Last Week in AI News #68
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Over the past week, we’ve seen America erupt into protest over the horrid deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among many, many others. City after city has seen tension and unrest over police brutality and a toxic contempt for black lives. Instead of offering any sort of recompense or sense of togetherness, the administration has responded with militarization and more violence against protestors.
Even worse, as those familiar with recent news about surveillance technology might be aware, companies such as Clearview AI are providing law enforcement with additional tools that may aid them in the persecution of protestors. In particular, the Minneapolis Police Department has used a number of technologies, including Clearview AI, in the past. In addition to the multiple tools the Minneapolis Police Department has paid for and entered into contracts for, a Predator drone was flown over the city on Friday, indicating that Minneapolis may be subject to surveillance at the federal level. While protestors raising legitimate concerns should not be subject to any sort of surveillance at all, it unfortunately seems that there remains a risk of its use and the possibility that protestors will face the risk of arrest after demonstrations end.
Heard enough about police departments and governments using AI surveillance tools on their citizens? Here’s something different: a number of new firms are creating tools to allow companies to keep tabs on their employees. Enaible is developing machine learning software to measure how quickly employees complete their work and suggest ways to finish tasks faster. The tool “gives each person a productivity score, which managers can use to identify those employees who are most worth retaining–and those who are not.” In a world where firms seek to wring every last drip of productivity out of their employees, it is no surprise that there is a market for tools like Enaible’s. Besides the ever-present issue of AI bias, many are worried about the kind of surveillance enabled by such tools and the lack of trust they may engender.
Advances & Business
Microsoft lays off journalists to replace them with AI - Microsoft is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations. The layoffs are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick news and content that’s presented on MSN.
Sayyy whatttt?: Researchers analyze strange human tweets to build better AI - Twitter is a weird place with a language all its own. A new study focuses on using the tweets, chock-full of misspellings and slang, to improve artificial intelligence. Human language includes so many intricacies.
Self-driving vehicle startup Argo AI completes $2.6B deal with Volkswagen, expands to Europe - Volkswagen Group finalized Tuesday its $2.6 billion investment into Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based self-driving car startup that came out of stealth in 2017 with $1 billion in backing from Ford.
Concerns & Hype
Academics call on nations to work together on A.I. and ensure it benefits all of humanity - In the near term, there’s a genuine risk that AI could be used in warfare to power autonomous weapons, and in the long term, some have speculated that “superintelligent” machines could decide humans are no longer necessary and wipe them out altogether.
Tesla Model 3 Drives Straight Into Overturned Truck In What Seems To Be Autopilot Failure - Earlier today, on Taiwan’s National Highway 1 near the Zhongshan High Chiayi Water Section, a Tesla Model 3 crashed right smack into the roof of an overturned truck trailer.
AI systems are worse at diagnosing disease when training data is skewed by sex - The artificial intelligence model showed great promise in predicting which patients treated in U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals would experience a sudden decline in kidney function.
Why the buzz around DeepMind is dissipating as it transitions from games to science - In 2016, DeepMind, an Alphabet-owned AI unit headquartered in London, was riding a wave of publicity thanks to AlphaGo, its computer program that took on the best player in the world at the ancient Asian board game Go and won.
The ACLU Is Suing Clearview AI To Stop “Privacy-Destroying Face Surveillance” - The civil liberties organization is suing the facial recognition company for allegedly violating the privacy of Illinois residents.
Researchers Call for New Federal Authority to Regulate Facial Recognition Tech - A group of artificial intelligence experts including computer vision researcher and lead author Erik Learned-Miller of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Information and Computer Sciences recently proposed a new model for managing facial recognition technologies at the federal level.
Idemia Will Operate Facial Recognition for Nearly 800 Million People - Idemia, a French company specializing in facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition, just scored a new contract with the European Union that will include processing images attached to more than 400 million people’s identities.
Analysis & Policy
US joins G7 artificial intelligence group to counter China - The U.S. has joined an international panel for setting ethical guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence.