Yesterday, Microsoft took another major step forward in their vision to make it easier for developers and subject matter experts to build the “brains”— machine learning model for autonomous systems of all kinds with the signing of an agreement to acquire Bonsai. Based in Berkeley, California, and an M12 portfolio company, Bonsai has developed a novel approach using machine teaching that abstracts the low-level mechanics of machine learning, so that subject matter experts, regardless of AI aptitude, can specify and train autonomous systems to accomplish tasks.
Bonsai’s platform combined with rich simulation tools and reinforcement learning work in Microsoft Research becomes the simplest and richest AI toolchain for building any kind of autonomous system for control and calibration tasks. This toolchain will compose
with Azure Machine Learning running on the Azure Cloud with GPUs and Brainwave, and models built with it will be deployed and managed in Azure IoT, giving Microsoft an end-to-end solution for building, operating and enhancing “brains” for autonomous systems.
Salesforce Research has created a natural language processing architecture that can handle multiple models and tasks. Typically, natural language processing (NLP) has a model for each function such as translation, sentiment analysis and question and answer.
The research, led by Salesforce Chief Scientist Richard Socher, revolves around a challenge dubbed Natural Language Decathalon (decaNLP). The challenge spans 10 tasks–question answering, machine translation, summarization, natural language inference, sentiment analysis, semantic role labeling, relation extraction, goal-oriented dialogue, database query generation, and pronoun resolution–and feeds into a system that jointly learns.
At JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo, roboticists have developed a robot called DRAGON, which (obviously) stands for for “Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON.”
It’s a modular flying robot powered by ducted fans that can transform literally on the fly, from a square to a snake to anything in between, allowing it to stretch out to pass through small holes and then make whatever other shape you want once it’s on the other side.
Drones as small as a fingernail may one day buzz overhead, thanks to research out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A team in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science designed a 20 square millimeter computer chip that can process inertial and camera images — two critical components of drone flight — in real time.
In other MIT News, Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed an interface that reads the brainwaves of human operators, allowing them to direct machines to perform tasks just by thinking about them.
Amazon turned heads with its latest move on Tuesday: partnering with Marriott to feature its Echo smart speakers at select hotels, part of its new Alexa for Hospitality
initiative. This will allow hotel guests to use Alexa-powered Echo voice assistants to order room service, call for two more towels, adjust the room temperature, lighting, and more.
“Customers tell us they love how easy it is to get information, enjoy entertainment and control connected devices by simply asking Alexa, and we want to offer those experiences everywhere customers want them,” Daniel Rausch, an Amazon vice president, said in a statement.
CEOs of AI companies usually seek to minimise the threats posed by AI, rather than play them up. But on this week’s episode of Converge, Clara Labs co-founder and CEO Maran Nelson said there is real reason to be worried about AI — and not for the reasons that science fiction has trained us to expect.
Movies like Her and Ex Machina depict a near future in which anthropomorphic artificial intelligences manipulate our emotions and even commit violence against us. But threats like ExMachina’s Ava will require several technological breakthroughs before
they’re even remotely plausible, Nelson says. And in the meantime, actual state-of-the-art AI — which uses machine learning to make algorithmic predictions — is already causing harm.
JP Morgan’s latest attempt at furthering automation in finance is happening in its treasury services division, a key business that helps corporate clients from Honeywell International to Facebook move money around the world. Unseen by retail consumers, the unit handles an average of $5 trillion daily, from the mundane (payroll and supplier remittances) to the unusual (multibillion-dollar checks for huge mergers).
The area, once considered boring, has gotten more attention lately. Activist investor ValueAct Capital Partners built a $1.2B stake in Citigroup this year partly on the strength of the bank’s treasury services unit and other steady, hard-to-dislodge services where technology is lowering costs. The industry’s revenue is expected to grow 7 percent a year through 2025, according to JP Morgan.
Zinc’s Mission 2 has a really important mission – to unlock new opportunities for people in places hard-hit by globalisation and automation. It’s a tough, challenging mission, so please help us find the very best 50 people.
They are looking for creative, entrepreneurial people, from across the world, to join the programme. They need people who bring tech, business, professional, scientific and/or creative skills. They also need a breadth of domain expertise, across education, healthcare, employment, business support, social mobility, urban management, and more. To apply please click here. Closing date for applications is July 9th.