From braille to Be My Eyes – there's a revolution happening in tech for the blind

The Guardian

I am using an app called Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind and visually impaired people to sighted volunteers via a remote video connection. In the mid-1970s Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in optical character recognition (OCR) – software that can recognise printed text – founded Kurzweil Computer Products and programmed omni-font, the first OCR program with the ability to recognise any kind of print style. All the time, companies are finding new ways to improve accessibility and Be My Eyes isn't the only assistive technology company taking advantage of the real time human element, building technology that is based on the creation of dialogue with its users. Earlier this year, Aira helped Erich Manser, who has retinitis pigmentosa, run the Boston marathon.

Federal Technology News and Analysis for IT Managers & Acquisition Teams


It's come a long ways from 300 baud modems and original IBM PCs. Lawmakers: How Many Cyber Threat Centers Does the Government Need? Congress questions HHS' cyber threat center and other things they did ... White House Artifacts to Be Digitized Using Amazon Web Services The White House Historical Association is building a virtual tour app for ... GSA Seeks Blockchain Solutions The technology would help speed up proposal review. How Not to Win an AI Arms Race With China A lawmaker's proposal to curb Chinese investment in U.S. artificial-intelligence firms has more ...

Artificial intelligence and the coming health revolution - The Express Tribune


And bots, or automated programs, are likely to play a key role in finding cures for some of the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions. Facebook's AI assistant M to offer suggestions during Messenger chat Amazon meanwhile offers medical advice through applications on its voice-activated artificial assistant Alexa. When IBM's Watson computing system won the TV game show Jeopardy in 2011, "there were a lot of folks in health care who said that is the same process doctors use when they try to understand health care," said Anil Jain, chief medical officer of Watson Health. Research firm CB Insights this year identified 106 digital health startups applying machine learning and predictive analytics "to reduce drug discovery times, provide virtual assistance to patients, and diagnose ailments by processing medical images."

Learning about the world through video – twentybn – Medium


A few notable exceptions, like DeepMind's recently released Kinetics dataset, try to alleviate this by focusing on shorter clips, but since they show high-level human activities taken from YouTube videos, they fall short of representing the simplest physical object interactions that will be needed for modeling visual common sense. To generate the complex, labelled videos that neural networks need to learn, we use what we call "crowd acting". Predicting the textual labels from the videos therefore requires strong visual features that are capable of representing a wealth of physical properties of the objects and the world. The videos show human actors performing generic hand gestures in front of a webcam, such as "Swiping Left/Right," "Sliding Two Fingers Up/Down," or "Rolling Hand Forward/Backward."

US Intelligence director: "AI will replace 75 percent of spies"


The annual conference, hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, brings together technologists, soldiers, and intelligence professionals to discuss national security threats, changes in technology, and data collection and processing. The message he's sending to workers at the agency is that the goal of automation "isn't to get rid of you -- it's there to elevate you.… In Cardillo's eyes, the profession of geospatial intelligence – monitoring and exploiting commercial and proprietary video and imagery feeds, such as those available from global satellite surveillance company Planet – is on the precipice of a data explosion similar to when the internet took off. At that point, the National Security Agency (NSA), which is responsible for collecting and analysing digital communications, had to figure out ways to vacuum up and glean specific conclusions from an explosion of communications traveling back and forth on the web. RELATED: Promising'Genetic Chainsaw in a pill' could solve the world's antibiotic crisis NGA is responsible for tracking potential threats, such as military testing sites in North Korea.

Verdigris Uses AI to Wring Energy Savings from Buildings NVIDIA Blog


While most buildings get occasional walk-through energy usage audits, Verdigris' digital system uploads electricity consumption data to the cloud 24/7. It can even integrate the data with building management systems to automate electricity usage controls. Chung estimates this helps Verdigris train models 20 times as fast as on CPUs. Eventually, Chung said he'd like Verdigris to expand beyond smart building optimization and into enabling smart cities.

Why "How many jobs will be killed by AI?" is the wrong question


Job growth has continued because there has been a rapid rise in service sector physical jobs like home health aide or short order cook. A UBI is thus both less targeted and more expensive that the EITC, but the real problem is that a UBI doesn't give people any clear reason to get off the sidelines of the economy. Tech progress has changed our economy a lot over the past generation, and will change it even more quickly in the years to come. Instead of trying to prepare for a jobless future, we should instead be preparing for one that's a turbocharged version of what we already have: a job creation engine that has shifted into a lower gear, and a large number of people tempted to sit on the sidelines rather than contributing their skills to the economy.

How Going From Mobile-First to AI-First Is Changing Everything


From its search platform to mobile device hardware and accompanying technology, the focus has been on giving users consistent access to the internet, regardless of whether they're on a desktop computer in their office or sitting in an airport with their smartphone. Features, which now work with iPhone, include music control, navigation, smart home controls, and conversational search that is surprisingly responsive. Google is also very much interested in developing smart home technology to compete with the likes of Amazon and other major tech players. With the right talent acquisition model, an investment in consumer education, and an appropriate rollout of new AI technologies, the only thing stopping Google from becoming the machine learning leader of the world is Google itself.

YouTube Adds Machine Learning To Comments, Rebuilds Its Desktop Creator Studio


The all-new YouTube Creator Studio -- which the company is renaming YouTube Studio -- will still feature a suite of channel management tools aimed to make creators' lives easier. Capping off the slew of updates it unveiled this year at VidCon, YouTube announced at a session on Saturday evening that it is rebuilding its Creator Studio on desktops and revamping comments with new machine learning technology. The all-new YouTube Creator Studio -- which the company is renaming YouTube Studio -- will still feature a suite of channel management tools aimed to make creators' lives easier. Capping off the slew of updates it unveiled this year at VidCon, YouTube announced at a session on Saturday evening that it is rebuilding its Creator Studio on desktops and revamping comments with new machine learning technology.

42 Percent Of Smart Home Speaker Owners Have More Than One Device, Report Says

International Business Times

With products like the Amazon Echo and the upcoming Apple HomePod, the burgeoning home assistant market has seen a lot of moves recently. A recent survey from Edison Research and NPR indicated 42 percent of smart speaker owners have more than one home speaker. The report also includes other encouraging signs for smart speaker manufacturers: 70 percent of owners said they are listening to more audio at home and 65 percent of polled users said they wouldn't want to go back to not having a speaker in their homes. Tom Webster, Edison Research vice president of strategy, said the survey reflected the growth of the smart home assistant market in recent years.