Government


Congress takes first steps toward regulating artificial intelligence

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Some of the best known examples of artificial intelligence are Siri and Alexa, which listen to human speech, recognize words, perform searches and translate the text results back into speech. But these and other AI technologies raise important issues like personal privacy rights and whether machines can ever make fair decisions. As Congress considers whether to make laws governing how AI systems function in society, a congressional committee has highlighted concerns around the types of AI algorithms that perform specific – if complex – tasks. Often called "narrow AI," these devices' capabilities are distinct from the still-hypothetical general AI machines, whose behavior would be virtually indistinguishable from human activity – more like the "Star Wars" robots R2-D2, BB-8 and C-3PO. Other examples of narrow AI include AlphaGo, a computer program that recently beat a human at the game of Go, and a medical device called OsteoDetect, which uses AI to help doctors identify wrist fractures.


Deep Learning Summit Coming to Toronto in October

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The Deep Learning Summit is returning to Toronto from October 25 – 26, 2018 and will cover the latest advancements in deep learning technology. Global leaders in the field will address how industry leaders and start-ups are applying deep learning techniques across industry and society. The first ever AI for Government Summit, another event stream, will provide a unique opportunity to interact with government bodies, policymakers, strategists and directors of innovation to explore the use of machine learning to increase efficiency, reduce costs and meet the high demands of the public sector. What's more, the Canadian Government have committed over $125 million to AI developments. Headline partners include Accenture, Qualcomm, Graphcore AI and CBC/Radio Canada who will all be sharing their expertise in the field, participating in workshops, discussions, presentations, demonstrations and exhibitions.


Why the Search for Aliens Could Unite Us Here on Earth

WIRED

If aliens are trying to talk to us (or even if they are not), Jill Tarter will be the one to find them. She cofounded the SETI institute in 1984 and ran its research center for many years. She was also the inspiration for Jodie Foster's character in the 1997 movie Contact. Astrophysicist Maggie Turnbull, who is currently running for governor of Wisconsin, began working with Tarter in the late '90s and is now affiliated with the SETI Institute. She's currently working on a NASA telescope called WFIRST, set for space launch in 2025. The two scientists take slightly different approaches to their search for extraterrestrial life.


Pentagon Will Spend $2 Billion Developing Next-Generation AI

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The Pentagon on Friday announced it would spend more than $2 billion over the next five years to advance the foundations of artificial intelligence technology. Through the AI Next initiative, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aims to bring about so-called "third wave" AI, tools capable of human-like communication and contextual reasoning that far surpass the abilities of today's most advanced machine-learning and AI technology. The massive investment comes as global powers like China pour significant resources into their own artificial intelligence R&D programs. "I'm proud to tell you DARPA plans to continue and increase its support for AI research, with a significant focus on the technologies that underpin a third wave of AI," said DARPA Director Steven Walker in the announcement at the agency's 60th anniversary conference. "Let's … double down and commit to ensuring our country continues to create technological surprise for many more years and continues to use that surprise for a better and more secure world."


A Short History of Artificial Intelligence: Making Mythology a Reality omni:us

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When thinking back to the era of ancient civilisations, it's unlikely you'd consider insurance and artificial intelligence staples of the time. Rather, they fit much better into the modern day, where technological innovation goes hand-in-hand with better business practices. Yet, the idea of giving artificial beings a form of mind goes back to antiquity, seen in folklore, myths and stories. As Pamela McCorduck, a writer and novelist on artificial intelligence, wrote, AI stemmed from "an ancient wish to forge the gods" – making it just a bit older than Google, really. Civilisations have long-held beliefs and folklore surrounding bringing inanimate objects to life in Greek, Chinese and Jewish folklore, from Pygmalion's Galatea, an ivory sculpture brought to life to be his wife, to rabbinic golems and a lifelike robot performing to King Mu of Zhou.


Amazon plans machine learning, software engineering, R&D hiring spree in UK

ZDNet

Retail to cloud-computing giant Amazon plans to hire over 1,000 new staff across three sites in the UK, and will open a new office in Manchester next year. "These are Silicon Valley jobs in Britain, and further cement our long-term commitment to the UK," said Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager. A new corporate office in Manchester, due to open next year, will be located in the Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter. The company said the six-storey, 90,000 square-foot site will house at least 600 new staff working on software development, machine learning and R&D. Amazon said it will also expand its development centre in Edinburgh, adding 250 new staff where it already has hundreds of software engineers, machine learning scientists and user experience designers.


How AI Could Save a Submarine from Attack

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The underwater ocean world is an ecosystem with lots of different sounds. So naval forces have traditionally relied on so-called "golden ears," or musicians and other individuals with particularly sharp hearing, to detect the specific signals coming from an enemy submarine. But given the overload of data today, distinguishing between false alarms and actual dangers has become more difficult. That's why "Thales is working on "Deep Learning" algorithms capable of recognizing the particular "song" of a submarine, much as the "Shazam" app helps you identify a song you hear on the radio", says Dominique Thubert, Thales Underwater Systems, which is specialized in sonar systems for submarines, surface warships, and aircraft. These algorithms, attached to submarines, surface ship or drones, will help naval forces sort through and classify information in order to detect attacks early on.


How AI is creating new threats to election security

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Campaign 2018: Election Hacking is a weekly series from CBS News & CNET about the cyber-threats and vulnerabilities of the 2018 midterm election. Cyberattacks targeting the 2018 midterm election aren't just relying on tested tactics like phishing attacks, social media influence campaigns, and ransomware targeting critical infrastructure -- they're also harnessing technology in new and ever more threatening ways. Cybersecurity experts are concerned that emerging technology like artificial intelligence and automation powered by big data and the Internet of Things is helping hackers attack election systems faster than officials can keep up. "What I'm scared by is that there is this attacker-defender asymmetry," says Mark Risher, Google's Director of Product Management for Security and Privacy. "We need to make sure every door, every window, every little portal is securely closed. But the attackers only need to find one."



Teen invents artificial intelligence treatment for pancreatic cancer

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In a particularly pungent case of victim-blaming, "hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist's alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia -- and support Trump's continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom," The Washington Post reports, citing four GOP officials involved in the discussions. The campaign includes "a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump" who in recent days have been "privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi," a Post columnist and Saudi government critic, the Post says. Still, the murmurs have begun to "flare into public view" as conservative media organizations and personalities -- Rush Limbaugh, Front Page, Donald Trump Jr., and a sanitized version on Fox News, to name a few -- "have amplified the claims, which are aimed in part at protecting Trump as he works to preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights." The main lines of attack -- pushed by pro-Saudi accounts on Twitter -- focus on and distort Khashoggi's association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his young and interactions as a journalist with late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and '90s. "The GOP officials declined to share the names of the lawmakers and others who are circulating information critical of Khashoggi," the Post explains, "because they said doing so would risk exposing them as sources."