Tad Friend‘s recent New Yorker piece How Frightened Should We be of A.I. is a must-read. There’s not much the article doesn’t cover; he takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of AGI versus ANI, the meaning of human intelligence, and much more.
So what remains to us alone? Larry Tesler, the computer scientist who invented copy-and-paste, has suggested that human intelligence “is whatever machines haven’t done yet.” In 1988, the roboticist Hans Moravec observed, in what has become known as Moravec’s paradox, that tasks we find difficult are child’s play for a computer, and vice-versa.
Machine learning may be the tool de jour for everything from particle physics to recreating the human voice, but it’s not exactly the easiest field to get into. Despite the complexities of video editing and sound design, we have UIs that let even a curious kid dabble in them — so why not with machine learning? That’s the goal of Lobe, a startup and platform that genuinely seems to have made AI models as simple to put together as LEGO bricks.
Lobe takes the concepts of machine learning, things like feature extraction and labeling, and puts them in a simple, intuitive visual interface. As demonstrated in a video tour of the platform, you can make an app that recognises hand gestures and matches them to emoji without ever seeing a line of code, let alone writing one. All the relevant information is there, and you can drill down to the nitty gritty if you want, but you don’t have to. The ease and speed with which new applications can be designed and experimented with could open up the field to people who see the potential of the tools but lack the technical know-how.
Someday in the not-so-distant future, you might be able to walk into a concert venue without waiting in line for your ticket to be scanned — because instead, the venue will automatically scan and identify your face.
That’s the experience that Live Nation and Ticketmaster suggested they’ll try to develop last week, when announcing an investment in Blink Identity. Blink is a brand new company that claims to be able to identify people walking by in “half a second,” even if they
aren’t looking straight at a camera. “We will continue investing in new technologies to further differentiate Ticketmaster from others in the ticketing business,” Live Nation wrote in a note to investors last week. It added that Blink’s technology could let you “ associate your digital ticket with your image, then just walk into the show.” For the dark side of facial recognition, see this article on how a facial recognition programme used by British police yielded thousands of false positives.
Facebook is opening new AI labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, after hiring three AI and robotics professors from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University. The company hopes these seasoned researchers will help recruit and train other A.I. experts in the two cities, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, said in an interview.
As it builds these labs, Facebook is adding to pressure on universities and nonprofit A.I. research operations, which are already struggling to retain professors and other employees. The expansion is a blow for Carnegie Mellon, in particular. In 2015, Uber hired 40 researchers and technical engineers from the university’s robotics lab to staff a self-driving car operation in Pittsburgh.
After leaving her position as chief computing officer at Google’s biotech company Calico LLC in February, Israel-born data scientist Daphne Koller, is launching a new machine learning venture focused on drug development.
In a blog post published Tuesday, Koller introduced the new company called insitro. The company sets out to “rethink drug discovery” through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. Backers include Andreessen Horowitz, and GV Management, (formerly Google Ventures), as well as biotech venture capital firms Foresite Capital Management, ARCH Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures.
In the first part of a series, Simon Greenman writes about how we are in the midst of a gold rush in AI. But who will reap the economic benefits? The mass of startups who are all gold panning? The corporates who have massive gold mining operations? The technology giants who are supplying the picks and shovels? And which nations have the richest seams of gold? The piece introduces a seven layer framework –
a value chain of sorts – to help explain the value creation activity that is going on.
In short it looks like the AI gold rush will favour the companies and countries with control and scale over the best AI tools and technology, the data, the best technical workers, the most customers and the strongest access to capital. Those with scale will capture the lion’s share of the economic value from AI….But there will also be large golden nuggets that will be found by a few choice brave startups. But like any gold rush many startups will hit pay dirt. And many individuals and societies will likely feel like they have not seen the benefits of the gold rush.
Nokia is doubling down on its internet of things (IoT) business with the acquisition of SpaceTime Insight. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
San Mateo-based SpaceTime Insight is an industrial IoT (IIoT) software analytics platform that helps companies protect their devices and assets across their network. It works with a range of companies from manufacturing, transportation, energy, and more to minimise downtime due to technical failures, using machine learning to predict the probability of asset failure. The company had raised around $50 million since its inception in 2008.
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