New Algorithmic Age: The Race To Build aiOS + 96 New Developments

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Every year, the major tech companies hold events to showcase their new products and services (think Apple's WWDC or Google's I/O). One of the main themes of these conferences are new operating systems (OS) for smartphones and computers. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is an “add-on” to the OS, a feature of sorts. For example, Microsoft's Word program recently received an update that gives it AI functionality. Soon, however, the next operating systems (OS) could revolve entirely around AI, creating a new kind of “aiOS” or “artificial intelligence operating system.” One of the first areas where aiOS could emerge is with self-driving vehicles. Underlying all self-driving vehicles will be incredibly advanced AI, the brains. For the first time, the OS of entire “machines” will rely on AI. Huawei is already building an aiOS and wants to export it to regions like Europe by 2021 (covered below). This means that as the global AI race heats up, a new area of competition could be building aiOS that drives self-driving cars, space technologies, advanced robots, and much more. Are companies aware of this new competition? Which country will succeed when it comes to building aiOS?

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 ⤵


A Californian business is using A.I. to change the way we think about energy storage (CNBC)

In the U.S., California-based Stem is using artificial intelligence to help businesses store energy on a large scale.

The idea is to pair artificial intelligence (AI) with energy storage so that businesses and organizations can, according to Stem, “automate energy cost savings and protect against changing rates.” Customers include major firms like Adobe Systems, Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods Market. 

“We build and operate the largest digitally connected network of intelligent energy storage solutions,” Stem’s CEO, John Carrington, told CNBC’s “Sustainable Energy.”

Food & Beverage

Award-winning AI technology helps IHG hotels track, measure and reduce food waste (

InterContinental Hotels Group® (IHG®), one of the world's leading hotel companies, has announced a partnership with technology company Winnow to help its hotels automatically track, measure and reduce food waste for more sustainable and efficient restaurant and bar operations.

IHG is the first global hotel company to use the award-winning Winnow Vision AI enabled technology, which will help its hotels achieve a 30% reduction in food waste. Through the use of an intelligent camera, smart scales and AI-based smart meter technology, Winnow Vision analyses ingredients during food preparation, as well as plates returned to the kitchen, to assess which food items are most wasted and in what quantities. This builds up a bank of data which in turn informs buying decisions, shapes menus and hones food preparation techniques.

Data Collection

VIDEO: Photos of 2,000 Duke University​ students captured for Chinese artificial intelligence research (WNCT)


The chatbot with its own office and personal (human) assistant (Computerworld)

Chatbots provide a way for customers to transact with companies from wherever they are at any hour of the day. Virtual assistants also benefit companies, allowing them to reduce the time spent by human staff handling simple queries.

Those concepts are being turned on their head, however, by the company behind a legal information chatbot called Ailira, which has its own office and a dedicated human assistant sitting alongside.

Ailira helps people create a will by asking them a series of questions, the answers to which it interprets and uses to populate a form, and in turn generates a will document. Although Ailira is available online and via mobile, its creator Cartland Law is offering it in physical offices, the first of which has opened in a Northern Territory shopping centre.


Facebook researchers are building virtual spaces to improve AI and AR (Engadget)

Facebook created a new open platform for embodied AI research called AI Habitat, while Facebook Reality Labs (which up until last year was Oculus Research) released a dataset of photorealistic sample spaces it's calling Replica. Both Habitat and Replica are now available for researchers to download on Github. With these tools, researchers can train AI bots to act, see, talk, reason and plan simultaneously. The Replica data set is made of 18 different sample spaces, including a living room, conference room and two-story house. By training an AI bot to respond to a command like "bring my keys" in a Replica 3D simulation of a living room, researchers hope someday it can do the same with physical robots in a real-life living room.

AI for AI: IBM debuts AutoAI in Watson Studio (IBM Big Data Hub)

The democratization of AI is driving a significant acceleration in demand for machine learning and data science skills across all industries. To further accelerate this trend and bridge the skills gap, creation of AI itself is being automated and is transforming the way businesses and data science teams operate. According to McKinsey Global Institute, nearly half of work tasks could soon be automated in the global workforce. For data scientists, this means a reduction in manual tasks and an acceleration of time to deployment.

AI is fast moving beyond solving only specific tasks and dependence on manually-crafted features such as laborious feature-engineering steps. Now, AI learning is adaptive, using automatically-constructed features and neural network architectures that can optimize the model for your use case, delivering time-to-value and unprecedented value for enterprises.  AI for AI is here.  

Intel to help tech start-ups in Israel to develop AI and autonomous systems (Infotech Lead)

Intel has launched a project to help start-ups in Israel develop technologies in artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems.

The 20-week program, called Ignite, will offer business and technical support to up to 15 start-ups. Intel said it would not take equity stakes in the start-ups now, but might do so eventually.

Intel, which is one of the biggest employers and exporters in Israel, earlier this year said it was investing 40 billion shekels or $11 billion to expand its manufacturing operations there.

