Imagine we want to train a self-driving car in New York so that we can take it all the way to Seattle without tediously driving it for over 48 hours. We hope our car can handle all kinds of environments on the trip and send us safely to the destination. We know that road conditions and views can be very different. It is intuitive to simply collect road data of this trip, let the car learn from every possible condition, and hope it becomes the perfect self-driving car for our New York to Seattle trip. It needs to understand the traffic and skyscrapers in big cities like New York and Chicago, more unpredictable weather in Seattle, mountains and forests in Montana, and all kinds of country views, farmlands, animals, etc.
Microsoft's talks to acquire Tik Tok don't make a whole lot of sense on the surface. In fact, nothing about this deal makes sense given you have a tech giant that is known for the enterprise, President Trump tweeting about Tik Tok, legislators chiming in and a 45-day deal deadline. Sure, I've read a few Wall Street analysts do some mental gymnastics to argue for the Microsoft purchase of Tik Tok. Depending on price ($10 billion too good to pass up and $50 billion crazy), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is going to have some explaining to do. With all that said, here is a bit of informed speculation about why this Microsoft-Tik Tok lunacy is happening. The Department of Defense's JEDI cloud contract is to be announced soon.
LONDON/NEW YORK – Nvidia Corp. is in advanced talks to acquire Arm Ltd., the chip designer that SoftBank Group Corp. bought for $32 billion four years ago, according to people familiar with the matter. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the only suitor in concrete discussions with SoftBank, according to the people. A deal for Arm could be the largest ever in the semiconductor industry, which has been consolidating in recent years as companies seek to diversify and add scale. But any deal with Nvidia, which is a customer of Arm, would likely trigger regulatory scrutiny as well as a wave of opposition from other firms.
Harvey Mudd computer science professor Jim Boerkoel works with a student in his robotics lab, where ... [ ] he focuses on using AI to develop human-robot teamwork. The rapid expansion of artificial intelligence from facial recognition and self-driving cars to understanding human speech is having a major impact on business and society, which is why the lack of diversity among the people developing AI tools is so troubling. A recent study published by the AI Now Institute of New York University concluded that a "diversity disaster" has resulted in flawed AI systems that perpetuate gender and racial biases. The report found that more than 80 percent of AI professors are men and only 15% of AI researchers at Facebook and 10 percent of AI researchers at Google are women. The numbers reflect a larger issue facing the computer sciences where, in 2018, less than 25 percent of PhDs were awarded to females and/or minorities, who are historically underrepresented in computing. Industry and academia are taking steps to increase diversity among AI researchers through steps designed to ensure that future technology benefits all people and not just a homogenous group of white males.
That's certainly one way to make a logo. Amazon has agreed to acquire autonomy startup Zoox for a sum in excess of $1 billion, according to sources cited by The Information. The news comes hot on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report last month indicating that such talks were taking place. The deal, confirmed in an Amazon blog post, would value Zoox at significantly lower than the $3.2 billion valuation it received during a funding round in 2018. But given the current state of the economy, a seven-digit payout is nothing to sniff at.
Robotic process automation startup UiPath today announced it has closed a $225 million funding round, bringing its total raised to over $1.2 billion. While the new round is roughly half the $568 million UiPath raised last April, it catapults the New York-based company's post-money valuation to $10.2 billion, up from $7 billion in 2019 and $3 billion in 2018. CEO Daniel Dines says the funding will be used to scale UiPath's platform and deepen its investments in "AI-powered innovation" as it expands its cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. The round will also likely lay the groundwork for future strategic deals, following UiPath's acquisition of startups StepShot and ProcessGold last October. RPA -- technology that automates monotonous, repetitive chores traditionally performed by human workers -- is big business.
As the world prepares to embrace the new normalcy of life, a lot of companies have started allowing their employees to work from home to ensure their safety after the outbreak of COVID-19. This is especially true for organizations with computer programming, data science, artificial intelligence, engineering, and machine learning workforce. Implemented as a temporary solution, remote work is likely to become the normal way of keeping such businesses functional. Most of the companies have always preferred hiring locally, requiring employees to stay in the local region even when allowing work from home. Due to this, individuals from different parts of the world migrate to locations that have more job opportunities such as Silicon Valley, New York City, Seattle, etc.
In October 2017, Facebook altered the Instagram API to make it harder for users to search its giant database of photos. The change was a small element of the company's response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but it was a significant problem for parts of the digital marketing industry. Not long before, New York-based influencer marketing agency Amra & Elma had developed a platform that ingested data from Instagram, and allowed its client to use AI image classifiers to find very specific influencers. For instance, they could find an influencer with, say, between 10,000 and 50,000 followers who had posted photos of themselves in a Jeep. Facebook's move killed this capability in a keystroke.
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.