New Algorithmic Age: Siemens turns to China for AI; Algorithms take over trading desks; Next hearing aids read brain waves

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There is a growing push within the world of artificial intelligence (AI) to connect AI with other technologies. One of these “other technologies” is brain-computer interfaces. Through AI, or algorithms, researchers are able to “send thoughts,” and control robots, like drones. Now, these same capabilities are emerging to help disabled people function - a brand new market. The next tools that disabled people use are likely to read brain waves, thoughts or even predict what someone will need, or is about to do.

As always, I am deeply grateful for your support. For any questions, please contact me directly at: abishur at nextgeopolitics dot com.

↙ Your Algorithmic Update ↙

1. Industry ⤵


How GO! is implementing AI in 700 Belgian schools (New Statesman)

Jan Buytaert is chief information officer at GO!, the public body for state schools in the Flanders region of Belgium. His role is to initiate new IT projects and prove their value to the business, with the hope that business decision makers and policymakers give them the green light. The projects can have huge implications for education in Belgium, as the region has around 750 schools and institutions, and 210,000 students.

“There wasn’t always a lot of digital innovation so I had to work hard trying to convince management and policymakers that we should invest in tech and digital education, and change the way of teaching and learning,” Buytaert tells NS Tech.

China to further promote AI in education (Xinhua)

BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) -- China will continue promoting the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in education to facilitate teaching and learning a variety of subjects, said Minister of Education Chen Baosheng at the ongoing International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education.

China has issued several plans for the integrated development of AI and education and supporting the modernization of education with information technologies, Chen said at a ministerial forum held during the conference.


Dubai's Aramex turns to AI, big data to improve deliveries (Arabian Business)

Dubai-based logistics company Aramex is investing heavily in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) experts as it works to improve on the efficiency of deliveries in the markets in which it operates, according to chief operating officer Iyad Kamal.

In an interview with Arabian Business, Kamal said that “there is a lot of innovation and creativity happening on the digital track” at Aramex.

“We’re looking at what technologies we can deploy to either introduce efficiency in the process itself or enhance the customer experience,” he said.


Nvidia CEO Jensen says ‘China looks fine’ for games and AI chips (VentureBeat)

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said in an analyst call that the market for Chinese games looks good, as the market’s gamers continues to grow past 300 million players.

“China looks fine,” said Huang. “I think China has stabilized. The gaming market in China has been vibrant and continues to be vibrant. There are all sorts of positive signs in China.”

LG develops AI chip for home appliances (ZDNet)

LG has developed its own artificial intelligence (AI) chip for use in home appliances such as robot cleaners, the company announced.

The chip is embedded with the company's own LG Neural Engine, the company said, which uses deep learning algorithms.  

The chip will allow devices to identify places, locations, objects, and people in videos, according to the South Korean tech giant. It can also be used to help devices differentiate between various speakers, noises, and sounds, and can analyse the physical and chemical changes within the device it is powering for optimisation purposes.


Startup Delivers Embedded AI Code (EE Times)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Ali Farhadi is a canary in the coal mine of enterprise AI. His startup, Xnor, is among the pioneers looking for sustainable revenues in neural-networking software for embedded systems.

Today, Xnor launches AI2GO, an offering that consists of hundreds of pre-trained models tailored to run deep learning on a variety of Arm, FPGA, GPU, MIPS, and x86 processors. The 50-person startup, formed in 2017, is already running cash-flow–positive on a small set of early products, but the big challenges are still ahead.

Chinese companies collaborate on facial recognition vending refrigerator (Biometric)

Global telecom infrastructure provider UTStarcom has launched a 5G-powered smart commercial refrigerator with biometric facial recognition to enable convenient automated customer payments. The launch is the result of collaboration with China Mobile Group Zhejiang Company Limited (Hangzhou), according to the announcement.

The new goBox smart vending machine enhances the buyer experience and drives greater consumption per transaction, the company says. Customers are identified biometrically without use of a mobile phone, and closing the door to fridge after removing a product completes the payment process. The system is supported by 5G, mobile cloud, and artificial intelligence technologies.

This Company Is Betting the Future Is Personal AI Avatars, So It Made Me One (Gizmodo)

In January 2019, when China Central Television, the largest broadcast network in the most populous nation in the world, aired a special to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the hosts welcomed four life-sized “personal artificial intelligences” to share the stage with them. Called PAIs, they were three-dimensional holographic replicas of the presenters that moved, spoke, and sang to the delight of the cheering live audience. The program was viewed some 1.8 billion times. One of the most-watched TV shows in the world had been hosted by AI avatars.