ABB to showcase first industrial artificial intelligence application using 5G wireless technology (

June 17, 2019 - ABB is piloting an industrial artificial intelligence (AI) application using 5G wireless technology to support the assembly of drives at its plant in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. ABB is implementing the solution in partnership with mobile phone operator Telia and software engineering firm Atostek Oy, which specializes in industrial applications.

The AI application will support the plant’s workers by monitoring the assembly of the drives by camera and ensuring they are correctly assembled according to a customer’s order and applicable work instructions. The fast 5G connections will provide workers with real-time feedback and this should make assembly significantly easier than following work instructions from a paper document, thereby helping to improve quality.

Microsoft Offers 'Premade' No-Code Artificial Intelligence (Forbes)

Newest among the Microsoft Power Platform goodies is Microsoft AI Builder, a no-code AI capability which also supports integrations with PowerApps and Flow. Microsoft AI Builder is (if you hadn’t guessed from the name) a means of shortcutting to almost ‘premade’ AI tasks that enterprises often need in regularly occurring business situations. It takes common AI scenarios and provides point-and-click solutions for app makers to solve everyday tasks like forms processing, object detection and text and binary classification.

Corporate VP of Microsoft’s Business Applications Group James Phillips has said that he believes Microsoft AI Builder is well-aligned to the needs of customers in the banking, hospitality and manufacturing industries in particular -- all of which are business types that require a high degree of rapid customer feedback that could make use of AI. Surprisingly perhaps, Phillips did not list retail in that list of industry verticals, but we can infer that it's in there.


Facial-recognition technology may help detect pain in patients with severe dementia (The Globe and Mail)

Pain is often poorly treated among individuals with severe dementia who have trouble communicating their discomfort. A Canadian research team is aiming to tackle this problem with the use of facial-recognition technology.

The team, co-led by Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos at the University of Regina, has developed an image processing system to monitor and analyze the facial expressions of long-term-care residents. The computerized system then alerts nurses whenever it detects wincing, frowning and other expressions that suggest a resident is in pain.

Indian innovators working at making AI diagnoses foolproof (Health Shots)

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are driving growth in medicalimaging, with deep-learning applications being integrated with radiology for faster and higher-precision diagnosis. Algorithms mine raw data sets within seconds to classify and detect aberrations by reading images at efficiencies that humans can’t match.

Even so, errors do happen in AI diagnoses. Now a clutch of innovators in India are developing solutions that are making AI-based image diagnostics more accurate and helping resolve complex cases in a fraction of the time taken by clinicians.

Nuance’s AI makeover to clinical documentation takes exam room to the future (MedCity News)

Burlington, Massachusetts-based Nuance has developed Ambient Clinical Intelligence technology that aims to free physicians from the burden of clinical documentation, which often contributes to physician burnout. The ACI technology, which the public company revealed earlier this year during the annual HIMSS conference in February, also seeks to improve the patient experience. In addition to targeting healthcare, Nuance’s conversational and cognitive artificial intelligence products are sold in the automotive, telecommunications, financial services and government sectors.

Hospital Discharge Algorithm Saves $860 Per Patient Episode and Reduces Readmissions, According to New Data from Remedy Labs (BusinessWire)

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Remedy, America’s leading episodes of care company, today announced findings from its study, “Association of Decision Support for Hospital Discharge Disposition with Outcomes,” published in the June 2019 edition of the American Journal of Managed Care. Remedy connects employers, insurance companies and health care systems to deliver more cost-effective care and improved consumer experiences.

The study verified the efficacy of a clinical decision support (CDS) algorithm in determining the optimal next site of care for patients leaving the hospital while avoiding unintended effects such as increases in readmissions, emergency department (ED) use and overall spending. The algorithm was built and tested within Remedy’s innovation incubator, Remedy Labs, and is currently in use by several Remedy partners through the proprietary Care at the Right Location (CARL) tool.

What AI “App Stores” Will Mean for Radiology (Harvard Business Review)

Recent studies show that artificial intelligence algorithms can help radiologists improve the speed and accuracy of interpreting X-rays, CT scans, and other types of diagnostic images. Putting the technology into everyday clinical use, however, is challenging because of the complexities of development, testing, and obtaining regulatory approval. But a concept adapted from the world of PCs and smartphones – the app store – shows promise as a tool for bringing radiology AI from trials into day-to-day practice.

Radiology AI marketplaces are conceptually similar to app stores in that they enable discovery, distribution, and monetization of “apps,” or in this case AI models, and provide a feedback channel between users and developers. Where these marketplaces differ from a conventional app store is in how they support the lifecycle requirements for developing, training, obtaining regulatory approval, deploying, and validating AI models. Our company, Nuance, introduced its AI marketplace for diagnostic imaging in 2017; several others have also launched AI marketplaces including Arterys and GE Healthcare, with its Edison platform.


