Issue 213: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning Briefing


Walmart + drones. Smart security camera. Cisco buys Mindheld. NY taking applications for self-driving vehicle testing.

We’ve got some news that we are very excited to announce: Azeem Azhar will be co-hosting CogX London 2017. He is the author of the very popular newsletter, The Exponential View on technology, business models, political economy & society.

He is a popular speaker and also the founder of PeerIndex which processes social data using machine learning to identify novel, actionable signals. We can’t wait to hear what he has to say.  Stay tuned for more updates!


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub


39 days till CogX. Be there or be intelligence artificial.

Another Example of ‘Robots Taking Humans Jobs’

Robots aren’t destroying enough jobs (Wall Street Journal)

Greg Ip, from the Wall Street Journal, argues that people are missing the point when it comes to robots taking over humans’ jobs. He argues that automation is not making inroads in enough industries, saying, “Too many sectors, such as healthcare or personal services, are so resistant to automation that they are holding back the entire country’s standard of living”.

He says, “Instead of worrying about robots destroying jobs, business leaders need to figure out how to use them more, especially in low-productivity sectors. Someday robots may replace truck drivers, but it’s much more urgent to make existing drivers, who are in short supply, more efficient. Clean energy advocates boast about how many people work in solar power when they should be trying to reduce the labor, and thus cost, involved.”


Walmart patents point to opportunity in drones, AR/VR, and automation

CBInsights dug into Walmart’s patents and found technology for automating the checkout process, guiding shoppers, and even flying drones throughout the store.

These patents suggest Walmart sees an opportunity to check out shoppers more quickly without hiring more staff – a number of its patents also cite high employee turnover as an issue, and aim to fill in the gaps with automation. In addition, Amazon has a patent application for a smart home-based automatic replenishment system, which offers a means of automating e-commerce sales.

Products We Love

Check out Lighthouse, the smart security camera that identifies people and pets

The team at Lighthouse, a startup out of Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s Playground accelerator, doesn’t see its new hardware product as a home security
camera. Instead, they see it as an “interactive assistant.” But Lighthouse, at least at first, will definitely be perceived as another new entrant in the smart camera market.

The device, unveiled for the first time yesterday, sits in the home just like a Nest Cam to monitor what’s going on indoors. That’s where the overlap with Nest ends, however. Lighthouse incorporates deep learning and 3D-sensing technology to determine who is in the home, where they are inside, and if that’s a normal occurrence or not. The camera pairs with a companion iOS / Android app over Wi-Fi, so users can determine remotely whether an intruder is in their house. More innocuously, Lighthouse can also determine whether a dog’s been walked and send alerts when kids get home. Those pings of information are certainly the most novel thing about Lighthouse, but let’s start by discussing the hardware.

Deal of the Day

Cambridge graduates’ tech firm, Impropable raises $500m

A five-year old British virtual reality startup, co-founded by Cambridge computer science graduates, has been valued at more than $1bn after raising $502m (£390m) from Japan’s SoftBank.

The investment, in London-based firm Improbable, is thought to be the largest ever investment made in a fledgling European tech firm. Improbable uses cloud-based computing to create virtual worlds for use in games as well as large-scale simulations of the real world.

“It is eerily accurate,” said Herman Narula, the company’s co-founder. “The kind of technology we work on is kind of the level of all the servers and software that would enable the Matrix to exist. [Improbable] is the Jurassic, primordial version of what would run the Matrix, obviously in the far future. Of course we wouldn’t use it to create a dystopian world in which human beings are enslaved by robots.”

Future of Transportation

New York starts accepting applications for autonomous vehicle testing​

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York is now accepting applications from companies interested in testing or demonstrating autonomous vehicles on public roads. Included in the FY 2018 Budget, new legislation allows for testing autonomous technology through a year-long pilot program. In addition to the legislation, the new Department of Motor Vehicles application process is another step forward in making New York the epicenter of cutting-edge technology and innovation.

“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways.

Future of Health

Nvidia to train 100,000 developers in ‘deep learning’ AI to bolster healthcare research

AI pioneer Nvidia has announced it will train 100,000 developers in deep learning to bolster health care research and improve treatment in diseases like cancer.

Despite the huge demand for expertise in the AI field for developers, there is not enough experts to fill the demand, so more projects like the above are difficult to get off the ground. This is why Nvidia has revealed that it will train 100,000 developers this year through something it’s calling the Deep Learning Institute (DLI); to provides developers, data scientists and researchers with practical training on the use of the latest AI tools and technology. The DLI will offer 14 different labs and train more than 2,000 developers on the applied use of AI, a tenfold increase over last year.


AI ecommerce search engine Twiggle raises $15 million in new round

The Israeli company, which creates AI-powered ecommerce search solutions, plans to use the new funds to grow its US presence, further its product development, and hire more in areas like sales and marketing. The investors will also help with expanding into the Asian market, a hotbed for ecommerce growth, said Twiggle CEO Dr Amir Konigsberg.

“Search is the most personal touchpoint in the buying process. It’s the place where the customer is telling you what they want. If the experience is a bad one – you may never see that customer again,” said Konigsberg.

“Twiggle is the first and only company offering semantic search capabilities without replacing its customers’ search engines.”

Dates for Your Diary

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