Last Week in AI News #83
Welcome to Last Week in AI, our newsletter about each week's most important news related to Artificial Intelligence.
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Why kids need special protection from AI’s influence
Child are “often at the forefront when it comes to using and being used by AI.” For example, voice assistants are recording their voices, and recommender systems are influencing their worldviews. While these effects are also apparent for adults, children are especially at risk because they are still “developing intellectually and emotionally and physically,” which makes them very “shapeable” and vulnerable. To address this, UNICEF and the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence separately published new AI ethics guidelines specifically tailored toward protecting the interests and well-being of children. This is a step in the right direction, and both organizations are launching pilot programs to study the effectiveness of their guidelines in practice.
Face-mask recognition has arrived - for better or worse
To help governments and health authorities track and improve face-mask usage, many companies have now developed face-mask recognition software that can identify whether or not someone is wearing a mask from live surveillance footage. In theory, this incurs less privacy intrusions than face-recognition, because it is not able to identify who a person is, just whether or not they’re wearing a mask.
While proponents argue that widespread deployment of this technology would enable more effective health awareness campaigns, critics are concerned about the slippery slope it might bring. Using face-mask recognition on live CCTV sets “a dangerous precedent for what happens when the pandemic is over.” Experts also believe that “getting people to wear masks might not require a technological fix in the first place,” and it is essentially “introducing software—and igniting privacy debates—to address a problem while completely side-stepping the underlying issue.”
Advances & Business
GITAI Sending Autonomous Robot to Space Station - The robotics startup will be launching into space next year an advanced manipulator with integrated sensing and computing
Google claims its AI is becoming better at recognizing breaking news and misinformation - Google says it’s using AI and machine learning techniques to more quickly detect breaking news around crises like natural disasters.
Boston Dynamics CEO talks profitability and the company’s next robots - Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics is arguably the best-known robot company around, in part because its demonstration videos tend to go viral. Now it is attempting to transform from an R&D company to a robotics business, with an eye on profitability for the first time.
Sony’s new AI agent achieves superhuman Gran Turismo Sport scores - One of the best things about computers is that they can learn just as much from a simulation as they can from so-called “real world” experiences. That means, given the proper simulator, we can teach AI to drive cars without ever putting a single human in danger.
Volansi raises $50 million for high-speed autonomous delivery drones - Volansi, which provides vertical takeoff and landing drone delivery services for commercial and defense customers, today announced a $50 million round. The company plans to use the funds to accelerate its go-to-market efforts as it expands into new territories globally.
Nvidia’s $40 billion Arm acquisition is about bringing AI down from the cloud - Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of Arm is a hugely significant deal for the tech world, with implications that will take years to unravel spanning many areas of the sector, including AI.
Snowflake’s IPO is a bet on companies using AI for everything - Snowflake, the buzzy cloud computing company, just delivered the biggest software IPO ever by betting on a future in which all businesses increasingly rely on big data and AI to make decisions.
Concerns & Hype
Why Amazon tried to thwart Portland’s historic facial recognition ban - Amazon reportedly lobbied in secret to weaken Portland’s ban on private use of facial recognition technology
A sheriff launched an algorithm to predict who might commit a crime. Dozens of people said they were harassed by deputies for no reason. - According to a six-month investigation published this week by the Tampa Bay Times, the high-tech tool deployed by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office didn’t lead to a reduction in violent crime - instead, 21 families singled out by the algorithm said they were routinely harassed by deputies, even when there was no evidence of a specific crime.
Clearview AI Facial Recognition Suit Gets Vermont Green Light (1) - A challenge to Clearview AI Inc.’s use of facial recognition by Vermont’s attorney general can proceed, a state court has ruled.
When it comes to A.I., worry about ‘job churn’ instead of ‘job loss’ - Many people are concerned about artificial intelligence eliminating jobs, but they may be overlooking its likelier and more subtle impact: job churn.
Why Wasn’t Uber Charged in a Fatal Self-Driving Car Crash? - Authorities charged the vehicle’s “safety driver” with criminal negligence, but not the company that developed the technology.
Google’s Autocomplete Ban on Politics Has Some Glitches - The search giant tweaks its algorithm after WIRED finds it would suggest “Donate Biden,” but not “Donate Trump.”
Analysis & Policy
AI ethics groups are repeating one of society’s classic mistakes - Too many councils and advisory boards still consist mostly of people based in Europe or the United States.
How to edit writing by a robot: a step-by-step guide - Commissioning GPT-3 was a fun - and strange - lesson in artificial intelligence. Here’s how we did it
AI commission says DoD needs to embrace immigrants, bolster infrastructure to stay ahead - The Defense Department and government at large need to bolster their workforce around artificial intelligence and invest more heavily in the underlying infrastructure supporting it, according to commissioners of a congressionally-mandated panel.
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
Black in Robotics’ Ayanna Howard, Monroe Kennedy on diversity & inclusion - This week, we’re joined by Ayanna Howard and Monroe Kennedy III, academic co-leads of Black in Robotics, a new organization that, among other things, is advocating for more diversity and inclusion in the robotics community.
Response to Gary Marcus’ criticisims of GPT-3 - I was disappointed by Marcus’ critiques of GPT-2, but this is even worse!
Mario Klingemann: “Words behave like pixels and sentences like pictures” - Mario Klingemann is considered a pioneer in the field of neural networks, computer learning and artificial intelligence art. He spoke to Goethe-Institut about using AI creatively and the role of technology in a modern interpretation of Kulturtechnik.
Decisions from Data: How Offline Reinforcement Learning Will Change How We Use Machine Learning - A ride sharing company collects a dataset of pricing and discount decisions with corresponding changes in customer and driver behavior, in order to optimize a dynamic pricing strategy. An online vendor records orders and inventory levels to generate an inventory level management policy.
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IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon Halt Sales of Facial Recognition to Police, Call for Regulations
Bots, Lies, and DeepFakes — Online Misinformation and AI's Role in it
Retraining as a Response to Automation — Promising, but Only if Done Right
Humans Who Are Not Concentrating Are Not General Intelligences