Huawei AI could power self-driving cars in Europe and China by 2021 (Quartz)

The Chinese telecoms giant is looking to ship a self-driving car using its own AI technology in 2021 or 2022, Huawei’s chief strategy architect Dang Wenshuan told the Financial Times (paywall) June 12. Huawei is providing its AI infrastructure to a number of high-profile carmakers, including Audi, and China’s state-owned carmakers, GAC Group, Beijing New Energy Automobile, and Changan Automobile.

Dang said that the first self-driving cars are likely to come from Chinese manufacturers, but that they will be available in both Europe and China.

Nvidia boosts self-driving AI business with Volvo trucks deal (Reuters)

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s AB Volvo is joining forces with Nvidia Corp to develop artificial intelligence used in self-driving trucks, in a boost for the U.S. chipmaker that was dropped by Tesla Inc last year.

The agreement announced on Tuesday by Nvidia and Volvo, the world’s second-biggest truckmaker after Daimler AG, is a long-term partnership spanning several years. Work will begin immediately in Santa Clara, California, and Gothenburg, Sweden. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Global AI chip market to grow tenfold in next five years: white paper (Xinhua)

BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- The global market for mobile artificial intelligence (AI) chips is expected to reach 3.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, a tenfold growth from the 2017 figure, said a white paper.

The market expansion is driven by the fast development of AI industry, as AI chips saw rapid penetration into the terminal sector, said the white paper on mobile AI technologies and application released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

S. Korean Chipmakers Gearing Up for Fledging Autonomous Vehicle Market (The Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, Jun. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — For a car to truly drive itself without user control, it needs to be continuously aware of surroundings and make split-second decisions in any situation via the vehicle’s autonomous driving system.

As a self-driving car’s system must be based on complex data sets to navigate the road and electronics play an increasingly key role for automobiles, it presents a potentially fertile ground for South Korean chipmakers, and they seem to have realized this.

Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. — the world’s two biggest memory chip makers — have been tapping opportunities in the fledgling automotive semiconductor market, as part of efforts to diversify their core business away from traditional DRAM and NAND chips, and weather cyclical industry downturns.


Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning help shrimp, vegetable farmers reap good harvest (The Geek Herald)

Artificial Intelligence and the machine is now helping farmers grow good crops. The technology has now made an entry into agriculture and aquaculture farms to benefit the farmers.

Moreover, the Artificial Intelligence machine will surely help the farmers in cutting down their labour while farming. Now, it will not only help to reap vegetables but also catch shrimps in some states.

It is all possible because of companies like Akebono Smart Farming Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru as well as the city-based CARI. Vegetable and shrimp farmers can increase their yield, boost their profits and have better market access.

How XAG is Leveraging AI Technology to Transform Agriculture (PRNewsWire)

GENEVA ,Switzerland, June 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The 3rd AI for Good Global Summit, a leading United Nation platform for multilateral dialogue on Artificial Intelligence (AI), was kicked off in Geneva, Switzerland, May 28-31. As the only Chinese agri-tech company to join the Summit, XAG presented its innovative solutions of combining drones with AI and IoT technology to achieve precision agriculture and induce transformational changes to the food system.

Artificial Intelligence, through continuously analysing massive data related to climate, lands, crop growing, etc., while automatically designing and optimising algorithms for decision-making, can help farmers diagnose plant diseases, predict natural disasters and employ appropriate resources to close the yield gap. At XAG, AI-powered intelligent devices such as drones and sensors have been leveraged to establish digital farming infrastructure in rural areas and enable precision agriculture which, for example, accurately target pesticides, seeds, fertilisers and water to wherever it is needed.

Lincoln to create first Global Centre of Excellence in Agri-robotics (Fresh Plaza)

The UK's first global centre of excellence in agri-robotics research will be created at the University of Lincoln, with the announcement of significant Government grant funding today (Thursday 13th June 2019).

Lincoln Agri-Robotics will be established as a major new research centre bringing together world-leading expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence and agriculture, based on the site of the University's working farm.

The University of Lincoln is already spearheading the development of next generation robots for agri-food production which will help streamline and maximise processes throughout the entire food industry, from farm to fork. This new funding, from the UK Government's Expanding Excellence in England (E3) Fund through Research England, recognises the University's commitment to supporting farms of the future and will enable its researchers to scale up their work tackling pressing issues facing the global food chain.


Facial Recognition Verifies Taxi Drivers in China (Mobile ID World)

Thousands of taxi drivers in the Chinese city of Xi’an are now being verified by facial recognition technology when they get behind the wheel. And, true to the country’s security ethos, they’re also being monitored constantly by an AI system to ensure they aren’t engaging in prohibited activities such as smoking or using a smartphone while driving.

This is in part the result of a methanol-driven upgrade plan for taxi fleets in China, which has opened the door for the integration of new IT equipment into cabs. Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings is a provider of such technologies, and has announced that its KanKan-AI system is now being used in over 2,000 taxis in Xi’an. The technology provides the functionality described above, and also facilitates other capabilities such as displaying navigation information for passengers and enabling mobile payments based on QR codes.

