a lot of fine tuning, so it’s not completely scalable right now in a way that is able to handle all of the things that people really want it to do....
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Facebook AI researchers’ MelNet AI sounds like Bill Gates

AI/ML
A pair of Facebook AI researchers used TED Talks and other data to make AI that closely mimics music and the voices of famous people, including Bill Gates. MelNet is a generative model that uses spectrogram visuals of audio for training data instead of waveforms. Doing so allows for the capture of multiple seconds of timesteps from audio, then creates models for end-to-end text-to-speech, unconditional speech, and solo piano music generation. MelNet was also trained to generate multi-speaker speech models.Using spectrograms instead of waveforms allows for the capture of timesteps for several seconds. Well-known synthesizers of voices like Google’s WaveNet rely on waveforms instead of spectrograms for training AI systems....
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Best Resources for Getting Started With Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

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Generative Adversarial Networks, or GANs, are a type of deep learning technique for generative modeling. GANs are the techniques behind the startlingly photorealistic generation of human faces, as well as impressive image translation tasks such as photo colorization, face de-aging, super-resolution, and more. It can be very challenging to get started with GANs. This is …
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Research: AI is a ‘welcome boost’ that could add millions to GDP

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New research from McKinsey and Quantumblack suggests UK businesses adopting AI could see their value increase by 120 percent within a decade. AI overall could provide a 22 percent GDP boost worth millions to the UK economy, according to the research. However, the report warns that firms which do not integrate AI into their day-to-day […] The post Research: AI is a ‘welcome boost’ that could add millions to GDP appeared first on AI News.
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Neurotrack raises $21 million to detect and track dementia

AI/ML
Neurotrack, a Redwood City-based startup developing cognitive tests that can detect impairments in the hippocampus, the first structure in the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s, today announced that it’s raised $21 million in series C financing led by by Khosla Ventures, with participation from strategic investors Sozo Ventures, Japanese insurance providers Dai-ichi Life and Sompo Holdings, Rethink Impact, AME Cloud Partners, and Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff. Previous backers include Johnson & Johnson and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA)The fresh capital brings Neurotrack’s total funding to date to $50 million, which includes over $7 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. The company says the investments will be used to drive adoption of its memory health program, advance its mission of changing how people manage their cognitive health, and continue development in global markets....
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Intel researchers compress AI models without compromising accuracy

AI/ML
The size of AI models correlates with their training times, generally speaking, such that larger models take more time — and subsequently more compute — to train. It’s possible to optimize the connections among the mathematical functions (or neurons) through a process known as pruning, which reduces their overall size without compromising accuracy. But pruning can’t be performed until after training.That’s why researchers at Intel devised a technique that approaches training from the opposite direction, beginning with a compact model and modifying the structure based on data during training. They claim it’s more scalable and computationally efficient than starting with a large model followed by compression, because training operates directly on the compact model. And they claim that — unlike past attempts — it’s able to train a small model with performance equivalent to a large pruned model....
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Amazon researchers bolsters Alexa’s language learning with preexisting knowledge

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You’d think that adapting Alexa, which supports a range of languages including Spanish, German, and Japanese, to varieties within a dialect continua would be a piece of cake compared with “teaching” it new language families, but this isn’t so. According to the Seattle company’s researchers, the gulf is wide between British English and American English, say, that it often necessitates training machine learning models from scratch.That’s not ideal — Alexa should theoretically be able to bootstrap language training using preexisting knowledge. That’s why scientists at Amazon are investigating a technique that susses out the topic of a customer’s request, such as music, weather, or sports, and identifies those which aren’t relevant to a given domain....
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Pryon raises $20 million to automate enterprise workloads with AI

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Pryon, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based provider of AI-powered tools targeting enterprise, today announced that it’s raised $20 million in a series A funding round in partnership with Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, with participation from Breyer Capital and Digital Alpha Advisors. The capital infusion follows on the heels of a $4.5 million seed round in November 2018, and CEO Igor Jablokov says it’ll be used to further develop Pryon’s core product, grow its roster of Fortune 500 customers, and develop strategic partnerships.“There is an opportunity for organizations to revolutionize their workplaces by giving employees the power of AI at their command,” added Jablokov. “We fill the market space between emerging technologies that are difficult and expensive to implement and existing products that are designed for simple rules-based services.”...
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Amazon will serve any government agency with facial recognition technology, so long as it’s legal

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(Reuters) — The head of Amazon.com Inc’s cloud computing division on Monday said the company would work with any government agency that followed the law, in contrast with rival Microsoft Corp, which has touted its rejection of controversial sales.“We will serve the federal government, and they will have to use the technology responsibly,” Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, said at the 2019 Code Conference after being asked if the company worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Any government department that’s following the law, we will serve them.”However, Jassy said he hopes that the federal regulators “hurry up”, adding that “otherwise, you’ll have 50 different laws in 50 different states.”...
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Scoutbee raises $12 million to match companies with suppliers

AI/ML
Procuring parts and settling on suppliers are two of the most challenging undertakings in supply chain management, it’s safe to say. Companies aren’t always transparent about their networks and capacities, and short of conducting exhaustive searches and validating each candidate individually, the solutions are few and far between.That’s why, in 2015, four German entrepreneurs — Christian Heinrich, Fabian Heinrich, Gregor Stühler, and Lee Galbraith — founded Scoutbee, which develops and sells access to a uniquely AI-driven supplier discovery platform. They’ve caught the attention of investors, evidently — Scoutbee today announced that it’s raised $12 million in series A funding contributed by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, 42Cap, and Toba Capital, bringing its total raised to $15.5 million....
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Facebook promises new Portal devices this fall

