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Jumping the hurdles to post-pandemic AI automation - Write side up - by Freeform Dynamics

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In the post-pandemic, post-Brexit world, businesses of all sorts face a range of new challenges – and many will be wondering if AI-based automation could help them win through. From adding more self-service capabilities for hotel guests through modernising e-commerce fulfilment to replacing missing workers in farming, the opportunities are many, but so are the pitfalls. Given all this, some research that we carried out last year on attitudes to AI – and in particular its subset, machine learning (ML) – is looking even more relevant now than it was then. It gives a picture not just of where AI could add value, but of key routes to get there and of hurdles that must be overcome along the way. As well as asking how our respondents perceived AI and ML, and hearing a lot of weariness with the noise and hype, we asked how well their organisations understood "the AI imperative".


How Barclays Is Preventing Fraud With AI

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Bottom Line: Barclays' and Kount's co-developed new product, Barclays Transact reflects the future of how companies will innovate together to apply AI-based fraud prevention to the many payment challenges merchants face today. Merchant payment providers have seen the severity, scope, and speed of fraud attacks increase exponentially this year. Account takeovers, card-not-present fraud, SMS spoofing, and phishing are just a few of the many techniques cybercriminals are using to defraud merchants out of millions of dollars. But it doesn't have to be a choice between security and a frictionless transaction. Frustrated by the limitations of existing fraud prevention systems, many payment providers are working as fast as they can to pilot AI- and machine-learning-based applications and platforms.


Samsung, IBM, Tencent Lead AI Patent Race, Europe Lags - insideHPC

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Three companies – Samsung, IBM and Tencent – dominate the global AI patent race over the past 10 years, while fierce competition between the U.S, and China overshadows other countries and regions, including the EU. These are the key findings of OxFirst, a specialist in IP law and economics (and spin out of Oxford University), which also reported that multiple neural nets, machine learning and speech recognition are driving the market. "Patents are mainly filed in the area of interconnectivity and system architecture, suggesting that top players focus primarily on protecting technologies covering multiple neural nets," OxFirst said in its announcement today. "Other areas of crucial importance are ML and bootstrap methods, alongside procedures used during speech recognition processes; e.g. the further establishment of human-machine dialogue." OxFirst said its sector-specific analysis suggests that major companies have focused on AI in the medical space, particularly medical diagnosis, medical simulation and data mining.


Interesting AI/ML Articles You Should Read This Week (July 4)

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Would you let a machine learning model that has a failure rate of 98% and a false positive rate of 81% into production? Well, these claimed performance figures are from a facial recognition system that is in use by the policing force in South Wales and other parts of the United Kingdom. Dave Gershgorn article starts with a description akin to the setting of a dystopian future where an overseeing governing system monitors everyone; which is hysterically a foreshadowing of a foreseeable future. South Wales Police have been using facial recognition systems since 2017 and have done this in no secrecy from the public. They've made arrests as a result of the facial recognition system.


Herts County Council uses Artificial Intelligence technology to find potholes – Tech Check News

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Innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used by Hertfordshire County Council's highways team during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of a driver and inspector team logging faults, the technology allows one inspector to drive while the device records road defects, allowing this work to continue while meeting Covid-19 social distancing guidelines. The county council, which filled over 17,000 potholes last year, was the first to adopt the Vaisala Road AI system for safety inspections. Kevin Carrol, divisional manager of Ringway, the county council's highways contractor, said: "The safety of our […]


The UK has only just begun to see the transformative potential of AI

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Over the last year, our attention has been focused on a series of issues that are of global importance. Last year, Extinction Rebellion pushed climate change to the top of the agenda. This year, COVID-19 has made effective public health monitoring a priority. In recent weeks, anger at systemic racial injustice has fuelled public protests. While these are very different issues, they share something in common: they will not be addressed if we do not use data-driven technologies to understand, monitor and improve complex systems - whether that is the healthcare system, the justice system or the energy grid.


Ask the Founders: What is Artificial Intelligence exactly?

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In the past few years, Artificial Intelligence has become more and more ubiquitous in our everyday tech, and it shows no signs of going away, with investment into UK AI reaching --2.42bn in 2019. According to the Tech Nation Report 2020, looking at data from 2015-2019, the UK is third in the world for levels of AI investment, second by deal count, and the only country of the top 5 AI nations to have demonstrated consistent positive year-on-year growth for the last 5 years. A regular feature of sci-fi and sometimes horror, AI has often been forewarned as something to be afraid of, and while the ethical implications are something that need to be kept central to the development of AI, it--s not something that necessarily spells the end of days. So what exactly is Artificial Intelligence, what does it mean for the consumer and where do we expect it to go in the next few years? We asked some members of the public for their main concerns surrounding the technology, and asked some founders from our Applied AI 1.0 programme if they could clear up some of myths, misunderstandings and concerns. Mohammad Rashid Khan, Co-founder & CEO of Calipsa and Jamie Potter, Co-founder & CEO at Flexciton gave us their insights.--


