Last Week in AI #183: AI to decode speech from brain activity, DALL-E can now draw bigger images, AI to assess mental well-being of children, and more!
AI research on decoding speech from brain activities, OpenAI releases outpainting feature for DALL-E, robots help psychiatrists assess children's mental health
Tens of millions of people suffer traumatic brain injuries each year that leave them unable to speak, type or gesture. Meta’s latest research could one day help these people communicate by using an AI to map brain activity to speech. The AI model can identify 73% top-10 accuracy from a list of 793 commonly used everyday words (top-10 accuracy means the percentage of times the correct word was in the top 10 words ranked by the model). Importantly, the method uses non-invasive techniques, like EEG and MEG, to measure brain activity. It is also trained on 150 hours of recordings from 169 volunteers, showing that the model does not have to be retrained per person. While the scope and performance of the model are limited, the researchers are optimistic about the direction and enabling brain-to-speech in the future.
Our take: Using AI to analyze brain activities has been a popular research direction for some time, and this study which does not use invasive procedures and subject-specific data is promising. It’s important to note that 73% top-10 accuracy from a limited set of words is just not good enough to enable robust communication by itself. However, the approach is promising, and it might be more applicable if it is coupled with smarter conversational AI that can take context into account and fix “typos” in the future.
You've heard of inpainting--DALL-E can paint a beautiful flamingo in your pristine pool so that it looks as though it were there in the first place. Now get ready for outpainting. Wanted to see the rest of the Mona Lisa? DALL-E can help you with that now. FastCompany says this feature could be useful to graphic designers who need to create different sizes and shapes of an image for different uses. Indeed, movie promo images might come in square shapes or rectangular banners. Users can also ask DALL-E to include something specific in the extended image area with keywords.
Our Take: I find this pretty interesting from a product perspective--from the Fast Company article, it sounds like the new feature was at least partially a response to asks for flexibility in aspect ratios. While impressive, an image generation model alone doesn't feel like much of a product to me. I suspect OpenAI also has a strategy of releasing the model, seeing how users apply it, and introducing new features or product ideas based on what users do and ask for. With alternatives like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, I wonder if OpenAI will continue feature releases like this to justify and differentiate the DALL-E 2 offering.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge conducted a study on assessing the mental health of 28 children between the ages of 8 and 13 with the aid of a child-sized humanoid robot. The goal of the study was to find out if children are more prone to confide in a technology-assisted friendly-looking robot as opposed to impersonal and often taxing standardized tests or talking to adults. The study found that the children were indeed willing to confide in the robot, even sharing information with the robot that they had not yet shared via the online or in-person questionnaires. All participants reported feeling comfortable interacting with the robot using its touch sensors. These results suggest that, while robotics is not mature enough to replace professional psychiatrists, some combination of robot and human solutions to addressing mental health problems in children are likely to be used in the future.
Our Take: Anxiety and depression among children are rising, exacerbated by the pandemic, and the resources needed to address these mental problems are severely limited. To that end, complementary solutions using robots can mitigate this shortcoming. We appreciate that the article clearly specifies that these robots are only working as replacements for online and in-person questionnaires and not substituting professional psychiatrists, as the job of the latter is far more complex and unlikely to be replaced by AI any time soon.
One Man’s Dream of Fusing A.I. With Common Sense - "Artificial intelligence systems can process vast amounts of data in seconds, but they can’t make sense of the world or explain their decisions. David Ferrucci wants to change that."
Canadian researchers using machine learning to mitigate effects of climate change - "After spending almost a decade working in computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), Sasha Luccioni was ready to uproot her whole life three years ago after she became deeply concerned by the climate crisis."
Researchers Develop ‘TiCoder’ Framework For Code Generation Using User Feedback With 90.4% Consistency To User Intent - "One of the key drivers of the recent success of powerful pretrained large language models (LLMs) in natural language processing is the model’s capacity to automatically generate code based on informal natural language prompts."
Artificial Intelligence Improves Treatment in Women with Heart Attacks - "Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and women who suffer a heart attack have a higher mortality rate than men."
Amazon AI Researchers Introduce MEMENTO: Neural Model for Estimating Individual Treatment Effects for Multiple Treatments - "Estimating the effect of a binary intervention from historical observational data has been extensively investigated within the causal inference literature. However, the main goal of these investigations has been to estimate the typical impact of the intervention."
AI that can learn the patterns of human language - "On its own, a new machine-learning model discovers linguistic rules that often match up with those created by human experts."
MIT Researchers use Machine Learning to Expedite Research on New Battery Materials - "With the rise in awareness of the harmful effects of fossil fuels and the increase in sustainable energy and Electrical Vehicles, we have seen a massive shift in the automotive industry. Still, old batteries have been a factor that has slowed the industry down by quite a bit."
