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Exploring the use of artificial intelligence in architecture

#artificialintelligence

This plan was designed as an experiment in combining modern and baroque style into a new image. As you can see the result neither resembles Baroque ot Modern explicitly, but rather results in a new plan condition. The estrangement of the plan, based on ideas of defamiliarization and speculative realism. Over the past few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been used to analyze data or complete basic tasks in an increasing number of fields, ranging from computer science to manufacturing, medicine, physics, biology and even artistic disciplines. Researchers at University of Michigan have recently been investigating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture.


Exploring the use of artificial intelligence in architecture

#artificialintelligence

Over the past few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been used to analyze data or complete basic tasks in an increasing number of fields, ranging from computer science to manufacturing, medicine, physics, biology and even artistic disciplines. Researchers at University of Michigan have recently been investigating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture. Their most recent paper, published in the International Journal of Architectural Computing, specifically explores the potential of AI as a tool to create new architectural designs. "My partner, Sandra Manninger, and myself, have a long-standing obsession with the idea to cross pollinate the fields of architecture and AI," Matias del Campo, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Tech Xplore. "We first got in touch with AI research in 1998, when we were introduced to the OFAI (The Austrian Institute of Artificial Intelligence) through a mutual friend, Dr. Arthur Flexer and we held the first course in Machine Learning for Architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, in 2006."


