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U.S. Approves Sale of Scrutinized Chinese App

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

U.S. national security officials have approved an investor group's purchase of gay-dating app Grindr that is being sold by a Chinese company after the Trump administration raised concerns about the potential theft of Americans' personal data. In investor documents released Friday, China's Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. said that the buyer has secured approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel of national security experts who ordered that Beijing Kunlun Tech sell its ownership last year.


Softbank closes $500 million funding round for Didi's autonomous driving unit

ZDNet

China's Didi Chuxing has banked $500 million in investment dollars for its autonomous driving subsidiary following the closure of its first funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. The investment is expected to help the Chinese ride-hailing service develop and eventually deploy its first fleet of autonomous vehicles in specific areas in China and abroad. "Didi aims to launch autonomous fleet operations in select locations as China seeks to build a comprehensive digital infrastructure network based on 5G, AI, and IoT technologies," the company said. "Didi also plans to further deepen cooperation with global upstream and downstream auto industry partners towards mass production of autonomous driving vehicles, with the aim of advancing the transformation of the global automotive and transportation industries." The company has been working on developing and testing autonomous vehicle technology since 2016, and in August last year spun out its autonomous driving unit into an independent company. Didi has also been operating automated test vehicles in Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou in China, as well as the state of California in the US.


China forms new plan to seize world technology crown from U.S.

The Japan Times

Beijing is accelerating its bid for global leadership in key technologies, planning to pump more than a trillion dollars into the economy through the rollout of everything from wireless networks to artificial intelligence (AI). In the master plan backed by President Xi Jinping himself, China will invest an estimated $1.4 trillion over six years to 2025, calling on urban governments and private tech giants like Huawei Technologies Co. to deploy fifth generation wireless networks, install cameras and sensors and develop AI software that will underpin technologies from autonomous driving to automated factories and mass surveillance. The new infrastructure initiative is expected to drive mainly local giants, from Alibaba and Huawei to SenseTime Group Ltd., at the expense of U.S. companies. As tech-nationalism mounts, the investment drive will reduce China's dependence on foreign technology -- echoing objectives set forth previously in the Made in China 2025 program. Such initiatives have already drawn fierce criticism from the Trump administration, resulting in moves to block the rise of Chinese technology companies such as Huawei.


ByteDance Launches New App for AI English Learning Aimed at Beginners

#artificialintelligence

ByteDdance's subsidiary Beijing Diandiankankan Technology announced yesterday to release a new AI English learning App named KaiYanJianDanXue(开言简单学, literally translated as Open Language Easy Learning), which is regarded as the beginner-friendly version of Open Language. According to the introduction of the product in the App Store, the functions of this new product mainly include providing scenario learning videos and online courses from North American teachers, improving pronunciation via AI technology, and offering learners individualized learning and reviewing plans. Zhang Yiming, the founder and CEO of ByteDance, regards that the combination with technology will be an inevitable trend in future education sector. From 2017 onwards, ByteDance started to launch educational products in succession such as Learning app Haohao Xuexi (means study well), online English learning platforms GoGoKid and aiKID, English learning app Tangyuan English, and AI English learning product for children from 2 to 8-year-old named GuaGuaLong.


Chips are down for artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

The age of artificial intelligence (AI) was widely proclaimed in 2017 when Google's AlphaGo program comprehensively defeated Ke Jie, world champion player of Go, the complex Chinese board game. Since then the excitement has ebbed as Washington and Beijing fought a trade war, and China's start-up funding dipped in part because the original AI hype lost its shine. This raises the question of whether AI -- defined as algorithms that mimic human intelligence -- can deliver on its potential, and when. The answer is crucial because AI could become the ultimate industry disrupter, threatening tens of millions of jobs in Asia as business processes are automated. In addition, AI is the subject of intense rivalry between the US and China.


MBZUAI announces academic year to start in January 2021 - Biz Today

#artificialintelligence

ABU DHABI: Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world's first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university, has announced that the start of its first academic year has been rescheduled for January 2021. The decision was made in light of safety measures taken on campus due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, during the Board of Trustees meeting that took place over video conference earlier today. Chaired by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, UAE Minister of State, the meeting was attended by MBZUAI Interim President, Professor Sir Michael Brady, professor of Oncological Imaging at the University of Oxford, UK; Professor Anil K. Jain, a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, USA; Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a technology executive and venture capitalist based in Beijing, China; Professor Daniela Rus, Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), USA, and Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42. During the meeting, the Board of Trustees also discussed the status of the nearly completed Masdar City campus and facilities, student onboarding and engagement plan, faculty and leadership appointments, and potential industry partnerships. Regarding the decision to postpone the first intake of students, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: "The University is eager and ready to welcome our first cohort of students from around the world, however, given the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, the decision to start the academic year in 2021 been made in the best interest of the prospective students, faculty, and staff, whose health and wellbeing is our top priority. We want our students to be able to focus on their studies and research, and take full advantage of the world-class education that they will receive at the MBZUAI campus."


