Issue 231: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning Briefing

Therapist chat bot. AI + creativity. AI-powered marketing for the win.

Can AI be creative? Sure, we’ve seen it create things, from email subject lines to music, but can it reach that next level of providing a ‘nonlinear solution to a problem’ or ‘thinking outside the box’?

 Recently, at The 2017 World Science Festival, they tackled this very question. Peter Ulric Tse, a neuroscientist at Dartmouth College, recently remarked that we should be focused on using AI to understand creativity, as opposed to exhibiting it. Some, such as Lav Varshney, another member of the onstage panel, are even working on a mathematical theory of creativity.

If you’re thirsting to learn more about The Impact of AI on creativity, then you should come along to CogX on Tuesday June 20th for a session featuring Luba Elliott (AI Advocate, Producer and Researcher), Siavash Mahdavi (CEO & Founder of AI Music), Ed Newton-Rex (Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Jukedeck), Matthew Postgate (Chief Technology & Product Officer at the BBC), and more.


Tabitha UntilTheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub

P.S. 12 days till CogX.  Be there or be intelligence artificial.

Chat Bots 4Eva

Meet Woebot, the chat bot therapist

Created by a team of Stanford psychologists and AI experts, Woebot uses brief daily chat conversations, mood tracking, curated videos, and word games to help people manage mental health. After spending the last year building a beta and collecting clinical data, Woebot Labs Inc. just launched the full commercial product—a cheeky, personalized chatbot that checks on you once a day for the price of $39 a month.

Finding the time and money to pay for talk therapy sessions is out of reach for many, so a chatbot could be a helpful stopgap for psychiatry. But Woebot’s creators believe it has the potential to actually improve on human therapists. “It’s almost borderline illegal to say this in my profession, but there’s a lot of noise in human relationships,” says Alison Darcy, one of the psychologists behind Woebot, and the company’s CEO.

+CogX will feature a session on The Impact of AI on Mental Health on Tuesday June 20th.

Future of Transportation

Here’s a sneak peek of Fisker’s all-new, ultra-luxury electric car

Legendary car designer Henrik Fisker released some new images today of the forthcoming EMotion, an ultra-luxury electric vehicle with a range of 400 miles and a top speed of 161 mph. The designer’s company also revealed some new details about the car that could help revitalize Fisker’s reputation in the EV market.

Fisker EMotion will come with fully autonomous capabilities, the company says. “The front end’s bright aluminum centerpiece houses a LIDAR system behind a tinted screen. Side mirrors conceal two cameras, which enable panoramic, 360-degree views to the driver.” Other details, such as whether the vehicle’s autonomous features are best used on highways only or in urban environments as well, are still unknown.

+Don’t miss the CogX session on self-driving cars (Wednesday, June 21).


How Harley-Davidson used AI to increase sales leads by 2930%

Asaf Jacobi’s use of ​Adgorithms’s AI-driven marketing platform at his New-York based Harley-Davidson dealership is a good use case of the major boost AI can give to a company’s sales.

His dealership went from getting one qualified lead per day to 40. In the first month, 15% of those new leads were “lookalikes,” meaning that the people calling the dealership to set up a visit resembled previous high-value customers and therefore were more likely to make a purchase. By the third month, the dealership’s leads had increased 2930%, 50% of them lookalikes, leaving Jacobi scrambling to set up a new call center with six new employees to handle all the new business.

Future of Art

Making music with AI: an introduction

In this first post in Sync Project’s latest series, Alex D. starts by discussing a cool project called Folk-RNN. Researchers entered thousands of transcribed examples of Celtic Folk music into a deep-learning system that learned from the MIDI song information to create new melodies. The researchers were surprised to find that the system could cook up “authentic” sounding melodies once every 5 times it tried.

Researcher Dr Oded Ben Tal, who is also a musician and used some of those melodies to make new original music, pointed out that technique could also help musicians make more compelling material.


Stealthy startup Alitheon raises $2.8M for digital fingerprinting technology

A startup called Alitheon wants to teach computers to recognize objects, and it’s attracted $2.8 million in funding to do it, according to a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the company’s website, the patented technology identifies points on an item’s surface and creates a set of metadata. Then it turns those metadata into a “Featureprint” and stores it to the cloud, where the recognition process resides. As the item moves through the supply chain or a delivery process – for example, airline baggage handling – a standard-issue smartphone can snap images and compare them to the Featureprint for authentication.

Future of Health

UC Berkeley partners with blockchain startup for health data research 

The University of California, Berkeley is working with blockchain startup Bitmark on a pair of research studies focused on secure data sharing. Centred on public health and medical information, the two research projects will be funded by Bitmark. The project comes months after Bitmark raised $1.7m in funding, drawn from a group that included Cherubic Ventures and Digital Currency Group, among others.

In one, study participants will contribute data about their diabetes remission using Bitmark’s tech. A second study will focus on whether the availability of solutions based on the technology would encourage more involvement from test subjects that are contributing personal health data.

+DeepMind has also been applying blockchain tech to healthcare. Get your session pass (£199) to hear Dr Dominic King (Clinical Lead, DeepMind) speak at CogX .

Business Impact of AI

Intel teams up with DARPA to make HIVE Big Data platform a reality

Intel and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have announced a new collaboration designed to create a new, powerful data-handling and computing platform which leverages machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

The tech giant and US agency said DARPA’s program, dubbed the Hierarchical Identify Verify & Exploit (HIVE), has the potential to surpass current hardware used to handle Big Data by up to 1,000 times in performance-per-watt, and Intel’s technological expertise has been chosen to push HIVE research and development further. The joint research program, which is estimated to take 4 and a half years, is worth over $100 million.

Podcasts We Love

Futuretech interview on genomics and AI

Richard Jacobs from the FutureTech podcast talks with
Eleonore Pauwels of the Wilson Institute about genomic technologies with a focus on their convergence with AI, as well as a host of other topics such as self-driving tech.

Eleonore Pauwels is an international science policy expert, who specializes in the governance of emerging technologies, including genomics and digital and bio-engineering.  At the Wilson Center, she is the Director of Biology Collectives, and Senior Program Associate within the Science and Technology Innovation Program.

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