In a new international cross disciplinary study, researchers have used artificial intelligence to analyze large amounts of historical photos from World War II. Among other things, the study shows that artificial intelligence can recognize the identity of photographers based on the content of photos taken by them. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now able to identify photographers based on the content of images they've taken. This is the conclusion of a new study at AU Engineering, Aarhus University, where, in collaboration with Tampere University and the Finnish Environment Institute, researchers have used state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to trawl through photographs taken by 23 well-known Finnish photographers during the Second World War. The photographs used in the study are part of the publicly available Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive containing around 160,000 photographs from Finnish Winter, Continuation, and Lapland Wars captured in 1939-1945.
How law regulates Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How do we ensure AI applications comply with existing legal rules and principles? Is new regulation needed and if yes, what type of regulation? These questions have gained increasing importance as AI deployment has increased across various sectors in our societies. Adopting new technological solutions has raised legislators' concern for the protection of fundamental rights both nationally in Finland and at the EU level. However, finding these answers is not easy. And the answers we find may be frustrating: varying from typical "it depends" to the self-evident "it's complicated", followed by the slightly more optimistic "we don't know yet".
Summary: Combining EEG brain function data, brain-computer interface technology, and artificial intelligence, researchers have created a system that can generate an image of what a person is thinking. Researchers at the University of Helsinki have developed a technique in which a computer models visual perception by monitoring human brain signals. In a way, it is as if the computer tries to imagine what a human is thinking about. As a result of this imagining, the computer is able to produce entirely new information, such as fictional images that were never before seen. The technique is based on a novel brain-computer interface.
FinnAir, an airline that dominates domestic and international air traffic in Finland, thought it could use AI to manage airport congestion. AI alone was not up to the job so Finland's largest airline instead implemented a hybrid system that uses AI to make predictions about air traffic and allows the humans-in-the-loop to make better decisions, explains Tero Ojanpera, CEO of Silo.ai, a Finnish AI lab that specializes in bringing cutting-edge AI talent to corporations around the world. Getting the FinnAir project to that point was not a question of plug and play. It required a complex multi-step modeling process to help the organization become more AI literate. Finnair's experience neatly illustrates the current state of play. AI is not fully ready to make the kind of decision-making corporates expect it to make and even if it were corporate teams and networks are not fully ready to implement and reap the full benefits of AI.
Alexander Tong GRD '23, a computer science graduate student, and Smita Krishnaswamy, professor of genetics and computer science, won the award for best paper at the annual 2020 Machine Learning for Signal Processing conference, hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. From Sept. 21 to Sept. 24, the MLSP conference was hosted virtually at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. Tong and Krishnaswamy's paper, "Fixing bias in reconstruction-based anomaly detection with Lipschitz discriminators," won the best student paper award alongside two other teams. The paper identified problems present in many machine learning based outlier detection models. The researchers found some cases where these systems do not work -- and this occurs quite often for data types found in bigger data sets.
Digitally-transformed cities can keep residents better informed with real-time updates and serve their residents with services on tap around the clock. It is hoped that these smart cities will use artificial intelligence (AI) in a wide range of use cases to make our cities safer, more livable, and healthier for residents. That said, how do we know whether that's actually the case? Amsterdam and Helsinki have recently launched algorithm registries to detail how each city government plans to deliver services. As part of the Next Generation Internet Policy Summit organized in part by the European Commission and the city of Amsterdam, each city introduced an AI Register to layout a European vision of the future of the internet.