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Facebook’s Portal division will introduce multiple new devices this fall, Facebook VP of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth said at the Code conference in Phoenix, Arizona. CNBC first reported the news and a company spokesperson that VentureBeat followed up with declined to provide more details.Portal and Portal+ devices for Facebook Messenger video calls and conversations with Amazon AI assistant Alexa made their debut in October 2018 with 15- and 10-inch screens. Alongside the devices, Facebook created the Portal unit as part of its AR/VR division to make devices for the home.Facebook’s screen-with-voice-assistant offering competes with similar devices like Amazon’s Echo Show 5 and Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub and Hub Max....
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Amazon launches Personalize, a fully managed AI-powered recommendation service

AI/ML
Delivering personalized experiences to customers just got easier, thanks to Amazon. The Seattle company today announced the general availability of Amazon Personalize, an AWS service that facilitates the development of websites, mobile apps, and content management and email marketing systems that suggest products, provide tailored search results, and customize funnels on the fly.It’s in select AWS regions to start, including US East (Ohio), US East (North Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Singapore) and EU (Ireland). Additional locations are on the way.“We are excited to share with AWS customers the expertise we’ve developed during two decades of using machine learning to deliver great experiences on Amazon.com,” said VP of machine learning at AWS Swami Sivasubramanian. “Customers have been asking for Amazon Personalize, and we are eager to see how they implement these services to delight their own end users. And the best part is that these artificial intelligence services, like Amazon Personalize, do not require any machine learning experience to immediately train, tune, and deploy models to meet their business demands.”...
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Facebook launches PyTorch Hub for reproducing AI model results

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Reproducibility puts the science in the computer science of AI. It’s how researchers can prove their AI systems are robust and reliable. To support reproducibility for AI models, Facebook today released PyTorch Hub in beta, an API and workflow for research reproducibility and support.PyTorch Hub can quickly publish pretrained models to a GitHub repository by adding a hubconf.py file and publish models using a GitHub pull request. PyTorch Hub comes with support for models in Google Colab and PapersWithCode.“Our goal is to curate high-quality, easily-reproducible, maximally-beneficial models for research reproducibility. Hence, we may work with you to refine your pull request and in some cases reject some low-quality models to be published,” the PyTorch team said in a blog post today. “With the continued growth in the number of research publications, including tens of thousands of papers now hosted on arXiv and submissions to conferences at an all time high, research reproducibility is more important than ever.”...
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Google launches TensorFlow.Text library for language AI models

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Google today introduced TensorFlow.Text, a library for preprocessing language models with TensorFlow. The open source machine learning framework created by the Google Brain team has seen more than 41 million downloads.TensorFlow.Text can be installed using PIP and comes with the ability to utilize tokens to break apart and analyze text like words, numbers, and punctuation.At launch, TensorFlow.Text can recognize white space, unicode script, and predetermined sequences of word fragments like suffixes or prefixes that Google calls wordpieces. Wordpieces are commonly used by in approaches like BERT, a pretraining technique for language models Google open-sourced last fall.The library also comes with ops for normalization, n-grams, and sequence constraints for labeling, according to a Medium post announcing the news....
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Voice Control hands-on: Deep OS navigation for iPads, iPhones, and Macs

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When Apple debuted Siri with 2011’s iPhone 4S, it effectively stopped work on a useful but more limited feature that had arrived with the iPhone 3GS only two years earlier: Voice Control, a speech recognition system that enabled users to make phone calls and play songs by just saying them to early iPhones — even without internet connectivity. Apple barely said anything about Voice Control after Siri debuted, and notably didn’t enable the feature to work whenever Siri couldn’t make an internet connection, but it kept it buried in iOS for users who needed it.Now Voice Control is making a huge comeback this year across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, where it’s effectively merging and expanding upon features that were previously floating in one operating system or the other. As of iOS/iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina, Voice Control will let users do four key things without needing to rely on an internet connection or Siri....
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Apple reportedly wants to ‘acqui-hire’ self-driving car startup Drive.ai

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Apple is reportedly mulling a purchase of self-driving car startup Drive.ai in an ‘acqui-hire’ deal to grab its talent. Drive.ai is full of skilled personnel after being founded in 2016 by a pioneering team of graduates from Stanford’s AI lab. With AI talent in short supply, it seems Apple is considering purchasing a whole company […] The post Apple reportedly wants to ‘acqui-hire’ self-driving car startup Drive.ai appeared first on AI News.
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Innoviz raises $38 million for lidar and perception software

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Innoviz, an Israel-based developer of solid-state lidar sensors and perception software, today announced the closure of its series C funding round with over $170 million, bringing its total raised to $252 million — a great deal more (by $38 million) than the $132 million round total it reported in March. Cofounder and CEO Omer Keilaf said in a statement that the fresh capital will benefit the company’s broader business activities, support the enhancement of its perception software, and accelerate mass production and commercialization.“Innoviz’s track record is filled with forward momentum that is further reinforced by the new funding and these two valuable additions to our team,” added Keilaf. “This solidifies our ability to support the enormous autonomy efforts underway across the globe; to enrich our product pipeline; to collaborate across automotive, mapping, robotics and drone/UAV industries and fully execute on our vision.”...
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Alyce raises $11.5 million to facilitate corporate gifting