Protecting consumers from collusive prices due to AI

Science

The efficacy of a market system is rooted in competition. In striving to attract customers, firms are led to charge lower prices and deliver better products and services. Nothing more fundamentally undermines this process than collusion, when firms agree not to compete with one another and consequently consumers are harmed by higher prices. Collusion is generally condemned by economists and policy-makers and is unlawful in almost all countries. But the increasing delegation of price-setting to algorithms ([ 1 ][1]) has the potential for opening a back door through which firms could collude lawfully ([ 2 ][2]). Such algorithmic collusion can occur when artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms learn to adopt collusive pricing rules without human intervention, oversight, or even knowledge. This possibility poses a challenge for policy. To meet this challenge, we propose a direction for policy change and call for computer scientists, economists, and legal scholars to act in concert to operationalize the proposed change. Collusion among humans typically involves three stages (see the table). First, firms' employees with price-setting authority communicate with the intent of agreeing on a collusive rule of conduct. This rule encompasses a higher price and an arrangement to incentivize firms to comply with that higher price rather than undercut it in order to pick up more market share. For example, in 1995 the CEOs of Christie's and Sotheby's hatched their plans in a limo at Kennedy International Airport, and in 1994 the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation secretly taped the lysine cartel as they conspired in a Maui hotel room. At those meetings, they spoke about charging higher prices and how to enforce them. Second, successful communication results in the mutual adoption of a collusive rule of conduct, which commonly takes the form of a collusive pricing rule. A crucial component of this pricing rule is retaliatory pricing: Each firm raises its price and maintains that higher price under the threat of a “punishment,” such as a temporary price war, should it cheat and deviate from the higher price ([ 3 ][3]). It is this threat that sustains higher prices than would arise under competition. Third, firms set the higher prices that are the consequence of having adopted those collusive pricing rules. ![Figure][4] The process that produces higher prices To determine whether firms are colluding, one could look for evidence at any of the three stages. However, evidence related to the last two stages—pricing rules and higher prices—is generally regarded as insufficient to achieve the requisite level of confidence in the judicial realm. Economists know how to calculate competitive prices given demand, costs, and other relevant market conditions. But many of these factors are difficult to observe and, when observable, are challenging to measure with precision. Consequently, courts do not use the competitive price level as a benchmark to identify collusion. Likewise, it is difficult to assess whether the firms' rules of conduct are collusive because such rules are latent, residing in employees' heads. In practice, we may never observe the retaliatory lower prices from a firm that cheated, even though that response is there in the minds of the employees and it is the anticipation of such a response that sustains higher prices. In other words, we might lack the events that produce the data that could identify the collusive pricing rules. Furthermore, even if one could observe what looks like a price war, it would be difficult to rule out innocent explanations (such as a decrease in the firms' costs or a fall in demand). Given the latency of collusive pricing rules and the difficulty of determining whether prices are collusive or competitive, antitrust law and its enforcement have focused on the first stage: communications. Firms are found to be in violation of the law when communications (perhaps supplemented by other evidence) are sufficient to establish that firms have a “meeting of minds,” a “concurrence of wills,” or a “conscious commitment” that they will not compete ([ 4 ][5]). In the United States, more specifically, there must be evidence that one firm invited a competitor to collude and that the competitor accepted that invitation. The risk of false positives (i.e., wrongly finding firms guilty of collusion) has led courts to avoid basing their judgments on evidence of collusive pricing rules or collusive prices and instead to rely on evidence of communications. Although the use of pricing algorithms has a long history—airline companies, for instance, have been using revenue management software for decades—concerns regarding algorithmic collusion have only recently arisen for two reasons. First, pricing algorithms had once been based on pricing rules set by programmers but now often rely on AI systems that learn autonomously through active experimentation. After the programmer has set a goal, such as profit maximization, algorithms are capable of autonomously learning rules of conduct that achieve the goal, possibly with no human intervention. The enhanced sophistication of learning algorithms makes it more likely that AI systems will discover profit-enhancing collusive pricing rules, just as they have succeeded in discovering winning strategies in complex board games such as chess and Go ([ 5 ][6]). Second, a feature of online markets is that competitors' prices are available to a firm in real time. Such information is essential to the operation of collusive pricing rules. In order for firms to settle on some common higher price, firms' prices must be observed frequently enough because sustaining those higher prices requires the prospect of punishing a firm that deviates from the collusive agreement. The more quickly the punishment is meted out, the less temptation to cheat. Thus, the emergence and persistence of higher prices through collusion is facilitated by rapid detection of competitors' prices, which is now often possible in online markets. For example, the prices of products listed on Amazon may change several times per day but can be monitored with practically no delay. In light of these developments, concerns regarding the possibility of algorithmic collusion have been raised by government authorities, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ([ 6 ][7]) and the European Commission ([ 7 ][8]). These concerns are justified, as enough evidence has accumulated that autonomous algorithmic collusion is a real risk. The evidence is both experimental and empirical. On the experimental side, recent research has found the spontaneous emergence of collusion in computer-simulated markets. In these studies, commonly used reinforcement-learning algorithms learned to initiate and sustain collusion in the context of well-accepted economic models of an industry ([ 8 ][9], [ 9 ][10]) (see the figure). Collusion arose with no human intervention other than instructing the AI-enabled learning algorithm to maximize profit (i.e., algorithms were not programmed to collude). Although the extent to which prices were higher in such virtual markets varied, prices were almost always substantially above the competitive level. On the empirical side, a recent study ([ 10 ][11]) has provided possible evidence of algorithmic collusion in Germany's retail gasoline markets. The delegation of pricing to algorithms was found to be associated with a substantial 20 to 30% increase in the markup of stations' prices over cost. Although the evidence is indirect—because the authors of the study could not directly observe the timing of adoption of the pricing algorithms and thus had to infer it from other data—their findings are consistent with the results of computer-simulated market experiments. Algorithmic collusion is as bad as human collusion. Consumers are harmed by the higher prices, irrespective of how firms arrive at charging these prices. However, should algorithmic collusion emerge in a market and be discovered, society lacks an effective defense to stop it. This is because algorithmic collusion does not involve the communications that have been the route to proving unlawful collusion (as distinguished from instances in which firms' employees might communicate and then collude with the assistance of algorithms, as in a recent case involving poster sellers on Amazon Marketplace). And even if alternative evidentiary approaches were to arise, there is no liability unless courts are prepared to conclude that AI has a “mind” or a “will” or is “conscious,” for otherwise there can be no “meeting of minds” with algorithmic collusion. As a result, if algorithmic collusion occurs and is discovered by the authorities, currently it cannot be considered a violation of antitrust or competition law. Society would then have no recourse and consumers would be forced to continue to suffer the harm from algorithmic collusion's higher prices. ![Figure][4] Collusive pricing rules uncovered After the two algorithms have found their way to collusive prices (“learning phase,” left side), an attempt to cheat so as to gain market share is simulated by exogenously forcing Firm 1's algorithm to cut its price (“punishment