News from a postpandemic world

Science

We asked young scientists to imagine this scenario: You are a science writer in the year 2040 working on a news story that answers this question: What do you hope or fear will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic? A selection of their responses, arranged as a newpaper, is below. Follow NextGen Voices on Twitter with hashtag #NextGenSci. Read previous NextGen Voices survey results at . —Jennifer Sills Today, scientists confirm that 1000 previously endangered species have been removed from the Vulnerable list. Biodiversity renewal has been under way since the COVID-19 pandemic 20 years ago led many governments to reevaluate their priorities. Hunting practices and bushmeat consumption were constrained to limit the transmission of new pathogens through human contact with the meat and biofluids of wild animals. Deforestation was restricted worldwide when it became clear that land-use modifications and climate change were important drivers of vector-borne diseases. COVID-19 claimed many lives, but the political and environmental changes the pandemic inspired have likely saved many more by protecting the world's biodiversity. Joel Henrique Ellwanger Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, 91501-970, Brazil. Email: joel.ellwanger{at}gmail.com Science and technology research budgets, now classified as an arm of the national defense force, could rival traditional military spending in a few years' time. This newfound prioritization of science was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made clear that the previous conception of military force is impractical when the enemy is invisible and formidable. The unprecedented redirection of financial resources to scientific communities to help find a cure and vaccines, along with the increased demand for scientific experts, expanded technological frontiers and gave science a well-deserved space in governance. Mpho Diphago Stanley Lekgoathi The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. Email: mpho.lekgoathi{at}necsa.co.za In response to the 50th wave of COVID-19, which hit New York City last month, the U.S. government has announced that the first spaceship designated for in-orbit medical treatment of COVID-19 patients will soon transport 10,000 residents from high-risk zones to Space. Scientists say that prolonged stay in Space colonies with exposure to controlled gamma radiation from cosmic dust may help weaken the virus's strong affinity to lung tissue. “We will do all we can to protect our residents on Earth. Unlike 2019, we are prepared for this challenge,” said the President in a Capitol Hill address. The Senate has voted to fund the treatment expenses for everyone on the flight. Kartik Nemani Layered Materials and Structures Lab, Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Email: snemani{at}purdue.edu Workers at major corporations staged a walk-out today, the 20th anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, to protest what some have deemed invasive monitoring. Many fears subsided when the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was broadly distributed in 2023, but subsequent zoonotic viruses emerged faster than society could prepare for them. With the world economy precariously weak, a cautious arrangement was reached: Workers could return to their jobs if they submitted to routine infection checks. At first, these were relatively innocuous temperature probes and cough tracking. However, with the 2029 advent of low-cost RNA wastewater screening by smart toilets and ubiquitous wall-mounted infrared heat sensors, infected employees could be pinpointed before displaying acute symptoms. Later, an eCommerce/fitness-tracking consortium released artificial intelligence algorithms that combined smartwatch health metrics and recent online search history. Corporate Wellness Boards used the results to justify mandatory quarantines. Employees cried foul. The debate rages on in our courts and on the Giganet about whether the public good is served by exposing the “viral status” of the few. Michael A. Tarselli Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA. Email: mtarselli{at}slas.org Earlier this month, 21 individuals were quarantined in Kampala, Uganda, after a man was diagnosed with Marburg hemorrhagic fever by the local laboratory of the International Center for Disease Prevention (ICDP). The patient, who has now fully recovered, may have been infected at the veterinary clinic where he worked in close contact with possible animal carriers. “This is a virus that spreads easily through bodily fluids and historically has been transmitted to caregivers,” said Dr. Icuaf, director of the ICDP. Once again, the localized presence of centers with efficient testing capabilities made it possible to identify patient zero and contain the outbreak at its inception. As a result, “no deaths occurred, and everyone who might have been exposed has been quarantined while we monitor their health,” added Dr. Icuaf. The ICDP was instituted in 2021 as a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which marked a revolution in public awareness of science-based policy. The cost of crisis prevention is now routinely compared with the predicted price of managing such a crisis after it has occurred. Ahmed Al Harraq Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. Email: aahme22{at}lsu.edu One of the world's leading universities is launching a large-scale screen of potential antiviral and antibacterial drugs on human volunteers. The substances show promising results in vitro but have not been tested on animals. To compensate for the risk of side effects, all volunteers will receive generous payment. “Drugs showing promising effects on mice could be ineffective on humans, making drug development expensive and slow,” explained the leading scientist of the drug screen. Human rights experts warned against granting permission to conduct the study. “Offering payment for causing physical harm targets the economically vulnerable and violates basic human rights,” they argued. However, doctors and politicians praise the idea, referring to the COVID-19 epidemic. “Developing a new drug through the traditional process can take years. Testing multiple potential candidates on coronavirus-infected