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Recommended Reading and My Reuters Pic of the Week

#artificialintelligence

Welcome back to my recommended reading list, with pieces this week on the latest on coronavirus, how Facebook is using AI to tackle fake accounts and the carbon footprint of your online habits. This week's photo, by Reuters photographer Rodi Said, shows a boy waiting with his mother as they queue with others for humanitarian and medical help after leaving Baghouz, the last stronghold of the Islamic State caliphate, in Deir Al Zor, Syria, on March 5, 2019. The image was selected as the photo the year in a vote by Thomson Reuters staff around the world. Read on for this week's picks... Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, adding to the more than 100,000 cases of the fast-spreading illness across the world. The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with seven countries reporting their first cases on Friday.


OpenAI goes all-in on Facebook's Pytorch machine learning framework

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In what might only be perceived as a win for Facebook, OpenAI today announced that it will migrate to the social network's PyTorch machine learning framework in future projects, eschewing Google's long-in-the-tooth TensorFlow platform. OpenAI is the San Francisco-based AI research firm cofounded by CTO Greg Brockman, chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk, and others, with backing from luminaries like LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and former Y Combinator president Sam Altman. In a blog post, the company cited PyTorch's efficiency, scalability, and adoption as the reasons for its decision. "Going forward we'll primarily use PyTorch as our deep learning framework but sometimes use other ones when there's a specific technical reason to do so," said the company in a statement. "We're … excited to be joining a rapidly-growing developer community, including organizations like Facebook and Microsoft, in pushing scale and performance on [graphics cards]."


Dating apps face U.S. inquiry over underage use and sex offenders

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – A House subcommittee is investigating popular dating services such as Tinder and Bumble for allegedly allowing minors and sex offenders to use their services. Bumble, Grindr, The Meet Group and the Match Group, which owns such popular services as Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid, are the current targets of the investigation by the U.S. House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy. In separate letters Thursday to the companies, the subcommittee is seeking information on users' ages, procedures for verifying ages, and any complaints about assaults, rape or the use of the services by minors. It is also asking for the services' privacy policies and details on what users see when they review and agree to the policies. Although the minimum age for using internet services is typically 13 in the U.S., dating services generally require users to be at least 18 because of concerns about sexual predators.


2020: Our meatless, cashless, city-less future

#artificialintelligence

Happy New Year! 2019 has come and gone like Kylo Ren's reign in The Rise of Skywalker, and so it's time for my (13th!) annual prediction piece for VentureBeat. Facial recognition trials will launch in large public venues outside of China. Of course bans of the technology has already occurred, too, in cities like San Francisco and Somerville, MA. Enterprise analytics will become red hot. I predicted this space would reach a third of the value of the workflow platform space by the end of 2019.


How AI came to rule our lives over the last decade

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San Francisco (CNN Business)In 2010, artificial intelligence was more likely to pop up in dystopian science-fiction movies than in everyday life. And it certainly wasn't something people worried might take over their jobs in the near future. A lot has changed since then. AI is now used for everything from helping you take better smartphone photos and analyzing your personality in job interviews to letting you buy a sandwich without paying a cashier. It's also becoming increasingly common -- and controversial -- when used for surveillance, such as facial-recognition software, and for spreading misinformation, as with deepfake videos that purport to show a person doing or saying something they didn't.


The US's top 15 emerging jobs of 2020, according to LinkedIn

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It's never a bad time to be an engineer--or to have people skills. LinkedIn's third annual US emerging jobs report has identified the 15 fastest-growing jobs, as well as the skills and cities most associated with them. This year the company found that the number of artificial intelligence and data science roles continue to expand across nearly every industry. For the first time, robotics has made an appearance on the list, and at least five roles in the ranking include the word "engineer" in the title. But it's not just high-tech roles that have seen a lot more hiring action in the past five years, which is how far back LinkedIn looks to measure the emergence of roles based on user profile data and hiring growth trends.


For the sake of privacy: Facebook new AI tool changes facial features, prevents identification of people

#artificialintelligence

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook's artificial intelligence (AI) research team has developed a tool that tricks the facial recognition system to wrongly identify a person in a video, the media reported. The "de-identification" system, which also works in live videos, uses machine learning to change key facial features of a subject in a video, according to a report in VentureBeat on Friday. "Face recognition can lead to loss of privacy and face replacement technology may be misused to create misleading videos," reads a paper explaining the company's approach, as cited by VentureBeat. This de-identification technology earlier worked mostly for still images, The Verge reported. "Recent world events concerning advances in, and abuse of face recognition technology invoke the need to understand methods that deals with de-identification. Our contribution is the only one suitable for video, including live video, and presents quality that far surpasses the literature methods," said the paper.


Twitter co-founder invests in AI project to create 'new type of media' - AOL

#artificialintelligence

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has spoken about his decision to invest in artificial intelligence as part of a project which aims to create "a new type of media". Mr Stone was joined by AI Foundation co-founder and chief executive Lars Buttler at the One Young World conference to introduce the concept of "personal media". The digital pioneers presented the concept, which is communication through an artificial version of yourself, as the next type of media following on from mass media and social media. The AI Foundation, a start-up business based in San Francisco, is working on artificial intelligence "that think and act like you" using 10 billion dollars of funding from investors. Users of this technology would own an AI version of themselves, which would "share their values and interests" by being programmed and controlled by them.


Brain-computer interfaces are developing faster than the policy debate around them

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A few days ago, Facebook disentangled itself from a nettlesome investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into how the company violated users' privacy. And then, with that matter now squarely behind it, Facebook on Tuesday stepped forward to share some information about its effort to read our minds. Two years after the company announced its mind-reading initiative, Facebook has an update to share. The company sponsored an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco in which they built an interface for decoding spoken dialogue from brain signals. The results were published today in Nature Communication.


Dogged by ads?: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data-gathering

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – Soon, you could get fewer familiar ads following you around the internet -- or at least on Facebook. Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets you limit what the social network can gather about you on outside websites and apps. The company said Tuesday that it is adding a section where you can see the activity that Facebook tracks outside its service via its "like" buttons and other means. You can choose to turn off the tracking; otherwise, tracking will continue the same way it has been. Formerly known as "clear history," the tool will now go by the slightly clunkier moniker "off-Facebook activity."