Robots and cameras: China's sci-fi quarantine watch

The Japan Times

Beijing – Robots delivering meals, ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors: China's methods to enforce coronavirus quarantines have looked like a sci-fi dystopia for legions of people. Authorities have taken drastic steps to ensure that people do not break isolation rules after China largely tamed the virus that had paralyzed the country for months. With cases imported from abroad threatening to unravel China's progress, travelers arriving from overseas have been required to stay home or in designated hotels for 14 days. Beijing loosened the rule in the capital this week -- except for those arriving from abroad and Hubei, the province where the virus first surfaced late last year. At one quarantine hotel in central Beijing, a guard sits at a desk on each floor to monitor all movements.


Doctor's New Stethoscope Name is AI!

#artificialintelligence

"As a doctor, it is my duty to evaluate the situation with as much data as I can gather and as much expertise as I have and as much experience as I have to determine whether or not the wish of the patient is medically justified" This quote would be so great and remarquable today in the time of big data and digital health revolution if it would not have be written by Dr Jack Kevorkian, better known as "Dr. But in my opinion he was more than right regarding the data he would be able to gather alongside his expertise and experience but it should have be used to cure and save lives, not to do euthanasia. Today too many people and quite often doctors themselves are feeding a competition or even a fight between Big Data and especially Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare Practitioners. What should end up into a major and seamless collaboration between today's fast moving health technologies including AI in particular and doctors, is unfortunately starting with such unnecessary egocentric time consuming and time wasting discussions and fights. In Beijing on 30th of June 2018, an artificial intelligence (AI) system scored 2:0 against elite human physicians in two rounds of competitions in diagnosing brain tumors and predicting hematoma expansion in Beijing. The BioMind AI system, developed by the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre for Neurological Disorders at the Beijing Tiantan Hospital and a research team from the Capital Medical University, made correct diagnoses in 87 percent of 225 cases in about 15 minutes, while a team of 15 senior doctors only achieved 66-percent accuracy in 30 minutes. The AI also gave correct predictions in 83 percent of brain hematoma expansion cases in 3 minutes, outperforming the 63-percent accuracy in 20 minutes among a group of physicians from renowned hospitals across the country. The outcomes for human physicians were quite normal and even better than the average accuracy in ordinary hospitals, said Gao Peiyi, head of the radiology department at Tiantan Hospital, a leading institution on neurology and neurosurgery. To train the AI, developers fed it with tens of thousands of images of nervous system-related diseases that the Tiantan Hospital has archived over the past 10 years, making it capable of diagnosing common neurological diseases such as meningioma and glioma with an accuracy rate of over 90 percent, comparable to that of a senior doctor. All the cases were real and contributed by the hospital, but never used as training material for the AI, according to the organizer. Wang Yongjun, executive vice president of the Tiantan Hospital, said that he personally did not care very much about who won, because the contest was never intended to pit humans against technology but to help doctors learn and improve through interactions with technology. "I hope through this competition, doctors can experience the power of artificial intelligence.


Much-maligned robots may become heroes in war on coronavirus

The Japan Times

San Francisco – Long maligned as job-stealers and aspiring overlords, robots are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the deadly coronavirus. One team of robots temporarily cared for patients in a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 outbreak began. Meals were served, temperatures taken and communications handled by machines, one of them named "Cloud Ginger" by its maker CloudMinds, which has operations in Beijing and California. "It provided useful information, conversational engagement, entertainment with dancing, and even led patients through stretching exercises," CloudMinds president Karl Zhao said of the humanoid robot. "The smart field hospital was completely run by robots."


The Virus Gives AI a Chance to Prove It Can Be a Force for Good

#artificialintelligence

In China, doctors use artificial intelligence tools provided by Huawei Technologies Co. to detect signs of Covid-19 in CT scans. Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc. devised an algorithm that can analyze the biological structure of the new coronavirus and made it available to scientists working on a vaccine. AI is also behind biometric identification systems being rolled out by governments to track the virus and enforce lockdown efforts, including temperature screening systems deployed throughout Beijing and CCTV cameras hooked up to facial-recognition software in Moscow. "AI is being used to fight the virus on all fronts, from screening and diagnosis to containment and drug development," says Andy Chun, an adjunct professor at City University of Hong Kong and AI adviser at the Hong Kong Computer Science Society, a nonprofit industry group. The pandemic is opening up a massive opportunity for the tech industry, while it shines a light on calls for more scrutiny of AI innovations being developed faster than regulators are able to devise rules to protect citizens' rights.