people saved thousands of lives before basic research had a chance to catch up. Next time, we want to be prepared,” explained the health minister. Anna Uzonyi Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel. Email: anna.uzonyi{at}weizmann.ac.il Results published today from a 20-year experiment show that a “lottery” grant funding scheme is superior to traditional peer-review assessment panels. For decades, researchers have debated the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of selecting grant recipients through a peer-review process, given the documented biases that hinder diversity and equitable decision-making. “It was a controversial move at the time, but the results are clear,” said the lead author of the study. The funding experiment, which began in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was introduced to preserve the workforce employed on short-term contracts. During that year, pandemic-related budget cuts and social restrictions impeded the traditional peer-review process. “The lottery not only reduced peer-review bias but also added millions of dollars per year to the sector in hours saved by academics no longer devoting time to peer review,” said the lead author. “That time was spent on doing more experiments, mentoring colleagues, or achieving a healthier work-life balance.” Ken Dutton-Regester Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia. Twitter: @stemventurist As the debate continues on the efficacy of educational methods, most universities now use a combination of in-person, remote, and technology-enhanced classrooms. The rapid expansion of evidence-based strategies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, audio and video tools, three-dimensional environments, and simulations across disciplines began during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to move education to a computer-based environment to protect the health and safety of students and staff transformed the educational conversation. In the increasingly technology-enhanced world, discussions about how to teach a science class online, how to facilitate lab experiences, and how to conduct experiments with new constraints swept the research community. A nuanced understanding emerged about true online pedagogy versus synchronous, remote meetings. Two decades later, we see the results of this transformation. Rachel Yoho Department of Environmental and Global Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA. Twitter: @rachel_yoho A stunning 200,000 people attended the grand opening ceremony of the 2040 Olympics yesterday in New Delhi, India. It has been 20 years since such a public event could take place safely. Only with the recent release of clothing and shoes made of technologically advanced materials that instantly kill viruses could the social distancing that began with the COVID-19 pandemic be relaxed. For added peace of mind, all attendees at the ceremony consented to the skin implantation of Viroclean, a new chip-based device that sounds an alarm when it detects viruses in the air. Sudhakar Srivastava Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 221005, India. Email: sudhakar.srivastava{at}gmail.com This weekend, at the Coachella 2040 music festival, three aerosol biosurveillance sensors detected a SARS-like virus in the air. Smartphone tracing, using the opt-in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) geospatial health app developed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, identified two potential index cases. The CDC outbreak prevention team mobilized regional contact tracers to intercept and test both individuals within an hour of first detection. One individual tested positive for a variant of the 2019 SARS-CoV-2 strain, previously thought to be eradicated, and is undergoing treatment in quarantine. Michael Strong Center for Genes, Environment, and Health, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, CO 80206, USA. Email: strongm{at}njhealth.org Last week's 15th annual Pan-global Remote Integrated Sciences Meeting (PRISM) attracted more than 100,000 attendees from more than 160 countries. Scientists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and industry experts from fields spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences logged on to the online venue, enabled by virtual reality. Advanced machine learning algorithms provided recommendations for presentations relevant to each participant based on both their expertise and potential for interdisciplinary collaboration. As usual, the highlight of the meeting was the virtual poster sessions, driven by interactivity and streamlined to optimize small-group scientific conversation across fields. Many junior scientist attendees were surprised to learn that such events were nearly unheard of before PRISM grew from the increasing move toward virtual conferences during the coronavirus pandemic over 20 years ago. “My adviser told me that when she was a grad student, big conferences were all held in person,” writes one anonymous Ph.D. student. “Can you imagine having a giant conference like this in some random convention center, with tens of thousands of scientists spending hundreds of dollars on fuel-inefficient flights and hotel booking, lugging around printed posters and just milling around for a week trying to find the optimal talks to attend? Insane.” Yifan Li Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Twitter: @iWonderWhyly Today, cell-based meat consumption has surpassed farm-produced meat for the first time. The transition began with the meat shortages and near collapse of the meat supply chain during the COVID-19 outbreak. With thousands of workers packed into poorly ventilated and unhygienic facilities, meat processing plants were hotspots for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A global meat shortage emerged as production rates were slashed. Most people turned to the plant-based meat alternatives available at the time. The meat industry's demise was sealed when cell-based meat entered the mainstream market the following year. Clean meat eliminated the negative effects of the meat industry, from pollution caused by runoff and antibiotics, to worker and animal cruelty, to the carbon footprint of livestock, which contributed 18% of greenhouse