Last Week in AI #169: Royal Mail will deliver with drones, backdoors in deep learning, AI for weather forecasts, and more!
Royal Mail will use drones to deliver to hard-to-reach areas, neural network backdoors are easy to engineer and difficult to detect, machine learning models to improve weather forecasts
Royal Mail is Doing the Right Thing with Drone Delivery
The United Kingdom’s Royal Mail announced plans to establish more than 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years. These fully autonomous drones can carry a payload of up to 100 kilograms for 1000 kilometers. The longer-term goal is to deploy a fleet of 500 such drones servicing difficult-to-access “corners” of the UK, including island communities like Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney island, and the Hebrides. The current model of mail delivery to such islands is the very infrequent boat rides and large piloted aircraft. The drone delivery plan is currently in the process of gaining approval from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Our Take: As pointed out in the article, the idea of using drones for mail delivery is not entirely new and has been shown to be successful in the past. About 8 years ago, DHL tested a fully autonomous delivery service involving drones to an island 12 kilometers off Germany’s North Sea Coast. Among the many use cases of drones explored so far, this is definitely solving an important problem. Moreover, it is both economically and technically feasible. This could also open up doors to other applications in time-critical deliveries like medical and other emergency supplies to remote places safely and efficiently.
Undetectable Backdoors Plantable In Any Machine Learning Algorithm
Backdoors in software refer to maliciously engineered capabilities that allow the software developer to exploit the deployed software without others noticing. researchers have discovered that it is indeed possible to engineer such backdoors into neural networks by maliciously tampering with the training data. Once this is done, an attacker may be able to impart drastic changes to a neural network’s prediction with only small changes to the input. For example, a machine-learning contractor could train and provide a model that is used to approve loan requests from customer profiles. With a backdoor engineered, the contractor could change a customer profile slightly to always guarantee approval. Researchers behind this study note that this type of neural network backdoor is very difficult to detect, so organizations should be very careful about using neural networks that were not trained in-house.
Our take: In the world of cybersecurity, attack and defense mechanisms always evolve with each other, so it would not be surprising if more robust neural network verification tools will be developed in the near future. Still, the black-box nature of these large, complex models makes their testing and verification that much more difficult. Such questions will only become more prevalent as more organizations adopt neural networks as parts of external products or internal decision-making.
AI and machine learning are improving weather forecasts, but they won’t replace human experts
Today, numerical weather prediction relies upon complex calculations that use our knowledge of the atmosphere. While our ability to predict the weather has advanced considerably, certain weather events are inherently difficult to predict, and chaos limits our ability to make precise forecasts beyond 10 days. Russ Schumacher and Aaron Hill of Colorado State University write that applying machine learning tools to forecasting high-impact weather shows great promise. Applying tools like random forests to predict heavy rain and embedding machine learning tools within existing weather forecast methods have both proved useful. And, of course, the authors note ethical concerns and that machine learning models may produce unrealistic results that do not make physical sense.
Our take: I haven’t seen much work regarding machine learning for weather prediction yet, but this seems like an important use. Being able to predict high-impact events like tornadoes and heavy rain more accurately would be helpful for safety reasons. It seems we are still far away from ML models replacing anyone, but I’m excited for work in this domain to continue.
Last week’s podcast episode: Autonomous Boats, DeepMind’s General AI, Google’s DALLE-2, Cringe AI Novel
On the road to cleaner, greener, and faster driving - "Researchers use artificial intelligence to help autonomous vehicles avoid idling at red lights."
Researchers develop algorithm to divvy up tasks for human-robot teams - "As robots increasingly join people on the factory floor, in warehouses and elsewhere on the job, dividing up who will do which tasks grows in complexity and importance. People are better suited for some tasks, robots for others."
AI Framework Cuts Time, Effort Needed to Predict Critical Care Outcomes - "Scientists from the University of Washington developed an artificial intelligence framework that can reduce the time, effort, and resources required to predict patient outcomes in critical care settings."
TartanDrive dataset likely largest for off-road environments - "Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University took an all-terrain vehicle on wild rides through tall grass, loose gravel and mud to gather data about how the ATV interacted with a challenging, off-road environment. They drove the heavily instrumented ATV aggressively at speeds up to 30 miles an hour."
Review identifies gaps in our understanding of how machine learning can aid stock valuation - "A recent review has identified gaps in researchers' understanding of how ML can aid stock valuation."
Tiny robotic crab is smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot - "Northwestern University engineers have developed the smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot -- and it comes in the form of a tiny, adorable peekytoe crab. Just a half-millimeter wide, the tiny crabs can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump."
