Last Week in AI #178: Google Is Selling AI to Israel, facial recognition ban in New Orleans, AI for Lego Instructions, and more!
Documents Reveal Advanced AI Tools Google Is Selling to Israel, police can use facial recognition again after ban in New Orleans, AI can figure out confusing Lego instructions
Summary: According to documents obtained by The Intercept, Google is providing the Israeli government with machine-learning and AI tools available through Google Cloud Platform. Project Nimbus, as it is called, will include facial detection, categorization, object tracking, and sentiment analysis. More importantly, according to the terms of the contract of this Project Nimbus, these cloud servers will be housed within the country’s borders and subject solely to Israeli law, rather than remote data centers distributed around the world. Moreover, it prohibits Google from shutting off service to the government, or from selectively excluding certain government offices from using the new domestic cloud. The documents also referenced agency-specific training available to government personnel through the online learning service Coursera.
Our Take: There exist many concerns regarding the use of technologies like facial recognition, sentiment analysis, object tracking due to inaccurate predictions and because of huge bias that exists in the algorithms. It has been proven that use of such tools for law and enforcement purposes is not safe. Moreover, the terms of the contract mentioned in the Project Nimbus, especially about housing the domestic cloud with Google having no access to the servers, definitely raise multiple concerns. Given the state of affairs, there is a high chance that such tools will only increase their power of surveillance to violate Palestinians right to privacy even further, leading to more unrest in the country. We believe that such interference in complex geo-political matters is concerning and should be kept in check.
Summary: Less than two years after passing a ban on facial recognition systems, the New Orleans city council voted on Thursday, July 21, to allow the city's police department to employ facial recognition again. As a result of the vote, the New Orleans Police Department may request use of facial recognition technology to assist in identifying witnesses or suspects in investigating a variety of crimes. The ordinance has been met with resistance, but police and their supporters believe facial recognition technology is an important aid in solving crimes. According to Protocol, the NOPD had access to facial recognition through state and federal partners since denying its use, and that the department's mission to make the city safer has spurred a sprawling network of cameras.
Our Take: Looking at another facial recognition story, I think we have to consider the situational specifics instead of having the same high-level debate over and over again. The NOPD does indeed seem to dissemble regarding their use of facial recognition, and an increasingly dense camera network does raise valid concerns about the easy deployment of such an interconnected system for surveillance. While facial recognition might be justifiable in one-off situations, a surveillance network is much harder to defend.
A.I. Predicts the Shape of Nearly Every Protein Known to Science - “DeepMind has expanded its database of microscopic biological mechanisms, hoping to accelerate research into all living things.”
AI learns how to recognize the species of splatted mosquitoes - “Researchers have gathered 1500 images of mosquitoes – both squished and not – for training AI. Their goal is to build a smartphone app that can track the insect”
Could machine learning fuel a reproducibility crisis in science? - “From biomedicine to political sciences, researchers increasingly use machine learning as a tool to make predictions on the basis of patterns in their data.”
‘Artificial synapse’ could make neural networks work more like brains - “A resistor that works in a similar way to nerve cells in the body could be used to build neural networks for machine learning.”
MIT, Autodesk develop AI that can figure out confusing Lego instructions - “Stumped by a Lego set? A new machine learning framework can interpret those instructions for you. Interpreting 2D instructions isn’t easy for artificial intelligence.”
Artificial Intelligence Discovers Alternative Physics - “A new Columbia University AI program observed physical phenomena and uncovered relevant variables—a necessary precursor to any physics theory. But the variables it discovered were unexpected. Energy, Mass, Velocity. These three variables make up Einstein’s iconic equation E=MC2.”
Free AI tool restores old photos by creating slightly new loved ones - “You can find AI that creates new images, but what if you want to fix an old family photo? You might have a no-charge option.”
Using Machine Learning to Identify Promising Polymer Membranes - “Polymer membranes are commonly used in industry for the separation of gases like CO2 from flue gas and methane from natural gas.”
Kaiser Permanente researchers exploring how AI can improve care for heart disease patients - “Kaiser Permanente is exploring the use of artificial intelligence to cull through doctors’ medical reports and help identify patients with aortic stenosis, a common heart valve disease, and other chronic health conditions.”
Automatic recognition of jellyfish with artificial intelligence - “The jellyfish sighting app, MedusApp, recently incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically recognize different species of jellyfish.”
