Collaborating Authors


Making the case for artificial intelligence


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has opened myriad possibilities to make life better--faster, more efficient, cheaper. At the same time, using data and machines to speed things up has also increased the chances of lost human connections, missed steps in deliberation, and over-simplification of life's messiness. The Utah Informatics Initiative (UI2) and Tanner Humanities Center are hosting a virtual symposium Sept. 21 and 22 to explore the facets of AI's role in society. The University of Utah is uniquely situated as the host for these discussions, said Mike Kirby, UI2 director. The U has a notable cohort of researchers studying informatics, data science and machine learning, while working alongside interdisciplinary partners in the humanities and arts.

Research on beards, wads of gum wins 2021 Ig Nobel prizes

Boston Herald

Beards aren't just cool and trendy -- they might also be an evolutionary development to help protect a man's delicate facial bones from a punch to the face. That's the conclusion of a trio of scientists from the University of Utah who are among the winners of this year's Ig Nobel prizes, the Nobel Prize spoofs that honor -- or maybe dishonor, depending on your point of view -- strange scientific discoveries. The winners of the 31st annual Ig Nobels being announced Thursday included researchers who figured out how to better control cockroaches on U.S. Navy submarines; animal scientists who looked at whether it's safer to transport an airborne rhinoceros upside-down; and a team that figured out just how disgusting that discarded gum stuck to your shoe is. For the second year in a row, the ceremony was a roughly 90-minute prerecorded digital event because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, said Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, the event's primary sponsor. While disappointing in many ways because half the fun of a live ceremony is the rowdy audience participation, the ceremony retained many in-person traditions.

Government audit of AI with ties to white supremacy finds no AI


The Transform Technology Summits start October 13th with Low-Code/No Code: Enabling Enterprise Agility. In April 2020, news broke that Banjo CEO Damien Patton, once the subject of profiles by business journalists, was previously convicted of crimes committed with a white supremacist group. According to OneZero's analysis of grand jury testimony and hate crime prosecution documents, Patton pled guilty to involvement in a 1990 shooting attack on a synagogue in Tennessee. Amid growing public awareness about algorithmic bias, the state of Utah halted a $20.7 million contract with Banjo, and the Utah attorney general's office opened an investigation into matters of privacy, algorithmic bias, and discrimination. But in a surprise twist, an audit and report released last week found no bias in the algorithm because there was no algorithm to assess in the first place.



Hey all, we are back! In this classic episode we go over highlights from the IEEE VIS'20 conference. We cover a broad set of themes with Danielle Szafir from University of Colorado and Miriah Meyer from University of Utah, who helped us explore latest trends in visualization. See the main links and details in the show notes below. There is a lot to explore!

The future of healthcare chatbots: Physician replacement or enhancement?


While more healthcare providers turned to chatbots for patient triaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say the technologies powering these virtual assistants still need advancing before coming close to imitating a physician's brain, The Washington Post reported. Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare rolled out artificial intelligence chatbot Scout in March 2020 to navigate calls and concerns from people who were worried they had COVID-19. Health tech company Gyant created the chatbot. After a successful launch, the health system added a symptom-checker to the assistant in June 2020, which asks patients about 30 questions to narrow in on symptoms, such as how bad their headache is, and then set up an appointment or advise them to visit urgent care. Intermountain hopes to eventually add a way to have a "doctor's visit" with Scout, where the chatbot would provide care that is quickly reviewed and verified by a real, human physician, according to the report.

The University Of Utah: UI2 And Tanner Humanities Center Team Up For Discussion Of Artificial Intelligence


"Each of our lives is increasingly impacted by Artificial Intelligence--how we accomplish tasks, our habits, even the way we think about the world--and nearly every aspect of intellectual pursuit is changing through this technology," said Mike Kirby, UI2 director. "To be proactive, we need to ask not only, 'What do we do?' but'How do we do it?'" The symposium, which runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22, is offered to University of Utah community members and industry partners from across the academic spectrum as an opportunity to discuss the ethical, social and technical implications of artificial intelligence and its impact on society. The Zoom gathering will feature keynote speaker Moshe Vardi, who leads Rice University's Initiative on Technology, Culture and Society. Other discussions about the intersections of technology and society are planned throughout the fall.