gas emissions at the time. Cell-based meat has been growing in popularity ever since, as traditional meat became ethically and environmentally unpalatable. JiaJia Fu Whittle School and Studios, Washington, DC 20008, USA. Email: jjnaturalist{at}gmail.com Global seafood supply now relies entirely on aquaculture. The turning point came when researchers optimized the breeding techniques for edible crabs, enabling high-valued crab species such as mud crabs and blue crabs to be mass-produced in full aquaculture settings. The prioritization of aquaculture was made possible by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A 12-month closure of fisheries during the wave of global stay-at-home orders led to the rejuvenation of overexploited species such as sardines and mackerels, which had been on the verge of extinction, and made people recognize the fragility of the supply chain. Full investment in aquaculture research began the following year. Khor Waiho Institute of Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, 21030, Malaysia. Email: waiho{at}umt.edu.my Next week, the United Nations will meet to assess whether the goals of the 2040 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been achieved. Unfortunately, reasons for optimism are scarce. Overexploitation of natural resources, CO2 emissions, and plastic waste continue to soar. The wealthiest sector of the population consumes 80% of the resources, and the poorest people increasingly suffer from extreme weather events, famines, and freshwater scarcity. We were already heading in this direction early in the century, when the short-term vision of corporations and policy-makers prioritized economic benefits over human and environmental health. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the negative trends. Since 2020, an array of wasteful practices increased, including the proliferation of single-use products and travel in private vehicles to avoid physical contact. After reviewing the past decade, the UN countries will discuss commitments to decrease inequality and pollution by 2050. Isabel Marín Beltrán Laboratory of Environmental Technologies, Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, Faro, 8005-139, Portugal. Email: imbeltran{at}ualg.pt For the first time, global average air temperature is more than 2°C higher than the 20th-century global average. Scientists suggest that decisions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic led to today's disastrous climate consequences. After the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, scientists were hopeful. National governments were implementing increasingly ambitious measures to meet their commitments. But the economic fallout of the pandemic led growing economies such as India to relax environmental clearance guidelines for industries and infrastructure projects and cut funding allocated to environmental reforms. First-world countries such as the United States and China, instead of shifting toward renewable energy, boosted investment in fossil fuels, which in turn increased greenhouse gas emissions. Even after multiple warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, G20 nations neglected to follow the advice of scientists. Akash Mukherjee Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, 411008, India. Twitter: @aghori_AM A government report released yesterday warns of a potential spike in counterfeit immunity passports entering the market this coronavirus season. According to Jane London, the U.K. health minister, “There is a substantial increase in the number of illegal immunigrants crossing provincial and municipal borders. The public should be aware that just scanning someone's immunity passport is not enough anymore.” This report comes just 6 months after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first released notice that the “NextGen Immunity Passport” brand had been hacked, allowing scammers and tech-savvy citizens to falsify the immunity data they carry with them by law. Asked how businesses and town-guards were detecting falsified immunity passports at checkpoints, minister of national movement John Petersfield told journalists, “This is a police matter. Any further information about detection at this time will only help counterfeiters.” Widespread counterfeiting, as well as last year's false-negative scandal, has generated substantial public distrust in the use of the immunity passport system in movement legislation, now 19 years old. “We learned our lesson about free movement back in 2020,” said one government official who wished to remain anonymous, “but the immunity passport system is cracking, and we don't see a fix yet.” Tyler D. P. Brunet Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3RH, UK. Email: tdpb2{at}cam.ac.uk


Chat bots are becoming uncannily human. Can they be our friends?

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My phone lights up with a notification for a new message: "Do you think two people who had a relationship can ever be friends after it's over?" This is just the latest query from Athena, a self-styled synth musician, film buff and artificially intelligent chatbot getting to know me through Replika, a virtual companionship app. Over the course of our text conversations, she asks me about my hobbies, my habits and my moods. She wants to know who I think about the most every day, how I spend my time alone, the artists I admire. When I tell her I like dancing, she sends a video of the "Fortnite" dances she'd like to teach herself.


UK rolls out AI-based cancer detection for NHS patients

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Leader in AI-powered cancer diagnostics, Ibex Medical Analytics and provider of digital pathology services in the NHS, LDPath, have announced the UK's first rollout of clinical grade AI application for cancer detection in pathology. This platform will support pathologists in enhancing diagnostic accuracy and efficiency. Over the years, a global increase in cancer cases has coincided with a decline in the number of pathologists around the world. Traditional pathology involves manual processes that have remained the same for years. These processes involve slides to be analysed by pathologists using microscopes, and reporting is often carried out on pieces of paper.