SCI COMMUN### Politics The U.S. presidential race was upended in the first days of October as President Donald Trump tested positive for the pandemic virus and spent 3 days in the hospital. He was aggressively treated with two experimental medicines—monoclonal antibodies and the repurposed antiviral remdesivir—and a steroid used in severe COVID-19 cases. Trump returned to the White House on 5 October saying people should not fear the disease. But public health specialists voiced astonishment when he re-entered the building maskless, trailed by questions about his medical condition and a lack of information about how staff members would be protected from infection. All that followed a rancorous first debate on 29 September between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Trump mocked Biden for having worn a mask at other times, despite evidence that the precaution reduces transmission of the virus. The president also left scientists puzzled when he described as a “disaster” Biden's role in the response to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009. Then-President Barack Obama, whom Biden served under as vice president, declared it a public health emergency 6 weeks before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. That flu killed an estimated 12,000 Americans—far fewer than the 210,000 U.S. deaths recorded so far from COVID-19. > “Very few don't have some sort of connection to Big Tech.” > > Doctoral student Mohamed Abdalla , in Wired , about a study he led of faculty members specializing in artificial intelligence at four leading research universities. He found 58% (48 of 83) had received a grant or fellowship from one of 14 large technology companies, which may distort research priorities. ### Conservation High-tech fake turtle eggs can spy on poachers and wildlife trafficking routes. The real eggs are a delicacy in Central America, and illicit trading of them adds to other hazards to the survival of turtle species that are threatened. Researchers slipped 101 decoy eggs with GPS trackers embedded (left) into nests on four Costa Rican beaches. The scientists tracked five eggs to learn where the poachers took them; the farthest ended up 137 kilometers inland, the multinational team reported on 5 October in Current Biology . The researchers did not share this information with authorities, noting ethical concerns; many poachers live in poverty, and in Costa Rica, buying the eggs is not illegal. But, the authors say, the study shows that law enforcement agencies could use the method. ### Public health Coronavirus guidelines issued last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) again stirred controversy and concerns that undue political pressure had influenced some of its decisions. CDC announced that on 31 October it will lift an order barring cruise ships from sailing despite a recommendation by its director, Robert Redfield, to extend the ban until February 2021. The industry shut down in March after severe COVID-19 outbreaks occurred on multiple ships. Last week, CDC also drew fire for its updated guidelines on when colleges should test students and faculty and staff members for the pandemic virus. The agency recommended different frequencies of testing, including just a single, initial one, depending on circumstances such as whether students lived in residences with others who tested positive. Critics said the new guidelines should have recommended more regular testing of asymptomatic individuals. CDC addressed another uproar this week by acknowledging evidence that the virus can travel by air and infect people standing more than 2 meters apart in indoor spaces. The agency was faulted last month after it posted, and then withdrew, a draft suggesting otherwise. ### Infectious diseases An international program to reduce the risk of new zoonotic diseases, allowed to expire by the U.S. government in 2019 but extended until last month, will get a successor. On 30 September, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $100 million grant to help countries in Asia and Africa curb viruses jumping from animals to humans. The 5-year Strategies to Prevent Spillover program will have a different focus from its predecessor, PREDICT, whose termination was criticized by the scientific community: Rather than studying the drivers of spillover, it will seek interventions to reduce viral jumps, a USAID spokesperson says. A key goal is to “help partners at the country level build their expertise and ability to take action,” says veterinarian Deborah Kochevar of Tufts University, which leads a 13-institute consortium that won the grant. ### International affairs Yuri Orlov, the Russian physicist who championed human rights in the Soviet Union before being exiled in 1985, died on 27 September at age 96. Orlov helped organize the Soviet Union's branch of Amnesty International in 1973 and 3 years later co-founded the Moscow Helsinki Group, which monitored Soviet adherence to the civil rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords between the Soviet Union and the West. In 1977, Orlov was arrested and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor and exile in Siberia. After coming to the United States in a prisoner exchange, Orlov, an expert in particle accelerators, worked at Cornell University. He didn't think much of Russian President Vladimir Putin, writing in 2004 that “Russia is flying backward in time.” ### Governance Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has disrupted the process by which scientists are appointed to serve on the governing body of the country's leading academic society, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ). Researchers are criticizing the move as a threat to academic freedom. SCJ makes policy recommendations, promotes scientific literacy and international cooperation, and represents the interests of more than 800,000 scholars in virtually all academic disciplines. The prime minister customarily ratifies appointees recommended by SCJ for its governing body, the General Assembly. But according to an announcement last week, Suga withheld his blessing from six academics, in a list of 105 put forward, who work in the social sciences, law, and the humanities. All six had criticized legislation adopted by Japan's previous government, in which Suga was chief cabinet secretary. His failure to appoint them violated a law governing SCJ, said Satoshi Ihara, secretary general of the Japan Scientists' Association. ### Policy Mexican scientists this week blasted a move by the national legislature to eliminate 109 trust funds run by public research centers and government institutes, one-third of them devoted to science and technology. The government wants to use the money, some $3 billion in total, for the coronavirus pandemic. The funds support everything from student scholarships and emergency maintenance of