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Why wrap, sign, and send hundreds of gifts to clients when a third-party outfit could do it for you? That’s the idea behind corporate gifting startups like Sendoso, which source those sales, marketing, customer success, and holiday swag and track return on investment. Such companies are gunning for a slice of a segment that’s worth an estimated $125 billion, according to Knack.Still, it’s a nascent industry with plenty of room for growth, which is perhaps why Boston-based gifting platform Alyce is gearing up for expansion. Alyce today announced that it’s raised $11.5 million in series A financing led by Manifest, with participation from General Catalyst, Boston Seed Capital, Golden Ventures, Morningside, and Victress Capital. CEO and cofounder Greg Segall says the fresh capital, which brings the company’s total raised to over $15 million, will accelerate its sales, marketing, and customer success efforts....
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AI helps drones dodge fast-moving objects

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Drones capable of autonomous avoidance aren’t novel — DJI has featured them in its lineup for years. But what about quadcopters that can dodge fast-moving projectiles? That’s what scientists from the University of Maryland and ETH Zurich describe in a newly published paper (“EVDodge: Embodied AI For High-Speed Dodging On A Quadrotor Using Event Cameras“) on the preprint server Arxiv.org. They claim that their philosophical “reimagining” of navigation stacks, dubbed Embodied AI, enables virtually any drone to avoid moving obstacles with no more than cameras and an onboard computer.They intend to release the accompanying code and training data set after the paper is accepted for publication....
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Vectra raises $100 million to protect cloud environments with AI

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Cybersecurity is a hot topic — and for good reason. There’s a hack attempt roughly every 39 seconds, according to a study conducted by the Clark School at the University of Maryland, and the SANS Institute reports that one in five businesses had serious unauthorized access to their cloud environment this past year alone. Breaches are costly, unsurprisingly: In 2020, it’s anticipated that costs stemming from data compromises will exceed $150 million.That’s all to say that companies like San Jose, California-based Vectra, a provider of AI-powered network detection and response services, are in demand to the tune of $12.7 billion. Case in point? Vectra today announced that it’s closed a $100 million round led by growth equity firm TCV, with participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures, Accel Partners, IA Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, DAG Ventures, Wipro Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, and Nissho Electronics Corporation....
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Google Assistant launches in Waze on Android in the U.S.

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For the roughly 110 million people who use Waze to navigate cities and countrysides globally, there’s good news: The Google Assistant tie-in teased at Google’s I/O 2019 developer conference is officially live. The Mountain View company today announced that U.S.-based Android users will start to see Google Assistant in Waze (in English) this week, with expanded support in the near future.As was detailed a few weeks back, Google Assistant in Waze’s turn-by-turn navigation screen can orchestrate a slew of tasks that would normally require lots of button swipes and taps, including queuing up and controlling playback of songs and podcasts, directly messaging contacts, placing phone calls, and more. Additionally, Google Assistant can kick off Waze-specific features like reporting accidents and construction, checking for alternate routes, avoiding tolls, and previewing upcoming traffic with utterances like “Hey Google, report construction” and “Hey Google, avoid tolls.”...
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Microsoft debuts new AI capabilities in Power BI, makes PowerApps portals generally available

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It was only a few weeks ago that Microsoft announced enhancements heading to Power BI and PowerApps, its no-code business analytics service and web apps design platforms, respectively. But that didn’t stop it from unveiling yet another set of features during the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Atlanta, Georgia this week, where the company took the wraps off a new look for Power BI and improvements in Microsoft Flow, a service which lets users create rule-based workflows that automatically trigger actions, along with improvements in Power BI and PowerApps.“We are getting tremendous feedback and energy from our customers and developers. That feedback helps us develop products that are tailored to their needs,” said Microsoft corporate vice president James Phillips. “From there we get to see them innovate and thrive. It’s been amazing to see us growing across the board, but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing our customers, partners, and developers in action.”...
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The democratization of AI: Why it’s time to make the investment

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Presented by Bold360 by LogMeInThe question of whether AI will transform the world as we know it is settled. What’s to be decided is which businesses will seize the opportunity to embrace the benefits of AI. By 2022, 93 percent of companies will have implemented AI and cognitive solutions, and those that begin now will have a competitive advantage in an AI-driven world.The good news? Any hesitation about jumping on the AI train can be put to rest. There are now ways to integrate AI and machine learning into your workflows and product development without hiring a team of pricy data scientists. The leap in affordability and ease of implementation now makes AI accessible to all.Early wins for all kinds of companies are being seen in customer experience. By integrating AI into customer experience and support, business leaders are seeing significant cost-savings and impressive leaps in revenue and customer satisfaction scores....
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Aurora and Fiat Chrysler partner to build commercial autonomous vehicle platforms

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(Reuters) — Self-driving car software startup Aurora said on Sunday it would partner with Fiat Chrysler to build autonomous platforms for commercial vehicles, the latest collaboration with an automaker for the fast-growing Silicon Valley company.The deal with one of the Big Three will expand Aurora’s scope, “allowing us to offer a variety of solutions to strategic customers in logistics, transit and other use cases,” the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a brief statement.Besides for ride hailing fleets, automakers and others are interested in self-driving technology for commercial applications, such as delivery vans.Financial terms were not disclosed.Aurora already has partnerships with Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co and China’s Byton to develop and test self-driving systems for a range of applications for automakers, fleet owners and others....
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Spacemaker raises $25 million to power urban construction projects with AI