Artificial intelligence is helping scientists decode animal languages - "In the Pixar movie Up, a cartoon dog called Dug sports a magical collar of sorts that can translate his barks and whines into fluent human speech."
French tax officials use AI to spot 20,000 undeclared pools - "French tax authorities using AI software have found thousands of undeclared private swimming pools, landing the owners with bills totalling about €10m. The system, developed by Google and Capgemini, can identify pools on aerial images and cross-checks them with land registry databases."
AI illuminates permanently shadowed regions on the moon - "Oblique view of the lunar south pole and potential Artemis landing sites 001 and 004. This is the region where researchers have used the new technique to see into the shadowed interiors of impact craters."
Google is using machine learning to create a news feed from your searches - "Google has updated its mobile app with a more personalized news feed and a new button to follow topics from search results."
Everything Everything's AI-Derived 'Raw Data Feel' Tackles Mental Health, Conspiracy Theories - "British indie-pop group Everything Everything have made their poppiest record to date with 'Raw Data Feel.' Yet the heady self-produced concept album leans heavily into technology — both as a creative and confounding force. The prestigious prize honors the best album released in the U.K."
Woman builds AI system to monitor her cats’ poop - "What do you do when you have a constipated cat who eats plastic? Build an AI system that monitors the cat’s litter time, of course. At least that’s what software engineer and YouTuber Estefanni did so she could stay on top of her cat Teddy’s bowel movements."
AI helps recreate Van Gogh's concealed 'Two Wrestlers' - "A secret incomplete painting by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh has been recreated using artificial intelligence after 135 years after it was covered with a floral work titled "Still life with meadow flowers and roses."
Using machine learning to identify undiagnosable cancers - "The first step in choosing the appropriate treatment for a cancer patient is to identify their specific type of cancer, including determining the primary site — the organ or part of the body where the cancer begins."
Doctors using AI catch breast cancer more often than either does alone - "Radiologists assisted by an AI screen for breast cancer more successfully than they do when they work alone, according to new research. That same AI also produces more accurate results in the hands of a radiologist than it does when operating solo."
Artificial intelligence can be used to better monitor Maine's forests - "Monitoring and measuring forest ecosystems is a complex challenge because of an existing combination of softwares, collection systems and computing environments that require increasing amounts of energy to power."
Poor English skills? New AIs help researchers to write better - "Machine-learning tools can correct grammar and advise on the style and tone of presentations — but they must be used with caution."
Holly Herndon: How AI can transform your voice - "Artist Holly Herndon created an AI clone of her voice that can sing in any languages and in any tone. In her music, Holly shows how AI can enhance the power and artistry of the voice."
Panera Bread tests artificial intelligence technology in drive-thru lanes - "Starting Monday, drive-thru customers at two Panera Bread locations in upstate New York will have their orders taken by a computer in a test of artificial intelligence technology's accuracy and ability to decrease service times."
Microsoft and ByteDance are collaborating on a big AI project, even as US-China rivalry heats up - "The high-stakes battle between the U.S. and China for supremacy in artificial intelligence has domestic lawmakers growing increasingly concerned over what losing out could mean for national security, the economy and American prosperity."
A LinkedIn Marketing Agency Acquired an AI That Writes Mega-Cringe LinkedIn Posts - "A little more than a week ago, marketer Tom Orbach absolutely delighted Twitter when he unveiled his LinkedIn Viral Post Generator, a website that uses AI to ape viral LinkedIn posts, cringe and all."
North American companies send in the robots, even as productivity slumps - "North American companies snapped up a record number of robots in the first half of this year as they struggled to keep factories and warehouses humming in the face of an extremely tight labor market and soaring compensation costs."
Y Combinator-backed Irish startup Protex AI secures €18.1M, plans US expansion - "Protex AI, a Y Combinator-backed Irish company that aims to prevent workplace accidents before they happen, announced on Sunday that it has secured $18M (approximately €18.1M) in seed and Series A round of funding."
AI Is Cool, Weird and Finally Useful for Franchise Operations - "I recently spent hours telling an artificial intelligence tool to create art for me. The variations were incredible, the detail was overwhelming and it was as easy as typing “fast food drive-thru in the style of Picasso.” Was that a productive use of time? You tell me."
NFI deploying Boston Dynamics’ Stretch robot in $10M deal - "NFI, a leading third-party logistics provider (3PL), is spending $10 million to deploy Boston Dynamics‘ Stretch robot across its U.S. warehousing operations. "
Inside DHL’s robotics ecosystem - "DHL is using robotics to support numerous warehousing and logistics tasks. DHL innovates its logistics workflow and the tools and technologies deployed in DHL distribution centers around the world, as the company continually improves its efficiency."
FDA clears new Viz.ai algorithm for measuring ventricles in identifying pulmonary embolism - "San Francisco-based Viz.ai designed its algorithm to quickly and accurately measure the diameter of the ventricles of the heart."