2. Funding + Investments ⤵

Pencil, Singapore based creative AI company raises $US1.1M seed funding (TrendPressWire)

Having been led by Singapore/US-based VC Wavemaker Partners, Pencil, a Singapore based creative AI firm, has successfully managed to secure US$1.1M in seed funding. Will Hanschell, who was formerly a partner and management consultant of creative agency Iris Worldwide, and Sumukh Avadhani who was an ex-Googler specialized in deep learning and computer vision; founded Pencil in 2018.

While the government- owned SGInnovate and talent investor Entrepreneur First joined the round, the investor- advisor joining the round were NUS Associate Professor Min-Yen Kan and Googler formed angel network Xoogler Angles.

Audio Analytic secures $12m funding to give consumer electronics a sense of hearing (Cambridge Independent)

The world leader in sound recognition, Audio Analytic, will give more consumer electronics a sense of hearing after closing a $12million Series B funding round that attracted Silicon Valley support.

The Cambridge company’s technology is already used globally in many innovative devices - from Hive’s Hub 360 for the smart home to Bragi earphones - and it has launched partnerships with big names from Arm to Intel.

Audio Analytic’s artificial intelligence-based sound recognition technology is embedded into devices to make them more useful and interesting to consumers, by reacting to contextual information provided by sound.

AllyO To Expand Its Recruiting Solutions And AI Team With New Funding Round (Pulse 2.0)

AllyO, a company that is known for its end-to-end AI recruiting platform, announced earlier this month that it raised $45 million in Series B funding. New investors Sapphire Ventures and Scale Venture Partners joined existing investors Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI fund), Randstad Innovation Fund, Bain Capital Ventures, and Cervin Ventures for this round.

This round of funding is a big deal since it is the largest ever raised in the AI recruiting category. Including this round of funding, AllyO has raised $64 million in under three years.

SafeAI raises $5M to develop and deploy autonomy for mining and construction vehicles (TechCrunch)

Startup SafeAI, powered by a founding talent team with experience across Apple, Ford and Caterpillar, is emerging from stealth today with a $5 million funding announcement. The company’s focus is on autonomous vehicle technology, designed and built specifically for heavy equipment used in the mining and construction industries.

Out the gate, SafeAI is working with Doosan Bobcat, the South Korean equipment company that makes Bobcat loaders and excavators, and it’s already demonstrating and testing its software on a Bobcat skid loader at the SafeAI testing ground in San Jose. The startup believes that applying advances in autonomy and artificial intelligence to mining and construction can do a lot to not only make work sites safer, but also increase efficiencies and boost productivity — building on what’s already been made possible with even the most basic levels of autonomy currently available on the market.

NewtonX Raises $12M in Series A Funding (FINSMES)

NewtonX, a NYC-based real-time expert search engine, closed a $12M Series A funding.

The round was led by Two Sigma Ventures, with participation from Third Prime Capital and Xfund.

The company intends to use the funds for expansion of its personnel count from 30 to 100 within the next year and increase of expert discovery capabilities through technology investments and data acquisition.

Founded by CEO Germain Chastel, COO Sascha Eder and CTO Anuja Ketan, NewtonX provides an expert knowledge search platform that uses a proprietary suite of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) technology to reduce the time and cost of finding industry expertise and knowledge.
NewtonX enables clients—including Microsoft, 23andMe, and the majority of the top 10 management consulting firms—to leverage automation to connect with professionals who have subject-matter expertise.

Duke grads’ artificial intelligence startup focuses on shopping, lands funding (WRAL TechWire)

ATLANTA — A fledgling, artificial intelligence (AI) startup founded by two Duke University grads, has landed early-stage round funding.

Toucan AI – started by North Carolina natives and Duke grads Arjun Devarajan and Vishnu Menon – has raised an undisclosed sum from a number of sources. They include Seraph Group, Play Fund, Southern Connection Ventures, and a syndicate of angel investors.

The cash injection will, no doubt, boost its efforts in building “a platform that allows e-commerce companies to instantly create an AI salesperson.”

“We’re using cutting-edge deep learning research and techniques to create this out-of-the-box solution that companies can use to set up their AI sales agent,” Devarajan told WRAL TechWire.

3. Advances ⤵

Adobe’s prototype AI tool automatically spots Photoshopped faces (The Verge)

The world is becoming increasingly anxious about the spread of fake videos and pictures, and Adobe — a name synonymous with edited imagery — says it shares those concerns. Today, it’s sharing new research in collaboration with scientists from UC Berkeley that uses machine learning to automatically detect when images of faces have been manipulated.

It’s the latest sign the company is committing more resources to this problem. Last year its engineers created an AI tool that detects edited media created by splicing, cloning, and removing objects.

Artificial intelligence tries to help you minimize your accent. Should you use it? (KCRW)

LA is filled with dialect coaches helping actors prepare for roles, and maybe acquire or lose an accent. But for people trying to mask their accent and sound more American, they can turn to more than a human coach.

The app ELSA Speak uses artificial intelligence to give people detailed feedback on their English pronunciation so they can minimize their accent.

