Issue 185: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

It’s OpenOcean’s Annual CEO summit this coming Tuesday 4th April featuring a line up of world class speakers including Azeem Azhar, Kenn Cukier and Catherine Breslin (Head of ML research for Amazon Alexa). Attendance is invitation only but CognitionX has partnered with OpenOcean to make a limited number of places available to our community.

If you would like to attend, please contact us and include your LinkedIn profile and any other details about why you’d like to join and we will get back to you before the weekend.


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub


Restoration of reaching and grasping movements through brain-controlled muscle stimulation

People with chronic tetraplegia, due to high-cervical spinal cord injury, can regain limb movements through coordinated electrical stimulation of peripheral muscles and nerves, known as functional electrical stimulation (FES). Users typically command FES systems through other preserved, but unrelated and limited in number, volitional movements.

The authors of this recently published paper report the findings of an individual with traumatic high-cervical spinal cord injury who coordinated reaching and grasping movements using his own paralysed arm and hand, reanimated through implanted FES, and commanded using his own cortical signals through an intracortical brain–computer interface (iBCI). Check out this article in The Guardian for a great overview.

Chat Bots, yadda yadda yadda

Facebook will launch group chatbots at F8

Facebook will reveal at its F8 conference a new class of group bots that work inside Messenger group chats. These group bots can keep users informed about real-time news such as a sports game’s progress, e-commerce deliveries and more, according to three sources familiar with the development of the feature.

Facebook is already working with top chatbot makers to prepare for the launch. Facebook will open up APIs to allow more developers to start building group bots, too. When asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said “we don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” but my sources confirm this is coming.

Video Killed the Radio Star

Robot’s Delight – Japanese robots rap about their AI

In the form of a musical tribute to The Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight”, this robot-rap video presents the summary of a research paper, which presents a model for capturing and reproducing multimodal interactive social behaviours, and preliminary progress from a new study in which the authors apply this technique to an android for interactive spoken dialogue.

Future of Health

Classifying white blood cells with convolutional neural networks

What would healthcare look like if you could discover your blood cell count as quickly and cheaply as your temperature? At Athelas, they believe that such a future is within sight thanks to modern deep learning techniques.

In this post, they demonstrate a simple toy example of how one can leverage deep learning techniques to classify white blood cell images. Their example model will classify white blood cells as Polynuclear or Mononuclear with an accuracy of 98% on their reference dataset.


5 trends shaping the future of agriculture

As software continues to eat the world, it’s now reshaping how the world cultivates and procures its food. Using the CB Insights looked at agricultural technology (Ag Tech) and the trends shaping who’s investing in the space and where that investment is going.

For example, Ag Tech financing is maturing, but exits have dipped. Thus, more than $800M has been invested in the space between 2012 and 2016. However, despite an uptick in M&A activity after The Climate Corporation acquisition, exits have actually declined since 2014 and there haven’t been any recent IPOs.

Business Impact of AI

​Xero passes 1 million subscribers, doubles down on AI 

Xero is now focusing its efforts on the “new wave” of cloud accounting, doubling down on AI and machine learning, with the technologies slated to be at the forefront of its platform offerings moving forward.

“Machine learning and automation will open up the next phase of innovation in accounting, driving a transition in the industry bigger than the move to the cloud did 10 years ago. With technology doing more of the time-consuming, data entry work, we will see more accountants take on advisory and virtual CFO roles within the small businesses they support,” CEO and founder Rod Drury said.

Products We Love

Samsung Bixby: 7 things to know about the Galaxy S8 assistant

Jason Cipriani from CNET discusses the cool features that we will see from Bixby, Samsung’s personal assistant. Bixby is making its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, with more Samsung products anticipated to integrate Bixby in the future. Those who own an older Galaxy phone will need to upgrade in order to gain Bixby.

It will allow you to use voice commands to mimic touch commands, can control a ‘handful’ of apps, and will have a feature called Bixby Home. With a swipe to the right from the home screen, a stream of information ranging from smart reminders for tasks you commonly carry out on your phone, to news and weather are displayed. Third-party apps such as Facebook or Uber can also display cards in Bixby Home.


The Top 10 topics in machine learning revisited

Which topics of machine learning are most commonly addressed in research? This question was initially answered in 2007 by doing a qualitative survey among distinguished researchers. In this study, the authors revisit this question from a quantitative perspective.

They collect 54K abstracts of papers published between 2007 and 2016 in leading machine learning journals and conferences. They then use machine learning in order to determine the top 10 topics in machine learning. This quantitative approach allows reducing the bias of surveys. It reveals new and up-to-date insights into what the 10 most prolific topics in machine learning research are. This allows researchers to identify popular topics as well as new and rising topics for their research.

Future of Transportation

A timeline of when self-driving cars will be on the road, according to the people making them

Predictions for the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles range from a few years to a few decades, a disparity exacerbated by varying definitions of “autonomous.”

Sarah Kessler from Quartz put together a list of 12 predictions, ranging from Elon Musk’s ‘2017’ to Edwin Olson’s (director of the APRIL robotics lab) ‘a ways off’.

Dates for Your Diary

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