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By 2050, the world will be home to nearly 10 billion people, some 2.5 billion more than the planet’s population today — and two-thirds of those will live in cities. The need to optimize urban living environments is why Norwegian startup Spacemaker is building what it calls “the world’s first commercial platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help architects, urban planners, and developers make better decisions faster,” according to company cofounder and CEO Håvard Haukeland.Spacemaker today announced a $25 million round of funding co-led by Atomico and Northzone, with participation from a host of industry investors, including Nordic property developers NREP and Obos — which also happen to be Spacemaker clients — and U.K. real estate tech fund Round Hill Ventures....
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AI needs a certification process, not legislation

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Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a part of daily life. Enterprise implementations of AI-based technologies tripled in 2018, according to Gartner. At the same time, it’s reaching ubiquity in consumer-facing applications, helping us write our emails, discover new music, and get on-demand customer support. At every touchpoint, our data is being collected and used to make machines faster and smarter, and that’s driving calls for regulation from global citizens, governments, and companies who want to ensure deployments of machine and deep learning algorithms are safe and ethical.While implementing laws to protect consumers from “AI-gone-wild” may seem like a reasonable proposition, it’s one that’s doomed to fail. We need only look at the case of GDPR to see how well-intentioned initiatives can end up becoming virtually unenforceable laws. Even the Principles on AI from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), are unlikely to make a real impact, since, as non-binding recommendations, there are no ramifications for non-compliance....
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One-Shot Learning with Siamese Networks, Contrastive Loss, and Triplet Loss for Face Recognition

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One-shot learning is a classification task where one, or a few, examples are used to classify many new examples in the future. This characterizes tasks seen in the field of face recognition, such as face identification and face verification, where people must be classified correctly with different facial expressions, lighting conditions, accessories, and hairstyles given …
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Cities, not countries or corporations, should regulate AI

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Prescribing rules for robots used to be a game for sci-fi fans. Now it is an urgent task for serious people. There is broad agreement among governments, policymakers, companies, and the general public that AI must be regulated. Why?First, AI affects human well-being. It impacts both petty and profound aspects of people’s lives — from the ads they see and the music they hear to how much they are paid and whether they can vote. If social rules exist to ensure that questions like these are settled fairly, then AI should be required to meet the standards of fairness expressed in such rules.Second, although the human mind is an astonishingly complex machine, AI comes pretty close to recreating it. In fact, AI technology can sometimes process so much data so rapidly that it has a cognitive advantage over humans. If we harness AI properly, it can extend our capabilities. This presents heady opportunities – but also dangers. We must apply rules to AI to maximize its power to do good while limiting the risk of misuse....
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AI Weekly: Amazon’s robots could cut delivery times, but eliminate jobs

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Today marked the end of Amazon’s inaugural re:MARS in Las Vegas, where roughly 3,000 engineers, academics, programmers, astronauts, artists, entrepreneurs, and NBA players from over 40 countries gathered to glean insight from luminaries in machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and space travel. It didn’t disappoint with respect to sheer breadth of content: roughly 100 breakout presentations, workshops, and a technical showcase doomed this writer’s mission to cover everything from the start.Robert Downey Jr., channeling his inner Iron Man, announced the Footprint Coalition on Wednesday, which will seek to significantly “clean up” the planet with the next 11 years. Amazon VP and head scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, introduced Conversations, a deep learning-based way to create Alexa skills with multi-turn dialogue that can interconnect with other Alexa skills. Zoox CEO Aicha Evans detailed the hardware and software underpinning the company’s custom-designed and shuttle-like driverless vehicles. And that was just the tip of a big iceberg....
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Facebook AI study: Major object recognition systems favor people with more money

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Computer vision for recognizing household objects works better for people in high-income households, according to analysis of 6 major object detection systems shared today by Facebook AI researchers. The study examined object classification systems made by Facebook, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS, IBM Watson, and Clarifai.Results show the 6 systems work between 10-20% better for the wealthiest households than they do for the poorest households.A company spokesperson declined to share specific figures on the performance of other individual companies, but Facebook’s system had an accuracy gap as high as 20% between a home making $3,500 a month or more in the United States and a household with an income of $50 a month or less in countries like Somalia and Burkina Faso....
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Amazon trains Scout with highly accurate recreations of real-world neighborhoods

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Amazon in January took the wraps off of Scout, an autonomous delivery drone that’s today ferrying goods to homes in Snohomish County, Washington, near Seattle’s King County. And this morning during a session at the company’s inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, Hao Chen, senior principal engineer of Scout, detailed a few of the simulation systems Amazon’s using to train the AI algorithms that underpin its navigation systems.For the uninitiated, Scout is a watertight, six-wheeled, cooler-sized robot that was developed, built, assembled, and programmed in-house by Amazon engineers. It’s designed to be robust, with wheels that made of material firm enough to survive the rigors of daily sidewalk driving, and it packs cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and other sensors that enable it to detect and maneuver around obstacles in real time....
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Google open-sources soccer reinforcement learning simulator

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About a dozen members of the Google Brain team today open-sourced Google Research Football Environment, a 3D reinforcement learning simulator for training AI to master soccer. The environment can simulate soccer matches, including particular scenarios like corner and penalty kicks, goals, and offsides. The news comes today at the start of the Women’s World Cup starts in France and a day after Google introduced pricing and games for its Stadia cloud gaming service.“Researchers can directly experience how the game works by playing against each other or by dueling their agents. The game can be controlled by means of both keyboards and gamepads. Moreover, replays of several rendering qualities can be automatically stored while training, so that it is easy to inspect the policies agents are learning,” researchers said in a paper that accompanies the package on GitHub....
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Google walkout organizer walks away