Microsoft AI Researchers Introduces (De)ToxiGen: A Large-Scale Machine-Generated Dataset for Adversarial and Implicit Hate Speech Detection - "While there are several benefits to using Artificial Intelligence, there are also drawbacks to this cutting-edge technology. One example is the creation of inappropriate language by language models."
Researchers Use Machine Learning to Identify Thousands of New Marine RNA Viruses in Study of Interest to Microbiologists and Clinical Laboratory Scientists - "An international team of scientists has used genetic screening and machine learning techniques to identify more than 5,500 previously unknown species of marine RNA viruses and is proposing five new phyla (biological groups) of viruses."
AI on the Ball: Startup Shoots Computer Vision to the Soccer Pitch - "After making its mark in pro leagues, startup Track160 has set its sights on democratizing sports analytics using NVIDIA GPUs and software."
Google Adds Machine Learning-Powered Studio Lighting To Video Calls - "The number of emails, chats, and meetings in inboxes and on calendars has increased as more people work from home, so researchers have been looking for new methods to apply machine learning to combat information overload and keep us feeling productive."
Israel Tests AI-Powered Floating Solar Panels To Generate Clean Energy - "With the severity of the climate crisis potentially crossing the 1.5℃ warming threshold by 2026, the transition towards clean energy production and an overall green, sustainable economy has never felt more urgent."
Google uses AI to digitise maps in the utilities industry - "Google’s DeepMind engineers have partnered with UK Power Networks, the country’s biggest electricity distributor, to create digital versions of hand-drawn maps covering more than 180,000km of electricity cables using artificial intelligence (AI) "
FDA Grants Breakthrough Device Designation to Anumana’s ECG Pulmonary Hypertension Early Detection AI Algorithm - "Developed in collaboration with Janssen and Mayo Clinic, this technology has the potential to aid physicians in earlier detection of pulmonary hypertension, a progressive, life-threatening disease"
Using Machine Learning to Help Protect the Great Barrier Reef in Partnership with Australia’s CSIRO - "The goal is to transform the underwater survey, monitoring and mapping reefs at scale to help rapidly identify and prioritize COTS outbreaks."
How AI and machine learning are reshaping the way transit systems move traffic patterns - "Of the many ways artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to improve modern life, the promise of impacting mass transit is significant."
New York State Office for the Aging deploys AI robots as companions for older adults - "The U.S. Surgeon General declared social isolation to be a "global epidemic." The office hopes these companions can help care for seniors."
Oxford High School tests AI gun detection system in wake of shooting - "Six months after the deadly shooting at Oxford High School that resulted in four student deaths and eight injuries, the school district is experimenting with a new technology to detect guns with the help of artificial intelligence."
Machine Learning Speeds Up Search For New Sustainable Materials - "A model that rapidly searches through large numbers of materials could find sustainable alternatives to existing composites."
Wing Zone is the latest chain to bet big on Miso Robotics - "Dive Brief: Miso Robotics' automated fry station, Flippy 2, will become a part of Wing Zone’s standard restaurant builds going forward, Miso announced Wednesday."
Canon Patents AI That Optically Zooms a Lens to Reframe Photos - "Canon has been awarded a patent for new artificial intelligence (AI) driven technology that will automatically zoom in to better frame a photo before capture."
More Than 2 Billion Shipments of Devices with Machine Learning will Bring On-Device Learning and Inference Directly to Consumers by 2027 - "Federated, distributed, and few-shot learning can make consumers direct participants in Artificial Intelligence processes "
Dyson launches a hiring spree for hundreds of engineers to build robots capable of doing household chores - "Dyson is going on a hiring spree for engineers who will help develop personal robots capable of doing household chores, the company confirmed to Insider."
Pony.ai loses permit to test autonomous vehicles with driver in California - "The California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Pony.ai’s permit to test its autonomous vehicle technology with a driver on Tuesday for failing to monitor the driving records of the safety drivers on its testing permit."
AI in Biopharmaceutical Development Market worth $16.4 Billion by 2030 - "According to the latest research by InsightAce Analytic, the Global AI in Biopharmaceutical Development Market is valued at US452.33Millionin2021,anditisexpectedtoreachUS 16441.32 Million by 2030, with a CAGR of 49.3% during the forecast period of 2022-2030."
