Last Week in AI #98
AI to create images from text, how to build AI for good, and more!
OpenAI showcased a new AI system, DALL'E, that is able to generate images from image captions. The system is a smaller version of GPT-3 but trained on image caption data - the input is a paragraph describing the image, and the output are a low-res version of the target image that is then upsampled with another neural network. What's novel about this system is its ability to generate images of combinations of concepts that were not seen in the training data. For example, a drawing prompt of "an avocado chair" generates chairs plausibly shaped like avocados, with the pit as a seat cushion. Similar creative generations can be seen with wilder prompts like "a baby daikon radish in a tutu walking a dog" and "a snail made of harp." While experts caution to take these results with a grain of salt, since details of the system have not been released via a research paper, the results are impressive nonetheless and point to exciting progress in the world of AI generative models.
In an interview, Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, proposes and elaborates on what he thinks ought to be the new "laws" for autonomous robots and AI. While many sci-fi enthusiasts may be familiar with Isaac Asimov's three laws of robots, these laws assume that "the development of robots that are indistinguishable from persons" and "try to make sure those robots can’t hurt anyone or hurt them too badly." However, it is clear now that autonomous robots that are being deployed now and in the near future are quite different from humans, so they require a different treatment.
Professor Pasquale's four laws are:
First, robotic systems and AI should complement professionals, not replace them. Second, they should not counterfeit humanity. Third, they should not intensify zero-sum arms races. And fourth, they must always indicate the identity of their creators, controllers, and owners.
Advances & Business
Tye Sheridan Launches AI-Based Production Tools Startup, With Some Big-Name Advisors (EXCLUSIVE) - "Actor Tye Sheridan is wearing a different hat with his new media-tech startup - which he claims will let indie filmmakers deliver blockbuster-level VFX on a fraction of the budget. "
Chatbots and the loneliness epidemic: When AI is more than just a friend - "Sex dolls and chatbots, once seen as novelties, have grown to meet our emotional baggage. Every lonely kid who reached puberty alongside the rise of instant messaging shares a mutual friend."
Graphcore raises $222 million to scale up AI chip production - "Graphcore, a Bristol, U.K.-based startup developing chips and systems to accelerate AI workloads, today announced it has raised $222 million in a series E funding round led by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board. The investment, which values the company at $2."
AMP Robotics raises $55 million for AI that picks and sorts recyclables - "AMP Robotics, a Denver, Colorado-based startup creating robotic systems that sort recyclable material, this morning announced that it has closed a $55 million series B funding round led by by XN."
Robots Made of Ice Could Build and Repair Themselves on Other Planets - "Ice is all over the solar system, and exploration robots could use it as a structural material"
Research highlights from an unprecedented year at NeurIPS, the world's most-watched AI conference - "The breakthroughs and lessons from NeurIPS 2020 have the potential to move the AI field towards a more beneficial future. "
AI algorithms detect diabetic eye disease inconsistently - "A new study looks at the effectiveness of seven artificial intelligence-based screening algorithms to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease leading to vision loss."
Video Friday: These Robots Are Ready for 2021 - "Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos"
Researchers design AI that can infer whole floor plans from short video clips - "Researchers at Facebook, the University of Texas at Austin, and Carnegie Mellon University are exploring an AI technique that leverages visuals and audio to reconstruct a floor plan from a short video clip."
Concerns & Hype
Unregulated facial recognition must stop before more Black men are wrongfully arrested - "HOW MANY more Black men will be wrongfully arrested before this country puts a stop to the unregulated use of facial recognition software? So far, the count is three, and that�s only those we know of."
Analysis & Policy
Summary of AI Provisions from the National Defense Authorization Act 2021 - "On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Congress passed the WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2021(FY21 NDAA)."
2020 in review: AI and quantum see more White House attention - "The Trump administration prioritized doubling federal spending on artificial intelligence and quantum information science (QIS) research and development in 2020, while also issuing a series of policies aimed at outcompeting China."
U.S. law sets stage for boost to artificial intelligence research - "Researchers hope to use cloud computing and artificial intelligence to improve public transit."
Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field
What Buddhism can do for AI ethics - "Buddhism teaches us to focus our energy on eliminating suffering in the world. The explosive growth of artificial intelligence has fostered hope that it will help us solve many of the world's most intractable problems."
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