The founder of ELSA Speak, Vu Van, was born and raised in Vietnam. She tells Press Play that when she moved to the U.S. for her MBA at Stanford, people had a tough time understanding her, often asking her to repeat herself.

This algorithm is a new way to fix distortion in your wide-angle selfies (DIY Photography)

If you take group selfies, I’m sure you’ve encountered this problem. Wide-angle cameras don’t only make people want to get a nose job, but they can make their faces look weird and unnaturally stretched. A group of researchers at Google and MIT led by Yi Chang have come up with the new method for fixing these distortions. In a paper titled Distortion-Free Wide-Angle Portraits on Camera Phones, they describe an algorithm they’ve developed to resolve this issue.

Other methods for fixing distortions exist. However, the researchers note that they may undistort faces, but they affect other parts of the image. The method they propose creates a content-aware warping mesh. It locally adapts to the stereographic projection on facial regions, removes the distortion from faces, but it doesn’t mess up the rest of the image.

Intel is doing the hard work necessary to make sure robots can operate your microwave (TechCrunch)

Training computers and robots to not only understand and recognize objects (like an oven, for instance, as distinct from a dishwasher) is pretty crucial to getting them to a point where they can manage the relatively simple tasks that humans do every day. But even once you have an artificial intelligence trained to the point where it can tell your fridge from your furnace, you also need to make sure it can operate the things if you want it to be truly functional.

That’s where new work from Intel  AI researchers, working in collaboration with UCSD and Stanford, comes in — in a paper presented at the Conference on Computer Vision and Patter Recognition, the assembled research team details how they created “PartNet,” a large data set of 3D objects with highly detailed, hierarchically organized and fully annotated part info for each object.

Toward artificial intelligence that learns to write code (MIT)

Learning to code involves recognizing how to structure a program, and how to fill in every last detail correctly. No wonder it can be so frustrating.

A new program-writing AI, SketchAdapt, offers a way out. Trained on tens of thousands of program examples, SketchAdapt learns how to compose short, high-level programs, while letting a second set of algorithms find the right sub-programs to fill in the details. Unlike similar approaches for automated program-writing, SketchAdapt knows when to switch from statistical pattern-matching to a less efficient, but more versatile, symbolic reasoning mode to fill in the gaps.

“Neural nets are pretty good at getting the structure right, but not the details,” says Armando Solar-Lezama, a professor at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL). “By dividing up the labor — letting the neural nets handle the high-level structure, and using a search strategy to fill in the blanks — we can write efficient programs that give the right answer.”

This Dota 2 AI predicts player death within a 5-second window (VentureBeat)

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.

AI improves Alexa’s error rate with challenging training sets (VentureBeat)

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 an “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.

Billionaire: Future music will be AI-generated to match our moods (Futurism)

Final Countdown

Music as we know it may be on its way out, with bands and artists making way for personalized playlists and tunes generated by artificial intelligence for each individual listener.

That’s a prediction by billionaire Vinod Khosla, the venture capitalist who co-founded Sun Microsystems, TechCrunchreports. It’s a bold idea: that people will live with their own personal soundtracks assembled by a mind-reading AI, spelling doom for musicians and artists who are pushed to the side.

Artificial intelligence improves seismic analyses (

The challenge to analyze earthquake signals with optimum precision grows along with the amount of available seismic data. At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), researchers have deployed a neural network to determine the arrival-time of seismic waves and thus precisely locate the epicenter of the earthquake. In their report in the Seismological Research Letters journal, they point out that Artificial Intelligence is able to evaluate the data with the same precision as an experienced seismologist.

For precisely locating an earthquake event, it is critical to determine the exact arrival-time of the majority of seismic waves at the seismometer station (the so-called phase arrival). Without this knowledge, further accurate seismological evaluations are not possible. Such evaluations can be very useful in predicting aftershocks that sometimes cause more serious damage than the initial main earthquake. By precisely locating the epicenter, even physical processes occurring deep inside the Earth can better be distinguished, and this, in turn, allows inference about the structure of the Earth's interior. "Our results show that Artificial Intelligence can significantly improve earthquake analysis—not only with the support of large data volumes, but also if only a limited dataset is available," explains Professor Andreas Rietbrock from the Geophysical Institute (GPI) at KIT.

Translating university lectures in multiple languages (Science Daily)

Advances in communication technology have had a major impact in all sorts of industries, but perhaps none bigger than in education. Now anyone from around the world can listen live to a Nobel Prize Laureate lecture or earn credits from the most reputable universities with nothing more than internet access. However, the possible information to be gained from watching and listening online is lost if the audience cannot understand the language of the lecturer. To solve this problem, scientists at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Japan, presented a solution with new machine learning at the 240th meeting of the Special Interest Group of Natural Language Processing, Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ SIG-NL).