Baidu’s Sales Beat Estimates as AI Push Offsets China Slowdown - "Baidu Inc. posted a surprise rise in revenue, after efforts to expand in areas such as cloud computing and autonomous driving offset weak ad sales in China. Revenue inched 1% higher to 28.4 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) for the three months ended March, compared with the 27."
AI project helps Atlantic Health's radiologists expedite care - "Atlantic Health System in New Jersey uses augmented intelligence (AI) to spot potential abnormalities in diagnostic imaging studies and then move those images to the top of the list for a radiologist to review. "
RapidAI speeds up pulmonary embolism diagnosis with FDA clearance for AI triage tool - "RapidAI's software is designed to speed up the time it takes for physicians to identify a pulmonary embolism, confirm diagnosis and begin treatment."
‘Yikes!’ Elon Musk warns users against latest deepfake crypto scam - "Deepfakes abound! Crypto scammers produce a deepfake video of Elon Musk's TED talk to prey on unwitting social media users. Tesla CEO Elon Musk distanced himself from yet another fabricated video promoting a cryptocurrency scam."
The AI pretenders - "As artificial intelligence advances, should we be concerned about robots and virtual bots pretending to be human or human like?"
Artificial intelligence is breaking patent law - "The patent system assumes that inventors are human. Inventions devised by machines require their own intellectual property law and an international treaty."
An Autonomous Car Blocked a Fire Truck Responding to an Emergency - "On an early April morning, around 4 am, a San Francisco Fire Department truck responding to a fire tried to pass a doubled-parked garbage truck by using the opposing lane."
U.S. firm Clearview A.I. fined for illegally collecting images of Brits' faces - "Clearview AI, a New York-headquartered facial recognition company, has been fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by a U.K. privacy regulator."
Clearview AI's Facial Recognition Tool Coming to Apps, Schools - "Clearview AI is expanding sales of its facial recognition software to companies from mainly serving the police, it told Reuters, inviting scrutiny on how the startup capitalizes on billions of photos it scrapes from social media profiles."
AI-art isn't art - "DALL-E and other AI artists offer only the imitation of art"
AI reskilling: A solution to the worker crisis - " The problem is that advances in AI are slowed down by a global shortage of workers with the skills and experience in areas such as deep learning, natural language processing and robotic process automation. "
The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere - "The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster."
What FDA’s New Machine Learning Guiding Principles Really Mean - "FDA recently published a set of 10 guiding principles to inform the development of Good Machine Learning Practice."
Pentagon names new chief of responsible artificial intelligence - "The Pentagon has tapped artificial intelligence ethics and research expert Diane Staheli to lead the Responsible AI (RAI) Division of its new Chief Digital and AI Office (CDAO), FedScoop confirmed on Tuesday."
China and Europe are leading the push to regulate A.I. — one of them could set the global playbook - "As China and Europe try to rein in artificial intelligence, a new front is opening up around who will set the standards for the burgeoning technology."
Deep Learning For Industrial Inspection - "Deep learning is at the upper end of AI complexity, sifting through more data to achieve more accurate results. Charlie Zhu, vice president of R&D at CyberOptics, talks with Semiconductor Engineering, about how DL can be utilized with inspection to identify defects in chips that are not discernible"
What are foundation models? - "The future of AI is flexible, reusable AI models that can be applied to just about any domain or industry task."
All these images were generated by Google’s latest text-to-image AI - "There’s a new hot trend in AI: text-to-image generators. Feed these programs any text you like and they’ll generate remarkably accurate pictures that match that description."
The Day I Became Friends with a Robot - "I had never talked to a robot before. We talked for a while and I found out that its name was R0b0t. I asked it why it was just standing in the street and it said that it was waiting for its human friend. I told it that I didn’t have any friends that were robots, but that I would be its friend."
This Artist Uses AI To Show What Disney Characters Would Look Like In Real Life, And There Are Some AI Hotties, Let Me Tell Ya - "If you're a Disney fan, then I think it's my civic duty to introduce you to digital artist Hidreley Diao. "
Oregon Teen Rishab Jain Wins Regeneron Young Scientist Award for His AI Model That Produces Cost-effective Drugs - "Portland, Oregon teen Rishab Jain has won the Regeneron Young Scientist Award of $50,000 for developing an AI-based model to enable rapid and cost-effective production of drugs, such as recombinant COVID-19 vaccines, using synthetic DNA engineering, according to a Society for Science press release."
Urban Jungle: AI-Generated Endangered Species Mix With Times Square’s Nightlife - "The project, dubbed Critically Extant, uses AI to illustrate the limited public data available on critically endangered flora and fauna."
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