With the Covid-19 outbreak causing mass panic around the globe, it’s natural that the public would love to see it meet its match in frequently hyped up AI technology. Companies like BlueDot and HeathMap were alerted that something was amiss when their anomaly detection algorithms detected the unusual spike in pneumonia cases at Wuhan in late 2019. In theory, AI systems would find itself most useful for warnings, early diagnoses, and cures, and there has been published research in these areas. However, we currently don’t have enough data and information to train AI algorithms to diagnose, simulate, and understand viruses such as Covid-19. If we wish to make AI a strong ally against the next pandemic, we’ll need to feed it a healthy diet of data in the years to come.
[… But, AI is helping… ]
While AI may not be the magical cure-all for Covid-19, it is helping in some ways in forecasting, treatment, and prevention. The US’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention holds an annual competition in which research teams vie with different methods to see who can most accurately forecast the flu. A high-performing team from CMU is working with the CDC to adapt their techniques to make predictions about Covid-19. On the treatment side, various biotech companies are attempting to use AI to speed up drug discovery. Finally, for prevention, driverless delivery vehicle startup Neolix’s small autonomous delivery vehicles have proven extremely useful during the coronavirus outbreak: they’re capable of delivering medical supplies, doing food runs for overworked health workers, and even spraying disinfectant on city streets.
Advances & Business
Amazon is now selling its cashierless store technology to other retailers - Amazon on Monday announced it will now offer its cashierless store technology called “Just Walk Out,” to other retailers.
AI Research Enables Astronomy Breakthrough - The exoplanet K2-18b recently made headlines as the first exoplanet within the habitable zone of its star to contain water vapours in its atmosphere–this major discover was due, in part, to powerful machine learning algorithms trained on data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope.
These Industrial Robots Get More Adept With Every Task - Vicarious, a secretive 10-year-old startup backed by Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, reveals its progress and an initial customer.
How autonomous freight trains powered by artificial intelligence could come to a railroad near you - Last summer, a 30-car freight train led by three diesel locomotives rumbled down the tracks for 48 miles through the Colorado desert–with nobody at the controls. But this was no runaway train. In fact, the experiment could be a preview of the rail industry’s future.
Why AI will make your video games better - Artificial intelligence can trounce humans in chess and poker. But if we can swallow our pride, a new era is dawning. According to one gaming visionary, rather than looking back at the games AI has beaten us at, we should be looking forward to the games AI can help us create.
How AI could help translate the written language of ancient civilizations - DeepScribe, a collaboration between researchers from UChicago’s Oriental Institute and Department of Computer Science, will build a model that can “read” as-yet-unanalyzed tablets in the Persepolis Fortification Archive, and potentially a tool that archaeologists can adapt to other studies of ancient writing.
Concerns & Hype
Artificial intelligence: friend or foe to Philippine call centre workers? - A decade after becoming the world’s call-centre capital, with the most agents employed, the Philippines may risk losing this title if it does not adapt to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies fast.
With painted faces, artists fight facial recognition tech - The Dazzle Club is a group of artists set up last year in Britain to provoke discussion about the growing using of facial recognition technology. Opposition to algorithmic surveillance inside and outside Britain has led to similar movements defying AI’s gaze with camoflauge-like techniques.
If AI’s So Smart, Why Can’t It Grasp Cause and Effect? - Here’s a troubling fact. A self-driving car hurtling along the highway and weaving through traffic has less understanding of what might cause an accident than a child who’s just learning to walk. A new experiment shows how difficult it is for even the best artificial intelligence systems to grasp rudimentary physics and cause and effect.
Secret Users Of Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition Dragnet Included A Former Trump Staffer, A Troll, And Conservative Think Tanks - CEO Hoan Ton-That said his facial recognition app is strictly for law enforcement. But he’s shared it with political connections, potential investors, and entities designated as “Friend.”
This Is the Ad Clearview AI Used to Sell Your Face to Police - Emails obtained by OneZero reveal the controversial company’s marketing to law enforcement.
We can’t address bias in AI without considering power - Sometimes it takes something unexpected to shift people’s perspectives. That’s what a group of MIT and Harvard Law School researchers were aiming for when they set out to reframe fairness in AI by studying its use on the powerful rather than the powerless.