News coverage of AI is “heavily influenced by industry hype and future expectations,” and under this context, it is expected that sourcing AI researchers directly can give a more nuanced and balanced perspective. This study looks into how AI experts are contributing to AI news coverage, and it contains 3 main findings:
A very small number of high-profile AI researchers account for more than 70% of AI news mentions.
The researchers most often sourced are ones with strong ties to industry and not necessarily the ones highly cited by academic peers.
Overwhelming majority of AI researchers in the news are men.
The authors caution against this seemingly narrow AI reporting:
Given the huge variety of AI research now occurring both in and outside of industry, journalists would be well served to work to develop new and diverse sources for their reporting, including from a wider range of independent academics. Increasing the diversity of sources and story subjects could help provide broader, richer, and potentially more critical insight into the many pressing public problems and opportunities surrounding artificial intelligence.
Deepfake Bot Submissions to Federal Public Comment Websites Cannot Be Distinguished from Human Submissions
In another demonstration of the potential harm deepfake technologies can bring, a researcher trained a language model that can generate fake comments regrading a Medicaid reform waiver. The resesarcher then submitted 1001 fake comments generated by the model to a federal public comment website, stopping when the bot comments “comprised more than half of all submitted comments.”
This is cause for concern because:
When humans were asked to classify a subset of the deepfake comments as human or bot submissions, the results were no better than would have been gotten by random guessing.
Detecting whether a comment is real or fake, at this point, seems very difficult. As such the solution suggested by the author is not to detect generated text, but rather to prevent bots from submitting comments in the first place, through CAPTCHAs or some other authentication scheme.
Advances & Business
BMW shares AI algorithms used in production, available on GitHub - The Bavarian manufacturer announced the publishing of its AI algorithms used in production to be used by anyone interested.
IBM’s “elite” data science squad has kickstarted AI for more than 100 companies - Last year, IBM announced a Data Science Elite team whose only job is to help big enterprise companies push their first AI models into production.
IBM Watson exec on AI virtual agent providers: “No big players, except for us” - One area of AI that’s red-hot is virtual agents - smart software that companies are building to chat with their customers through text, voice, or a web chat box. IBM says it has emerged as the only serious provider of this technology for the enterprise.
Intel buys AI chipmaker Habana for $2 billion - Intel this morning issued a statement noting that it has picked up Israeli AI chipmaker Habana Labs. The deal, valued at around $2 billion, is the latest piece of some hefty investments in artificial intelligence that include names like Nervana Systems and Movidius.
Voximplant raises $10 million to automate call campaigns with AI - Can the cloud-based unified communications market, which is anticipated to reach $167.1 billion by 2025, be materially transformed by AI? Alexey Aylarov, Andrey Kovalenko, and Sergey Poroshin firmly believe so.
Samuel L. Jackson Debuts as Alexa’s First Celebrity Voice - Samuel L. Jackson is officially available as a voice assistant replacement for Amazon Alexa as announced in September.
DeepMind and Google recreate former NFL linebacker Tim Shaw’s voice using AI - In August, Google AI researchers working with the ALS Therapy Development Institute shared details about Project Euphonia, a speech-to-text transcription service for people with speaking impairments.
This startup claims its deepfakes will protect your privacy - But some experts say that D-ID’s “smart video anonymization” technique breaks the law.
Concerns & Hype
Facebook Discovers Fakes That Show Evolution of Disinformation - Researchers said the profiles, linked to the Epoch Media Group, used photos generated by artificial intelligence in a preview of an eerie, tech-enabled future of disinformation.
How I created a deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg and Star Trek’s Data - Deepfake technology uses deep neural networks to convincingly replace one face with another in a video. The technology has obvious potential for abuse and is becoming ever more widely accessible.
AI Is Biased. Here’s How Scientists Are Trying to Fix It - Computers have learned to see the world more clearly in recent years, thanks to some impressive leaps in artificial intelligence. But you might be surprised and upset to know what these AI algorithms really think of you.
Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy - Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies - largely unregulated, little scrutinized - are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files.
New CCTV cameras could feature AI that can ‘read’ people’s emotions - Soho-based start-up Sensing Feeling says the system has the potential to predict people’s behaviour by scanning faces and body language to assess their mood.
A US government study confirms most face recognition systems are racist - Almost 200 face recognition algorithms - a majority in the industry - had worse performance on nonwhite faces, according to a landmark study. What they tested: The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tested every algorithm on two of the most common tasks for face recognition.
The Invention of “Ethical AI” - How Big Tech Manipulates Academia to Avoid Regulation
2019 in Review: 10 AI Failures - This is the third Synced year-end compilation of Artificial Intelligence Failures. Despite AI’s rapid growth and remarkable achievements, a review of AI failures remains necessary and meaningful.
This AI researcher is trying to ward off a reproducibility crisis - Joelle Pineau is leading an effort to encourage artificial-intelligence researchers to open up their code.
Analysis & Policy
It’s Hard to Ban Facial Recognition Tech in the iPhone Era - After San Francisco in May placed new controls, including a ban on facial recognition, on municipal surveillance, city employees began taking stock of what technology agencies already owned.
The US Needs A More Ambitious AI Strategy - Given a clear and legitimate vision for an AI-enabled society and for American society in general, resources can be mustered and organized to pursue it, and open discussion had about the details.
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Google’s AI Chief Wants to Do More With Less (Data) - Jeff Dean says the company is trying to build systems that have general smarts, rather than highly specialized intelligence.
Steering Journalism Toward Data Science - How can new guidelines for deeper reporting on AI systems help more journalists investigate our digital world?
A Robot That Explains Its Actions Is a First Step Towards AI We Can (Maybe) Trust - Does it matter how well a system performs if we have no idea what it’s doing or why?