The company behind those avatars is the Pasadena-based ObEN. This startup, with its 100 plus employees, is betting that in the future, everyone will want their own PAIs—to digitally try on clothes, to interact with friends, to keep the kids company while you’re away on a business trip. In that future, celebrities will create PAIs to interact with fans to promote their latest films and albums. Teachers and doctors will have PAIs that offer personalized services to their students and patients. When you go to the mall, PAIs will pop up on the interactive screens there, enticing you to buy stuff.


HCA hospitals to expand computer algorithm that detects sepsis and saves lives (Tennessean)

The largest hospital company in the United States will soon expand a program that uses computer algorithm to detect sepsis in patients faster than any human doctor or nurse.

HCA Healthcare, which is headquartered in Nashville but owns more than 180 hospitals in 21 states, said Wednesday it would expand the sepsis detection algorithm into hospital emergency rooms later this year.

Previously, the program has been used throughout HCA’s inpatient care, where it has routinely detected sepsis about eight to 10 hours before clinicians ever could, said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, HCA's chief medical officer.

Penn Medicine launches free, 'self-service' AI tool for data analytics (News Medical)

The Penn Medicine Institute for Biomedical Informatics has launched a free, open-source automated machine learning system for data analysis that is designed for anyone to use, from a high school student looking to gain insight on their baseball team's statistics, to trained researchers looking for associations between cancer and environmental factors. "Penn AI," the first widely available tool of its kind, seeks to lower the barrier for entry into artificial intelligence, allowing users to bring in their own datasets or use the several hundred that are available for download within the tool. With a user-friendly dashboard easily run on a laptop, Penn AI is also designed to learn as it goes, ultimately making analysis suggestions based on the "experience" it gains through use.


Siemens aims for Beijing AI lab to aid factories as industrial output stutters (TechNode)

German industrial group Siemens on Wednesday unveiled its first artificial intelligence (AI) lab outside of Germany in Beijing, which comes as the urgency for applicable solutions using core technologies reaches fever pitch in key industries.

The company’s first industrial AI hub in the Asia Pacific region, the lab will be staffed with 50 data scientists, and around 800 Siemens researchers and engineers around the globe will be available virtually to offer applied AI solutions for Chinese clients. The industrial giant has 21 research and development (R&D) hubs with 5,000 technological staff in China as of fiscal 2018.


Mastercard Brings AI Voice Assistants To QSRs (PYMNTS)

Mastercard announced Thursday (May 16) it inked a partnership with ZIVELO, a self-service kiosk technology company, to enhance the drive-in ordering experience for quick service restaurants (QSRs).

In a press release, Mastercard said it marks the first time an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered voice assistant will be used in drive-in- and drive-through ordering. Mastercard and ZIVELO are partnering with Sonic Drive-In, which will be the first to pilot the technology at select Sonic locations around the country. Mastercard said the technology will first be on display at the National Restaurant Association Show being held in Chicago this weekend (May 18-21).

Nomura shocked 66 traders by telling them they're joining a new AI trading team — and the bank is hiring after a brutal round of job cuts (Business Insider)

Nomura shocked traders this week after telling about 66 of them that they're now part of a push into the electronic trading "arms race."

In a bid to better compete in quant and AI-led trading, a staple on Wall Street, Nomura picked key IT, quant and tech staff from its fixed income, currencies, and rates teams for its new "E-trading Strategy." The Tokyo-based bank is developing an artificial intelligence-led market-making platform in a bid to boost revenues in that area by 15%.

Nomura is now on the hunt for tech whizzes who can aid that effort.

Robots That Learn Are the Hottest Weapon in the Investing Arms Race (Bloomberg)

Maybe machines can figure out this crazy stock market.

At least that’s what quantitative traders who have struggled to beat the market for years will be hoping as a band of their peers roll out computer-driven strategies that learn from their own mistakes.

Lynx Asset Management, for one, is planning a new fund in October that executes strategies thought up by a machine—an approach that helped the $5 billion Swedish hedge fund beat most of its trend-following rivals in 2018. 

UBS looks to machine learning to plug FX liquidity gaps (Reuters)

ZURICH (Reuters) - As global currency markets grapple with a growing number of flash crashes triggered by shutdowns in algorithmic trading systems when volatility spikes, UBS is utilizing machine learning technology to carry on dealing.

While algorithmic trading has played a growing role in the $5.1 trillion-a-day global foreign exchange market, accounting for up to a fifth of all trading and about 70 percent of all orders placed on multi-dealer currency platform EBS, machine learning is still relatively new.


The Web’s All-Seeing Eye: This Startup Is Getting In On Google’s Game By Searching A Trillion Facts (Forbes)

Cisco wanted to provide users of its conferencing system profiles on everyone who signed on to a call—say, where they used to work or if they turned up in a news article. It’s using a Mountain View, California, startup called Diffbot to make that happen.

Diffbot scours the Web and serves up its findings in customized bites for companies. For Cisco, it scrapes articles for mentions of conference call participants. For a sneaker company, it culls consumer reviews and discussion threads. For a business software firm, it finds prospective clients. Gathering this kind of data usually takes time or can be incomplete. Diffbot claims it scrapes nearly all of the public Web—and can produce search results in less than a second.


AT&T sees business gains from artificial intelligence and machine learning (ZDNet)

There might be a lot of hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). But communications provider AT&T is a believer -- and is transforming its business with the help of these technologies.

"Our mission at the chief data office is to data power AT&T through data insights and evolving technologies such as AI and ML," said Kim Keating, vice president of data science at the company. "This allows us to leverage vast amounts of data to provide insights and answers to critical business questions" affecting the company.

One are where the company is leveraging these technologies is in selecting retail store formats. By the end of 2019, it's planning to add 1,000 new retail points of presence. These will include pop-ups, mobile stores, traditional stores, and authorized retailers.


Microsoft and Sony form cloud gaming and AI partnership (The Verge)

Microsoft and Sony are announcing an unusual partnership today, allowing the two rivals to partner on cloud-based gaming services. “The two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services,” Microsoft said in a statement. Sony’s existing game and content-streaming services will also be powered by Microsoft Azure in the future.

Microsoft says “these efforts will also include building better development platforms for the content creator community,” which sounds like both Sony and Microsoft are planning to partner on future services aimed at creators and the gaming community. Both companies say they will “share additional information when available,” but the partnership means Microsoft and Sony will collaborate on cloud gaming. That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s a big loss for Microsoft’s main cloud rival, Amazon.


Microsoft invests in seven AI projects to help people with disabilities (Engadget)

Today marks the eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and for the second year, Microsoft is awarding grants to AI projects meant to make the world more inclusive. The grants are part of a five-year initiative that will invest $25 million in AI-based accessibility tools. This year, seven recipients will receive access to the Azure AI platform (through Azure compute credits) and Microsoft engineering support.

Over the next year, the recipients will work on things like a nerve-sensing wearable wristband. That device detects micro-movements of the hands and arms and translates them into actions like a mouse click. Another project seeks to develop a wearable cap that reads a person's EEG data and communicates it to the cloud to provide seizure warnings and alerts. Other tools will rely on speech recognition, AI-powered chatbots and apps for people with vision impairment.


Hypergiant uses satellites and AI to mine oil and gas data (VentureBeat)

A new space race is afoot, and it’s all about big data and AI. Hypergiant, a startup that launched just over a year ago, intends to win it — or at least part of it — by creating “a vertically integrated geospatial intelligence and infrastructure capability” that Fortune 500 companies and large government agencies can employ to glean information and insights. Basically, the company is sending small satellites into space, gathering data from Earth, applying machine learning, and turning the resulting intelligence and data into a lucrative business. Hypergiant already has a number of clients, but it’s now applying its extraterrestrial efforts to the decidedly terrestrial field of oil and gas.

2. Funding + Investments ⤵

IIT-Delhi targets Rs 550-crore external R&D funding this year (The Economic Times)

New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) is targeting external R&D funding of Rs 550 crore this year, up from Rs 400 crore last year. In addition, the institute will also get a grant of Rs 1,000 crore from the government over the next five years after it bagged the coveted institute of eminence (IoE) tag. As part of the IoE, the institute needs to increase its focus on research to bring it a step closer to competing with the best global institutes.

“The R&D activity of IIT-D has shown a huge growth in the last two years because of the focus on research in thematic areas of interest. As a result, all the research projects that we undertake are now either driven by industry or by what the society needs,” B R Mehta, R&D Dean, IIT Delhi, told ET. “For the coming year, the institute is working towards attracting R&D funding of Rs 550 crore,” he said. 

Belgium’s icometrix raises $18 million to boost development of its brain imaging AI solutions (Tech.EU)

Leuven, Belgium-based icometrix has secured $18 million in funding from Forestay Capital, Optum Ventures and prior backer Capricorn Venture Partners.

The company claims its technology has the potential to transform care for patients with brain injuries and disorders, by extracting clinically meaningful information from brain MRI and CT scans of patients.

Its ‘icobrain’ software platform is both CE-marked and FDA-cleared, the company notes, and already in use by more than 100 hospitals and imaging center networks worldwide, as well as in clinical studies by 4 out of the top 5 pharma companies.