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One of two Google walkout organizers who claimed retaliation by management after protests last fall is leaving the company. Claire Stapleton worked in Google’s social marketing department in New York, and had been with the company since 2007.The protest that took place in November 2018 included more than 20,000 participants from 50 Google offices around the world.News of a $90 million payout to former Google VP Andy Rubin after sexual harassment claims sparked the protest, but Google’s Dragonfly project to bring its search engine to China and Maven AI work with the U.S. military were also motivation for other walkout participants, according to a release from the group Google Walkout For Change....
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Google’s AI generates videos with ‘unprecedented complexity’

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Generating videos from whole cloth isn’t anything new for neural networks — layers of mathematical functions modeled after biological neurons. In fact, researchers last week described a machine learning system capable of hallucinating clips from start and end frames alone. But because of the inherent randomness, complexity, and information denseness of videos, modeling realistic clips at scale remains something of a grand challenge for AI.A team of scientists at Google Research, however, say they’ve made progress with novel networks that are able to produce “diverse” and “surprisingly realistic” frames from open source video data sets at scale. They describe their method in a newly published paper on the preprint server Arxiv.org (“Scaling Autoregressive Video Models“), and on a webpage containing selected samples of the model’s outputs....
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Autonomous Ships of the Future: Run by AI Instead of a Crew

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Efforts are underway especially by builders of cargo ships to use AI to deliver on the promise of autonomous ships, where AI takes over for the crew.
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Infosys: On how edge computing and blockchain will be key in different ways for AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone beyond the way of the buzzword, all hype and no substance. Indeed, the technology is being increasingly seen in the enterprise as important in concert with other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing. A report from KPMG last month explored how artificial intelligence would look […] The post Infosys: On how edge computing and blockchain will be key in different ways for AI appeared first on AI News.
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Jeff Bezos: Blue Origin is going to the moon to ‘save the Earth’

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said his other company, Blue Origin, is going to the moon to “save the Earth.” The idea is that moving more of humanity into space could be part of a long-term strategy to protect the Earth.“To do big things in space, we need to use in-space resources, and so the moon is great. The reason we go to space, in my view, is to save the Earth. [If] we are going to continue to grow this civilization, we need the moon,” he said. “I’m talking about something that our grandchildren will work on and have their grandchildren work on, and so on. This isn’t something that this generation is going to accomplish, but we need to move heavy industry off Earth. It will be better done in space anyway. It will be way easier in space, and Earth will be zoned residential and flight industry.”...
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How to Develop a Face Recognition System Using FaceNet in Keras

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Face recognition is a computer vision task of identifying and verifying a person based on a photograph of their face. FaceNet is a face recognition system developed in 2015 by researchers at Google that achieved then state-of-the-art results on a range of face recognition benchmark datasets. The FaceNet system can be used broadly thanks to …
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Zoox CEO explains what makes the company’s self-driving cars better: four-wheel steering, big batteries, AI

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Aicha Evans, CEO of Foster City, California-based Zoox, spoke during a keynote about the challenges facing self-driving cars and the promise they might hold if those challenges are overcome. And for the first time, she detailed a few of the hardware and software stacks underlying the company’s custom-designed vehicle platform — stacks which in part convinced investors to pledge more than $800 million in capital toward Zoox’s research and development.Evans believes that three core competencies are required to build the driverless car of the future: artificial intelligence, fully autonomous driving, and a battery-powered electric frame designed for AI. “The new era of mobility requires a radically different approach, not an incremental approach — one that was optimized for human drivers,” said Evans....
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How artificial intelligence can help detect rare diseases

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Many patients with rare diseases go through lengthy trials and tribulations until they are correctly diagnosed. "This results in a loss of valuable time that is actually needed for early therapy in order to avert progressive damage," explains Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. Phys. Peter Krawitz from the Institute for Genomic Statistics and Bioinformatics at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB). Together with an international team of researchers, he demonstrates how artificial intelligence can be used to make comparatively quick and reliable diagnoses in facial analysis.The researchers used data of 679 patients with 105 different diseases caused by the change in a single gene. These include, for example, mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), which leads to bone deformation, learning difficulties and stunted growth. Mabry syndrome also results in intellectual disability. All these diseases have in common that the facial features of those affected show abnormalities. This is particularly characteristic, for example, of Kabuki syndrome, which is reminiscent of the make-up of a traditional Japanese form of theatre. The eyebrows are arched, the eye-distance is wide and the spaces between the eyelids are long....
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Self-driving car startup Gatik emerges from stealth with $4.5 million in seed funding and Walmart partnership

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Gatik, a two-year-old startup developing an autonomous vehicle stack for business-to-business short-haul logistics, today emerged from stealth with $4.5 million in seed funding led by Innovation Endeavors, with participation from Trucks Venture Capital, Dynamo Venture Capital, Fontinalis Partners, and AngelPad. Coinciding with the close of its funding round, the Toronto and Palo Alto, California-based company announced that it’s inked a deal with Walmart and additional commercial partners that’ll be revealed later in the year.“We are a strong believer in autonomous vehicle technology, and we look forward to learning more about how Gatik’s innovation can benefit our customers in the coming months,” said senior vice president of digital operations at Walmart Tom Ward of the partnership....
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Hospitals embracing AI will receive extra cash to incentivise adoption