equipment to major research projects at dozens of government centers. The money also helps pay for biosecurity and biotechnology research, fighting climate change, and disaster relief. On 6 October, Mexico's Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to terminate the funds, but with “reservations” that require further debate; it is expected to pass in the Senate. The plan is “a brutal blow” and the worst hit to Mexican science in 50 years, says Antonio Lazcano, an evolutionary biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, University City. ### Virology There's been a new case of infection with Alaskapox virus, a recently discovered pathogen that's related to smallpox. Alaska state health authorities reported on 30 September that they had found the virus in a woman from the Fairbanks area with a mild, gray skin lesion on one arm, similar to one seen in 2015 in the first known patient, also a woman from Fairbanks. Human infections with pox-viruses are on the rise, presumably because vaccination against smallpox—which offers some protection against related viruses—was halted after that deadly disease was eradicated 40 years ago. But the Alaska cases are no cause for alarm: There is no evidence the virus can be transmitted between humans—scientists think it came from wild mammals—and the lesions went away by themselves. ### Medicine prize goes to discoverers of virus that destroys the liver The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this week for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, one of the most common causes of liver cancer. The prize went to Harvey Alter of the U.S. National Institutes of Health; Michael Houghton of the University of Alberta, Edmonton; and Charles Rice of Rockefeller University. The hepatitis C virus, transmitted via blood, can cause chronic inflammation of the liver that quietly destroys the organ over decades, ultimately leading to cirrhosis and cancer. The laureates did work over 3 decades to identify the virus and show it was responsible for unexplained cases of hepatitis in people who received blood transfusions. They also developed a test to screen blood donations for the virus, which has nearly eliminated the risk of hepatitis from blood transfusions. Their research ultimately led to a successful treatment for the disease, which has cured millions of people. But about 71 million people worldwide still have chronic hepatitis C, and transmission continues via contaminated medical equipment, sharing drug injection needles, and from infected mothers to newborns during birth. The disease causes few acute symptoms, and testing in many developing countries is limited. ### Black hole hunters receive physics prize The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded for pioneering discoveries regarding black holes—self-sustaining gravitational fields so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape. Roger Penrose, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, received half of the $1.1 million prize for his theoretical work, conducted in part with the late Stephen Hawking, that proved a black hole would be stable and thus could be a real astrophysical object and not a mere mathematical curiosity. Astronomers Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and Andrea Ghez of the University of California, Los Angeles, share the other half of the prize for deducing the presence of the supermassive black hole that lies in the heart of our Galaxy. Since the 1990s, Genzel and Ghez have led rival research groups that observed stars there, 26,000 light-years from Earth. They found ones orbiting a heavy, unseen object, called Sagittarius A*, at incredible speeds—some of the most convincing evidence for a behemoth black hole, with the mass of millions of Suns. ### Fauci: ‘Skunk at the picnic’ On 23 September, in the relative calm before President Donald Trump's coronavirus infection was revealed, Anthony Fauci relaxed at home after tangling earlier that day with U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) during a hearing on COVID-19. Fauci still had 200 emails in his inbox to read that night, but the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who also serves on the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, sat down with Science to discuss the pandemic and research on vaccines. (Read the full interview at [scim.ag/FauciOctober].) Some excerpts: On his showdown with Paul: “I said to myself, you know, ‘I'm sorry, I'm not gonna disrespect him, but I'm not gonna let him get away with saying things that are cherry-picked data.’” (Paul had suggested that the United States follow Sweden's COVID-19 policies because it had a lower death rate from the disease.) On speaking bluntly at the White House: “I'm walking a fine line of being someone who is not hesitant to tell the president and the vice president what they may not want to hear. There are some people in the White House, who, even when I first started telling it like it was in the task force meetings, they were like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ That's when I got that nickname ‘the skunk at the picnic.’ … I say, ‘I'm sorry, I'm not trying to undermine the president. But there is something that's called reality.’” On the state of the pandemic: “Yes, there are parts of the country that are doing well. But this country is a big forest, and when you have fires in some parts of the forest, the entire forest is at risk.” : http://scim.ag/FauciOctober
The University of Helsinki (https://www.helsinki.fi/en) is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in Europe and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world. The research themes of the Department cover machine learning and algorithms, computer networks and distributed systems, software systems and bioinformatics. A fixed-term postdoctoral researcher position is available in the research group of Professor Aapo Hyvärinen at the Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki. The project is broadly defined as unsupervised deep learning, including frameworks such as nonlinear independent component analysis, energy-based modelling, and causal discovery, which are at the cutting edge of unsupervised deep learning.
The cities of Helsinki and Amsterdam have announced the launch of the first artificial intelligence registries in the world. The product of collective efforts and implementation, these information hubs show how both administrations use algorithms to improve their services and citizens' lives. The move is in line with the capitals' commitment to an open and dignified digital development. It wants to make AI use more transparent and to stimulate citizens to critically assess its use. On 24 September, the capitals of the Netherlands and Finland announced that they have become the first cities in the world to launch algorithm registries.