Last Week in AI #113

New EU AI regulations, AI for spotting pollution hotspots, and more!

Mini Briefs

AI Pinpoints Local Pollution Hotspots Using Satellite Images

Researchers from Duke university recently published a new machine learning model capable of predicting levels of PM2.5 particles in cities within a resolution of 300 meters from weather and satellite imagery data. This is a big improvement over previous methods of localizing pollution, which typically give data on the resolutions of cities, not city blocks. Finer resolution data is available, but they come from costly installations of ground-level sensor networks or driving a sensor-equipped car around the city. Currently, the model only works for one city at a time, and it needs to be retrained for new cities. In the future, the researchers hope that their method can enable better policy making regarding pollutions and more accurate studies on the effects of pollution on health.

EU is cracking down on AI, but leaves a loophole for mass surveillance

The European Commission released a draft legislation proposal on regulations of AI applications that aim to curb the potential harms of deploying these automated systems. To do so, the proposal categorizes a series of applications as "high-risk" and would tightly regulate these areas, in some cases requiring explicit approval from the EU for commercial applications. Such high-risk areas include facial recognition, engagement optimization, student evaluation, and hiring candidate evaluation.

However, the article's claim that these regulations leave "loophole for mass surveillance" by law enforcement is overstated. From the proposal: "The use of those systems for the purpose of law enforcement should therefore be prohibited, except in three exhaustively listed and narrowly defined situations," and that "each use of a ‘real-time’ remote biometric identification system in publicly accessible spaces for the purpose of law enforcement should be subject to an express and specific authorisation by a judicial authority or by an independent administrative authority of a Member State."

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  • Geoffrey Hinton has a hunch about what's next for AI - "Back in November, the computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Geoffrey Hinton had a hunch. After a half-century's worth of attempts - some wildly successful - he'd arrived at another promising insight into how the brain works and how to replicate its circuitry in a computer."

  • Two ways AI technology is like Nuclear technology - "We often hear that AI is the new electricity and data the new oil. The former at least is kind of true. AI is already pervasive in all of our digital artefacts and interactions. And to be fair, so is the latter."

  • Melanie Mitchell Takes AI Research Back to Its Roots - "To build a general artificial intelligence, we may need to know more about our own minds, argues the computer scientist Melanie Mitchell."


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