Tealium, a big data platform for structuring disparate customer information, raises $55M at $850M valuation (TechCrunch)

The average enterprise today uses about 90 different software packages, with between 30-40 of them touching customers directly or indirectly. The data that comes out of those systems can prove to be very useful — to help other systems and employees work more intelligently, to help companies make better business decisions — but only if it’s put in order: now, a startup called Tealium, which has built a system precisely to do just that and works with the likes of Facebook and IBM to help manage their customer data, has raised a big round of funding to continue building out the services it provides.

Today, it is announcing a $55 million round of funding — a Series F led by Silver Lake Waterman,  the firm’s late-stage capital growth fund; with ABN AMRO, Bain Capital, Declaration Partners, Georgian Partners, Industry Ventures, Parkwood and Presidio Ventures also participating. Announces $15 Million in Funding to Build First Ever Supercomputer for Edge Devices (AI Authority) is making a bold entrance into the computing space, announcing it is building the world’s first supercomputer specifically designed for the real-time needs of autonomous systems. Built to increase computation speed while reducing power consumption, Quadric’s supercomputer can lead to increased safety and performance in better designed machines.

While innovative developers are reinventing existing machines to be more efficient and responsive across multiple trillion dollar industries like construction, transportation, agriculture, and warehousing, the underlying technology supporting these machines either lacks the performance or solves only a small part of the full application. These new machines incorporate autonomous functions that require near instantaneous processing speed and responsiveness “on the edge” (at the machine level, not in the cloud).

Amsterdam-based Nori Health raises €600k for its digital coach for people living with IBD (EU.Startups)

Amsterdam-based health tech startup Nori Health has raised €600k in pre-seed funding for its AI-powered digital coach designed to help people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Nori’s AI-powered chatbot maps the behaviour of each user, providing personalised, practical tips for people living with these not uncommon conditions, which are often suffered from in secrecy. Following a clinical trial testing the digital coach’s efficacy in early 2019, participants reported an average 28% increase in scoring for the daily management of their chronic conditions, and 56% of users reported an improved social life.

Investment in recruiting chatbots jumps: SIA (Staffing Industry Analysts)

Investment in recruiting chatbots jumped from 2014 through this year, and more than $100 million in funding has been raised for the four most significant chatbots alone, according to the “Introduction to Chatbots” report released by Staffing Industry Analysts.

“Recruitment chatbots, in particular, have attracted significant investment and a number of large staffing firms have made strategic investments into chatbot providers or developed their own tools,” according to the report.

One chatbot, Eightfold, has raised $51.8 million; it’s the most raised among the recruiting chatbots, although it has additional functionality. Mya Systems raised $32.4 million, the second-most.

3. Advances ⤵

New AI sees like a human, filling in the blanks (Science Daily)

Computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have taught an artificial intelligence agent how to do something that usually only humans can do -- take a few quick glimpses around and infer its whole environment, a skill necessary for the development of effective search-and-rescue robots that one day can improve the effectiveness of dangerous missions. The team, led by professor Kristen Grauman, Ph.D. candidate Santhosh Ramakrishnan and former Ph.D. candidate Dinesh Jayaraman (now at the University of California, Berkeley) published their results today in the journal Science Robotics.

Scientists create mind-controlled hearing aid (The Guardian)

A mind-controlled hearing aid that allows the wearer to focus on particular voices has been created by scientists, who say it could transform the ability of those with hearing impairments to cope with noisy environments.

The device mimics the brain’s natural ability to single out and amplify one voice against background conversation. Until now, even the most advanced hearing aids work by boosting all voices at once, which can be experienced as a cacophony of sound for the wearer, especially in crowded environments.

Watch an autonomous drone dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge a football (The Verge)

Drones are agile things, but they’re not exactly known for their quick reactions. If you want to knock one out of the sky, a well-thrown ball or even a spearshould do the trick. Not for much longer, though, as researchers from the University of Zurich have created a drone that can autonomously dodge objects thrown at it — even at close range.

You can see the quadcopter showing off these skills in the video above (though no-one tested it with a wrench). And okay, some of those throws are pretty easy, but the drone is still reacting completely autonomously. And although we’ve seen quadcopters that can maneuver around static objects like trees, avoiding moving items mid-air is much trickier.

New machine learning algorithm can predict age and gender from just your Twitter profile (TechXplore)

A new "demographic inference" tool developed by academics can make predictions based solely on the information in a person's social media profile (i.e. screen name, biography, profile photo, and name). The tool—which works in 32 languages—could pave the way for views expressed on social media to be factored in to popular survey methods.

Researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Michigan, University of Massachusetts, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, the Max Planck Institute, and Stanford University have developed a method to infer information about a social media account owner based on the information disclosed in their Twitter profile information.

Alexa speech normalization AI reduces errors by up to 81% (VentureBeat)

Text normalization is a fundamental processing step in most natural language systems. In the case of Amazon’s Alexa, “Book me a table at 5:00 p.m.” might be transcribed by the assistant’s automatic speech recognizer as “five p m” and further reformatted to “5:00PM.” Then again, Alexa might convert “5:00PM” to “five thirty p m” for its text-to-speech synthesizer.

So how does this work? Currently, Amazon’s voice assistant relies on “thousands” of handwritten normalization rules for dates, email addresses, numbers, abbreviations, and other expressions, according to Alexa AI group applied scientist Ming Sun and Alexa Speech machine learning scientist Yuzong Liu. That’s all well and fine for English, but because the approach isn’t particularly adaptable to other languages (without lots of manual labor), Amazon scientists are investigating a more scalable technique driven by machine learning.

As CNNs boost facial biometric accuracy, Australia researches child recognition (Biometric Update)

DST Group, Australia’s Defense Science and Technology agency, has established a research program to work on identifying and classifying children more accurately with biometric facial recognition to help fight child trafficking, after the completion of a research project which showed major challenges, but also potential for improvement.

Australia’s Science Channel reports that Dr. Dana Michalski of DST conducted a study in which 120 experienced practitioners, reported to be the largest number ever assembled for a study of the kind, to manually compare 23,760 different image pairs, in addition to biometric algorithms. Children from newborns to 17 years old were considered, with images taken 10 years apart.

4. Jobs + Work ⤵

AI relies on human ‘labelers’ who make as little as $2.50 an hour (The Hustle)

Artificial intelligence is driving some of the biggest technological advancements of our time, from self-driving cars to facial recognition.

But as Axios reports, this technology is reliant on a growing, often low-paid sector of human workers, or “AI sharecroppers.”

Day labelers

Before an AI system can identify images on its own (a process called deep learning), it must be “trained” with millions of hand-labeled images.

This so-called “AI labeling” industry is projected to grow from $150m globally in 2018 to $1B by 2023 — and like many booming industries, it’s largely dependent on tedious, cheap labor.

Most Russians are not afraid of losing jobs to robots — survey (TASS)

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Most Russians are not afraid of losing jobs to artificial intelligence (AI), while one in two feels robots’ assistance in performing duties at work, as follows from a survey by the analytical center Bitrix24, the IT company 1S Bitrix told TASS.

The survey is based on an opinion poll of 1,300 Russian companies held on April 16-18. Taking part in the survey were companies in the IT segment, sales, marketing and PR, education, finance, e-commerce, logistics and others - most of them small and medium businesses.

Robots Take the Wheel as Autonomous Farm Machines Hit Fields (Bloomberg)

Robots are taking over farms faster than anyone saw coming.

The first fully autonomous farm equipment is becoming commercially available, which means machines will be able to completely take over a multitude of tasks. Tractors will drive with no farmer in the cab, and specialized equipment will be able to spray, plant, plow and weed cropland. And it’s all happening well before many analysts had predicted thanks to small startups in Canada and Australia.

While industry leaders Deere & Co. and CNH Industrial NVhaven’t said when they’ll release similar offerings, Saskatchewan’s Dot Technology Corp. has already sold some so-called power platforms for fully mechanized spring planting. In Australia, SwarmFarm Robotics is leasing weed-killing robots that can also do tasks like mow and spread. The companies say their machines are smaller and smarter than the gigantic machinery they aim to replace.

AI learns to write headlines (but not this one) (Axios)

One of the most frustrating parts of journalism is writing headlines — they need to be pithy and smart, drawing in readers but not infuriating them with cheap clickbait.

What's new: Perhaps the simplest solution is to summarize an article as efficiently as possible. And because machines are getting increasingly good at that, AI headline writers can now nearly instantly generate titles that outshine even some human-made ones.

Details: Primer, an AI company, built a tool to do this, and spoke first with Axios about it.

5. Public Policy + Regulation ⤵

Tesla Limits Autopilot In Europe Due To New UN/ECE Regulations (The Drive)

When reports surfaced a few months ago suggesting that newly-delivered European-market Tesla Model 3s didn't have Autopilot activated, The Drive's Bertel Schmitt investigated and found that a possible culprit was the UN/ECE Regulation 79. Now, thanks to the Autopilot hacker GreenTheOnly's reveal of the release notes for the latest Autopilot update we can confirm that Regulation 79 is indeed affecting the functionality of the driver assistance system in Europe.

Albany Lawmakers Introduce Bill Banning Landlords From Using Facial Recognition Technology (Gothamist)

A pair of New York state legislators want to prohibit residential landlords from using facial recognition, a technology that is largely unregulated in the United States and which has come under scrutiny in recent months in New York City.

The bill, which was introduced Tuesday by State Senator Brad Hoylman and state Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, would authorize the Attorney General to seek injunctions and penalties of up to $10,000 against landlords who use facial recognition systems on their premises. It would also allow tenants to pursue civil lawsuits against such landlords.

California Moves Closer to Making Deepfake Pornography Illegal (CBR)

A Hollywood union has thrown its weight behind legislation in California’s Senate that would make pornographic deepfakes a crime.

Deepfakes are – increasingly prevalent and realistic – digital forgeries of videos or audio, created using machine-learning techniques.

Bill SB564, which has passed California’s Judiciary Committee, is being sponsored by The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

Rubio report urges business community to invest in domestic capital for American prosperity (Breitbart)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a report Wednesday calling on American businesses and policymakers to invest more in domestic capital in the United States and less on short-term profit for lasting economic growth and prosperity.

“Investment in domestic innovation and research is often cut or outsourced to competitor nations such as China, which then steals technology to develop and win the technologies of the future — robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced pharmaceuticals, and 5G,” he wrote.

Study points to 'policy blueprint' for AI and machine-learning (

At a time of rapidly changing industry, with potentially huge consequences for society, governments face a dilemma of how to incentivise entrepreneurship and innovation while at the same time ensuring that innovation benefits society as a whole.

According to new research published in The Economic Journal by Dr. Maik Schneider of the University of Bath's Department of Economics, innovative entrepreneurship and inclusive growth can be reconciled when governments invest in science and increase the taxes for both labour and profit taxes at the same rate.

Cities should regulate facial recognition instead of banning it, China’s AI champion SenseTime says (South China Morning Post)

SenseTime, the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence (AI) start-up, has called on governments to establish new regulation for facial recognition systems, following the recent decision in San Francisco to ban local police and other agencies from using such technology because of the potential for abuse.

“Governments should craft regulations, instead of restricting use [of facial recognition systems],” said Xu Li, co-founder and chief executive of SenseTime, on the sidelines of a company event in Beijing on Wednesday. “There should be standard guidelines to determine under which conditions certain emerging technologies can be used.”

6. Governance ⤵

Police Are Feeding Celebrity Photos into Facial Recognition Software to Solve Crimes (Vice)

Police departments across the nation are generating leads and making arrests by feeding celebrity photos, CGI renderings, and manipulated images into facial recognition software.

Often unbeknownst to the public, law enforcement is identifying suspects based on “all manner of ‘probe photos,’ photos of unknown individuals submitted for search against a police or driver license database,” a study published on Thursday by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology reported.

The new research comes on the heels of a landmark privacy vote on Tuesday in San Francisco, which is now the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and government agencies. A recent groundswell of opposition has led to the passage of legislation that aims to protect marginalized communities from spy technology.

CDEI calls for evidence to inform its review of online targeting and bias in algorithmic decision making (Lexology)

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) is inviting submissions to help inform its review of online targeting and bias in algorithmic decision making.

Online targeting

Online targeting refers to providing individuals with relevant and engaging content, products, and services. Typically users experience targeting in the form of online advertising or personalised social media feeds.

CDEI identified online targeting as a particular issue due to the complex and opaque flows of data that are involved, which may undermine data protection rights. The concentration of data in certain organisations could also have an effect on competition in critical markets. CDEI is particularly interested in ensuring that online targeting does not cross the line from legitimate persuasion into illegitimate manipulation.

Vatican conference on robotics and artificial intelligence (Vatican News)

Robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and humanity: science, ethics, and policy”, is the theme of a two-day international conference that kicked off in the Vatican on Thursday. 

The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) are jointly organizing the May 16-17 multidisciplinary conference at the Casina Pio IV inside Vatican City.

A note ahead of the conference explained that recent advances in machine learning (commonly referred to as artificial intelligence, AI), and robotics have aroused widespread interest and debate regarding their benefits and drawbacks on humanity.   

Report: AI-based med devices could leave makers liable for ‘learned’ changes (Mass Device)

A new push from the FDA for more artificial intelligence-powered devices could leave device makers liable for changes the devices ‘learn’ after their initial approval by the federal watchdog, according to a Bloomberg report.

AI-powered devices ingest new data and adjust accordingly – a facet that could make them incredibly valuable in medtech, but one that could also leave makers with entirely different products than were initially approved, according to the report.