phase,” right side). From the “shock” period onward, the algorithm regains control of the pricing. Firm 1's deviation is punished by the other algorithm, so firms enter into a price war that lasts for several periods and then gradually ends as the algorithms return to pricing at a collusive level. For better graphical representation, the time scales on the right and left sides of the figure are different. GRAPHIC: N. CARY/ SCIENCE FROM CALVANO ET AL. ([ 8 ][9]) There is an alternative path, which is to target the collusive pricing rules learned by the algorithms that result in higher prices ([ 11 ][12]). These latent rules of conduct may be uncovered when they have been adopted by algorithms. Whereas a court cannot get inside the head of an employee to determine why prices are what they are, firms' pricing algorithms can be audited and tested in controlled environments. One can then simulate all sorts of possible deviations from existing prices and observe the algorithms' reaction in the absence of any confounding factor. In principle, the latent pricing rules can thus be identified precisely. This approach was successfully used by researchers in ([ 8 ][9]) to verify that the pricing algorithms have indeed learned the collusive property of reward (keeping prices high unless a price cut occurs) and punishment (through retaliatory price wars should a price cut occur). To show this, the researchers momentarily overrode the pricing algorithm of one firm, forcing it to set a lower price. As soon as the algorithms regained control of the pricing, they engaged in a temporary price war, where lower prices were charged but then gradually returned to the collusive level. Having learned that undercutting the other firm's price brings forth a price war (with the associated lower profits), the algorithms evolved to maintain high prices (see the figure). It may seem paradoxical that collusion can be identified by the low retaliatory prices, which could be close to the competitive level, rather than by the high prices that are the ultimate concern for policy. But there are two important differences between retaliatory price wars and healthy competition. First, in the absence of the low-price perturbation, the price war remains hypothetical in that it is a threat that is not executed. Second, the price war shown in the figure is only temporary: Instead of permanently reverting to the competitive price level, the algorithms gradually return to the pre-shock prices. This is evidence that the price war is there to support high prices, not to produce low prices. Focusing on the collusive pricing rules is the key to identifying, preventing, and prosecuting algorithmic collusion (see the table). Policy cannot target the higher prices directly, nor can it target communications as they may not be present (unlike with human collusion). But the retaliatory pricing rules may now be observable, as firms' pricing algorithms can be audited and tested. We therefore propose that antitrust policy shift its focus from communications (with humans) to rules of conduct (with algorithms). Making the proposed change operational involves a broad research program that requires the combined efforts of economists, computer scientists, and legal scholars. One strand of this program is a three-step experimental procedure. The first step creates collusion in the lab for descriptively realistic models of markets. As the competitive price would be known by the experimenter, collusion is identified by high prices. Having identified an episode of collusion, the second step is to perform a post hoc auditing exercise to uncover the properties of the collusive pricing rules that produced those high prices. Some progress has been made on the identification of collusive rules of conduct adopted by algorithms, but much more work needs to be done. Economics provides several properties to watch out for. Of course, there is the retaliatory price war discussed above, which is what existing research has focused on (8, 9). Another property is price matching, whereby firms' prices move in sync: one firm changing its price and the other firm subsequently matching that change. Price matching has been documented for human collusion in various markets, but we do not yet know whether algorithms are capable of learning it. A third property is the asymmetry of price responses. When firms collude, they typically respond to a competitor's price cut more strongly—as part of a punishment—than to a price increase. No such asymmetry is to be expected when firms compete. The aforementioned properties are based on economic theory and studies of human collusion. Learning algorithms may devise rules of conduct that neither economists nor managers have imagined ( just as learning algorithms have done, for instance, in chess). To investigate this possibility, computer scientists might develop algorithms that explain their own behavior, thereby making the collusive properties more apparent. One way of doing so is to add a second module to the reinforcement-learning module that maximizes profits; this second module maps the state representation of the first one onto a verbal explanation of its strategy ([ 12 ][13]). Having uncovered collusive pricing rules, the third step is to experiment with constraining the learning algorithm to prevent it from evolving to collusion. Computer scientists are particularly valuable here, given that they are involved in similar tasks such as trying to constrain algorithms so that, for instance, they do not exhibit racial and gender bias ([ 13 ][14]). Once the capacities to audit pricing algorithms for collusive properties and to constrain learning algorithms so that they do not adopt collusive pricing rules have been developed, legal scholars are called upon to use that knowledge for purposes of prosecution and prevention. One route is to make certain pricing algorithms unlawful, perhaps under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition. In the area of securities law, the 2017 case U.S. v. Michael Coscia made illegal the use of certain programmed trading rules and thus provides a legal precedent for prohibiting algorithms. Another path is to make firms legally responsible for the pricing rules that their learning algorithms adopt ([ 14 ][15]). Firms may then be incentivized to prevent collusion by routinely monitoring the output of their learning algorithms. These are some of the avenues that can be pursued for preventing and shutting down algorithmic collusion. There are several obstacles down the road, including the difficulty of making a collusive property test operational, the lack of transparency and interpretability of algorithms, and courts' willingness and ability to incorporate technical material of this nature. In addition, there is the challenge of addressing algorithmic collusion without giving up the efficiency gains from pricing algorithms such as the quicker response to changing market conditions. As authorities prepare to take action ([ 15 ][16]), it is vital that computer scientists, economists, and legal scholars work together to protect consumers from the potential harm of higher prices. 1. [↵][17]1. A. Ezrachi, 2. M. Stucke , Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy (Harvard Univ. Press, 2016). 2. [↵][18]1. S. Mehra , Minn. Law Rev. 100, 1323 (2016). [OpenUrl][19] 3. [↵][20]1. J. Harrington , The Theory of Collusion and Competition Policy (MIT Press, 2017). 4. [↵][21]1. L. Kaplow , Competition Policy and Price Fixing (Princeton Univ. Press, 2013). 5. [↵][22]1. D. Silver et al ., Science 362, 1140 (2018). [OpenUrl][23][Abstract/FREE Full Text][24] 6. [↵][25]“The Competition and Consumer Protection Issues of Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics,” Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 13–14 November 2018; [www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/ftc-hearing-7-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century][26]. 7. [↵][27]“Algorithms and Collusion—Note from the European Union,” OECD Roundtable, June 2017; [www.oecd.org/competition/algorithms-and-collusion.htm][28]. 8. [↵][29]1. E. Calvano, 2. G. Calzolari, 3. V. Denicolo, 4. S. Pastorello , Am. Econ. Rev. 110, 3267 (2020). [OpenUrl][30] 9. [↵][31]1. T. Klein , “Autonomous Algorithmic Collusion: Q-Learning Under Sequential Pricing,” Amsterdam Law School Research Paper 2018-15 (2019). 10. [↵][32]1. S. Assad, 2. R. Clark, 3. D. Ershov, 4. L. Xu , “Algorithmic Pricing and Competition: Empirical Evidence from the German Retail Gasoline Market,” CESifo Working Paper No. 8521 (2020). 11. [↵][33]1. J. Harrington , J. Compet. Law Econ. 14, 331 (2018). [OpenUrl][34] 12. [↵][35]1. Z. C. Lipton , ACM Queue 16, 30 (2018). [OpenUrl][36] 13. [↵][37]1. P. S. Thomas et al ., Science 366, 999 (2019). [OpenUrl][38][Abstract/FREE Full Text][39] 14. [↵][40]1. S. Chopra, 2. L. White , A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2011). 15. [↵][41]European Commission, document Ares(2020)2877634. Acknowledgments: The paper benefited from detailed and insightful comments by three anonymous reviewers. All authors contributed equally. The authors declare no competing interests. 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When AI Sees a Man, It Thinks 'Official.' A Woman? 'Smile'

