Africa


African AI pioneer and Cortex Logic CEO awarded AI leader of the year - Screen Africa

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South African-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) software & solutions veteran and founder of Cortex Logic – Dr. Jacques Ludik – has been awarded a premium accolade at Africa's Tech Week event, underlying a life dedicated to AI and Data Science Innovation. Ludik, an Africa-based smart technology entrepreneur and AI investor/ AI ecosystem builder, holds a PhD in Computer Science and has amassed 25 years' experience in the study and exploitation of AI & Data Science in real world applications. Ludik was formally a founder of Bennit AI, Mosaic, SynerG and CSense Systems, the latter being Africa's first AI company sold to General Electric in 2011. Over the course of his career Ludik has published a wide range of papers on AI, Advanced Analytics, Machine Learning and Data Science and is a big supporter of AI for social good. He is currently founder & CEO of Cortex Logic as well as founder & president of the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa (MIIA).


'Grasshopper' cargo drone leaps 6.5ft into the air when taking off and can travel 62 miles at 112mph

Daily Mail

A drone has been likened to a grasshopper because of its unique ability to leap into the air using its specially designed legs. The cargo-carrying automated vehicle is equipped with legs that let it jump 6.5 feet (two metres) into the air, taking off almost vertically. The craft, dubbed the Sparrow, costs £30,000 ($40,000) and can fly up to 62 miles (100km) at a speed of 112 mph (180kph). Delivery firms are pioneering a host of new technologies to tackle the last mile of deliveries. It is hoped the vehicles can cut the inefficiencies, and hence costs, of the final stage of delivery, in which packages are taken from a central hub to your door.


Canada grounds Boeing 737 Max 8s after Ethiopia crash, says tracking data similar to doomed Lion Air jet

The Japan Times

HEJERE, ETHIOPIA - Canada joined much of the world in barring the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet from its airspace on Wednesday, saying satellite tracking data show possible but unproven similarities between the Ethiopian Airliner crash that killed 157 people and a previous crash involving the model five months ago. The decision left the U.S. as one of the few remaining countries to allow the planes to keep flying. Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said a comparison of vertical fluctuations found a "similar profile" to the Lion Air crash that killed 187 people in October. Garneau emphasized that the data are not conclusive but crossed a threshold that prompted Canada to bar the Max 8. He said the new information indicated the Ethiopian Airliner jet's automatic system kicked in to force the nose of the aircraft down after computer software determined it was too high.


Is Nigeria's Compliance Industry Ready for Challenges of Regulatory Technology? - THISDAYLIVE

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Today's customers demand more options, more creative solutions, greater flexibility and faster responses from banks and other financial institutions. Survival and success for financial institutions in this new world requires that they operate with intelligence, agility and speed to keep up with evolving customer preferences and technologies. Consequently, more and more customer interactions and financial transactions are going digital as online and mobile payments, customer on-boarding and account opening are on the rise. Yet, while digital interfaces present an opening for innovative business services, they also yield new challenges, such as pressure on back office operations or increased regulatory scrutiny. Largely automated interactions generate more data to analyse, demand higher volumes of sample testing, and expand the compliance burden.


Trump's Secret Wars

Slate

President Trump's executive order this week removing a requirement that the government disclose estimates of civilians killed by U.S. airstrikes outside of war zones won't change very much--in practice. But that doesn't mean it's nothing to worry about. Trump's order rescinds a requirement created in one issued by Barack Obama in 2016 that the director of national intelligence to disclose civilian casualty estimates from all strikes by U.S. government agencies. The White House says the requirement was superfluous since the Pentagon has its own congressionally mandated reporting requirements. But as Luke Hartig, who helped draft Obama's order, explains for Just Security, that law doesn't cover strikes carried out by the CIA.