4. Jobs + Work ⤵

Nordic banks to cut compliance staff in favour of robots (Finextra)

Two of the Nordics' biggest banks, Nordea and Danske Bank, expect to significantly reduce the number of staff employed in its compliance and financial crime departments and instead turn to robotics and artificial intelligence.

The comments, which were reported by Bloomberg, follow a recent hiring spree by both banks which has added hundreds to their respective compliance departments. However, both Nordea and Danske, have said that the additional headcount will be temporary and will be sizeably reduced due to the greater use of robotics and AI technology.

Nordea's head of financial crime prevention, Mikael Bjertrup, said that the bank currently uses alogorithms and machine learning to identify and close suspicious transactions but the majority (80%) are still handled manually. Given the increasing volume of transactions and the need to monitor and report more transactions due to regulations like MiFID II, the use of manual processes continues to be a source of inefficiency.

Sindh govt plans to set up AI, Robotics & Blockchain center at IBA Sukkur (Tech Juice)

In an attempt to boost the trend of AI and robotics in the province the provincial government of Sindh is planning to set up a center of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain at IBA university in Sukkur. For this purpose a total of Rs. 3.0 billion has been allocated by the provincial government of Sindh in its budget for FY 2019-20.

Moreover, the Sindh government is also planning to several initiatives for higher education, by establishing Thar Institute of Technology, which will be termed as the NED Campus of Tharparkar, and the Sindh University Campus in Badin and Mirpurkhas.

Creatives in the country? Blockchain and agtech can create unexpected jobs in regional Australia (

Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are said to make many jobs redundant due to automation. BeefLedger, a QUT research project with a focus on blockchain and agtech (agricultural technology), tells a different story. It turns out the project generates jobs not usually associated with rural and regional Australia.

BeefLedger is a two-year A$1.5 million project that set out to track and protect the authenticity of Australian beef in the rapidly growing Chinese market. It also shows, though, that blockchain and agtech can generate jobs in the creative industries in regional Australia, too.

Microsoft to train 1.5 lakh students at AI digital labs in India (The Week)

Tech giant Microsoft Thursday said it will launch AI digital labs in the country in collaboration with 10 higher educational institutions, including BITS Pilani and ISB.

As part of the three-year programme, Microsoft will support the select institutions with infrastructure, curriculum and content, access to cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) services as well as developer support, Microsoft said in a statement.

This collaboration with colleges and universities will ramp up institutional setup along with educator capability, and provide relevant educational choices for students, helping them acquire the required skills, it added.

5. Public Policy ⤵

Digital rights declaration signed by Sydney could limit public facial recognition (Biometric Update)

Sydney has signed the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights declaration, ZDNet reports, which could have significant ramifications for the deployment of public biometric facial recognition systems. It is the only city in Australia to sign on, despite urging from local rights activists.

The Digital Rights declaration was launched as a joint initiative of New York City, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, and has now been signed by 26 countries worldwide. It pledges universal and equal internet and digital literacy access; data protection for personal information in physical and virtual spaces; transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of digital systems; participatory democracy, diversity, and inclusion; and open and ethical digital service standards.

The patent protection conundrum facing producers of AI-enabled software as medical devices (MedCity News)

Earlier this year, the FDA released a discussion paper entitled Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-Based Software as a Medical Devices (SaMD), which proposes a regulatory framework for governing medical devices that incorporate artificial intelligence.

In the discussion paper, the FDA recognized that AI-based medical devices may have potentially significant benefits. The FDA highlighted AI’s “ability to learn from real-world use and experience, and its capability to improve its performance,” for example as the AI tools learn from new data over time. The FDA also predicted that “AI/ML-based SaMD will deliver safe and effective software functionality that improves the quality of care that patients receive.”

Florida to allow self-driving car tests without backup drivers (Autoblog)

Companies that want to test their self-driving cars will have an easier time of it in the Sunshine State. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles without backup drivers. It also lets occupants text, watch video or otherwise enjoy themselves without running afoul of distracted driving rules. They'll need to meet insurance requirements, but that's about as far as it goes.

The measure takes effect July 1.

Lawyers say NIST’s revised data standards should be central to AI policy under Trump order (Inside Cybersecurity)

The American Bar Association says standards being revised by the National Institute of Standards and Technology on data privacy and security for federal systems, which are expected to be issued as final this summer, should be central to any new NIST plan for addressing artificial intelligence under a Trump order.

Government prepares artificial intelligence guidelines in bid to keep Australians safe, employed (ABC)

The Federal Government is close to finalising guidelines that will try to keep Australians safe as the world adopts artificial intelligence.

But cyber-security experts warn Australian companies are already vulnerable to hackers, and AI could make that situation even worse.

Federal Minister for Technology Karen Andrews said the Government had recently sought feedback on the use of AI and wanted to ensure the technology remained ethical and secure.

6. Governance ⤵

IBM’s AI debating system argues for and against cannabis legalization (Hindustan Times)

For all the recent advances of artificial intelligence, computers still can’t get stoned. But that didn’t stop International Business Machines Corp.’s AI debating system from wading into the question of legalizing cannabis.

