Last Week in AI #168: Autonomous cargo ships, how AI is used in Hollywood, AI to search for guns in public, and more!
Autonomous cargo ships can avoid collisions with other ships, AI helps visual effects workflows in the movie industry, inconspicuous AI system to flag guns in public spaces
An autonomous 750-ton commercial cargo ship has completed a 40hr, 500-mile trial run in the “congested waters of Tokyo Bay” with minimal human intervention. The ship uses algorithms developed by Orca AI to identify other vessels and avoid collisions. During this initial voyage, the ship performed 107 collision avoidance maneuvers. The onboard AI system was trained using data collected over a year on the same vessel.
Our take: This is an impressive demonstration and may convince many shipping companies to start planning for deploying autonomous cargo ships in the future. Given the current state of global logistics networks, any improvements to their efficiency or reliability would be welcomed. The system demonstrated here may help improve ship operations near busy ports and allow cargo ships to be sailed by fewer people. While this is still a demonstration and some human operator interventions were required, the future of autonomous shipping seems promising.
This video explains three practical applications of AI in today’s Hollywood film-making. One is removing face tracking markers, which would’ve taken artists an entire day to do for a single shot. Another is stylized speech synthesis, where the voice of an actor can be recreated and repurposed for additional footage without the original actor performing the extra part. Lastly is stylized face animations, where neural networks can help make animated faces, like Thanos’ in Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War, move more like the face of the actor that played the character.
Our take: This is a great example of how current real-world AI applications tend to form specific parts of a longer pipeline, instead of performing an entire task end-to-end. Tracking dot removal prepares the footage for downstream processing, synthesized speech is only used in cases where the original actor couldn’t provide the sound, and the face animation AI is used to fine-tune work already done by artists. There are probably many more such low-hanging fruits in “localized” AI applications, and AI certainly does not need to be “general” in order to make tangible and significant impacts.
Evolv Technology uses advanced digital sensors, new light-emission techniques, and artificial intelligence to develop touchless and inconspicuous security systems, which they call “active sensing”. This system uses AI system to flag weapons. The company advertises these systems as “incredibly accurate” that can “screen up to 3,600 people per hour”, 10 times faster than traditional metal detectors. Evolv security systems are already deployed at L.L. Bean, Six Flags Theme Parks, Wynn Las Vegas with plans to extend to schools, stadiums, stores, and other gathering spots.
Our Take: Given the rise in mass public shootings due to inefficient gun control, such as the recent Brooklyn shooting, the mass shooting at a supermarket and even shooting incidents in public transit systems, solutions for better weapon detection and improved security screening are definitely the need of the hour. On one hand, the idea of not having to form long lines in security, and removing and opening bags at entrances of schools, hotels, grocery stores, and airports sounds attractive, but on the other hand, such technology does raise questions of privacy and false positives, where benign objects are flagged as dangerous. As also pointed out by Alan Cowen, a former Google scientist and AI expert, this will also raise a lot of potentials in which “bad actors learn how to circumvent the AI”; for instance, creative ways of “putting a tape around a gun handle”.
DeepMind’s new AI can perform over 600 tasks, from playing games to controlling robots - "The ultimate achievement to some in the AI industry is creating a system with artificial general intelligence (AGI), or the ability to understand and learn any task that a human can."
AI Predicts Infant Age and Gender Based on Temperament - "Before the 48-week mark of life, it is easier for an AI algorithm to determine the exact age of a baby, but not its gender based on temperament data. After 48 weeks, gender classification improved for all algorithms, suggesting gender differences in infancy become more accentuated at this point in life."
Google’s Universal Pretraining Framework Unifies Language Learning Paradigms - "Their 20B parameter model surpasses the state-of-the-art 175B GPT-3 on the zero-shot SuperGLUE benchmark and triples the performance of T5-XXL on one-shot summarization tasks."
Study: Face-to-face screening combined with machine learning model performs best at suicide risk prediction - "According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, a combination of in-person screenings and machine learning worked better than either method alone when it came to predicting suicide attempts and suicidal ideation in adults."
The role of AI and machine learning in revolutionizing clinical research - "Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) have become a cornerstone of successful modern clinical trials, integrated into many of the technologies enabling the transformation of clinical development."
Scientists Use Machine Learning Models to Help Identify Long COVID Patients - "A study published in The Lancet Digital Health led by UNC School of Medicine’s Emily R. Pfaff, PhD, shows how the National COVID Cohort Collaborative used XGBoost machine learning models to better define long COVID and identify potential long-COVID patients with a high degree of accuracy."
Energy-efficient AI hardware technology via a brain-inspired stashing system? - "Researchers have proposed a novel system inspired by the neuromodulation of the brain, referred to as a 'stashing system,' that requires less energy consumption."
Simultaneous emulation of neuronal and synaptic properties promotes the development of brain-like artificial intelligence - "Researchers have reported a nano-sized neuromorphic memory device that emulates neurons and synapses simultaneously in a unit cell, another step toward completing the goal of neuromorphic computing designed to rigorously mimic the human brain with semiconductor devices."
Modelling armed conflict risk under climate change with machine learning and time-series data - "Understanding the risk of armed conflict is essential for promoting peace."
Machine learning radically reduces workload of cell counting for disease diagnosis - "Results of cell counts compared to predicted count results showed that the newly developed training method allows machine learning to more accurately count blood cells."
Israeli firm hopes AI can curb drownings - "An Israeli city is testing whether an artificial intelligence programme that detects drowning threats can help save lives off its beaches."
