Issue 178: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

Many leaders are advocating the very best way for AI to flourish is for people to invest in startups. So it was good to see Y Combinator announce they are creating a vertical group dedicated to AI. See details below to apply and watch this space as no doubt others are preparing to launch their AI focused funds also.

With this said, on Monday 27th you can ask our panel of investors, questions about the good bad and the ugly of Investing in AI. Send us questions now and we’ll be sure to field them on the night.

If you haven’t got tickets yet please do so asap as I believe we are almost at capacity.


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub

Future of Health

Cancer treatments boosted by AI genomic sequencing

“The technique that we use for this is genomic sequencing,” explained Dr. Jurgi Camblong, cofounder of Sophia Genetics, a provider of AI that pinpoints the genomic code mutations behind cancers and rare disorders to assist physicians and healthcare institutions in prescribing optimal drug treatments for their patients. Today, 240 hospitals in 39 countries use the Sophia platform.

“What the technology does is spot variations in different genetic codes so we can use historical data that aids in prescribing the best combination of drugs to treat a particular cancer or condition in an individual patient,” said Camblong. “This is next-generation genomic sequencing, and it is used in two different areas: chronic hereditary disorders and oncology. By using the algorithms that are part of our artificial intelligence, we can spot the origin of a genetic mutation causing a cancer or a particular condition and then give an idea of what the best drug treatment would be to the attending physician.”

Exciting Opportunities

Y Combinator “our goal is to democratize AI.”

Apply here “We can’t afford to ignore what might be the biggest technological leap since the Internet.”

They want to level the playing field for startups to ensure that innovation doesn’t get locked up in large companies like Google or Facebook.

I like to see they are also looking to fund companies focused on job re-training. It’s clear that this is because they believe the increased efficiency from AI will net out positive for the world, and so they are mindful of fears of job loss.

Business Impact of AI

AI and the legal sector

“There is this popular view that if you can automate one piece of the work, the rest of the job is toast,” said Frank Levy, a labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “That’s just not true, or only rarely the case.”

“Where the technology is going to be in three to five years is the really interesting question,” said Ben Allgrove, a partner at Baker McKenzie, a firm with 4,600 lawyers. “And the honest answer is we don’t know.”

Ethics Question for the Day

Is Facebook a structual threat to free society?

As Facebook grows, so will its ownership of the social graph and our digital selves. Systemic risk is highest in centralised systems. Extrapolating trends, the author on Truthhawk considers it possible, if not probable, that Facebook will become a systemic risk centre for free society. The argument goes:

  • Facebook engages in comprehensive and growing data collection on its billions of
  • This data allows for exponentially greater manipulation of human beings and their realities than ever seen before
  • Facebook is building towards human simulation and ownership
  • Extrapolating trends, Facebook will create unprecedented centralization of power and influence in the hands of an individual
  • Without a change of course, we are enabling a structural threat to free society, and potentially worse

Education and Advice We Rate

Creating your own data science MA

David Venturi decided that it didn’t make sense to spend upwards of $30K for another university degree. Therefore, he put together his own course from online resources, including Udacity and Coursera. He provides a thorough discussion of the courses he chose and why he chose them. The range of courses is quite broad and include instruction on both R and Python, standards data science tools.


Distill, an interactive and visual machine learning journal

The journal Distill launches today. In a nutshell, Distill is an interactive, visual journal for machine learning research.

It is a unique journal with articles that will integrate explanation, code, data, and interactive visualisations into a single environment. In such an environment, users can explore in ways impossible with traditional static media. They can change models, try out different hypotheses, and immediately see what happens. That will let them rapidly build their understanding in ways impossible in traditional static media.

Products We Love

Chinese park installs facial recogniton sotware to stop toilet paper thieves

Apparently toilet paper theft has gotten so bad at the Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing, authorities have installed facial recognition software in the stalls.

In order to get a few sheets, visitors now need to make eye contact with a computer before the dispenser spits out a serving of TP. The facial recognition program keeps the dispenser from offering another round to the same person; if you need more, you reportedly need to sit tight — literally — for nine whole minutes.


Amazon struggles in the grocery business

 “Online grocery is failing,” said Kurt Jetta, chief executive officer of TABS Analytics, a consumer products research firm. Only 4.5 percent of shoppers made frequent online grocery purchases in 2016, up just slightly from 4.2 percent four years earlier despite big investments from companies such as Amazon, according to the firm’s annual surveys. “There’s just not a lot of demand there. The whole premise is that you’re saving people a trip to the store, but people actually like going to the store to buy groceries.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now seems to understand that he can’t win the grocery game with websites, warehouses and trucks alone. The world’s biggest online retailer sees brick-and-mortar stores playing a key role in a renewed grocery push, documents reviewed by Bloomberg show. And like it did with Amazon Fresh, the company is launching its newest projects in Seattle, its home town. One of these initiatives is Amazon Go, which uses facial recognition and machine learning
to facilitate a checkout-less and cashier-less grocery store.

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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