WIRED

Turns out, computers do too. When US and European researchers fed pictures of congressmembers to Google's cloud image recognition service, the service applied three times as many annotations related to physical appearance to photos of women as it did to men. The top labels applied to men were "official" and "businessperson;" for women they were "smile" and "chin." "It results in women receiving a lower status stereotype: That women are there to look pretty and men are business leaders," says Carsten Schwemmer, a postdoctoral researcher at GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Köln, Germany. He worked on the study, published last week, with researchers from New York University, American University, University College Dublin, University of Michigan, and nonprofit California YIMBY.


Deep Learning Tool May Accelerate COVID-19 Drug Discovery

#artificialintelligence

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW: By Jessica Kent October 29, 2020 – A deep learning tool can offer more information about SARS-CoV-2 proteins to accelerate COVID-19 drug discovery, according to a study published in Chemical Science. For more coronavirus updates, visit our resource page, updated twice daily by Xtelligent Healthcare Media. Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) Foundation repurposed deep learning models to focus on a specific SARS-CoV-2 protein called its main protease. The main protease is a cog in the virus’s protein machinery that’s critical to how the pathogen makes copies of itself. Drugs that disable the main protease could stop the virus from replicating. Dig Deeper The main protease is distinct from all known human proteases, which isn’t always the case. Drugs that attack the viral protease are therefore less likely to disrupt people’s natural biochemistry. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease is also almost identic


