Issue 165: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

The UK Digital Strategy has been published. Stephen Allott, former Crown Rep for SME (and CognitionX Advisor) has reviewed, read and synthesised the relevant AI points in this blogpost so you don’t have to.

The UK Government is putting some more money into AI research in 2 areas – a total of £17.3 million. TechCrunch commented that given the importance of AI, this was not very much money.

So, maybe most interestingly, is the announcement of another review showing commitment to AI and potentially more spending. This will be led by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Jerome Pesenti, Chief Executive of BenevolentTech.

Love to hear your thoughts. Please leave them in the comments on Stephen’s blogpost.


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub 


UK Digital Strategy

The government is putting its trust and its money in AI and will, for example, award £17.3M in Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants to support the development of new Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI) technologies in UK Universities.

In addition, The government has already been supporting technology such as autonomous vehicles and IoT and will continue to do so. For example, they have established the £30 million IoT UK Programme. These are just a few examples of the funding and R&D that the government is doing to support AI and emerging technologies.

Being ever-cognizant of the fears people have regarding AI, they said that “as the use of AI increases, we need to
carefully consider how to ensure that the technology is not producing outcomes that discriminate unfairly or make judgmental, prejudicial or dangerous decisions. We must ensure citizens and businesses can trust the outcomes of processes that use AI technology.”

Future of Health

Researcher uses machine learning to improve suicide prediction

A groundbreaking project led by a Florida State University researcher makes an exponential advance in suicide prediction, potentially giving clinicians the ability to predict who will attempt suicide up to two years in advance with 80 percent accuracy.

FSU Psychology researcher Jessica Ribeiro feels an urgency to confront this relentless problem. Shadowing her research is the ever-present awareness that 120 Americans take their lives every day, nearly 45,000 a year.

Ribeiro’s paper, titled “Predicting Risk of Suicide Attempts over Time through Machine Learning,” will be published by the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

The study offers a fascinating finding: machine learning can predict with 80-90 percent accuracy whether someone will attempt suicide as far off as two years into the future. The algorithms become even more accurate as a person’s suicide attempt gets closer. For example, the accuracy climbs to 92 percent one week before a suicide attempt when artificial intelligence focuses on general hospital patients.


Facebook is building a safer community with new suicide prevention tools

Facebook is in a unique position — through friendships on the site — to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them. It’s part of their ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook.

Yesterday they updated the tools and resources they offer to people who may be thinking of suicide, as well as the support they offer to their concerned friends and family members: 1) Integrated suicide prevention tools to help people in real time on Facebook Live, 2) Live chat support from crisis support organizations through Messenger, 3) Streamlined reporting for suicide, assisted by AI.

Based on feedback from experts, they are testing a streamlined reporting process using pattern recognition in posts previously reported for suicide. This AI approach will make the option to report a post about “suicide or self injury” more prominent for potentially concerning posts like these.

Chat Bots, yadda yadda yadda

Octane AI comes out of beta and unveils Convos

Octane AI, a platform that makes it easy to create and manage a bot you can use to engage with and build your audience on Facebook Messenger, has officially opened its platform to the public. The company launched its beta program in November of 2016 with partners including 50 Cent, Aerosmith and Magic Mike Live, has doubled the size of its team and effectively helped customers turn botmaking into a seamless experience, regardless of technical expertise.

As part of this public launch, Octane AI is also announcing Convos: The easiest way to create native content for Messenger. Convos is the next frontier of bot engagement and will open the door to a flood of innovative and quality content to the one billion people who use Messenger. Convos takes Octane AI’s platform from a technical tool to a content creation platform — enabling anyone to create and share conversational content for their bot.

Tools of the Trade

Captive uses AI tool to refine underwriting, reduce losses

ZestFinance developed and recently launched a lender tool that uses machine learning to originate loans for thin-file borrowers, and the company is already working with one of the “Big Three” captives to implement this system for its auto originations, said
Douglas Merrill, founder and chief executive of the company.

The platform applies algorithms to alternative data using a process called machine learning, which is a type of artificial intelligence that allows the technology to learn on its own without manual input, Merrill said.

He developed the platform using methods he learned from his former position as the CIO at Google. The unnamed lender wants to engage in the consumer’s first vehicle purchase in order to build brand loyalty, and Zest’s platform aims to make lending to those millennials less risky, Merrill told Auto Finance

Deal of the Day

Palo Alto Networks acquires LightCyber for $105M, adds behavioural attack detection capabilities

LightCyber’s breach-detection and remediation solution is called Active Breach Detection. The company’s solution uses behavioural analytics and anomaly detection to gain visibility into advanced and targeted attacks, insider threats, and attacks that have gone around traditional controls.

Palo Alto Networks announced the acquisition, which has already closed, during its second quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

“The LightCyber team’s vision to bring automation and machine learning to bear in addressing the very difficult task of identifying otherwise undetected and often very sophisticated attacks inside the network is well-aligned with our platform approach,” CEO of Palo Alto Networks Mark McLaughlin said in a statement.

Products We Love

Line’s AI bets pit Japanese messenger against Amazon and Google

Line Corp. outlined an ambitious AI strategy that promises to transform Japan’s most popular messaging service while pitting it against Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The company is launching a suite of AI software tools to power an online digital assistant capable of conversing in Japanese and Korean, Line said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday. Users can talk to the assistant, getting the latest weather and news through either a dedicated smartphone app or a tabletop-speaker called Wave that’s similar to Amazon’s Echo. Both will be available in early summer.

“There is a shift toward toward post-smartphone, post-touch technologies,” Chief Executive Officer Takeshi Idezawa said in an interview. “These connected devices will permeate even deeper into our daily lives and therefore must even closer match the local needs, languages and cultures.”

Podcasts We Love

Tim Hwang on bots that cause chaos

In this podcast, Jon Bruner speaks with Tim Hwang, an affiliated researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, about AI-driven psyops bots and their capacity for social destabilization.

He outlines a handful of conceptual “future scenarios” in which hostile actors might use bots to sow chaos—for instance, to find people who might be open to radicalization, or to misdirect crowds of bystanders during terrorist attacks. Hwang says existing legal frameworks aren’t sufficient to manage these
threats, but they talk about three possible ways to address them.

I’ve been making some changes based on Feedback. Would love to hear from more of you. Please do click to share your thoughts! 


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