Combining artificial intelligence with their passions

MIT News

Computational thinking will be the mark of an MIT education when the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing opens this fall, and glimpses of what's to come were on display during the final reception of a three-day celebration of the college Feb. 26-28. In a tent filled with electronic screens, students and postdocs took turns explaining how they had created something new by combining computing with topics they felt passionate about, including predicting panic selling on Wall Street, analyzing the filler ingredients in common drugs, and developing more energy-efficient software and hardware. The poster session featured undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs from each of MIT's five schools. Eight projects are highlighted here. Autism is thought to have a strong genetic basis, but few of the genetic mutations responsible have been found.


Stay Ahead of Poachers: Illegal Wildlife Poaching Prediction and Patrol Planning Under Uncertainty with Field Test Evaluations

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Illegal wildlife poaching threatens ecosystems and drives endangered species toward extinction. However, efforts for wildlife monitoring and protection in conservation areas are constrained by the limited resources of law enforcement agencies. To aid in wildlife protection, PAWS is an ML pipeline that has been developed as an end-to-end, data-driven approach to combat illegal poaching. PAWS assists park managers by identifying areas at high risk of poaching throughout protected areas based on real-world data and generating optimal patrol routes for deployment in the field. In this paper, we address significant challenges including extreme class imbalance (up to 1:200), bias, and uncertainty in wildlife poaching data to enhance PAWS and apply its methodology to several national parks with diverse characteristics. (i) We use Gaussian processes to quantify predictive uncertainty, which we exploit to increase the robustness of our prescribed patrols. We evaluate our approach on real-world historic poaching data from Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in Uganda and, for the first time, Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. (ii) We present the results of large-scale field tests conducted in Murchison Falls and Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary which confirm that the predictive power of PAWS extends promisingly to multiple parks. This paper is part of an effort to expand PAWS to 600 parks around the world through integration with SMART conservation software.


Andreessen and Gates invest in an AI startup that's looking for ethical cobalt

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There's a good chance your smartphone contains tainted cobalt. The metal is a crucial ingredient in most of the lithium-ion batteries that power our devices, and 70% of it is mined in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where children are often deployed to work in toxic environments. Though global brands like Apple and Samsung are keen to clean up their supply chain, DRC's dominance of the cobalt market makes the task difficult. These brands are also pressured by growing demand for cobalt, which Citigroup estimates will outstrip supply by 2023. That's because lithium-ion batteries also power electric cars, and every car battery needs as much as 1,000 times the amount of cobalt of a smartphone battery.


The biggest A.I. risks: Superintelligence and the elite silos

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BEN GOERTZEL: We can have no guarantee that a super intelligent AI is going to do what we want. Once we're creating something ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million times more intelligent than we are it would be insane to think that we could really like rigorously control what it does. It may discover aspects of the universe that we don't even imagine at this point. However, my best intuition and educated guess is that much like raising a human child, if we raise the young AGI in a way that's imbued with compassion, love and understanding and if we raise the young AGI to fully understand human values and human culture then we're maximizing the odds that as this AGI gets beyond our rigorous control at least it's own self-modification and evolution is imbued with human values and culture and with compassion and connection. So I would rather have an AGI that understood human values and culture become super intelligent than one that doesn't understand even what we're about.


'Robot shark' snaps up plastic waste before the tide takes it out to sea

Daily Mail

An autonomous'robot shark' has been deployed at a Devon harbour to devour plastic waste before the tide takes it out to sea. The'Wasteshark' was designed to tackle the scourge in ocean pollution and protect the marine area's local wildlife and ecosystem. The high-tech aquadrone was released in lfracombe Harbour, the first in the UK following successful launches in five countries, including South Africa and UAE. An autonomous robot'shark' has been deployed at a Devon harbour to eat up plastic waste before the tide takes it out to sea. The'Wasteshark' was designed to tackle the scourge in ocean pollution to protect the marine area's local wildlife and ecosystems Wasteshark can'swallow' up to 60kg of debris in one trip and if running five days a week could clear 15 tons of waste from waterways every year, according to experts.