Last Week in AI #111
U.S. AI workforce, using RL to train bipedal robots, and more!
In a new report published by Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology, researcher analyze recent trends in the U.S. AI workforce and found that the field is experiencing rapid growth. The number of U.S. AI workers grew more than 20% from 2015 to 2019, compared to just 5.6% for all U.S. occupations. This growth seems to be especially concentrated in the top 5 urban hubs - Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. While there is strong evidence that growth will conintue, it will probably occur at a slower pace, estimated to be at 8% over a 10yr period from 2019-2029.
A new paper from UC Berkeley demonstrated using Reinforcement Learning (RL) to teach a biped robot how to walk and robustly handle external perturbations. The robot is trained entirely in simulation, and its specific algorithm design allowed the learned agent to exhibit a wide range of behaviors without hardcoding. In addition to normal walking, other behaviors include changing walking heights and pushing out one leg to recover from external pushes. This is different from the impressive Boston Dynamics demos with the biped robot Atlas, because in that case the robot controllers were all hand designed.
While the work is impressive, MIT Tech Review's characterization as this is the first time ever that RL has been used to train a biped robot is misleading. There is a long history of applying RL in robot locomotion, and RL for bipeds has been introduced since at least 1997.
Advances & Business
Amazon launches ML-powered maintenance tool Lookout for Equipment in general availability - "Amazon today announced the general availability of Lookout for Equipment, a service that uses machine learning to help customers perform maintenance on equipment in their facilities."
Shedding light on fairness in AI with a new data set - "Facebook AI has built and open-sourced a new, unique data set called Casual Conversations, consisting of 45,186 videos of participants having nonscripted conversations."
AI in Education: Augmenting Teachers, Scaling Workplace Training - "The HAI spring conference examines how AI advancements in education can super-power teachers and rethink outdated (and bad) instruction. "
Feedzai bags $200M at unicorn valuation for its AI fraud detection platform - "Feedzai Inc., a fraud detection startup with a client roster that includes 80% of the Fortune 500, has landed a $200 million round of funding led by investment firm KKR. The round was announced this morning."
Companies are racing to bring A.I. to the masses with no code software - "Primer, the San Francisco A.I. company, is the latest to launch a no-code software system that lets non-experts create and train A.I. algorithms"
Snorkel AI Launches Application Studio, the Fastest Way to Develop AI Applications, and Raises $35 Million in Growth Funding Led by Lightspeed Venture Partners - "Snorkel AI, the company accelerating enterprise AI application development and deployment through programmatic data labeling, today announced Application Studio, a visual builder with templated solutions for common AI use cases based on best practices from hundreds of deployments and research at top academic institutions over the last six years."
AI-powered nanosensors to track different biological molecules - "Using metasurfaces, infrared light and artificial intelligence, EPFL scientists have come up with AI-powered nanosensors that can observe all major biomolecule classes of the nanoworld without disturbing them."
AI helps zap mosquito larvae before they become a problem - "An Israeli startup with a unique solution for combating malaria is one of three finalists for the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE."
Leading American researcher and DKK 350 million will take Danish artificial intelligence research to new heights - "A new pioneer center for artificial intelligence research will be opening in Copenhagen at the end of 2021."
Concerns & Hype
Government audit of AI with ties to white supremacy finds no AI - "In a surprise twist, an audit and report released last week found no bias in [Banjo's] algorithm because there was no algorithm to assess in the first place."
An Artificial Intelligence Made A Diss Against The Patriarchy With Eminem & Kanye West's Voice - "Recently, the 30 Hertz channel made a new version of Eminem's "My Name Is" with the help of Artificial Intelligence. It was a version that would be like if the Detroit Rapper wrote it in 2021."
New' Nirvana Song Created 27 Years After Kurt Cobain's Death Via AI Software - ""['Drowned in the Sun'] is accurate enough to give you that [Nirvana] vibe, but not so accurate to where someone's going to get a cease-and-desist letter," Hogan claimed. "If you look at the last quote-unquote Nirvana release, which was 'You Know You're Right,' this has the same type of vibe."
Nothing Breaks Like A.I. Heart - "An essay about artificial intelligence, emotional intelligence, and finding an ending"
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