Professional AI whisperers have launched a marketplace for DALL-E prompts - "In the past few years, art made by programs like Midjourney and OpenAI’s DALL-E has gotten surprisingly compelling. These programs can translate a text prompt into literally (and controversially) award-winning art."
Goodbye, humans: Call centers 'could save $80b' switching to AI - "By 2026 the call center industry could save up to $80 billion by replacing humans with AI chatbots, according to analysts at Gartner."
GM’s Driverless-Car Unit Recalls Software Used in Some Robotaxis - "General Motors driverless-car unit has issued a recall related to the software in some of its robotaxis, after a crash earlier this year resulted in minor injuries."
An AI-Generated Artwork Won First Place at a State Fair Fine Arts Competition, and Artists Are Pissed - "Sincarnate’s name is Jason Allen, who is president of Colorado-based tabletop gaming company Incarnate Games. According to the state fair’s website, he won in the digital art category with a work called “Théâtre D'opéra Spatial."
Civilian AI Is Already Being Misused by the Bad Guys - "And the AI community needs to do something about it"
Review finds ‘paucity of robust evidence’ on impact of AI clinical outcomes - "There is “a paucity of robust evidence” to support claims that artificial intelligence can enhance clinical outcomes, according to a systematic review of published studies."
Why are deep learning technologists so overconfident? - "Deep learning researchers have been predicting for a while that the technology will make various professions obsolete and that self-driving cars are imminent. We’re still waiting."
What does GPT-3 “know” about me? - "Large language models are trained on troves of personal data hoovered from the internet. So I wanted to know: What does it have on me?"
Why Dall-E will not steal my job as an illustrator - "I finally was able to try it. And I can assure you it’s impossible to create professional and useful images from a text description. Here are my tests trying to create art with Dall-E."
Stable Diffusion is a really big deal - "If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on with Stable Diffusion, you really should be. Stable Diffusion is a new “text-to-image diffusion model” that was released to the public by Stability.ai six days ago, on August 22nd."
Why AI Alone Won’t Solve Drug Discovery - "While AI can do some pretty cool stuff, it’s applicability is quite a bit narrower than your average Joe on the street is led to believe."
How A.I. Is Befriending Language 🤖 - "This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how A.I. may start impacting marketing sales, and copywriting jobs in the next few years and decades."
For the industrial cobot, it's been a decade in search of a permanent career opportunity - "One of the enduring lessons of the iPhone era is that Steve Jobs led with what the consumer didn’t know they wanted until he showed it to them. Robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks has operated from a similar idea — with varying degrees of success."
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Solve Scientific Problems in the U.S. - "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) advanced Computational and Data Infrastructures (CDIs) – such as supercomputers, edge systems at experimental facilities, massive data storage, and high-speed networks – are brought to bear to solve the nation’s most pressing scientific problems."
France puts healthcare at heart of $1.8B AI strategy - "French President Emmanuel Macron has committed to investing $1.8 billion in artificial intelligence over the next four years. "
New York City AI Bias Law Charts New Territory for Employers - "A novel New York City law that penalizes employers for bias in artificial intelligence hiring tools is leaving companies scrambling to audit their AI programs before the law takes effect in January."
U.S. officials order Nvidia to halt sales of top AI chips to China - "Chip designer Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) on Wednesday said that U.S. officials have ordered it to cease exporting two of its top computing chips for artificial intelligence work to China, hampering a business that accounted for $400 million in sales in the current quarter."
DOD to roll out new online marketplace to speedily buy AI-aligned tech - "The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) is preparing to launch a new one-stop online “marketplace” to solicit, evaluate and curate technologies specifically associated with AI, machine learning, data and analytics — and also enable Defense Department components to rapidly buy those digital capabilities, according to a recently published special notice. "
UK Government Releases New AI Security Guidance - "The UK’s leading security agency has released new guidance designed to help developers and others root out and fix vulnerabilities in machine learning (ML) systems."
The AI Researcher Giving Her Field Its Bitter Medicine - "Anima Anandkumar wants computer scientists to move beyond the matrix, among other challenges. Anima Anandkumar, Bren Professor of computing at the California Institute of Technology and senior director of machine learning research at Nvidia, has a bone to pick with the matrix."
Melanie Mitchell: Seemingly ‘sentient’ AI needs a human in the loop - "Davis Professor of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute and former co-head of Google’s AI Ethics unit discusses the technology’s limits"
Responding to recruiter emails with GPT-3 - "If you’re just interested in the code, here it is. Like many software engineers, each week I receive multiple emails from recruiters."
How artificial intelligence can explain its decisions - "Artificial intelligence (AI) can be trained to recognise whether a tissue image contains a tumour. However, exactly how it makes its decision has remained a mystery until now."
AI-Generated Bible Art - "All these images were generated by DALL·E 2, an AI that converts text to images. Hover your mouse over the image to see the prompt that generated it, and click to see a full-size version."
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