Last Week in AI #100
AI to detect microearthquakes, concerns with AI-predicted trustworthiness, and more!
Researchers at Stanford recently published a new machine learning algorithm capable of detecting small earthquakes much faster and with a much better accuracy than human experts. The algorithm, called Earthquake Transformer, leverages the now very popular Transformer neural network architecture widely used in processing seqeuntial data like speech and language. Analyzing seismic waves in some ways is quite similar to analyzing sound waves, and the algorithm, using Transformer's ability to learn to attend to important bits in the sequence to filter out noise, can precisely identify the start of microearthquakes from seismic waves.
Understanding patterns in the accumulation of small tremors over decades or centuries could be key to minimizing surprises – and damage – when a larger quake strikes. [...] By improving our ability to detect and locate these very small earthquakes, we can get a clearer view of how earthquakes interact or spread out along the fault, how they get started, even how they stop,”
DeepScore, a company based in Tokyo, offers an AI-based product to loan and health insurance companies that supposedly can determine a person's trustworthiness by simply observing one's facial features while answering a few questions like "Where do you live? How do you intend to use the money? Do you have a history of cancer?" The service is attractive in countries where traditional consumer information, like credit scores, are not available.
However, trying to determine a person's trustworthiness, or any non-visible features from videos of faces, raises major red flags. There is no "reliable science to indicate that [...] facial expressions or the inflections of [...] voice are proxies for [...] internal mental and emotional states." Such responses also vary greatly from person to person and culture to culture. There is also additional privacy concerns with the product, which could not operate in countries that have GDPR or GDPR-like regulations.
Advances & Business
GameTune: Introducing reinforcement learning for optimizing the player lifecycle - "Across the board, we've found that developers have significant interest in using machine learning to fine-tune a game from a truly objective perspective. We built GameTune to do exactly that: to offer a machine learning solution so developers can improve game performance on a scientific basis."
AI-Based Tool Streamlines Clinical Trial Search Process for Patients With Gastrointestinal Cancers - "A novel, artificial intelligence (AI)-based search tool was found to simplify gastrointestinal (GI) cancer clinical trial identification, improve understanding of study-related information, and clarify the steps involved in trial enrollment"
AI could make healthcare fairer by helping us believe what patients say - "A new study shows how training deep-learning models on patient outcomes could help reveal gaps in existing medical knowledge."
FDA's AI/ML action plan includes "tailored" regulatory framework for SaMD - "The US Food and Drug Administration has released a five-part action plan for its oversight of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML)-based software as a medical device (SaMD) based on feedback from developers and manufacturers on an April 2019 discussion paper."
NASA Is Training an AI to Detect Fresh Craters on Mars - "An algorithm discovered dozens of Martian craters. It's a promising remote method for exploring our solar system and understanding planetary history."
Google launches suite of AI-powered solutions for retailers - "Google today announced the launch of Product Discovery Solutions for Retail, a suite of services deigned to enhance retailers' ecommerce capabilities and help them deliver personalized customer experiences."
Amazon opens Alexa's advanced AI for firms to build their own assistants - "Amazon has for the first time enabled companies and developers to access Alexas advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to build their own intelligent assistants with the new 'Alexa Custom Assistant."
This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs - "China produces as many artificial intelligence researchers as the US, but it lags in key fields like machine learning. The government hopes to make up ground."
Concerns & Hype
AI-Powered Text From This Program Could Fool the Government - "A Harvard medical student submitted auto-generated comments to Medicaid; volunteers couldn't distinguish them from those penned by humans."
Chatbot Gone Awry Starts Conversations About AI Ethics in South Korea - "The Luda AI chatbot sparked a necessary debate about AI ethics as South Korea places new emphasis on the technology."
Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist - "Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed."
Analysis & Policy
Former DOD Head: The US Needs a New Plan to Beat China on AI - "In an interview with WIRED, former secretary of defense Ash Carter discussed how to build morality into AI - and make sure other countries do too."
Trump Pardons Embattled Self-Driving Engineer Anthony Levandowski - "The Trump administration granted a full pardon to Anthony Levandowski, the former head of Google's self-driving vehicle division."
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Superintelligent AI May Be Impossible to Control; That's the Good News - "Postcard from the 23rd century: Not even possible to know if an AI is superintelligent, much less stop it"
Artificial intelligence researchers rank the top A.I. labs worldwide - "Artificial intelligence researchers don't like it when you ask them to name the top AI labs in the world, possibly because it's so hard to answer."
Who needs a teacher? Artificial intelligence designs lesson plans for itself - "That's what researchers have done in several new studies, creating artificial intelligence (AI) that can figure out how best to teach itself. "
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