The AI Foundation Partners with Top Artificial Intelligence Researchers at the Technical University of Munich to Combat Against Fake Media and Deepfakes (Yahoo)

The AI Foundation, a leader in creating foundational AI technologies, products and services to unlock the human potential, as well as Guardian AI to protect society from its risks, has partnered with the Technical University of Munich’s Visual Computing Lab, providing resources for world renowned scientist Professor Matthias Niessner and his team to continue research in artificial intelligence, deep learning and computer vision.

7. Defense + Geopolitics ⤵

The “smarter” wall: how drones, sensors, and AI are patrolling the border (Vox)

In an era of increasingly polarized politics, there are few issues as divisive as President Trump’s proposal to build a physical wallacross part of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border.

The Trump administration has argued that the border wall is a necessary deterrent to drug smugglers and immigrants seeking to enter the country unlawfully. It says unchecked immigration is a national security crisis, and one that needs to be addressed.

The Air Force wants to rescue downed pilots with an autonomous aircraft (The Verge)

Whenever a US aircraft crashes, there’s a quick response: a rescue team is dispatched to the crash site to secure the wreckage and recover the pilot, but in some cases, that can be a dangerous proposition that puts additional personnel at risk of accident or enemy fire. The Air Force wants to avoid that — or at the very least, add a new tool to its disposal when it comes to rescuing the downed pilot. According to a solicitation from the Air Force Research Laboratory spotted by Aviation Week (via Task & Purpose), one possibility would be an autonomous aircraft that could potentially fly people away from a crash site.

Artificial Intelligence in the Chinese Military – Current Initiatives (Emerj)

The Chinese military, or People’s Liberation Army, is focusing heavily on artificial intelligence. However, China’s race to develop “smarter,” cheaper AI technology for the military is not linear, but instead a many-pronged strategy that involved the central government, domestic companies, and international trade. Gregory Allen of the Center for a New American Security published a report on China’s AI strategy, in which he said:

He also reported that “total Chinese national and local government spending on AI to implement these plans is not publicly disclosed, but it is clearly in the tens of billions of dollars.”

NASA invests in AI astronauts and autonomous lunar landers (FedScoop)

When NASA goes back to the moon, it might be bringing some autonomous tech along, too.

The space agency announced its picks for its Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program grants this week. Among the projects funded are several that utilize artificial intelligence and autonomous technology, including a user-friendly, natural language speaking “Astronaut Agent” to help astronauts monitor the spacecraft and detect any issues; a LIDAR sensor for space-based autonomous landing; and a prototype of a tool for explaining the decisions made by NASA AI systems.

Overall, the agency will spend $106 million on 142 projects being undertaken by 129 small business from across the country.

Will China succeed in its artificial intelligence ambitions? (TechTalks)

These days it’s difficult to read about artificial intelligence (AI) without a mention of how China plans to dominate the AI industry worldwide and how it’s going to relegate the U.S. to a distant second position.

While it’s not safe to make predictions about whether China will be successful in pushing the U.S. to second position in the AI industry in the coming years, one can easily say China is putting its best chip forward when it comes to AI.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) came out with a very detailed document in 2017 that outlined China’s AI ambitions.

The U.S. military is trying to figure out how to talk about data (FedScoop)

As things like 5G and artificial intelligence go mainstream, the U.S. military is poised become a force that’s as reliant on data to drive mission outcomes as it is on things like weapons and ammunition. But before getting to that point, the services must learn to better communicate the importance of collecting, storing and integrating that data, a pair of top defense IT and cybersecurity officials said Tuesday.

“I think we are on the verge of a data explosion,” said Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA. “The data is so critical for us now to not only discern insights on the intelligence side but understand on the Cyber Command side our options and opportunities. This data, being able to move through it, particularly as we move to the Internet of Things, 5G, a broader capability and capacity for us to store that data is tremendously important.”

8. Economy ⤵

Smart City Suzhou – Eastern Chinese Metropolis Uses A.I. and Others to Forge Ahead (Yahoo Finance)

SUZHOU, China, May 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When traffic builds up in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, the city’s intelligent transport systems kick in. The data they have already accumulated means the city can predict its traffic flow within the next hour to an accuracy of more than 94%.

Meanwhile the Suzhou Public Transport Command Center provides a similar function for the city’s 5,000 buses running along 360 routes and carrying 1.5m people a day. It collects data from users swiping in with smartcards and from cameras on board buses and at bus stops.