Google Translate Utilize Zero-Resource Machine Translation To Support New Languages - "Machine translation (MT) technology has advanced significantly. The quality of translation services has increased, and they have grown to incorporate new languages, according to research benchmarks such as WMT."
Clearbot Neo autonomously clears plastic from harbors - "Open Ocean Engineering’s Clearbot Neo is a robotic boat that autonomously navigates harbors, canals and rivers to collect trash that would otherwise wash into the ocean."
Robotic surgery is safer and improves patient recovery time - "Robot-assisted surgery used to perform bladder cancer removal and reconstruction enables patients to recover far more quickly and spend significantly (20 per cent) less time in hospital, concludes a first-of-its kind clinical trial led by scientists at UCL and the University of Sheffield."
You can practice for a job interview with Google AI - "Never mind reading generic guides or practicing with friends — Google is betting that algorithms can get you ready for a job interview. The company has launched an Interview Warmup tool that uses AI to help you prepare for interviews across various roles."
Machine learning to predict end stage kidney disease in chronic kidney disease - "The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of machine learning (ML) in predicting the risk of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) from patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Data were obtained from a longitudinal CKD cohort."
A Machine-Learning Derived Huntington’s Disease Progression Model - "When machine-learning algorithms are applied to enormous datasets, such as those accessible in Huntington’s disease, latent patterns typically undetectable by clinical observation can be discovered."
Investors pull back on artificial intelligence - "Funding for AI-focused health startups fell 32% in Q1 2022, after nine straight quarters of steady growth, according to a fresh analysis from CB Insights."
AI 100: The most promising artificial intelligence startups of 2022 - "The AI 100 is CB Insights' annual list of the 100 most promising private AI companies in the world. This year’s winners are working on diverse solutions designed to recycle plastic waste, improve hearing aids, combat toxic online gaming behavior, and more."
Nuance, Health Management Academy launch artificial intelligence collaborative - "The new program is "designed exclusively for clinical and operational executives who lead their organizations' approach to investing in AI as a strategic initiative.""
Inflection AI, led by LinkedIn and DeepMind co-founders, raises $225M to transform computer-human interactions - "Inflection AI, the machine learning startup headed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and founding DeepMind member Mustafa Suleyman, has secured $225 million in equity financing, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."
Uber Eats Dabbles With Delivering Food Via Robots - "Uber Eats is now testing autonomous food delivery in the Los Angeles area."
Optibus taps $100M at a $1.3B valuation for its AI-based mass transit operations platform - "Mass transit has made a rebound with the return of city life post-Covid 19, and today a startup that’s building tech to help it run more smoothly is announcing a big round of funding to meet the rush."
Ford-backed robotaxi startup Argo AI is ditching its human safety drivers in Miami and Austin - "Robotaxi startup Argo AI said Tuesday it has begun operating its autonomous test vehicles without human safety drivers in two U.S. cities — Miami and Austin — a major milestone for the Ford- and Volkswagen-backed company. For now, those driverless vehicles won't be carrying paying customers."
John Deere closes in on fully autonomous farming with latest AI acquisition - "Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, Voltron, physics, and space stuff."
Buildots raises $60 million for construction process AI solution - "Buildots, a company that has developed a system to streamline the construction industry, has announced the completion of a $60 million Series C funding round."
North America is seeing a hiring boom in medical industry machine learning roles - "The number of roles in North America made up 70.9% of total machine learning jobs – up from 64% in the same quarter last year."
Apple Executive Who Left Over Return-to-Office Policy Joins Google AI Unit - "An Apple Inc. executive who left over the company’s stringent return-to-office policy is joining Alphabet Inc.’s DeepMind unit, according to people with knowledge of the matter. "
SoundHound AI, Square launch tool to automate phone ordering - "Dive Brief: SoundHound AI, an artificial intelligence voice platform, announced on Thursday a new offering that allows restaurants to automate phone ordering. The feature will be integrated with Square’s point-of-sale systems."
Aurora expands autonomous freight pilot with FedEx in Texas - "Aurora Innovation, an autonomous vehicle technology company, has expanded its self-driving freight pilot with FedEx to include a new lane from Fort Worth to El Paso, Texas."
Fatal Tesla Model S Crash in California Prompts Federal Probe - "The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving a 2022 Tesla Model S that may have had its automated driving system activated."
Hiring Algorithms Based on Junk Science May Cost You Your Dream Job - "The problem of pseudo-science in algorithmic decision making"
The struggle for recognition in the age of facial recognition technology - "Facial recognition technology does not always live up to its promises – numerous examples show that it often fails to recognize people’s identity or characteristics. In this article, I argue that such misrecognition by FRT can harm people’s self-respect and self-esteem. "
Lawmakers Urge FTC to Investigate ID.me and its Facial Recognition Tech - "“We write to urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate evidence of deceptive statements made by ID."
Facebook issues $397 checks to Illinois residents as part of class-action - "More than a million Illinois residents will receive a $397 settlement payment from Facebook this week, thanks to a legal battle over the platform’s since-retired photo-tagging system that used facial recognition."
Artificial intelligence predicts patients’ race from their medical images - "The miseducation of algorithms is a critical problem; when artificial intelligence mirrors unconscious thoughts, racism, and biases of the humans who generated these algorithms, it can lead to serious harm."
It's World Bee Day, so let's marvel at AI hives that know exactly what bees need - "Friday the 20th of May is the day the world comes together to celebrate bees. It was chosen for World Bee Day in honor of the birthday of a pioneer of modern apiculture, Anton Janša, and is recognized by the UN General Assembly."
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