Coupa Acquires AI startup LLamasoft for $1.5 Billion

#artificialintelligence

Coupa Software has acquired AI-powered supply chain design and planning startup LLamasoft for $1.5 Billion. Founded in 2002, Michigan headquartered LLamasoft offers an AI-powered Enterprise Decision Platform. The company has raised a total of $56.1 million in funding to date, according to CrunchBase. Organizations can leverage the llama.ai Chairman and CEO at Coupa, Rob Bernshteyn, said, "We are witnessing an unprecedented shift in what businesses are demanding to effectively manage their supply chains. They need instant visibility, agile planning capabilities, and timely risk mitigation support. LLamasoft's deep supply chain expertise and sophisticated data science and modeling capabilities, combined with the roughly $2 trillion of cumulative transactional spend data we have in Coupa, will empower businesses with the intelligence needed to pivot on a dime. Together, we will deliver a more powerful Business Spend Management platform to help organizations everywhere maximize the value of every dollar they spend in a smarter, simpler, and safer way."


Coupa Acquires AI-Powered Supply Chain Design & Planning Leader LLamasoft for $1.5 billion - Supply Chain 24/7

#artificialintelligence

Coupa Software (NASDAQ: COUP), a leader in Business Spend Management (BSM), announced that it has acquired LLamasoft, a leader in AI-powered supply chain design and planning for a purchase price of approximately $1.5 billion. Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., LLamasoft's technology is used by hundreds of enterprise customers, including brands such as Boeing, Danone S.A., Home Depot, and Nestle. The acquisition will strengthen Coupa's supply chain capabilities, enabling businesses to drive greater value through Business Spend Management. The events of this year continue to demonstrate the importance of supply chain agility, as companies work to more rapidly adapt to changing consumer preferences, economic conditions, and the political landscape. With demand uncertainty on one hand and supply volatility on the other, companies are in need of supply chain technology that can help them assess alternatives and balance trade-offs to achieve desired business results.


How Much Does GM's Electric GMC Hummer EV Truck Cost Vs Tesla's Cybertruck?

International Business Times

General Motors (GM) has finally taken the wraps off its 2022 GMC Hummer EV as it looks to take on Tesla's (TSLA) Cybertruck. While the two trucks will rival each other in the electric truck market, they have distinct differences that may sway consumers one way or the other. GM is selling the first edition of the GMC Hummer EV for $112,595 in contrast to Tesla's Cybertruck, which has a price range of $39,900 to $69,900, depending on the motor configuration. The Cybertruck's self-driving system is another $8,000 more while GM's includes Super Cruise – a driver assist feature – on the Hummer EV. GM said it will begin production of the GMC Hummer EV in late 2021 at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center in Michigan.


Neural Network Filters Weak and Strong External Stimuli to Help Brain Make "Yes or No" Decisions

#artificialintelligence

A University of Michigan-led research team has uncovered a neural network that enables Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies to convert external stimuli of varying intensities into a "yes or no" decision about when to act. The research, described in Current Biology, helps to decode the biological mechanism that the fruit fly nervous system uses to convert a gradient of sensory information into a binary behavioral response. The findings offer up new insights that may be relevant to how such decisions work in other species, and could possibly even be applied to help artificial intelligence machines learn to categorize information. Senior study author Bing Ye, PhD, a faculty member at the University of Michigan Life Science Institute (LSI), believes the mechanism uncovered could have far-reaching applications. "There is a dominant idea in our field that these decisions are made by the accumulation of evidence, which takes time," Ye said.


Open-Source Leg: The Quest to Create a DIY Bionic Limb

#artificialintelligence

If you wanted to cover a large distance and had the world's best sprinters at your disposal, would you have them run against each other or work together in a relay? That, in essence, is the problem Elliott Rouse, a biomedical engineer and director of the Neurobionics Lab at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has been grappling with for the best several years. Rouse, an engineer, is one of many working to develop a control system for bionic legs, artificial limbs that use various signals from the wearer to act and move like biological limbs. "Probably the biggest challenge to creating a robotic leg is the controller that's involved, telling them what to do," Rouse told Digital Trends. "Every time the wearer takes a step, a step needs to be initiated. And when they switch, the leg needs to know their activity has changed and move to accommodate that different activity. If it makes a mistake, the person could get very, very injured -- perhaps falling down some stairs, for example. There are talented people around the world studying these control challenges. They invest years of their time and hundreds of thousands of dollars building a robotic leg. It's the way things have been since this field began."