In a demonstration Thursday, Project Debater -- Speech by Crowd collected more than 1,000 opinions from a Tel Aviv crowd, analysed them by subject and quality, and in less than an hour correlated them into coherent pro and con arguments, delivered in a poised female voice.

IBM will make the “speech by crowd” option available on a trial basis starting Thursday as it’s not quite ready for market yet, according to Israel general manager Danny Melka. Its developers say the debating system could be a powerful tool for companies that want to survey customer opinions of a new service or employee views of a policy change.

'Deepfakes' easy to make, hard to detect, lawmakers learn in Congressional hearing (Desert News Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart isn't sure there's a way to control the proliferation of digital technology that makes it easier to create synthetic video, images, audio or text known as "deepfakes."

The Utah Republican said that some of the suggestions industry experts offered during a congressional hearing Thursday might be helpful in an ideal world, but in the real world they would be nearly impossible to implement.

Policies could be adopted to control government and to some extent legitimate businesses, he said.

Detroit police board of commissioners consider using facial recognition (Fox2Detroit)

DETROIT (FOX 2) - Detroit police are weighing the use of facial recognition to help them fight crimes.

The technology, which involves the ability to verify one's identity with a digital image, comes with obvious benefits of helping police officers locate and name criminals in open cases.

It also comes with the obvious concerns of breaching people's privacy.

"We are concerned about constitutional issues, we are concerned about privacy, we are concerned about the process," said Willie Bell, chair of the Board of Police Commissioners in Detroit. "Basically, we've been reviewing it and now we want the public to weigh in and give them an opportunity."

YouTube's Algorithmic Pedo-Failure (Forbes)

YouTube turned to Facebook and said, “Hold my beer.” 

After intense pressure, the platform decided to demonetize channels that promote hate speech and discrimination. And in a terrifying story, The New York Times reported that YouTube’s recommendation engine surfaces videos of partially clothed children to viewers who’ve watched similar videos or erotic content in the past. These videos may seem innocuous in and of themselves but consider who’s likely to be binge-watching them along with erotic content to such a degree that the behavior trains YouTube’s algorithm, and one thing becomes clear: YouTube is enabling pedophilia. 

Bad news for UAE criminals: AI is literally watching their every move (AME)

Law enforcement and security operations in the nation have just received a tech upgrade. Dubai-based software developer and solutions provider NNTC has partnered with American firm Vuzix to supply security personnel in the UAE with the world's first-ever, fully autonomous AI-powered face recognition system — NNTC’s iFalcon Face Control™ Mobile.

50 Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses, powered by NNTC’s trademark technology, have been deployed to multiple security operations. Engineered specifically for law enforcement officers and security personnel, the solution allows wearers to discretely scan faces in a crowd and compare them against a comprehensive offline database of violators, missing people and suspects.

Inside the urgent battle to stop UK police using facial recognition (WIRED)

The last day of January 2019 was sunny, yet bitterly cold in Romford, east London. Shoppers scurrying from retailer to retailer wrapped themselves in winter coats, scarves and hats. The temperature never rose above three degrees Celsius.

For police officers positioned next to an inconspicuous blue van, just metres from Romford's Overground station, one man stood out among the thin winter crowds. The man, wearing a beige jacket and blue cap, had pulled his jacket over his face as he moved in the direction of the police officers.

The reason for his camouflage? To avoid facial recognition technology that had been equipped to the blue van surveying the street around it. Disgruntled Metropolitan Police officers pulled the unnamed man aside to question him. "If I want to cover me face, I'll cover me face," he said, before police took his picture and issued him with a £90 fine for disorderly behaviour.

7. Defense + Geopolitics ⤵

No secret safe in age of AI, says French digital envoy (Reuters)

TUNIS (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Be it illness or an affair, your secret may no longer be safe as artificial intelligence gives government and business the power to crawl over personal data, France’s digital envoy said on Thursday.

Information gleaned from everyday communications could then be used to exclude people from jobs, deny them insurance or curtail a myriad of freedoms, said Henri Verdier, France’s top digital specialist, calling for stronger privacy rules.

He said the predictive powers of AI could mean deep trouble if information - a hastily written tweet or even a holiday booking - was used to divine an individual’s future profile.

China is exporting AI-driven authoritarianism (Nikkei Asian Review)

TOKYO -- China is building and exporting an Orwellian dystopia, supported by a network of ubiquitous security cameras and advanced facial recognition technology.

Beijing's artificial intelligence-driven dictatorship, which also employs rigorous internet censorship, poses a fundamental, long-term threat to the liberal postwar world order led by the U.S.

At home, China is working to establish a "social credit system" as a new and powerful tool to control the public. The system will rate the "trustworthiness" of all Chinese citizens based on a wide range of criteria, including their credit card records, traffic violations and contributions to the nation. Citizens with low "social credit scores" will be punished in various ways, such as not being allowed to travel.

China and US don't really compete in development of AI (Shine)

China and the US have become leaders in the development of artificial intelligence, which means they are often regarded as competitors in innovation and fundraising.

