Last Week in AI #152: Self-driving trucks in Texas, AI fighter pilots, robots to help in nursing staff shortage, and more!
Texas' regulations favor self-driving truck development, plans for AI to control a real fighter jet in 2024, hospitals use delivery robots to help nurses fetch supplies.
Why is Texas becoming an epicenter for the testing of self-driving trucks? A number of reasons: the state has the most truck drivers of any, many qualified engineers, and a sunny climate that works well for truck sensors. But most importantly, its local regulations make it easy for the likes of Waymo and self-driving startup Embark to get their 18-wheelers on the road. Giving self-driving vehicles the same status as conventional ones, Texas law does not impose any regulations beyond requiring them to have insurance and follow traffic laws. While Embark's CEO says autonomous trucks will be crucial to fill a driver shortage and open up attractive jobs for them in the future, a study from UC Berkeley says automation would threaten 294,000 trucking jobs.
Our take: It's pretty fair to expect that the diffusion of technologies like autonomous vehicles is going to be impacted quite seriously by local regulations, especially if those local regulations happen to be laxer in a place with good conditions for deployment. It does seem like truly autonomous vehicles are still a long way off, but sub-problems like driving trucks on highways do make for a feasible step. I think the interaction between the technology's development, where it gets deployed, and how regulation evolves is probably a path-dependent thing. As for the truck drivers whose jobs might be at risk, it might be a good idea to think about backup options.
DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has been working on the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program in recent years, with the aim to create a plane capable of engaging in aerial combat without a human pilot. However, the plan is still to keep the pilots in-the-loop, as “battle managers” that makes the high level decisions for squads of unmanned aircraft to execute. As part of the project, in 2020 DARPA put on the AlphaDogfight Trials, a competition with 8 participants who each demonstrated an algorithm to control planes in simulation who fought against each other. The project is still in its development phase, with a target of 2024 for putting on a live demonstration of dogfighting among 4 AI-controlled planes. ACE is among 600 Department of Defense projects that are incorporating AI into war-fighting.
Our take: This is a lengthy and interesting topic about the ACE project. It’s not surprising that this technology is being pursued, and it is likely just a matter of time until it works extremely well.
Many hospitals and care facilities are facing nursing staff shortages as a result of Covid-related issues. Some are experimenting with delivery care robots, like Diligent Robotics’ Moxi, to help with tasks like delivering lab samples, medications, PPE, and other medical supplies. Key to Moxi’s value is the ability to interact with a hospital’s existing environment, like navigating hallways and using elevators, and the ability to pick and place objects. While Moxi can help fetch items and keep nurses focused on more complex tasks, its features are still quite limited, and delivery robots can’t solve the nursing shortage problem by themselves.
Our take: One way to think about robots like Moxi is that they can help with the “logistics” component of a hospital - getting things from places where they’re stored to places where they’re needed when they’re needed. Such tasks are somewhat predictable and easier for current technology to handle, and they’re also relatively low-stakes. It will be a long time before robots can start replacing nurses by doing things like administering medicine and interacting with patients.
Introducing StylEx: A New Approach for Visual Explanation of Classifiers - "Our results show that StylEx finds attributes that align well with semantic ones, generate meaningful image-specific explanations, and are interpretable by people as measured in user studies."
Researchers Introduce High-Performance Deep Learning Toolbox for Genome-Scale Prediction of Protein Structure and Function - "The team used the summit supercomputer to accurately identify protein structures and activities across entire genomes of species."
A new use for AI: summarizing scientific research for seven-year-olds - "Academic writing often has a reputation for being hard to follow, but what if you could use machine learning to summarize arguments in scientific papers so that even a seven-year-old could understand them? That’s the idea behind tl;dr papers — a project that leverages recent advances in AI langu"
Latest MIT Research To Test Whether Popular Methods For Understanding Machine Learning Models Are Working Correctly - "MIT researchers have introduced a method for modifying the original data to know which aspects are genuinely significant to the model."
Researchers at Meta and the University of Texas at Austin Propose ‘Detic’: A Method to Detect Twenty-Thousand Classes using Image-Level Supervision - "The difficulty of object detection is divided into two parts: detecting the object (localization) and labeling it (classification). Traditional techniques rely on box labels for all classes since these two sub-problems are intimately coupled."
Meta researchers build an AI that learns equally well from visual, written or spoken materials - "Advances in the AI realm are constantly coming out, but they tend to be limited to a single domain: For instance, a cool new method for producing synthetic speech isn’t also a way to recognize expressions on human faces."
NIH-funded study will use machine learning to predict individual responses to diet - "A new federally funded study will use machine learning to predict how an individual responds to a given diet, allowing physicians to offer patients personalized nutrition prescriptions to improve health and treat chronic diseases."
How is machine learning advancing cancer research? - "Machine learning helps identify novel proteins involved in DNA repair, opening new avenues for cancer research. "
Send in the clones: Using artificial intelligence to digitally replicate human voices - "The science behind making machines talk just like humans is very complex, because our speech patterns are so nuanced."
Swiss transit authority uses AI monitoring to secure rails - "Baselland Transport AG (BLT), a Swiss public transportation firm providing bus and rail services in Münchenstein, Switzerland, has incorporated a threat detection system to ensure the safety of railroad crossings."
How A.I. Conquered Poker - "Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight. Now they can do so perfectly."
