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Kinaxis to Acquire AI-based Retail and CPG Demand Planning Provider, Rubikloud

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OTTAWA, ON, June 15, 2020 /CNW/ - Kinaxis Inc. (TSX: KXS), the authority in driving agility for fast, confident decision-making in an unpredictable world, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Rubikloud, a disruptive, emerging provider of AI solutions that automate supply chain prescriptive analytics and decision-making in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. Globally-recognized retailers and CPG manufacturers in the health and beauty, household and grocery segments use Rubikloud's AI-based products today. Their offerings include demand forecasting and automation to manage and optimize trade promotions, pricing and assortment to drive product demand and dramatically improve financial results. Kinaxis will enhance RapidResponse's demand planning capabilities with the Rubikloud offerings, anticipating initial opportunities in the company's rapidly-growing CPG customer base and over time for other industries such as life sciences. The acquisition also offers Kinaxis a springboard into the enterprise retail industry.


ModalityIQ Announces Acquisition of The Machine Learning Conference

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ModalityIQ, a community-based knowledge sharing and learning platform, is pleased to announce the acquisition of The Machine Learning Conference ("MLconf" and "MLconf.com"), a leader in serving the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence community. Founded by Courtney and Shon Burton in 2012, MLconf has gathered thousands of members of the machine learning community to coalesce and share lessons learned through a series of 20 conferences that showcase the latest innovations in machine learning tools, techniques and algorithms attracting Data Scientists, Machine Learning professionals and others who have a vested interest in ML/AI. "Sharing lessons learned that help advance the ML/AI community is at the core of ModalityIQ's mission and is why the acquisition of MLconf made sense for us," said Richard Rivera, Founder & CEO of ModalityIQ. "Courtney's years of service and her dedication to providing a platform for the ML/AI community to share, learn, and inspire one another made her the obvious person for us to partner with. We look forward to working with her and the MLconf team to continue to facilitate the sharing of knowledge within the ML/AI community today and in the years to come." In addition to hosting annual conferences, MLconf also has a vibrant online presence through a community blog and job board at mlconf.com, a monthly newsletter, and via social media in addition to a prolific YouTube channel with hundreds of videos highlighting current and past MLconf presentations.


Voicemod raises $8 million for silly or serious voice filters in games

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Voicemod has raised $8 million to expand its business of offering voice filters. People use these filters to change their voices in video games or in virtual worlds, where animated avatars can make your words sound silly. The Valencia, Spain-based company was founded by three brothers who were musicians in 2009, but it really picked up after shifting a couple of years ago to focus on real-time voice modification for gamers and content creators on the PC. Now Voicemod has more than 10 million downloads and 2.5 million monthly active users. Bitkraft Ventures led the funding round.


Can We Really Cheat Death by Downloading Our Brains?

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Last October, Jay Richards, author of The Human Advantage, caught up with Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, a Baylor University computer engineering prof, at COSM 2019 to ask, what are our cheat-death chances? They were responding to futurist Ray Kurzweil's heady claims made at the conference that we will merge with computers by 2045 and live on as AI. Richards and Marks reflected on Kurzweil's claims and the thoughts of the panel responding to them. Jay Richards: He's (Kurzweil, below right) very much a sort of, I'd say, a techno-optimist. And in fact, he sort of thinks we're going to get brain scans and upload ourselves, whereas the panel… Though I know there was a diversity of opinion among the panelists, nevertheless, there was, I thought, a strong dose of realism.


Enko Chem raises $45 million to develop crop protection solutions with AI

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Enko Chem, which harnesses machine learning to help farmers sustainably protect their crops from pests and disease, has raised $45 million. Founder and CEO Jacqueline Heard said the funds will be used to expand the Boston-based startup's technology platform and ready its pipeline of crop protection solutions for field testing and regulatory trials. Enko also plans to continue pursuing studies and collaborations with industry partners as part of its broader mission. Protecting crops from pests is no easy feat. A recent study showed that worldwide, over 600 species of insects and fungi have developed a level of pesticide resistance, threatening losses in yield of between 10.1% and 40.9% for crops like rice, corn, potatoes, and soybeans. In the U.S. alone, insecticides are used to protect crops on approximately 45 million acres, and it's estimated yields would decrease by 40% to 50% without treatment.


This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 27)

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Amazon Shakes Up the Race for Self-Driving--and Ride-Hailing Aarian Marshal Wired "Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says his company wants to be the'Amazon for transportation.' Friday, Amazon made clear that it intends to be the Amazon for transportation. The ecommerce giant said it had agreed to acquire Bay Area-based autonomous vehicle company Zoox, a deal reportedly worth more than $1 billion." Williams knew that he had not committed the crime in question. What he could not have known, as he sat in the interrogation room, is that his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm, according to experts on technology and the law." Meet Silq: The First Intuitive Programming Language for Quantum Computers Luke Dormehl Digital Trends "The creation of the C programming language was a massive milestone for classical computing.


Amazon to acquire autonomous driving startup Zoox – TechCrunch

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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.


Amazon Shakes Up the Race for Self-Driving--and Ride-Hailing

WIRED

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says his company wants to be the "Amazon for transportation." Friday, Amazon made clear that it intends to be the Amazon for transportation. The ecommerce giant said it had agreed to acquire Bay Area-based autonomous vehicle company Zoox, a deal reportedly worth more than $1 billion. Since its founding in 2014, Zoox has been known for its technical chops, its secretiveness, and its sky-high ambition. While Waymo is focusing on self-driving tech and leaving the car building to places like Detroit, Zoox has stuck to its plan to design a robotaxi from the ground up--and operate a ride-hail service.


Cyclica raises $23 million to accelerate drug discovery with AI

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Cyclica, a biotechnology company leveraging AI to accelerate drug discovery, today announced that it raised $23 million. It will use the proceeds to advance its platforms and bolster its commercial plans, according to CEO Naheed Kurji, including growing a pipeline of pre-clinical and clinical assets and pursuing segments like agrochemicals. Traditionally, the design of small molecule therapies -- therapies incorporating chemical probes that aren't useful as drugs, but that inhibit or promote the function of specific proteins -- has focused on disease-associated protein targets. But once a drug enters the body, it interacts with dozens, if not hundreds, of proteins before it is eliminated, and these interactions can impact safety or lead to repurposing opportunities. Moreover, despite how useful chemical probes are, only 4% of human proteins have a known chemical probe available.


Amazon to pay over $1 billion to secure self-driving startup Zoox: report

ZDNet

Amazon is reportedly on the verge of announcing a deal to acquire self-driving startup Zoox for over $1 billion. According to The Information, unnamed sources close to the matter say the deal could be announced as soon as Friday. If confirmed, the acquisition of the startup would give the e-commerce giant access to a pool of over 1,000 staff and additional talent in the self-driving space. California-based Zoox, which also has offices across the San Francisco Bay Area, was founded in 2014 by Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson. The startup describes itself as a company focused on building "autonomous mobility from the ground up," which includes self-driving software for vehicles to safely navigate city streets. To date, the startup has raised $955 million over four funding rounds.