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Walmart Joins A Multibillion-Dollar Investment In Self-Driving Cars

International Business Times

Declaring "it's no longer a question of if...but when" autonomous vehicles are used in retail, President and CEO of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) U.S. John Furner announced the retail titan's intention to invest in General Motors' (NYSE:GM) Cruise self-driving car company in a press release today. Furner said the move will "aid our work toward developing a last mile delivery ecosystem that's fast, low-cost and scalable." The Walmart investment brings the total of Cruise's most recent funding round to $2.75 billion, though neither GM nor Cruise provides specifics on how much each individual company contributes to the whole, CNBC reports. Other investors in the subsidiary include GM itself, Microsoft, Honda Motor, and institutional investors. Among other projects, Cruise intends to roll out self-driving taxis in Dubai within the next two years.


Living in busy city doesn't increase chances of catching Covid, says Iran contact-tracing app data

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Living in a busy city doesn't increase the chance of getting Covid-19, but overcrowding does, a new study reveals. AC-19, which was withdrawn from Google's app store last year over alleged concerns of government spying, tracks positive cases and deaths by geographic location. After investigating the link between density and virus transmission in the city, the researchers found that'density alone cannot be considered a risk factor'. The experts stress the difference between high urban density – a high number of people inhabiting an urbanised area – and overcrowding. The right figure shows the state of pandemic spread at the city level and the left one depicts the status at the national level.


Drone attack targets Iraqi base that houses US troops

FOX News

'The Ingraham Angle' host examines the president's approach to diplomacy and foreign policy A drone reportedly dropped explosives at a U.S.-led base near the Erbil airport in Iraq on Wednesday night. There were no reports of injuries, Reuters reported, citing Kurdish officials. It was the first known drone attack believed to be targeting U.S. service members but rocket attacks have hit U.S. bases in the country. A Turkish soldier was reportedly killed in a separate rocket attack Wednesday, Turkish officials said, according to Reuters. A group thought to be aligned with Iran praised the drone attack but no one has explicitly claimed responsibility for it. The U.S. has blamed the attacks on Iran-backed militias, which have called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, according to Reuters.


Standard digital camera and AI to monitor soil moisture for affordable smart irrigation

#artificialintelligence

Researchers at UniSA have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic – buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.


Israel's first digital bank begins operations, heralding 'artificial intelligence revolution'

#artificialintelligence

The digital bank founded by Prof. Amnon Shashua, among the founders of the self-driving auto-tech company Mobileye, officially began operations on Sunday, promising to shake up the Israeli banking sector and inject badly needed competition. First Digital Bank, Israel's first new banking institution in 43 years, aims to use artificial intelligence and other technology to create a personal ambiance without the actual human contact that comes with neighborhood branches. "Netflix killed off Blockbuster, Spotify disrupted the music industry and Tesla has left Ford and Mitsubishi in the dust. Banking is one of the few industries that hasn't undergone a revolution. Big, long-standing names control the market with too little competition and offer exactly the same products," said First Digital Bank's CEO, Gal Bar-Dea.


The Top 20 Machine Learning Startups To Watch In 2021

#artificialintelligence

Throughout 2020, venture capital firms continued expanding into new global markets, with London, New York, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Boston, Seattle and Singapore startups receiving increased funding. Out of the 79 most popular A.I. & ML startup locations, 15 are in the San Francisco Bay Area, making that region home to 19% of startups who received funding in the last year. Israel's Tel Aviv region has 37 startups who received venture funding over the last year, including those launched in Herzliya, a region of the city known for its robust startup and entrepreneurial culture. The following graphic compares the top 10 most popular locations for A.I. & ML startups globally based on Crunchbase data as of today: Augury – Augury combines real-time monitoring data from production machinery with AI and machine learning algorithms to determine machine health, asset performance management (APM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) to provide manufacturing companies with new insights into their operations. The digital machine health technology that the company offers can listen to the machine, analyze the data and catch any malfunctions before they arise.