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The chief executive of the NHS in the UK has said hospitals will receive extra cash for replacing clinicians and embracing new technologies such as AI. Simon Stevens says the plans are part of an initiative to improve patient outcomes and deliver savings. Stevens admits some jobs are at risk, as roles such as radiographers […] The post Hospitals embracing AI will receive extra cash to incentivise adoption appeared first on AI News.
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Amazon’s AI rewrites voice commands in natural language to reduce false positives

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“Reference resolution” is a considerable challenge in natural language processing — in the context of AI assistants like Alexa, it entails correctly associating a word like “their” in the utterance like “play their latest album” with a given musician. Scientists at Amazon have previously addressed it by tapping AI that maps correspondences between variables used by different services, but these mappings tend to be application-specific and not particularly scalable.That’s why now, researchers at the Seattle company are actively exploring a technique that rewrites commands in natural language by substituting names and other data for references (for instance, rewriting “Play their latest album” as “Play Imagine Dragons’ latest album”). Given a word of an input sequence, their contextual query rewrite engine adds a word to an ouput sequence according to probabilities computed by the machine learning algorithm....
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The evolving security risks, and business rewards, of AI and machine learning

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AI is being leveraged now for a growing list of advanced security protocols, and yet AI in itself can actually pose security risks for both companies and users. The same kind of algorithms designed to identify threats and micropatterns in malicious activities in real time can be leveraged to design attacks and dodge detection. Poorly protected AI-powered tools can be exploited. And privacy concerns are mounting.But the benefits of AI far, far outpace any drawbacks. At Transform 2019, we’ve gathered a carefully curated collection of top execs with on-the-ground experience reaping the tremendous business advantages of AI while minimizing the risks.Here’s a look at just a few of the sessions where we’ll be tackling the issue....
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Realeyes raises $12.4 million to help brands detect emotion using AI on facial expressions

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Artificial emotional intelligence, or “emotion AI,” is emerging as a key component of the broader AI movement. The general idea is this: It’s all very well having machines that can understand and respond to natural-language questions, and even beat humans at games, but until they can decipher non-verbal cues such as vocal intonations, body language, and facial expressions, humans will always have the upper hand in understanding other humans.And it’s against that backdrop that countless companies are working toward improving computer vision and voice analysis techniques, to help machines detect the intricate and finely balanced emotions of a flesh-and-bones homo sapiens.One of those companies is Realeyes, a company that helps big brands such as AT&T, Mars, Hershey’s, and Coca-Cola gauge human emotions through desktop computers’ and mobile devices’ cameras. The London-based startup, which was founded in 2007, today announced a fresh $12.4 million round of funding from Draper Esprit, the VC arm of Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo, Japanese VC fund Global Brain, Karma Ventures, and The Entrepreneurs Fund. It follows a $16.2 million series A financing last May....
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GetSafe raises $17 million to sell insurance policies through a smartphone app

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The insurance industry is on an upswing. According to a survey published by S&P Global Market Intelligence, net premiums in the U.S. totaled $1.2 trillion in 2017, with premiums recorded by life and health insurers accounting for 52%. In the first half of that same year, insurance tech startups attracted roughly $162.38 million, and Investopedia forecasts that the overall market will grow 41% between 2019 and 2023.It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that startups like GetSafe — which bills itself as a “mobile-first” insurance company — are gunning for expansion. The Heidelberg, Germany-based firm today announced that it’s secured of €15 million ($17 million) in series A funding led by Earlybird, with participation from CommerzVentures and other existing backers. It brings GetSafe’s total raised to nearly $40 million, and cofounder and CEO Christian Wiens says it’ll be used to fuel the company’s customer care, software development, and data science efforts and its market expansion....
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Amazon credits AI-driven enhancements and mathematical optimizations for Locker growth

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At breakout session during Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, Samyukta Sethuraman, a senior research scientist at the Seattle company’s cross-disciplinary AI team, gave an update on Amazon Locker, Amazon’s self-service parcel delivery service. She revealed that Locker usage is growing at a steady clip, and that thanks to machine learning, it’s becoming both more consistent and more reliable.For the uninitiated, Locker allows shoppers to select physical lockers located in shopping centers, business parks, gas stations, and convenience stores as their delivery address, and retrieve their orders at that location by entering a unique pickup code on the locker’s touch screen. Customers can choose among several delivery options (e.g., same-day, next-day, and 3-5 days) and packages stay in lockers for a maximum of six days....
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Intel’s Naveen Rao thinks AI will transform health, solve world hunger, and support space travel

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During a wide-ranging discussion at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, Naveen Rao, corporate vice president and general manager of AI at Intel, spoke about machine learning’s rapid progress and the fields it might transform, in addition to the steps he believes must be taken to ensure it’s not abused.Rao compared the advent of modern AI approaches techniques with the iPhone. Like the iPhone, he said, machine learning — a technique underlying systems from Amazon’s Alexa to Google Lens — wasn’t the first form of AI, but it was nonetheless “exciting” and “consequential.” He characterizes the coming AI revolution as the single largest transition the human species has ever encountered....
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AMD and Samsung: A match made for mobile gaming

