Issue 202: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning Briefing

Automation threatens men’s jobs more than women’s. Machine learning for preventing early death. Google fights Malaria with machine learning. Siri inventor predicts future in which we can upload our memories.

Last night we were at Pitch@The Palace – it was a real pleasure to be included amongst 43 brilliant startups all looking to change the world. You can check out the companies here and watch the whole event if you are keen to see those startups picked by The Duke of York to present. We obviously particularly loved the companies using AI:

  • BLINK is redefining communication between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles
  • CENTURY Tech is engaging learners with a personalised experience
  • SMARTIFY uses advanced image
    recognition technology and allows users to instantly access information about an artwork
  • Open Bionics turns children with limb differences into bionic superheroes


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub

Another Example of “Robots Taking Humans’ Jobs”

A third of UK jobs at risk from automation with men more likely to be replaced by robots than women

30% of jobs in Britain are under potential threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence a report has found. More than 10 million UK workers are at high risk of being replaced by robots within 15 years as the pace of automation increases.

Women are less at risk of losing their jobs than men because of their tendency to work in sectors that require a higher level of education and social skills, with men more likely to work in sectors such as manufacturing and
transportation. Thirty-five percent of male jobs were identified as being at high risk against twenty-six per cent of female jobs.

+ Looking forward to seeing you at “Why Women in AI” next Tuesday night to explore this issue along with many others.

Future of Transportation

Driverless cars trial set for UK motorways in 2019

The Driven group plans to try out a fleet of autonomous vehicles between London and Oxford by 2019. The cars will communicate with each other about any hazards and should operate with almost full autonomy – but will have a human on board as well.

Previous tests of driverless vehicles in the UK have mainly taken place at slow speeds and not on public roads. The Driven consortium is led by Oxbotica, which makes software for driverless vehicles.

Founder Prof Paul Newman, of Oxford University, said: “We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.”

Future of Health

‘Brain age’ can be predicted using MRI scans and machine learning to prevent early death

A team of neuroscientists led by researchers at Imperial College London has trained computers to use MRI data to provide a predicted brain age for people based on their volume of brain tissue.

At the heart of the approach is a technique first developed in 2010 that measures brain volume and uses machine learning to estimate the overall loss of grey and white matter – a hallmark of the ageing process in the brain. Dr James Cole, a research associate in the
Department of Medicine, took this basic technique and refined it by testing it on publicly available datasets of MRI scans of more than 2,000 healthy people’s brains, resulting in normalised maps which accurately predicted the person’s age.


How Google Is Using machine learning to fight malaria

One key tactic for fighting infectious diseases like malaria is to pinpoint exactly where they’re spreading in order to stop them in their tracks. This way, preventive measures like mosquito control and the deployment of treatment resources can be better targeted. Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) have banded together
with academic and public health partners with this very goal in mind—and are harnessing machine learning through the Google Earth Engine to accomplish it.

“Every time someone is diagnosed with malaria in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, a team goes to the village where the infection occurred and collects a GPS point with the precise infection location,” epidemiology and biostatistics professor Hugh Sturrock (head of the project) said in an interview posted on Google’s blog.


The inventor of Siri says one day AI will be used to upload and access our memories

Tom Gruber, one of the inventors of Siri, shared a new idea at the TED 2017 conference today for using artificial intelligence to augment human memory.

“What if you could have a memory that was as good as computer memory and is about your life?” Gruber asked the audience. “What if you could remember every person you ever met? How to pronounce their name? Their family details? Their favourite sports? The last conversation you had with them?” Gruber said he thinks that using AI to catalog our experiences and to enhance our memory isn’t just a wild idea — it’s inevitable.

Ethics Questions for the Day

People are scared of artificial intelligence for all the wrong reasons (Quartz)

According to the Royal Society’s recent report on machine learning, people in Britain are more scared of the artificial intelligence embedded in household devices and self-driving cars than in systems used for predictive policing or diagnosing diseases, since the former could cause them physical harm.

Joon Ian Wong from Quartz writes that there are other bigger things to be worried about, such as when algorithms possess scale, their workings are kept secret, and have destructive effects. In addition, he cites a 2011 Stanford study
which points to the potentially far-reaching implications machine learning could have in healthcare.  This mismatch between perceived and potential risk is common with new technologies, said ​Alison Powell, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics who is studying the ethics of connected devices.

Business Impact of AI

A $28 billion hedge fund is pushing into machine learning

Man GLG, a UK hedge fund overseeing $28.8 billion of assets as of March 31, is embracing machine learning.

The group has created a new position titled “head of machine learning.” The new role will oversee development of Man GLG’s machine learning capabilities involving news and social media analysis, breaking market news, and visualising complex data. The firm has hired William Ferreira, formerly of Florin Court Capital, for the role.

Education and Advice We Rate

How to autoencode your Pokémon

We’ve seen autoencoders before, but here Niyas Mohammed teaches about them in a fun and more intuitive way, using Pokémon as an example. He reminds us that “an autoencoder is a special type of neural network that takes in something, and learns to represent it with reduced dimensions.” The results are pretty awesome.

Chat Bots, yadda yadda yadda

MasterCard introduces Facebook Messenger bot

MasterCard has launched its digital wallet service, Masterpass, onto the Facebook Messenger application and is utilizing shopping chatbots to allow customers to make purchases automatically through their phones.

To use the new service, MasterCard holders upload their card’s information to the Masterpass application. This
application connects to Facebook Messenger for when they’d like to make a purchase. The customer can then use the Messenger bot to search for restaurants they’d like to go to on, and the bot handles the payment in the same conversation. The restaurant then processes the order and has it ready when the customer arrives. Right now, SubwayThe Cheesecake Factory, and FreshDirect have this feature activated, though not at every location.

Dates for Your Diary

Tuesday May 2Why Women in AI 

Thursday May 25:
Will robots replace HR? 

June 19-21: CogX: The AI Innovation Exchange

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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