Andrew Hopkins of Exscientia: the man using AI to cure disease - “It was early one morning in 1996 when Andrew Hopkins, then a PhD biophysics student at Oxford University, had a brainwave as he walked home from a late-night lab meeting. He was trying to find molecules to fight HIV and to better understand drug resistance.”
Self-driving start-up Pony.ai plans to mass produce robotrucks in China - “Self-driving tech start-up Pony.ai announced Thursday it plans to mass produce autonomous driving trucks in China with equipment manufacturing giant Sany Heavy Industry. Annual production is set to reach about 10,000 trucks “within a few years,” according to a press release.”
How Parfait is using AI to upend the $13B custom wig industry - “The wig industry aimed at women of color has an estimated market in the neighborhood of $13 billion. Black women face unique issues when it comes to building these wigs, and the process traditionally has involved sitting with a stylist for eight hours or more.”
Cleerly raises $192M for AI-based software to spot atherosclerosis - “New York-based Cleerly has now raised $248 million in total, including its Series B round in 2021.”
AI, machine learning tech promises US$600 billion annually for China economy as it pervades industries, says McKinsey - “Wider use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in industrial processes, medical research, autonomous vehicles and many other applications will create economic value of US$600 billion a year for China, but additional investment is needed to unlock that windfall.”
Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Market To Reach USD 194.4 Billion By 2030 at a CAGR of 38.1% - Valuates Reports - “Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Market by Offering (Software, Hardware, & Services), Algorithm (Deep Learning, Querying Method, Natural Language Processing, and Context Aware Processing), Application (Robot-Assisted Surgery, Virtual Nursing Assistant, Admin”
The art of AI maturity - “Our survey of over 1,600 C-suite executives and data-science leaders from the world’s largest organizations found that nearly 75% of companies have already integrated AI into their business strategies and have reworked their cloud plans to achieve AI success.”
Man Sues City of Chicago, Claiming Its AI Wrongly Imprisoned Him - “Upon exoneration after nearly a year in jail, 65-year-old Chicago resident Michael Williams has filed a lawsuit against the city on grounds that a controversial AI program called ShotSpotter led to his essentially evidence-less arrest, The Associated Press reports.”
Tesla driver using Autopilot kills motorcyclist, prompting another NHTSA investigation - “A motorcyclist in Draper, Utah, was killed early Sunday morning when a Tesla driver using Autopilot slammed into the rear of his bike.”
Clearview AI Fails to Shake Consumer Face Scan Privacy Lawsuit - “Clearview AI Inc. lost its latest bid to dodge a consumer class action lawsuit claiming that its facial recognition technology violates a state privacy law in Illinois. A federal judge in the U.S.”
A day in the life of a Chinese robotaxi driver - “When Liu Yang started his current job, he found it hard to go back to driving his own car: ‘I instinctively went for the passenger seat.’”
A 75-Year-Old Harvard Grad Is Propelling China’s AI Ambitions - “At a time when the US and China are divided on everything from economics to human rights, artificial intelligence is still a point of particular friction.”
How the U.S. can remain competitive in global robotics industry - “Carnegie Mellon University held a robotics caucus virtual roundtable last week with leaders from the U.S. robotics industry. The roundtable discussed the future of the industry and how the U.S. can keep up with the pace of the global industry. The group of U.S.”
Senate appropriations bill would double-down on tactical AI for combatant commands - “The chairman’s mark of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense bill for fiscal 2023 calls for additional funding to boost the “tactical artificial intelligence” capabilities of U.S. military combatant commands, and hints at additional funding for these initiatives in future years.”
U.S. Army Research Lab Expands Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Contract with Palantir for $99.9M - “Palantir Technologies Inc. (NYSE: PLTR) today announced that it will expand its work with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to implement data and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) capabilities for users across the combatant commands (COCOMs).”
Killer robots’: Will they be banned? - “These aren’t the drones that deliver your online order. Loaded with cameras, sensors, and explosives, their mission is to drive themselves to a target with an algorithm in the driver’s seat. They destroy themselves along with the target, leaving behind just a pile of electronic detritus.”
AI program predicts what ‘last’ selfies on Earth will look like - “The future looks bleak. Horrifying images of what the “last” selfies taken on Earth may look like have been depicted by DALL-E 2, an artificially intelligent image generator.”
In Experiment, AI Successfully Impersonates Famous Philosopher - “He could answer, “I think that some of the robots we’ve built already do.”