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On Monday, AMD and Samsung announced a licensing agreement whereby Samsung would license AMD Radeon graphics technology to be incorporated into future Samsung chips. If you missed the announcement, that’s likely because it came on the opening day of Apple’s WWDC, which of course garnered massive coverage. But for all the intense interest in Apple, the AMD announcement may actually have some massive ramifications that could reshape not only the mobile market, but many other consumer markets as well.According to the press release:So what does this mean? Samsung has had designs on being a major player of chips powering smartphones, not only for its own phones, but as a supplier to other makers as well. Indeed, its Exynos chip sets have actually powered many of Samsung’s phones – but not its flagship phones shipping in the US or parts of Europe. For those devices, Samsung understood it needed the best performance possible, and for that it used the top rated Qualcomm Snapdragon chips – hands down the best chips available. As a result, Exynos has been relegated to powering lower tier devices....
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Amazon Go uses synthetic data to train cashierless store algorithms

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Amazon shared more details today about Amazon Go, the company’s brand for its cashierless stores, including the use of synthetic data to intentionally introduce errors to its computer vision system. Challenges that had to be addressed before opening stores to kill queues include the need to make vision systems that account for sunlight streaming into a store, little time for latency delays, and small amounts of data for certain tasks.Synthetic data is being used in a number of ways to power few-shot learning, improve AI systems that control robots, train AI agents to walk, or beat humans in games of Quake III.“As our application improved in accuracy — and we have a very highly accurate application today — we had this interesting problem that there were very few negative examples, or errors, which we could use to train our machine learning models,” Dilip Kumar, VP of Amazon Go, said. “So we created synthetic datasets for one of our challenging conditions, which allowed us to be able to boost the diversity of the data that we needed. But at the same time, we have to be careful that we weren’t introducing artifacts that were only visible in the synthetic data sets, [and] that the data translates well to real-world situations — a tricky balance.”...
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Amazon’s StyleSnap uses AI to let you shop looks from magazines, social media, and more

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Ever wish you could shop the look on Amazon? Soon, you’ll be able to do just that thanks to the Seattle company’s forthcoming StyleSnap feature, which suggests styles from screenshots and pics of magazines, websites, or social media posts.It launched for select users on iOS and Android in April and will soon be available broadly, Amazon head of worldwide consumer Jeff Wilke said during a keynote presentation at the company’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas.Here’s how it works: Within the Amazon app, tapping the camera icon in the upper right corner of the Amazon App surfaces the StyleSnap shortcut. Uploading a photo or screenshot of a fashion look will trigger StyleSnap to present recommendations for similar items that take into account brand, price range, and customer reviews....
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Autonomous boats can target and latch onto each other

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About a quarter of Amsterdam's surface area is water, with 165 canals winding alongside busy city streets. Several years ago, MIT and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) teamed up on the "Roboat" project. The idea is to build a fleet of autonomous robotic boats -- rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other hardware -- that provides intelligent mobility on water to relieve congestion in the city's busy streets.One of project's objectives is to create roboat units that provide on-demand transportation on waterways. Another objective is using the roboat units to automatically form "pop-up" structures, such as foot bridges, performance stages, or even food markets. The structures could then automatically disassemble at set times and reform into target structures for different activities. Additionally, the roboat units could be used as agile sensors to gather data on the city's infrastructure, and air and water quality, among other things....
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Amazon’s new Prime Air drone promises to deliver packages in under 30 minutes

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During a Wednesday keynote address at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, the Seattle company announced a slew of features for its existing products and previewed new services to come. One of those it touched on was Prime Air: Amazon said that in the coming months, a newly designed, and completely autonomous Prime Air drone will begin delivering packages to customers as part of pilot tests.Specifically, Amazon aims to fulfill orders within 30 minutes for shoppers within 7.5 miles of some of its hundreds of warehouses around the world. Packages will be carried in a square-shaped pod in the center; the drone’s designed to come within a foot or two of the ground and drop the package in a marked spot....
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Amazon debuts Alexa Conversations for seamless multi-turn interactions

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Amazon today introduced Alexa Conversations in developer preview, a deep learning-based way to make Alexa skills with visuals and multi-turn dialogue. Conversations shrinks the lines of code necessary to create voice apps down from 5,500 to 1,700 lines of code, Amazon VP and head scientist for Alexa Rohit Prasad said today at the Amazon re:Mars conference in Las Vegas.This reduction can lead to a conversation that takes 40 individual interactions and commands folding into one that only takes about a dozen. Developers supply things like API access and a list of entities the API has access to, like movie or restaurant names, and then Conversations can handle the rest.Multi-turn conversations with Alexa have been available for some time, but Alexa Conversations is designed to help people get more done quickly with the AI assistant’s more than 90,000 Alexa skills. The experience is intended at launch to help people make purchases, so if you order a movie ticket, follow-up questions may put you in touch with the OpenTable skill to make dinner reservations or Uber skill to get a ride....
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Google launches Android Q Beta 4 with final APIs and official SDK

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Google today launched the fourth Android Q beta with final Android Q APIs and the official SDK. If you’re a developer, this is your fourth Android Q preview, and you can start testing your apps against this release by downloading it from developer.android.com/preview. The preview includes system images for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, and the official Android Emulator. If you’re already enrolled in the beta program, you’ll automatically get the update to Beta 4. Like Beta 3, Google is also bringing Android Q Beta 4 to third-party phones “over the coming weeks.”In addition to the Pixels, here are the supported third-party devices (full list): Asus ZenFone 5Z, Essential Phone, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, LGE G8, Nokia 8.1, OnePlus 6T, Oppo Reno, Realme 3 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ3, Tecno Spark 3 Pro, Vivo X27, Vivo Nex S, Vivo Nex A, Xiaomi Mi 9, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G....
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Amazon’s Pegasus fulfillment center robot improves sorting accuracy by 50%

AI/ML
During the second keynote address at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, the Seattle company announced new robotics products heading to its hundreds of fuilfillment centers around the world.Brad Porter, head of robotics at Amazon, said the company’s been deploying a robotic palletizer for the better part of this year; it’s now lifted over two billion pounds of totes across Amazon’s hundreds of fulfillment centers. And in an effort to improve the speed and reliability of package sorting, Amazon’s been rolling out a new sorting system — Pegasus — that’s driven two million miles to date and that’s already cut down mis-sorted goods by 50%, all while preserving the safety features of the existing drive system....
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Robert Downey Jr. pledges to use robotics and AI to clean the Earth

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Hollywood legend Robert Downey Jr. is putting down his Iron Man suit and taking up the bigger challenge of cleaning up the Earth. Iron Man’s on-screen nemesis Thanos had a radical way of reducing humanity’s impact on the Earth, but Downey Jr. hopes to use a more humane solution. Appearing on-stage at Amazon’s new re:MARS […] The post Robert Downey Jr. pledges to use robotics and AI to clean the Earth appeared first on AI News.
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AllyO raises $45 million for its AI-driven hiring and onboarding platform

AI/ML
AllyO, a Sunnyvale, California-based company developing AI-powered job recruitment products, today announced that it’s completed a series B financing round with $45 million in venture capital, contributed largely by new investors Sapphire Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, as well as existing investors Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI fund), Randstad Innovation Fund, Bain Capital Ventures, and Cervin Ventures. The fresh funds bring AllyO’s total raised to $64 million, and CEO and cofounder Sahil Sahni said they’ll help to further develop the company’s products and expand its reach.Work is well underway, it would seem. Sahni noted that AllyO grew 4.5 times in the past year, and he expects that the company’s candidate-matching suite will be used by as many as 15% of Americans in 2020....
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Amazon’s re:MARS opening keynote featured autonomous acrobats and Robert Downey Jr.

AI/ML
Amazon kicked off its inaugural re:MARS conference with a bang Tuesday night in front of a packed ballroom of attendees. At the Aria in Las Vegas yesterday, Amazon senior vice president of devices and services Dave Limp headlined the first keynote alongside Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert and Disney Research’s Morgan Pope and Tony Dohl, none of whom were to be outdone by Robert Downey Jr.Limp began by outlining the four pillars of re:MARS, which largely mirror those of MARS, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual invitation-only gathering of tech luminaries. The first is machine learning, the second is automation, and the third and fourth are robotics and space, respectively.“It started with machine learning. It’s at the foundation of everything that [Amazon] does, [and] it will be key to the invention that we need to do.” said Limp. “It’s a renaissance … [and] robotics is an area of incredible growth, and it’s about seeing how robotics can further our lives.”...
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SentinelOne raises $120 million to automate endpoint security for enterprises

AI/ML
SentinelOne, a cybersecurity company specializing in autonomous endpoint protection, has raised $120 million in a series D round of funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Third Point Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, NextEquity, Data Collective (DCVC), and others.Founded in 2013, Mountain View-based SentinelOne serves companies with protection across all entry points to their network, such as an employee’s laptop or company server, protecting against malware, script-based attacks, and other exploits. Its artificial intelligence (AI) engine, which is embedded at each endpoint and operates without the cloud, works to identify threats through behavioral analysis, rather than relying on signatures for known malware — as is often the case with traditional antivirus software....
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FBI facial recognition accuracy and policy still fall short, GAO tells Congress

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The FBI’s facial recognition software has been in operation since December 2011, but today members of Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asserted that it still lacks sufficient privacy and accuracy assessments. The system began with a pilot program and became fully operational in September 2015, according to the GAO.Those calls for concern were amplified in a GAO report released today that says the FBI has yet to comply with five of six GAO recommendations to do things like assess the accuracy of databases of drivers licenses, mugshots, and other photos currently supplied by about 20 states. Initial GAO calls to fix or improve the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS) were made back in May 2016. A group of U.S. Senators also sent a letter to the FBI last year to address the need for regular audits....
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Google’s TensorNetwork library speeds up computation by up to 100 times

AI/ML
Do tensor networks ring a bell? They’re mathematical constructs increasingly used in machine learning to perform complex calculations, but a number of barriers stand in the way of their widespread adoption. For one, there hasn’t been a freely available library for accelerated hardware to run the underlying algorithms at scale. Moreover, most of the tensor network literature is geared toward physics applications.Fortunately, the folks at Google are on the case: The Mountain View company’s AI division today announced TensorNetwork, an open source library and API developed in collaboration with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and Google parent company Alphabet’s X skunkworks. It’s designed to improve the efficiency of tensor calculations by using Google’s TensorFlow machine learning framework as a backend, along with optimizations for graphics card processing....
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How to Perform Face Recognition With VGGFace2 in Keras

AI/ML
Face recognition is a computer vision task of identifying and verifying a person based on a photograph of their face. Recently, deep learning convolutional neural networks have surpassed classical methods and are achieving state-of-the-art results on standard face recognition datasets. One example of a state-of-the-art model is the VGGFace and VGGFace2 model developed by researchers …
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Twitter’s latest acquisition tackles fake news using AI

AI/ML
Twitter has acquired Fabula AI, a UK-based startup employing artificial intelligence for tackling fake news. Fake news is among the most difficult challenges of our time. Aside from real stories often being called it by certain politicians, actual fake news is used to coerce people into making decisions. Governments have been putting increasing pressure on […] The post Twitter’s latest acquisition tackles fake news using AI appeared first on AI News.

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