Starsky Robotics, a self-driving truck company, announced it is shutting down this year. In a medium post the CEO explains in-depth about the challenges that led to the decision and specifically:
The biggest [problem], however, is that supervised machine learning doesn’t live up to the hype.
The reason is the amount of data needed to marginally improve model performance scales exponentially. This leads to dramatic diminishing returns in AI development, and it makes tackling enough edge cases to guarantee safety a prohibtively expensive endeavor.
Another challenge Starsky faced was how most VCs are far more interested in flashy features that don’t work well in real scenarios than important but almost invisible improvements in safety. While the CEO concludes that he’d “love to be wrong,”
The current companies […] will continue to drain momentum over the next two years, followed by a few years with nearly no investment in the space, and (hopefully) another unmanned highway test for 5 years.
Researchers developed an AI model that predicts how likely a Covid-19 patient is to survive based on 3 biomarkers in blood samples. This model is used to help doctors make triage decisions, alerting them about high-risk individuals who should be treated earlier before they exhibit significant symptoms.
As with any data-driven technology being used in making life-death decisions, there are serious concerns. For example, biases in the data could lead to some patients being treated less, reducing their survival rate, which in turn reinforces the model’s belief that these patients have low survival rates:
This is a tool that can also be used to deprive patients of advanced age or with underlying conditions of the right to be treated because a computer has decided they have almost zero chance of survival
Advances & Business
You - yes, you - can help AI predict the spread of coronavirus - Even if you know nothing about artificial intelligence, you can volunteer to forecast the future of Covid-19.
Microsoft can filter out the sound of you eating potato chips on a conference call - The software giant’s trained artificial intelligence software to identify background noise that isn’t your voice. Snackers, rejoice.
Coronavirus is prompting companies to adopt AI call center solutions - As the continued spread of COVID-19 disrupts workplaces and travel plans around the globe, customer service centers are experiencing an unprecedented uptick in overall call volume.
COVID-19 accelerates beauty’s demand for AI and AR technology - When beauty companies began investing heavily in AI and AR try-on tools two years ago, they may not have anticipated that these technologies would become one of the only ways their customers could test products. But that is where they are at today, due to the mass shutdown of retail.
Infrared AI cameras at polling places could spot voters with a fever to detect potential coronavirus carriers - Security company is using thermal imaging and AI to identify people with a temperature of 100 degrees. A security company has shifted its detection strategy from spotting guns to identifying people with a temperature.
Five Companies Using AI to Fight Coronavirus - Deep learning models predict old and new drugs that might successfully treat COVID-19
Hospital droid Diligent Robotics raises $10M to assist nurses - 28% of a nurse’s time is wasted on low-skilled tasks like fetching medical tools. We need them focused on the complex and compassionate work of treating patients, especially amid the coronavirus outbreak.
RoboPony: Chinese Robot Maker Sees Demand Surge Amid Virus - While other industries struggle, Liu Zhiyong says China’s virus outbreak is boosting demand for his knee-high, bright yellow robots to deliver groceries and patrol malls looking for shoppers who fail to wear masks.
In a time of coronavirus, China’s investment in AI is paying off in a big way - AI is being used to fight the virus on all fronts, from screening and diagnosis to containment and drug development.
Stanford virtual conference to focus on COVID‑19 and artificial intelligence - The impact of COVID-19 on society and the way artificial intelligence can be leveraged to increase understanding of the virus and its spread will be the focus of an April 1 virtual conference sponsored by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).
Concerns & Hype
Coronavirus: Social giants police web with AI as staff sent home - Major websites are turning to automatic systems to moderate content as they tell their staff to work from home. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are all relying on artificial intelligence and automated tools to find problematic material on their platforms.
At last, our AI savior is here to nail the COVID-19 pandemic: A neural network that can detect coughing - The AI community is attempting to tackle the coronavirus pandemic using all sorts of algorithms in its toolbox. As such, it’s coming up with ways to predict the virus’ protein structure, crunch through thousands of science papers, and now, er, detecting coughs.
Hong Kong’s new surveillance plan tracks those in coronavirus quarantine - The city is relying on new devices to monitor those under mandatory two-week quarantine.
Analysis & Policy
With launch of COVID-19 data hub, the White House issues a ‘call to action’ for AI researchers - In a briefing on Monday, research leaders across tech, academia, and the government joined the White House to announce an open dataset full of scientific literature on the novel coronavirus.
Global Officials Call for Free Access to Covid-19 Research - Government science advisers from the US and 11 other countries Friday called on scientific publishers to make all research related to the coronavirus and Covid-19 more freely available.
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Why we like a good robot story - Stories about such machines are therefore always really stories about ourselves: parodying, probing, or problematizing our notions of what it means to be human.
What Is a Robot? Rodney Brooks Offers an Answer - in Sonnet Form - We asked famed roboticist Rodney Brooks to explain his definition of robot. He sent us a sonnet
Coronavirus Pandemic: A Call to Action for the Robotics Community - World-renowned medical robotics expert Guang-Zhong Yang explains what we can learn from this crisis to prepare for the next one
Yann LeCun comments on China’s use of AI in fighting Covid-19 - How China is using AI to fight the COVID19 pandemic: faster genome sequencing, faster diagnosis, CT scan analysis, remotely operated or autonomous ground…
Another ‘Samuelson, 1948’ moment? Evidence from machine learning - Machine learning discovers that major challenges of climate change, inequality, and the future of work and of property rights in the knowledge-based economy are strikingly absent from today’s leading economic textbooks.