In reality, each nation has its own advantages and strategies on artificial intelligence, or AI. Industry insiders say they are more complementary than competitive.

“No dot-com giant firm has succeeded both in China and the United States,” said Wu Jun, managing partner of Amico Capital, a veteran information technology executive and author of popular books on the technology industry. “The AI firms face totally different situations and environments in the two countries.”

DARPA VIP program asks industry to create artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for human-like reasoning (Military & Aerospace Electronics)

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers are working with industry to develop so-called third-wave artificial intelligence (AI), or brain-inspired and massively scalable computing for future military applications.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., issued a solicitation on Friday (DARPA-PA-18-02-08) for the Virtual Intelligence Processing (VIP) program.

VIP seeks to explore radically new brain-inspired and massively scalable computing for machine-learning approaches. The goal is to develop algorithms based on mathematical models for next-generation processors that can aid third-wave AI, which involves human-like reasoning.

How Surveillance Cameras Could Be Weaponized With A.I. (The New York Times)

Businesses and the government have spent years installing millions of surveillance cameras across the United States. Now, that technology is on the verge of getting a major upgrade, the American Civil Liberties Union warns in a new report.

Advancements in artificial intelligence could supercharge surveillance, allowing camera owners to identify “unusual” behavior, recognize actions like hugging or kissing, easily seek out embarrassing footage and estimate a person’s age or, possibly, even their disposition, the group argues.

“We face the prospect of an army of A.I. security guards being placed behind those lenses that are actually, in a meaningful way, monitoring us, making decisions about us, scrutinizing us,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the A.C.L.U. and the author of the report, which was released on Thursday.

↙ Additional Reading ↙

Samsung opens research center to begin initial work on 6G (Techspot)

Pega Launches Real-Time AI Connectors for Pega AI Software (AI Authority)

SimpleBet talks sports data and its machine-learning pricing model (EGR)

Taklimakan Network Is Disrupting Social Media Using AI Solutions On A Fully Operational Platform (DC Forecasts)

General Dynamics Snags $49M HHS Artificial Intelligence Contract (Washington Exec) Launches Research and Development Hub (Yahoo Finance)

EUROCONTROL aims for ESCAPE-Light to stimulate ATC artificial intelligence research (Centre for Aviation)

AI for the Masses: Artificial Intelligence Now an Option for Smaller Practices (

AI may help with alternative dispute resolution (Law Times News)

Artificial intelligence in the gas and oil industry

Using Artificial Intelligence to Advance Revenue Cycle Management (Rev Cycle Intelligence)

Autonomous Buses Could Follow DART’s Uber Program (GovTech)

Artificial Intelligence May Soon End Traffic Jams (24/7 Wall St)

How Unicef Is Using Big Data To Close The Education Divide (Forbes)

 Banking on artificial intelligence: In hiring drive, Bots are calling the shots now (Economic Times)

The Enlarging Role Of AI In HR Technologies (HR Technologist)

Machine learning for sensors (

Growing better single crystals with the help of machine learning (Physics World)

Where Does AI Automation Fit into Health Data Security? (Health Tech Magazine)

Annual Edge AI Processor Shipments Forecast to Reach 1.5 Billion Units by 2023, According to IDC (Yahoo)

Enabling transportation agencies to automate traffic monitoring (Science Daily)

CounterFlow AI Partners with CloudShark to Optimize Security Analysts’ Workflows (Yahoo)

'Big Data' Could Give J.D. Power A Big Boost (Forbes)

The University of Surrey introduces blockchain and AI for data storage (Business Chief)

He Sold His First Business For $190 Million And Just Sold His Second One For $780 Million (Forbes)

Icertis Ranked Number One in Washington on Power List of AI Startups (Yahoo)

Itu Report Explores The Future Of Ai In Broadcast (TV Technology)

NASCAR Selects AWS as Its Preferred Cloud Computing, Cloud Machine Learning, and Cloud Artificial Intelligence Provider (AP News)

Artificial Intelligence is Fundamental to the Future of Cybersecurity, SMEs Say (Security Magazine)

Creating a “wayback machine” for IT security (Design World Online)

AI-for-Sales Company Cien Completes New Financing Round Led by Elaia (Yahoo)

Klear’s Deep Learning Algorithm Empowers Brands to Measure Campaign ROI (Talking Influence)

ACR, SIIM announce machine learning challenge for detecting pneumothorax (Health Imaging)

AI generates orthodontic plans to ease dentist burden (VentureBeat)

Most oncologists expect AI to improve patient outcomes in coming years, report finds: 3 notes (Becker's Hospital Review)

SIIM, ACR hosting new AI challenge focused on pneumothorax detection (Radiology Business)

AI gives reliable coma outcome prediction (MedicalXpress)

LPIXEL Announces Initiation of AI System Development for Cell Evaluation with Astellas Pharma (Yahoo)

Image credit: mikemacmarketing on Visual Hunt / CC BY