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UNSW switches cloud-based data lakes for AI and ML capabilities

ZDNet

It was clear to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) that at the end of 2018, when it was developing its data strategy, it needed to improve the turnaround time it took to get information into the hands of decision makers. But to do that, the university had to set up a cloud-based data warehouse, which it opted to host in Microsoft Azure. The cloud-based warehouse now operates alongside the university's legacy data warehouse, which is currently hosted in Amazon Web Service's (AWS) EC2. "Our legacy data warehouse has been around for 10 to 15 years. But we started looking at what platforms can let us do everything that we do now, but also allows us to move seamlessly into new things like machine learning and AI," UNSW chief data and insights officer and senior lecture at the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Kate Carruthers said, speaking to ZDNet.


Artificial intelligence impact on society

#artificialintelligence

Three friends were having morning tea on a farm in the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, when they noticed a drilling rig setting up in a neighbor's property on the opposite side of the valley. They had never heard of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, nor had they previously considered activism. That drilling rig, however, was enough to push them into action. The group soon became instrumental in establishing the anti-CSG movement, a movement whose activism resulted in the NSW government suspending gas exploration licenses in the area in 2014.2 By 2015, the government had bought back a petroleum exploration license covering 500,000 hectares across the region.3 Mining companies, like companies in many industries, have been struggling with the difference between having a legal license to operate and a moral4 one. The colloquial version of this is the distinction between what one could do and what one should do--just because something is technically possible and economically feasible doesn't mean that the people it affects will find it morally acceptable. Without the acceptance of the community, firms find themselves dealing with "never-ending demands" from "local troublemakers" hearing that "the company has done nothing for us"--all resulting in costs, financial and nonfinancial,5 that weigh projects down. A company can have the best intentions, investing in (what it thought were) all the right things, and still experience opposition from within the community. It may work to understand local mores and invest in the community's social infrastructure--improving access to health care and education, upgrading roads and electricity services, and fostering economic activity in the region resulting in bustling local businesses and a healthy employment market--to no avail. Without the community's acceptance, without a moral license, the mining companies in NSW found themselves struggling. This moral license is commonly called a social license, a phrase coined in the '90s, and represents the ongoing acceptance and approval of a mining development by a local community. Since then, it has become increasingly recognized within the mining industry that firms must work with local communities to obtain, and then maintain, a social license to operate (SLO).6 The concept of a social license to operate has developed over time and been adopted by a range of industries that affect the physical environment they operate in, such as logging or pulp and paper mills. What has any of this to do with artificial intelligence (AI)?


Google Assistant's new Family Bell feature adds structure to endless summer days

PCWorld

As summer slowly winds to a close and the first day of remote learning remains weeks away (for many of us, anyway), it's easy--way too easy--to let the kids go nuts on their iPads while the grown-ups toil at home. Luckily, Google Assistant has a new feature to help keep young ones from disappearing into their bean bags. Slated to roll out starting today in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and India, the new Family Bell feature lets you create bells that sound on your Google smart speakers and displays, just like the bells at school. For example, you can day "Hey Google, create a Family Bell" to set reminder bells for breakfast, the start of a virtual camp day, recess in the backyard, or dinner time. You can ask Google Assistant to set a Family Bell on recurring days of the week, and in specific rooms.


Microsoft's Cortana is saying goodbye to Android and iOS in 2021

Mashable

In an announcement posted on July 31, the company said it would pull the Cortana mobile app from both iOS and Android devices in early 2021. While this is new for American users, Microsoft did a similar scrubbing of mobile Cortana in regions like Canada, Australia, and the U.K back in Jan. 2020. As Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry explained back then, this means that, "your reminders and lists won't work through [mobile Cortana] anymore. They'll still be synced to the Microsoft To Do app, as a minor consolation prize. It's also being integrated into Microsoft 365 apps."


Australia will use robot boats to find asylum seekers at sea

New Scientist

Australia is deploying a fleet of uncrewed robot boats to patrol its waters and monitor weather and wildlife. They will also flag boats potentially transporting asylum seekers, a plan that has concerned human rights groups. The 5-metre-long vessels, known as Bluebottles after an Australian jellyfish, look like miniature sailing yachts. They use a combination of wind, wave and solar power to maintain a steady 5-knot speed in all conditions. Sydney-based Ocius Technology delivered the prototype in 2017 and Australia's Ministry of Defence has now awarded an AU$5.5 million (£3m) …


'The Speed Cubers' takes on the world of competitive Rubik's Cube solving

Mashable

Speedcubing is the sport of solving a classic Rubik's Cube -- or a related combination puzzle -- in the shortest amount of time possible. And, no, it is not for the faint of heart. The new Netflix documentary on this subject, The Speed Cubers, dives headfirst into the friendly but competitive speedcubing culture. The 40-minute film is one of three new documentary shorts debuting on Netflix this summer. The Speed Cubers centers on a couple of professional competitors who go head-to-head at the World Cube Association World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019.


I Am a Model and I Know That Artificial Intelligence Will Eventually Take My Job

#artificialintelligence

Shudu Gram is a striking South African model. She's what fashion likes to call "one to watch," with a Balmain campaign in 2018, a feature in Vogue Australia on changing the face of fashion, and a red carpet appearance at the 2019 BAFTAs in a custom Swarovski gown. I'm from Canada, although I live in New York City now. Unlike Shudu, who's considered a "new face," I've been in the business for almost five years. I am also a futurist; I spend a lot of time researching emerging technologies and educating young people about the future of work through my startup WAYE.


Australia tells U.S. it has no intention of hurting relationship with China

The Japan Times

Washington – The United States and close ally Australia held high-level talks on China on Tuesday and agreed on the need to uphold a rules-based global order, but the Australian foreign minister stressed that Canberra's relationship with China was important and it had no intention of injuring it. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper held two days of talks in Washington with their Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, who had flown around the world for the meetings despite the COVID-19 pandemic and face two weeks of quarantine on their return. At a joint news conference, Pompeo praised Australia for standing up to pressure from China and said Washington and Canberra would continue to work together to reassert the rule of law in the South China Sea, where China has been pressing its claims. Payne said the United States and Australia shared a commitment to the rule of law and had reiterated their commitment to hold countries to account for breaches, such as China's erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong. She said the two sides had also agreed to form a working group to monitor and respond to harmful disinformation and would look at ways to expand cooperation on infectious diseases, including access to vaccines.


Coaching in 2030: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Our Profession - SimpliFaster

#artificialintelligence

"Simply put, for the last 200 years, advisers have worked on the principle of information asymmetry, where they have better information than their clients. Today, we are at the point where machine intelligence is gaining information asymmetry over advisers, and that's only going to get more acute and asymmetrical as time goes on. The only possible hope for human advisers is that they co-opt machine intelligence into their process." For better or worse, we are living in a rapidly changing time. Only 20 years ago, as I moved from Australia to the U.S. and made my first trip to Disney World, I vividly remember the view into the future provided by the ride "Spaceship Earth."


A new tool is emerging in divorce settlements: A.I.

#artificialintelligence

An online app called Amica is now using artificial intelligence to help separating couples make parenting arrangements and divide their assets. For many people, the coronavirus pandemic has put even the strongest of relationships to the test. A May survey conducted by Relationships Australia found 42 percent of 739 respondents experienced a negative change in their relationship with their partner under lockdown restrictions. There has also been a surge in the number of couples seeking separation advice. The Australian government has backed the use of Amica for those in such circumstances.