VERB to Introduce A I Capability to its Line-Up of Sales Tools


New feature comes on the heels of VERB's Attribution feature announced in May 2021 for the verbLIVE livestream ecommerce platform NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. and SALT LAKE CITY, July 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Verb Technology Company, Inc. (Nasdaq: VERB) ("VERB" or the "Company"), a leader in interactive video-based sales enablement applications, including interactive livestream ecommerce, webinar, CRM and marketing applications for entrepreneurs and enterprises, today announced that it is introducing A I capabilities to its sales enablement platform. The new feature set called "Pulse" is the first iteration of VERB's artificial intelligence initiatives designed to make it easy for anyone to sell, giving pros and newbies alike a real competitive advantage. The new feature will be available in August 2021. Designed by sales people for sales people, Pulse helps automate management of their customer relationships and interactions. Based on prior activities and behavior, Pulse guides users through behavior-driven prompts, reminders, and suggested actions for specific customers.

The case against predictive policing - Tech Monitor


In August 2019, lobbyist Bryan Smith told a board of Utah's police chiefs, municipal officials and emergency responders that his company, Banjo, could provide them new insights on where crime was occurring in real time. To be sure, that would require running huge data flows through its proprietary algorithm – CCTV camera feeds, 911 calls, emergency vehicle locations – but Banjo would achieve this without endangering the personal privacy of anyone caught up in this new surveillance dragnet. Armed with a contract allowing Banjo to operate in every county in Utah, by January 2020 the company began to receive data flows from around 70 municipalities, the state's Highway Patrol, and Department of Public Safety. Any optimism among lawmakers as to Banjo's effectiveness, however, was short-lived. In May of that year, the company's CEO resigned after his past as a white supremacist was exposed, prompting the suspension of its contract with the state of Utah and an audit into its practices.

Dash cam data solves a big infrastructure problem


Those painted road markings on highways don't seem like much, but study after study show that they save many lives. Keeping track of faded lane dividers, potholes, and other hazards on America's 4 million miles of roads is a tall task but the data already exists -- being recorded every day by dash cams. That's the premise behind a new collaboration between Nexar, whose popular dash cams are in hundreds of thousands of cars covering millions of miles of roads a day, and Blyncsy, a movement and data intelligence company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Blyncsy will ingest billions of images collected by Nexar's popular dash cams to support pilot programs for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, CalTrans, Utah, and other departments nationwide. "We know that machine learning is only as strong as the data it depends on," says Mark Pittman, CEO and founder of Blyncsy.

A Novel Automatic Modulation Classification Scheme Based on Multi-Scale Networks Artificial Intelligence

Automatic modulation classification enables intelligent communications and it is of crucial importance in today's and future wireless communication networks. Although many automatic modulation classification schemes have been proposed, they cannot tackle the intra-class diversity problem caused by the dynamic changes of the wireless communication environment. In order to overcome this problem, inspired by face recognition, a novel automatic modulation classification scheme is proposed by using the multi-scale network in this paper. Moreover, a novel loss function that combines the center loss and the cross entropy loss is exploited to learn both discriminative and separable features in order to further improve the classification performance. Extensive simulation results demonstrate that our proposed automatic modulation classification scheme can achieve better performance than the benchmark schemes in terms of the classification accuracy. The influence of the network parameters and the loss function with the two-stage training strategy on the classification accuracy of our proposed scheme are investigated. H. Zhang, F. Zhou, and Qihui Wu are with College of Electronic and Information Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 211106 China. They are also with Key Laboratory of Dynamic Cognitive System of Electromagnetic Spectrum Space (Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics), and with Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Nanjing, 211106, China (email:, W. Wu is with the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing 210003, China, also with the Key Laboratory of Dynamic Cognitive System of Electromagnetic Spectrum Space, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 211106, China (e-mail: R. Q. Hu is with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA (e-mail: ITH the commercial applications of the fifth generation (5G) wireless communication networks, the sixth generation (6G) wireless communication networks have received an increasing attention from both academia and industry [1] and [2]. Intelligent communication empowered by artificial intelligence is one of the most evident characteristics of 6G wireless communication systems. To realize this goal, it is of crucial importance to automatically recognize the modulation types [3].