IndabaX, a series of AI conferences started by Afircan AI researchers and insistutes in 2017, aims to:
build a vibrant, pan-African tech community — not through reinventing existing technologies, but by creating solutions tailored to the challenges facing the region: sprawling traffic, insurance claim payments, and drought patterns.
There is some tension in fostering a local AI and tech community against the backdrop of heavy investments from American and Chinese tech giants, with the fear that 1) these companies may exploit the African market for its data and 2) they may facilitate a brain drain that attracts talent away from the continent.
IndabaX, which quadrupled in size the past 2 years, along with programs like Data Science Nigeria, which aims to train 1 million Nigerian engineers over the next 10 years, are poised to make a difference.
Brian Nord, an astrophysicist from Fermilab, is working on applying AI to astronomy, specifically to identify gravitational lenses from telescope images. Unlike typical computer vision tasks, image classification in astronomy is difficult due to the scarce amount of labeled data available.
Instead, the team is using simulated data to train a Neural Network for this task, although that presents its own set of challenges common to all Big Ol' Neural Nets apporaches, such as low model interpretability and lack of reliable uncertainty estimates.
In the future, Nord envisions AI-assisted science to become more prevalent, allowing scientists to spend less time on data crunching and more time on hypothesis generation, which is much harder for algorithms to do.
Advances & Business
Creativity and AI: The Next Step - In 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue famously defeated chess Grand Master Garry Kasparov after a titanic battle. It had actually lost to him the previous year, though he conceded that it seemed to possess a weird kind of intelligence.
Secretive Seattle startup Picnic unveils pizza-making robot - here’s how it delivers 300 pies/hour - After three years of quietly toiling away on a robotic food system, Seattle startup Picnic has emerged from stealth mode with a system that assembles custom pizzas with little human intervention.
Why Tesla Quietly Acquired DeepScale, a Machine Learning Startup That’s Squeezing A.I. - Tesla has quietly acquired an artificial intelligence company to build out its Autopilot autonomous driving system.
Robot Truckers Are Here - Electronic tracking devices and other surveillance tech monitor just about everything human drivers do, automating what was once an independent job
Tiny AI models could supercharge autocorrect and voice assistants on your phone - Researchers have successfully shrunk a giant language model to use in commercial applications.
Transforming Online Learning With Artificial Intelligence - The acceleration of online-based learning has its benefits, but it isn’t a silver bullet. However, a set of next-generation improvements facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI) stands to completely change the virtual experience.
Concerns & Hype
Pope Francis warns Silicon Valley that if it isn’t careful with AI it could lead to an ‘unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism’ - Pope Francis attended a Vatican conference last week and discussed what he sees as the moral and ethical issues that accompany technological advances, especially AI.
U.S. auto safety agency notes Tesla accidents with ‘Smart Summon’ feature - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Wednesday it is aware of reports of minor crashes involving Tesla cars driving themselves to their owners using the company’s Smart Summon feature.
Getting a new mobile number in China will involve a facial-recognition test - China is taking every measure it can to verify the identities of its over 850 million mobile internet users.
Three threats posed by deepfakes that technology won’t solve - As deepfakes get better, companies are rushing to develop technology to detect them. But little of their potential harm will be fixed without social and legal solutions.
France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program - France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a secure digital identity – whether they want it or not.
Analysis & Policy
EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation - This paper aims to shed some light on the ethical rules that are now recommended when designing, developing, deploying, implementing or using AI products and services in the EU. Moreover, it identifies some implementation challenges and presents possible further EU action ranging from soft law guidance to standardisation to legislation in the field of ethics and AI.
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Can a Board Member’s Job Be Automated? - Continued advances in artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), and distributed ledger technology like blockchain could bring about a completely new way for the Board to exercise its responsibilities.
AI bias: How tech determines if you land job, get a loan or end up in jail - One Georgia school district plans to spend $16.5 million to install artificial intelligence-powered surveillance cameras in its roughly 100 buildings in coming years.
The Evolution of AlphaStar - A few days ago DeepMind announced their latest iteration of their StarCraft II machine learning bot, now known as AlphaStar.