Collaborating Authors

Queens County

How artificial intelligence can save journalism


The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis in journalism that could decimate media organizations around the world. The future of journalism -- and its survival -- could lie in artificial intelligence (AI). AI refers "to intelligent machines that learn from experience and perform tasks like humans," according to Francesco Marconi, a professor of journalism at Columbia University in New York, who has just published a book on the subject: Newsmakers, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism. Marconi was head of the media lab at the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, one of the largest news organizations in the world. His thesis is clear and incontrovertible: the journalism world is not keeping pace with the evolution of new technologies.

AI And Brain Scans Target American Schools


Ultra-creepy technology that George Orwell could not have imagined in his most terrifying nightmares is invading government-school classrooms -- and children's minds -- all around the world. While many of the Big Brother innovations are coming out of Communist China, they are making their way into American schools quickly as well. In a video report by the Wall Street Journal on artificial intelligence in Communist Chinese schools, children in a communist indoctrination camp masquerading as a school are shown wearing bands around their heads. The devices feature colored lights on the front that indicate for the "teacher" whether the child is paying attention or distracted. Red is for "deeply focused."

Amazon to acquire autonomous driving startup Zoox – TechCrunch


Amazon announced Friday that it will acquire Zoox, a self-driving startup founded in 2014 that has raised nearly $1 billion in funding and which aims to develop autonomous driving technology, including vehicles, for the purposes of providing a full-stack solution for ride-hailing. Zoox will continue to exist as a standalone business, according to Amazon's announcement, with current CEO Aicha Evans continuing in her role, as well as CTO and co-founder Jesse Levinson. Their overall company mission will also remain the same, the release notes. The Financial Time reports that the deal is worth $1.2 billion. The Wall Street Journal had reported at the end of May that Amazon was looking at Zoox as a potential acquisition target, and that the deal had reached the advanced stages.

AI, the Future of Cybersecurity


In August this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on an unusual case of AI being used in hacking. Using AI, the attackers were able to impersonate a CEO's voice convincingly enough to compel a colleague to transfer nearly a quarter of a million dollars into their accounts. As unusual as it may seem, this "vishing" or voice phishing attack – a more sophisticated take on conventional phishing scams – wasn't exactly unprecedented. Vishing attacks have grown nearly 350% since 2013 and recent predictions indicate that the phenomenon will only become more commonplace in 2020 and more sophisticated as ML/AI technologies mature. Emerging AI-enabled cyberthreats such as vishing represent a new challenge for cybersecurity analysts and CISOs.

Amazon to Acquire Self-Driving Startup Zoox WSJD - Technology Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire autonomous-car developer Zoox, the two companies said Friday. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant was in advanced talks to buy Zoox, at a price lower than the $3.2 billion valuation Zoox had achieved in a previous fundraising round. Zoox was founded in 2014 and grew quickly amid expanding interest in autonomous vehicles and ride hailing but has more recently struggled to raise funding.

Oil & Gas Industry Transforming Itself with the Help of AI


The oil and gas industry is turning to AI to help cut operating costs, predict equipment failure, and increase oil and gas output. A faulty well pump at an unmanned platform in the North Sea disrupted production in early 2019 for Aker BP, a Norwegian oil company, according to an account in the Wall Street Journal. The company installed an AI program that monitors data from sensors on the pump, flagging glitches before they can cause a shutdown, stated Lars Atle Andersen, VP of operations for the firm. Now he flies in engineers to fix such problems ahead of time and prevent a shutdown, he stated. Aker BP employed a solution from SparkCognition of Austin, Texas.

iRobot Cleans Up WSJD - Technology

The maker of the popular Roomba line of robot vacuum cleaners boosted its second-quarter revenue forecast on Monday, citing stronger-than-expected sales of its devices. The company had previously projected revenue to be "down modestly" from last year's period; Wall Street analysts had forecast a 30%...

Animal Crossing's massive popularity has made it less like paradise and more like Wall Street

Washington Post - Technology News

With hours of extra time on their hands because of social distancing and quarantine, new players to Nintendo's "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" like Ash Wolf, also known on Twitter as Ninji, have been drawn to the slow, laid-back life simulator that allows them to build idyllic islands, decorate their homes, visit friends and more. "People are using this as a sort of escape," Wolf said. "I joked when I first got the game that it was literally the only thing giving me structure in my life." But this influx of new users produced an unexpected evolution, recalibrating the game's serene speed to a fast-paced hustle one player compared to Wall Street. Animal Crossing isn't designed for such gameplay -- in fact, it purposefully slows players down by design. Yet the game's community became obsessed with optimization, in the process exploiting features meant to encourage day-by-day progress. Now, they've become a dominant part of the audience, finding loopholes or strategies to get rich fast.

Facebook knew its algorithm made people turn against each other but stopped research

The Independent - Tech

Facebook executives took the decision to end research that would make the social media site less polarising for fears that it would unfairly target right-wing users, according to new reports. The company also knew that its recommendation algorithm exacerbated divisiveness, leaked internal research from 2016 appears to indicate. Building features to combat that would require the company to sacrifice engagement – and by extension, profit – according to a later document from 2018 which described the proposals as "antigrowth" and requiring "a moral stance." "Our algorithms exploit the human brain's attraction to divisiveness," a 2018 presentation warned, warning that if action was not taken Facebook would provide users "more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform." According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, in 2017 and 2018 Facebook conducted research through newly created "Integrity Teams" to tackle extremist content and a cross-jurisdictional task force dubbed "Common Ground."

Artificial Intelligence Startup Accern Raises $13 Million In Series A To Help Enterprises Adopt AI More Easily


When Kumesh Aroomoogan was working in the public finance department at Citigroup, he spent hours looking at financial statements, copying and pasting from one document to the next, arranging and rearranging his Excel sheet, and performing a lot of repeated manual tasks. "They were scaling on labor versus technology," Aroomoogan says. "I thought there has to be a better way to automate this entire process." So in 2014, Aroomoogan, who had an idea for a product, teamed up with Anshul Vikram Pandey, a data visualization PhD student at NYU at the time, and the two started working in Aroomoogan's basement in Queens, NY. What came out of the effort of the two entrepreneurs is Accern, an enterprise whose AI Platform contains ready-made solutions for the financial service industry.