Issue 183: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

Thank you to everyone who came along to our event last night, “Investing in AI: getting the target and the timing right.” For those who weren’t there, we’ll be sharing a video soon, and in the mean time these are just some of the highlights from the live tweets and panelists (check out #InvestinginAI for more highlights):

Alex Housley (Founder/CEO Seldon): As long as they’ve got smart people in the team and are trying to tackle a problem, go for it and invest.

Alexandra Jarvis (Director, GP Bullhound): Every software company from the past 20 years will need to incorporate AI in their business.

Michael Axelgaard (Partner, AI Seed Fund): Invest in AI start-ups… you won’t see a 5-15x ROI if you’re investing in the likes of Google.

Siavash Mahdavi (Founder/CEO A.I.Music, previously CEO Within): “We never got the deal that made sense for us” (about building an AI company without investment).

Richard Muirhead (General Partner, OpenOcean & Co-founder & Chairman, Firestartr): What should you look for in an AI startup? The founders need to be passionate about the product – even slightly crazy.


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub

Deal of the Day

Elon Musk has launched a company that hopes to link your brain to a computer

Elon Musk has launched a company dedicated to linking human brains with computers, The Wall Street Journal’s Rolfe Winkler reported yesterday.

Internal sources said that the company, called Neuralink, was developing “neural lace” technology that would allow people to communicate directly with machines without going through a physical interface. Neuralink was registered as a medical-research company in California in July. Neural lace involves implanting electrodes in the brain so people could upload or download their thoughts to or from a computer, according to the report. The product could allow humans to achieve higher levels of cognitive function.

Business Impact of AI

Taylor Wessing engages machine learning provider Brainspace for UK disputes

Taylor Wessing has started working with legal tech provider Brainspace for UK litigation analysis.

The work with Brainspace is the latest legal tech venture by Taylor Wessing, which also been developing its own in-house products through its TW: navigate initiative, such as working with AI provider Rainbird. Rainbird’s tech has been used in close of 2016 for legislation analysis, performing the first pieces of analysis on the Modern Slavery Act.

Ethics Question for the Day

Can we trust big tech to regulate itself?

Matt Burgess asks: “in the absence of effective government oversight, can we trust Big Tech to regulate itself”? He says that no one in their right mind would say we should let Facebook, Google, Baidu, or Uber police themselves, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for regulating AI. He discusses the efforts toward regulation, such as in the UK, and the challenges involved.

Prediction of the Day

Five distractions in thinking about AI

Kathryn Hume from Fast Forward Labs says that there is a problem regarding our collective fictions about AI. Exciting though they may be, she thinks that they are distracting us from the real problems AI can and should be used to solve, as well as some of the real problems AI is creating–and will only exacerbate–if we’re not careful. In this post, she covers her top five distractions in contemporary public discourse around AI.

The 5 distractions according to her are: 1) the end of work, 2) universal basic income, 3) conversational interfaces, 4) existential risk, and 5) personhood. Comment on her post if you disagree or have something to add.

Future of Health

Psychologists enlist machine learning to help diagnose depression

Is it possible to detect who might be vulnerable to the illness before its onset using brain imaging?

David Schnyer, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, believes it may be. But identifying its tell-tale signs is no simpler matter. He is using the Stampede supercomputer at the to train a machine learning algorithm that can identify commonalities among hundreds of patients using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans, genomics data and other relevant factors, to provide accurate predictions of risk for those with depression and anxiety.


Technical issues are forcing Amazon to delay the public launch of its cashier-less grocery store 

Technical difficulties have delayed the public opening of Amazon’s futuristic new grocery store, Amazon Go, which uses machine learning and cameras to detect what’s in your cart and automatically charge your Amazon account so you can leave the store without ever taking out your wallet.

But Amazon Go isn’t quite ready for primetime, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Stevens. The technology is having trouble keeping track of more than 20 people at a time and struggles to track an item that has been moved from its place on the shelf. Right now, things only run smoothly when there are just a few customers in the store or if they’re moving slowly, the Journal reports.

Video Killed the Radio Star

Little girl mistakes broken water heater for robot, awwww

This cute little video has almost 40K retweets, and it was only posted yesterday by @bentolmachoff. Can someone say viral!

Exciting Opportunities

UK government looking for data scientists with expertise in AI, machine learning

The government is looking for data scientists with expertise in AI and machine learning to help the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other departments to extract and analyse critical information in a bid to stay “one step ahead” of terrorists and other potential adversaries.

“Let’s be honest, if the MoD is going to maintain a winning edge and keep our forces safe we are going to have to handle today’s most valuable commodity, data, very differently,” the job advert for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory states.

Another Example of “Robots Taking Over Humans’ Jobs”

Idaho is the second state to allow unmanned robots to deliver to your front door

Idaho has become the second U.S. state to pass legislation to permit unmanned, ground-based delivery robots to rove around on sidewalks across the state. Earlier this month, Virginia made robotics history as the first state to pass a law specifically addressing the use of autonomous terrestrial delivery robots.

The legislation was championed by state Republican lawmakers, Jason Monks in the House and Bert Brackett in the Senate. Monks worked with Starship Technologies, an Estonia-based robot delivery company, on the legislation, which sailed through both state houses to pass in less than a month.

Dates for Your Diary

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