Tech retailer Newegg finally scraps 15-year ban on the name 'Mohammad'

Mashable

Newegg users can now give their name as "Mohammad" when leaving reviews, because apparently they couldn't do that before. The online tech retailer is revising its language filter after it was called out for banning one of the most popular names in the world -- for 15 years. The issue was brought to light by Mohammad Al-Tayyar, a government worker in Kuwait, who discovered it after attempting to review one of the products on Newegg's website. "I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED -- offensive language," Al-Tayyar tweeted on Wednesday, sharing a screenshot of the error message. "Is my name offensive @Newegg?" Other users were quickly able to duplicate this, indicating that Al-Tayyar's experience wasn't just an unfortunate bug. "Just verified this - I guess @Newegg wants your reviews unless you have the most common first name on Earth," tweeted game developer Rami Ismail. I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED - offensive language". Is my name offensive @Newegg? Speaking to Mashable via DM, Al-Tayyar said he'd been trying to review a laptop and NAS storage he'd purchased for his 6-year-old daughter, who was using them for remote learning. He was shocked to see Newegg flag his name as potentially offensive "in a big red alert all in caps." For Al-Tayyar, the alert was yet another example of the damaging, pervasive nature of Islamophobia. Fear and hatred of Arab and Muslim people has caused even the most innocent elements of their culture to be regarded with suspicion, inflicting undeniable harm to these communities. "Every time I see a movie in the media or the video games...[a]ll the Arab/Muslims [are] displayed as the bad, evil, stupid thieves," said Al-Tayyar, noting that Arab people are often negatively depicted as "in the desert with the camels." "Now the system [is] telling me I have to change my name?" Our team looked into the list of words and looks like it was added in 2006. Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this. Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak. Al-Tayyar told Mashable he emailed Newegg about this issue, but has not yet received a response. However, Newegg did quickly respond on Twitter, apologising and stating that "Mohammad" has now been removed from its list of prohibited words. According to Newegg, the name had been on its banned list since it was first added in 2006. The company stated it had banned religious terms that were being misused, including "Jesus" and "God." "Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this," wrote Newegg's official Twitter account. "Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak.


Machine learning expert Jordan bemoans use of AI as catch-all term - AI News

#artificialintelligence

A pioneer in machine learning has argued that the technology is best placed to augment human intelligence and bemoaned'confusion' over the meaning of artificial intelligence (AI). Michael I. Jordan, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, and department of statistics, at the University of California, Berkeley, told the IEEE that while science-fiction discussions around AI were'fun', they were also a'distraction.' "There's not been enough focus on the real problem, which is building planetary-scale machine learning-based systems that actually work, deliver value to humans, and do not amplify inequities," said Jordan, in an article from IEEE Spectrum author Kathy Pretz. Jordan, whose awards include the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, awarded last year for his contributions to machine learning and data science, wrote an article entitled'Artificial Intelligence: The Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet', first published in July 2019 but last updated at the start of this year. With various contributors thanked at the foot of the article – including one Jeff Bezos – Jordan outlined the rationale for caution.


Am I arguing with a machine? AI debaters highlight need for transparency

#artificialintelligence

Can a machine powered by artificial intelligence (AI) successfully persuade an audience in debate with a human? Researchers at IBM Research in Haifa, Israel, think so. They describe the results of an experiment in which a machine engaged in live debate with a person. Audiences rated the quality of the speeches they heard, and ranked the automated debater's performance as being very close to that of humans. Such an achievement is a striking demonstration of how far AI has come in mimicking human-level language use (N.


Why machine learning, not artificial intelligence, is the right way forward for data science

#artificialintelligence

We bandy about the term "artificial intelligence," evoking ideas of creative machines anticipating our every whim, though the reality is more banal: "For the foreseeable future, computers will not be able to match humans in their ability to reason abstractly about real-world situations." This is from Michael I. Jordan, one of the foremost authorities on AI and machine learning, who wants us to get real about AI. "People are getting confused about the meaning of AI in discussions of technology trends--that there is some kind of intelligent thought in computers that is responsible for the progress and which is competing with humans. We don't have that, but people are talking as if we do," he noted in the IEEE Spectrum article. Instead, he wrote in an article for Harvard Data Science Review, we should be talking about ML and its possibilities to augment, not replace, human cognition. Jordan calls this "Intelligence Augmentation," and uses examples like search engines to showcase the possibilities for assisting humans with creative thought.