North America

AI Judges and Juries

Communications of the ACM

When the head of the U.S. Supreme Court says artificial intelligence (AI) is having a significant impact on how the legal system in this country works, you pay attention. That's exactly what happened when Chief Justice John Roberts was asked the following question: "Can you foresee a day when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact-finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision-making?" His answer startled the audience. "It's a day that's here and it's putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things," he said, as reported by The New York Times. In the last decade, the field of AI has experienced a renaissance.

Reclaim Internet Greatness

Communications of the ACM

His concern is warranted and will require us to strike a balance between protecting the democratic and egalitarian values that made the Internet great to begin with while ensuring those values are used for good. The fundamental issue, then, in creating a 21st-century Internet becomes what changes are warranted and who will be responsible for defining and administering them. On the technology dimension, computer scientists and engineers must develop smarter systems for detecting, addressing, and preventing malicious content on the Web. Cerf's argument on behalf of user training is helpful but will not ultimately solve the problem of an untrustworthy, ungovernable, potentially malicious network. I myself recently fell for a phishing attack, which only proves that today's attacks can fool even savvy, experienced users.

Trump administration proposal could target exports of the tech behind Siri, self-driving cars and supercomputers

Washington Post

Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and their peers could be subject to new restrictions on how they export the technology behind voice-activated smartphones, self-driving cars and speedy supercomputers to China under a proposal floated Monday by the Trump administration. For the U.S. government, its pursuit of new regulations marks a heightened effort to ensure that emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, don't fall into the hands of countries or actors that might pose a national security threat. The official request for public comment, published in the Federal Register, asks whether a long list of AI tools should be subject to stricter export-control rules. The Trump administration's potential targets include image-recognition software, ultrafast quantum computers, advanced computer chips, self-driving cars and robots. Companies that make those products and services might, for instance, have to obtain licenses before selling them to foreign governments or partnering with some researchers in certain countries.

Responding to Richard Branson, USA TODAY readers share how tech helps them with dyslexia


Business person Brian Beaumont has overcome challenges brought on by dyslexia. Brian Beaumont was a below average student prior to entering graduate school in the early 1980s. So Beaumont, now 60, asked his professors if he could tape their lectures to make better use of his 60- to 90-minute commute time in and around Los Angeles. "I did not realize at the time I was making an accommodation for my dyslexia," Beaumont says. "I had problems listening and taking notes at the same time. Now, I could sit back and just listen to the lecture. I could focus on the main points the professor was making."

2% plunge as Dow rout continues amid tech woes, oil price fall

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – Stocks are skidding Tuesday as weak results from retailers and mounting losses for big technology companies push the market back into the red for the year. Energy companies are slumping because of a 7 percent plunge in the price of oil. Crude is on track for its biggest loss in three years. Industrial companies are also dropping as the downward momentum in stocks builds after steep losses Monday. The S&P 500 index lost 38 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,652 as of 1:15 p.m. Eastern time.

Three-legged, earthquake-sensing geologist robot to be first U.S. visitor to Mars in years

The Japan Times

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Mars is about to get its first U.S. visitor in years: a three-legged, one-armed geologist to dig deep and listen for quakes. NASA's InSight makes its grand entrance through the rose-tinted Martian skies on Monday, after a six-month, 300 million-mile (480 million-km) journey. It will be the first American spacecraft to land since the Curiosity rover in 2012 and the first dedicated to exploring underground. NASA is going with a tried-and-true method to get this mechanical miner to the surface of the red planet. Engine firings will slow its final descent and the spacecraft will plop down on its rigid legs, mimicking the landings of earlier successful missions.

Audiology Open for Business in NYC with Hooks into All Programmatic Avenues


Audiology, the leading programmatic audio marketplace, announced that it has opened its New York City headquarters. With a reach of 140MM unique listeners, the company, which is headed by David Krulewich, SVP, and Head of Programmatic Sales, is operating at scale with multiple clients, agencies and partners to provide data-driven audio solutions that reach highly targeted audiences in an omni-channel media world. "When you talk about online radio, there have been just two gold nuggets -- Pandora and Spotify. Audiology allows us to break those barriers and lets us access all the mom-and-pop radio people are listening to," explained David Feman, Vice President, Publicis' Spark Foundry unit, to MediaPost – which covered Audiology's launch. "According to eMarketer, digital audio is now the number one form of mobile media consumption, having surpassed even social media. And the trend is growing," said Mr. Krulewich.

Learning to See


How do you look for a needle in a haystack, when you are not sure what the needle looks like? This is the problem that faces scientists as they try to deal with increasingly complex datasets. One answer is to turn machine learning loose on the enormous volumes of data they have captured. The problem of finding relevant data in genetic databases is one that Simon Roux, a researcher working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, faced when investigating the role that an obscure and little-understood family of viruses plays in the environment. There are many types of virus, called bacteriophages, that infect bacteria.

How AI Is Changing Wildlife Research


The ability of computers to automatically identify individual giraffes from their distinct coat patterns provides scientists with an affordable and efficient way to track population numbers. A software program developed by the conservation technology nonprofit Wild ME automatically identifies individual animals by their unique coat patterns or other distinguishing features. The nonprofit Giraffe Conservation Foundation and San Diego Zoo researcher Jenna Stacy-Dawes used the Wildbook software to take dozens of photos of a giraffe population over two days, uploaded the images and location data to the GiraffeSpotter database, and assessed giraffe numbers across three wildlife conservancies in Northern Kenya. GiraffeSpotter will be publicly accessible by the end of the year, allowing all interested parties to upload their giraffe photos and location data to the online database. GiraffeSpotter is the latest example of how artificial intelligence is being used in service of conservation.

Tumblr app disappears on iPhone after child sex abuse images found on blogs

The Independent

Tumblr's app has disappeared on the iPhone App Store after child sex abuse images were found on its platform. The company says it is acting urgently to remove the content and to have the app restored onto iOS. The app mysterious disappeared last week, being removed from the App Store with no announcement. While that didn't take it from existing phones, it meant that the app would not update and that nobody could download it newly. Uber has halted testing of driverless vehicles after a woman was killed by one of their cars in Tempe, Arizona.