AI-powered coronavirus screening, banning deepfake porn, and more!
Last Week in AI #103
As we deal with the continuing pandemic, one of the most important tools that experts have argued should be in our toolbox is fast a fast testing and tracing setup. In a public-private partnership, Georgia-based BRAVE Innovations wants to help solve the testing problem. By gathering 15-second voice samples of a short, scripted prompt at COVIDvoice.net, BRAVE intends to refine its app to immediately identify if someone is likely to have been infected with COVID-19. This app can serve as a useful early warning system for donors who provide contact information and help us return to public spaces more safely.
One of the most horrid applications of deepfake technology has been to generating pornographic content. Since the technology is advanced enough to create convincing images of people, it can be used to create explicit images involving a person without that person's consent. Deepfakes have received attention for their political dangers and have even been used for political purposes, but Sensity AI, a research company that has tracked online deepfake videos since 2018, found that 90% to 95% of them are noncnsensual porn, and that 90% of that is of women. But movements in the US and UK are working to ban nonconsensual deepfake porn, and these efforts could help in the fight against other image-based sexual violence. Deepfakes put an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of people who are willing to commit violence against women, but there seems to be pressure and momentum in the direction of properly dealing with the issue.
Advances & Business
New AI tool can thwart coronavirus mutations - "Researchers have developed a new method to counter emergent mutations of the deadly coronavirus and hasten vaccine development to stop the pathogen responsible for killing thousands of people and ruining the economy, according to a study."
Pony.ai raises $100 million more to advance its autonomous vehicle tech - "Self-driving car startup Pony.ai today announced that it raised $100 million in an extension of its series C round. The funds bring the company’s total raised to date to over $1 billion at a post-money valuation of $5.3 billion, up from $3 billion as of February 2020."
Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Death Risk - "Researchers at Geisinger have found that a computer algorithm developed using echocardiogram videos of the heart can predict mortality within a year."
SuperAnnotate, a computer vision platform, partners with with open-source to spread visual ML - "SuperAnnotate, a NoCode computer vision platform, is partnering with OpenCV, a non-profit organization that has built a large collection of open-source computer vision algorithms."
Digital health company egnite launches with AI heart disease platform - "With CardioCare already in its portfolio, egnite plans to develop more solutions that harness data science to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs."
AI Agents Play "Hide the Toilet Plunger" to Learn Deep Concepts About Life - "Training AI agents via gameplay could yield a more flexible and general intelligence.ssssssssssssss"
Microsoft Teams AI could tell you who is most enjoying your video call - "Microsoft has developed an artificial intelligence for its Teams videoconferencing software that aims to put people presenting a remote talk more at ease by highlighting the most positive audience reactions."
Self-Driving Truck Startup Plus Nabs $200M Round - "Plus, an American-Chinese self-driving truck startup that formerly bore the name Plus.ai, has announced that it's raised a fresh funding round of $200 million led by new investors Guotai Junan International, CPE, and Wanxiang International Investment, three Chinese firms."
Concerns & Hype
The AI industry is built on geographic and social inequality, research shows - "The arm of global inequality is long, rendering itself visible particularly in the development of AI and machine learning systems. In a recent paper, researchers at Cornell, the Universite de Montreal, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (U.S.), and Princeton argue that this inequality in the AI industry involves a concentration of profits and raises the danger of ignoring the contexts to which AI is applied."
OpenAI and Stanford researchers call for urgent action to address harms of large language models like GPT-3 - "The makers of large language models like Google and OpenAI may not have long to set standards that sufficiently address their impact on society. Open source projects currently aiming to recreate GPT-3 include GPT-Neo, a project headed by EleutherAI."
Analysis & Policy
Climate, AI, Privacy, Racial Bias Among State Insurance Regulators’ 2021 Priorities - "The country’s insurance regulators are vowing to prioritize the monitoring of the use of consumer and non-consumer data by companies, the use of artificial intelligence, and the availability and affordability of insurance products for racial minorities."
Fighting AI bias needs to be a key part of Biden’s civil rights agenda - "Civil rights legislation addressing the harms caused by AI could be on its way."
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
An Automated Vehicle Expert Explains How Close We Are to Robotaxis - "Humans are notoriously bad at estimating how long it will take to do something that hasn’t been done before, particularly when it comes to technology that doesn’t exist yet."
Bowery CTO Injong Rhee on the grand challenge of AI for indoor farming - "In recent years, AI leaders have urged machine learning experts to consider understanding the world’s oceans and tackling climate change grand challenges on par with building autonomous vehicles, beating a computer at a game of chess, or robotic grasping."
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