Regional Government


Robots could bring about the death of the five-day working week

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Robots could bring about a four-day working week in Britain as automation and artificial intelligence increase workplace efficiency, a new study has revealed. If new technologies were passed on to staff, they would be able to generate their current weekly economic output in just four days. Even relatively modest gains from using robots and AI had the potential to give British workers Scandinavian levels of leisure time, according to research done by the cross-party Social Market Foundation (SMF) thinktank. The research will boost John McDonnell's plans to reduce hours in the working week The conclusions of the study will come as a boost to John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, who wants to look at reducing hours in the working week. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady used her speech to the organisation's annual gathering last month to call for a four-day working week, saying that it should be achievable by the end of the century.


Researchers use AI to predict outbreak of water wars in the future

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Important resources like minerals, oil and diamonds often go hand-in-hand with conflict and poor governance. But when it comes to one particular resource -- the most important resource of all -- many think a different theory will hold true. Often referred to as the water wars thesis, it suggests that growing water scarcity will drive violent conflict as access to water dries up for certain communities. Analysts worry that people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations will battle for dwindling water supply, inflaming tensions. In a new study, researchers tried to map out how water wars will emerge around the world and which countries are most likely to see water-related conflict in the coming decades.


Regina Dugan: Companies using AI should consider worst-case scenarios

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Former DARPA director and leader of secretive skunkworks divisions at Facebook and Google Regina Dugan said companies need to think about how using AI technology can go wrong in order to try to understand the ethical, societal, and legal implications of their work. More specifically, she suggests technologists and engineers working with emergent technologies practice red teaming and blue teaming to imagine best and worst-case scenarios. Doing both allows you to consider how to mitigate negative consequences. Thinking in these terms should take place at the earliest stages in order for changes to have long-term impact. "I think it's impossible to know at any one point in time what all the unintended consequences will be," Dugan said in an interview with Samsung Electronics president and chief strategy officer Young Sohn.


Apple Data Downloads, A Dating App for Trump Fans, and More Security News This Week

WIRED

As has become an unwelcome tradition, as Friday wound down and the weekend was so close we could nearly taste it, breaking news hit. The biggest Friday night bombshell came in the form of an indictment of a Russian national engaged in a massive conspiracy to influence the upcoming midterm elections. With millions of dollars at her disposal, she and her co-conspirators have allegedly been engaging in a coordinated effort to use Americans' weaknesses and divisions against us, to amp up racial discord, and generally sow chaos and discontent. Of course, it wasn't like the week had been drama free up until that point. The fun, if you can call it that, began last Saturday, when Robert Mueller expert Garrett Graff explained what he expected to see next from the investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 election.


Surgeon Performs Mastectomies Using Robotics

U.S. News

Some women can be treated with lumpectomies, which conserve the breast. But more women are turning to mastectomies, not only to treat breast cancer, but also to prevent it; the rate of mastectomies increased 36 percent from 2005 to 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking review – God, space, AI, Brexit

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The late Stephen Hawking did not believe in an afterlife, but he has one all the same. He has appeared as a co-author in two posthumous research papers since he died in March. One takes a fresh look at the problem of just how complex the universe far beyond our horizon could be; the other returns to the intractable but apparently not entirely insoluble problem of what happens to information once it falls into a black hole. This second paper is a response to a paradox that concerns only theoretical physicists but the first addresses the machinery of creation that seems to have needed no creator. Not surprisingly, he returns to both themes and many more in what his publishers call his final thoughts.


Pepper the robot will testify about AI in front of UK Parliament - AI News

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Softbank's robot Pepper is set to be the first non-human to testify in front of the UK Parliament to give evidence about the fourth industrial revolution. Pepper will be attempting to explain topics such as AI and robotics to The Commons Education Select Committee. "If we've got the march of the robots, we perhaps need the march of the robots to our select committee to give evidence," Committee chair Robert Halfon toldTes. "The fourth industrial revolution is possibly the most important challenge facing our nation over the next 10, 20, to 30 years." AI and robotics will drastically change our societies, and not always for the better.


Germany's falling behind on tech, and Merkel knows it

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"I'm used to bad news," Merkel said, according to a participant's recollection. The German chancellor had just returned from China, where she spent a day in the Shenzhen tech hub visiting companies like ICarbonX, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup focused on disease detection. A trained physicist, Merkel had been impressed by what she saw. The money and manpower China poured into AI left the 64-year-old with little doubt that the country viewed the technology as its key to becoming a global superpower. "We really do have to walk the extra mile to make sure we're not left behind" -- Jörg Bienert, president of a new association representing more than 50 AI startups Germany, by contrast, had no plan for AI. So on her return to Berlin, Merkel met the country's top 32 AI experts at the chancellery to hear how the country was doing. Their assessment was sobering: Germany, they said, has a good track record in AI research, but it suffers from problems ranging from brain drain to a weak record in transforming basic research into real-world applications that are hampering its ability to compete in a new technology race. After three hours, Merkel left concerned -- and made her worries public a month later. "For centuries, or let's say since the age of Enlightenment, we in Europe were used to being the first ones to come up with technological innovations," she told a tech conference.


Computational science grad students awarded U.S. Department of Energy fellowships

MIT News

Four MIT graduate students have been awarded 2018 United States Department of Energy (DoE) Computational Science Graduate Fellowships to address intractable challenges in science and engineering. Nationwide, MIT garnered the most fellowships out of this year's 26 recipients. The fellows receive full tuition and additional financial support, access to a network of alumni, and valuable practicum experience working in a DoE national laboratory. By supporting students like Kaley Brauer, Sarah Greer, William Moses, and Paul Zhang, the DoE aims to help train the next generation of computational scientists and engineers, incite collaboration and progress, and advance the future of the field by bringing more visibility to computational science careers. Kaley Brauer is a graduate student in the Department of Physics.


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.