Machine Learning AI Can Predict COVID-19 Survival From Single Blood Test - "A single blood sample from a critically ill COVID-19 patient can be analyzed by a machine learning model which uses blood plasma proteins to predict survival, weeks before the outcome"
The Growing Role of Machine Learning in Fraud Detection - "Machine learning (ML) can quickly detect fraud, saving organizations and consumers time and money when implemented correctly."
How Machine Learning Is Shaping The Future Of Advertising - "By mixing fundamental marketing concepts from previous generations with state-of-the-art AI technology, today’s ad agencies and brands can harness machine learning to stay relevant. "
Social robotics company Furhat buys Sphero spin-out company Misty Robotics - "Furhat is tight-lipped about the financial details of the deal, but tells TechCrunch that the acquisition was designed to give Furhat a leg up on the hardware side, allowing it to leverage its social robotics software on new platforms."
Microsoft forms new coalition for AI in healthcare - "Microsoft has created the Artificial Intelligence Industry Innovation Coalition (AI3C) to drive the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare by providing recommendations, tools and best practices."
Now You Can Rent a Robot Worker—for Less Than Paying a Human - "Automation is reaching more companies, imperiling some jobs and changing the nature of others. "
AI software startup 6sense valued at $5.2 bln after SoftBank joins funding round - "Artificial intelligence-driven software startup 6sense said on Thursday it was valued at $5.2 billion after a late-stage funding round that included SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global as new investors."
McKinsey donates machine learning pipeline tool Kedro to the Linux Foundation - "McKinsey’s QuantumBlack will donate Kedro, a machine learning pipeline tool, to the open source community. "
Report: Machine-learning engineer is the fourth fastest-growing job in the US, per LinkedIn - "On Tuesday, LinkedIn released annual data on worldwide trends in hiring, employment, and workplaces. Spoiler alert: Emerging-tech jobs are on the up-and-up—especially when it comes to AI."
Once billed as a revolution in medicine, IBM’s Watson Health is sold off in parts - "IBM said Friday it will sell its Watson Health division to a San Francisco-based private equity firm, marking the staggering collapse of its ambitious artificial intelligence effort that failed to live up to its promises to transform everything from drug discovery to cancer care."
Fake or True ? Deepfakes are All Around You - "Deepfake is a new machine learning technology which has gone viral recently, confusing millions of people on what is true and what is not. "
Former Google scientist says the computers that run our lives exploit us — and he has a way to stop them - "Meet Hume AI, a potentially more humane way to let the machines in"
Tesla owner is the first to face felony charges for deadly Autopilot crash - "Filed under:The first time criminal charges have been filed against a Tesla owner in the US for an incident involving Autopilot California prosecutors filed two felony charges against the owner of Tesla Model S for a deadly crash in 2019 that involved the vehicle’s Autopilot system, marking the fi"
New startup shows how emotion-detecting AI is intrinsically problematic - "In 2019, a team of researchers published a meta-review of studies claiming a person’s emotion can be inferred from their facial movements. They concluded that there’s no evidence emotional state can be predicted from expression – regardless of whether a human or technology is making the determination."
AI models are becoming better at answering questions, but they’re not perfect - "Given a question, Macaw can produce an answer and an explanation. If given an answer, the model can generate a question (optionally a multiple-choice question) and an explanation. Finally, if given an explanation, Macaw can give a question and an answer."
AI-Powered Bots May Be The Answer To The Great Resignation And War For Talent - "When a new technology is developed, it's first met with skepticism by many and enthusiastically embraced by others. Over time, more often than not, people realize that smartphones, computers, the internet, cryptocurrency and virtual reality add value to our lives and work."
When should someone trust an AI assistant's predictions? - "Researchers have created a method to help workers collaborate with artificial intelligence systems. "
Common but Different Futures: AI Inequity and Climate Change - "This paper proposes, among other recommendations, a revival of the CBDR principle for the AI and climate context."
Can China create a world-beating AI industry? - "Don’t hold your breath"
Report: U.S. Tops Government AI Readiness Index - "The U.S. federal government is the most prepared among 160 nations to use artificial intelligence in the public services they provide, according to a report released this week by London-based consultancy Oxford Insights."
Why games may not be the best benchmark for AI - "Unlike the real world, games provide a theoretically infinite amount of data to train AI systems"
U.S. Chamber Launches Bipartisan Commission on Artificial Intelligence to Advance U.S. Leadership - "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced the launch of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Commission on Competition, Inclusion, and Innovation to advance U.S. leadership in the use and regulation of AI technology."
Spain to create Europe's first supervisory agency for artificial intelligence - "The European Union is investing resources and issuing legal tools in order to foster the lawful and accountable use of artificial intelligence (AI)."
Harmonizing Artificial Intelligence: The role of standards in the EU AI Regulation - "The EU’s AI Act has envisioned a strong role for technical standards in the governance of AI. Little research has been conducted on what this role looks like, however."
How The US Department Of Energy Is Transforming AI - "The US Department of Energy (DOE) has long stood out as one of the most science, technology, and innovation-focused US federal agencies. It should come as little surprise then that the DOE continues to invest in transformative technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning."
Al Gore: Emissions reductions hinge on AI measurements from space - "The former vice president, who backs an AI-powered platform called Climate TRACE, made the remarks during a virtual panel focused on space as a “next frontier” at the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos Agenda in Switzerland. “
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