Entrepreneurs See Big Opportunities As Japan Begins A New Era (Forbes)

May 1, 2019, marked the start of a new era in Japan. The country celebrated the succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Emperor Naruhito, scion of the world’s oldest monarchy, and the beginning of the new imperial period, Reiwa. But there’s a lot more going on: the economy is experiencing its longest expansion since World War II, inbound tourism is at an all-time high, and there’s renewed emphasis on international openness as a means to help companies grow. It’s an ideal time to start a business in Japan.

“One thing about Japan today that’s really different from the 1980s is that back then, Japan said, ‘We’ll do it our way—this is made in Japan,’” he says. “Now, with the onset of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, many manufacturing giants are saying, ‘Maybe we need a partner.’ So it’s become ‘Made with Japan.’”

Singapore targets lawyers in digital transformation drive (ZDNet)

Singapore law firms are urged to adopt technology to achieve higher efficiencies and offered help to do so, including a newly set up SmartLaw Guild that aims to showcase best practices and case studies of successful deployments. The launch comes on the heels of a programme introduced last month that allows local law firms to receive up to 70 percent funding support for their technology adoption. 

Early this month, a S$3.68 million funding scheme was introduced to further help law firms in their digital transformation, allowing them to receive up to 70 percent financial support for their first-year of technology deployment, which could include baseline and advanced applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate document review and digital discovery. 

AI will have profound effects on the UK economy, says PwC (Technology Record)

According to new research by PwC, artificial intelligence (AI) will have profound effects on the UK economy by 2030.  AI-driven product enhancements and automation will account for £232 billion in additional revenue. In addition, 72% of UK CEOs that participated in the 22nd PwC CEO Survey believe it will dramatically affect the way they do business in the next five years.

Despite the potential, many organisations lack the ability to adopt AI technology and lack understanding of its potential. Many also struggle with the adoption process itself. The research shows that those who wait get left behind and it is the early adopters that reap the rewards. 

Local and Global AI Leaders Collaborate to Kickstart Vietnam's AI Movement (Yahoo Finance)

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, May 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time ever, Vietnam will collaborate with local and global knowledge partners, McKinsey & Company, Vietnam Innovation Network (VIN) and VietAI, to launch Vietnam's national artificial intelligence (AI) movement through the Vietnam AI Grand Challenge. Bringing together the country's best AI talent, the Challenge will support corporations in Vietnam and globally in designing the ultimate virtual assistant.

↙ Additional Reading ↙

Ozonetel launches Voice Bot Platform (BW CIOWORLD)

Hub Group Using AI, Machine Learning for Real-Time Visibility of Shipments (HDT)

How Intel Helps Partners Use AI, Vision Solutions With Regular CPUs (CRN)

H2O's Driverless AI: An AI that Creates AI (InfoQ)

Celltrion to invest 40 tln won, create 110,000 jobs by 2030 (Yonhap)

Microsoft open sources Bing's AI algorithm in another huge policy shift (The Inquirer)

Chatbot Interactions In Retail To Reach 22 Billion By 2023: Juniper Research (Which-50)

Meet the Delhi-based bootstrapped startup that wants to be the Uber for legal help (YourStory)

Tricolor’s Machine Learning Tech Is Reducing Its Reconditioning Costs (Auto Finance News)

Recently Acquired Apartment Tech Firm Zego Unveils Artificial Intelligence Bot For Apartments (BisNow)

Bond Traders Need to Up Their Game as AI Systems Get Smarter (Bloomberg)

A New Approach To Adopting Technology To Mitigate Fraud (Express Computer)

How Artificial Intelligence is enabling financial inclusion in India (YourStory)

Here’s how artificial intelligence impacts the banking industry (AZBigMedia)

Fund houses get picky over where to use machine learning (RiskNet)

How Artificial Intelligence Is Already Disrupting Financial Services (Barron's)

How One Big Quant Firm Uses Machine Learning (Institutional Investor)

Should San Francisco's ban on face-recognition tech worry banks? (American Banker)

2 Bengaluru brothers develop chatbot on disability rights (Times of India)

Student uses AI to diagnose plant diseases (Phys.Org)

AI can show us the ravages of climate change (MIT Technology Review)

Sydney to Melbourne hands-free! Mercedes launching "highway" autonomy in 2020 (Cars Guide)

Nissan ProPILOT 2.0 – world’s first hands-off highway autonomous driving, to debut on Skyline this year (PaulTan)

Why Propositional Logic Is The Foundation For Artificial Intelligence (Analytics India Magazine)

Deep Learning Will Be The End Of End To End Encryption (Forbes)

Automatic neurological disease diagnosis using deep learning (Science Daily)

Eurovision act Michael Rice closes waffle shop as algorithm predicts bottom 5 finish (Female First)