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Q&A: UN's Agnes Callamard on drone strike that killed Soleimani

Al Jazeera

The United Nations's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings presented a new report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Agnes Callamard's investigation focused on the legality of armed drones including one that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad's airport on January 3. It concluded the United States acted unlawfully in carrying out the attack. The US, meanwhile, denounced her findings. Callamard spoke to Al Jazeera about her probe and the future of drone warfare.


Artificial intelligence the focus of Cabinet's new digital strategy – IAM Network

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More state investment will be set aside for artificial intelligence going forward, the cabinet announced on Thursday. Part of the government's newly-published Dutch Digitalisation Strategy, the investment strategy aims to ensure that the Netherlands retains its position as a digital frontrunner in Europe, according to the cabinet.The Dutch AI Coalition, which was launched in October of 2019 and contains 350 members, received a cash injection of 23.5 million euros on Thursday to in order to research and develop artificial intelligence technologies, the Cabinet announced, adding that the 64 million euros invested in the coalition in 2019 will be doubled this year. A statement on the government website explains the reason new interest in AI technologies. "To keep the Netherlands as the digital leader of Europe, companies, consumers and governments will have to react quicker and be more innovative to the high speeds that society and the economy is digitalizing," the Cabinet stated. "AI promises, provided that people can trust that it will be used carefully, that it is an important basis for innovation in care, energy, mobility, agriculture and food, manufacturing and education.


MIM Software Inc. Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance for Deep Learning

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MIM Software Inc., a leading global provider of medical imaging software, announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its deep learning auto-contouring software, Contour ProtégéAI . Contour ProtégéAI is an auto-contouring solution that seamlessly integrates into any department's workflow and can be rapidly implemented into virtually any environment. User feedback and a determination to continuously improve auto-segmentation were key drivers in developing the product. "Our customers are under continual pressure to improve their practices while facing escalating time constraints," said Andrew Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of MIM Software Inc. "Our deep learning auto-segmentation product, Contour ProtégéAI, will play a critical role in reducing the burden of contouring." Auto-contouring is an ideal use case for deep learning algorithms because it is one of the most time-consuming clinical tasks.


The F-16's Replacement Won't Have a Pilot at All

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The U.S. Air Force plans to have an operational combat drone by 2023. The service plans to build out a family of unmanned aircraft, known as Skyborg, capable of carrying weapons and actively participating in combat. The Air Force's goal is to build up a large fleet of armed, sort-of disposable jets that don't need conventional runways to take off and land. The Air Force, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology, expects to have the first operational Skyborg aircraft ready by 2023. Skyborg will be available with both subsonic and supersonic engines, indicating both attack and fighter jet versions.


Death by drone: How can states justify targeted killings?

Al Jazeera

In a move that caused a ripple effect across the Middle East, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad's international airport on January 3. On that day, the Pentagon announced the attack was carried out "at the direction of the president". In a new report examining the legality of armed drones and the Soleimani killing in particular, Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial and arbitrary killings, said the US raid that killed Soleimani was "unlawful". Callamard presented her report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday. The United States, which is not a member after quitting the council in 2018, rejected the report saying it gave "a pass to terrorists". In Callamard's view, the consequences of targeted killings by armed drones have been neglected by states.


Estonia is designing a "robot judge" to help clear backlog of cases

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The Estonian Ministry of Justice has officially asked Ott Velsberg, the country's chief data officer, to design a "robot judge" to take care of a backlog of small claims court disputes, Wired reports. The artificial intelligence-powered "judge" is supposed to analyze legal documents and other relevant information and come to a decision. Though a human judge will have an opportunity to revise those decisions, the project is a striking example of justice by artificial intelligence. Estonia, a tiny Northern European nation of fewer than 1.4 million inhabitants, has made impressive strides in digitizing, streamlining, and modernizing its government functions. Estonia famously launched its "e-residency" program that allows practically anybody -- including foreigners -- to access Estonian government services.


The impact of machine learning and AI on the UK economy

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A recent virtual event addressed another such issue: the potential impact machines, imbued with artificial intelligence, may have on the economy and the financial system. The event was organised by the Bank of England, in collaboration with CEPR and the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis at Imperial College. What follows is a summary of some of the recorded presentations. The full catalogue of videos are available on the Bank of England's website. In his presentation, Stuart Russell (University of California, Berkeley), author of the leading textbook on artificial intelligence (AI), gives a broad historical overview of the field since its emergence in the 1950s, followed by insight into more recent developments.


Will facial recognition technology bring ethical 'sea changes' in governance? - ET Government

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By Rajiv Saxena Police in Detroit, while investigating, were trying to figure out who stole five watches from a Shinola retail store. Authorities mentioned that the thief took off with an estimated $3,800 worth of merchandise. Investigators pulled a security video that had recorded the incident from cameras installed in the store and neighbourhood, which is very common in the US. Detectives zoomed in on the grainy footage and ran the person who appeared to be primary through'facial recognition software'. A hit came back: Robert Julian - Borchak Williams, 42, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, about 25 miles northwest of Detroit. In January, police pulled up to Williams' home and arrested him while he stood on his front lawn in front of his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 5, who cried as they watched their father being taken away in the patrol car.


Smart Cities and eGovernance Trends in India

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Smart Cities Mission, an initiative launched in 2015, aims at creating the next generation cities in India. These cities would not just have an easy-to-access infrastructure but also be technologically advanced in government-citizen interaction. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Radio-frequency identification (RFID), cloud computing, and many more would be used by the government to offer'smarter' solutions. It would ease the resource-deficit burden of the country by empowering the government to do much more with less. And when cities are becoming smarter, the traditional methods of governing would not suffice.


10 Ways AI Is Improving New Product Development

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From startups to enterprises racing to get new products launched, AI and machine learning (ML) are making solid contributions to accelerating new product development. There are 15,400 job positions for DevOps and product development engineers with AI and machine learning today on Indeed, LinkedIn and Monster combined. Capgemini predicts the size of the connected products market will range between $519B to $685B this year with AI and ML-enabled services revenue models becoming commonplace. Rapid advances in AI-based apps, products and services will also force the consolidation of the IoT platform market. The IoT platform providers concentrating on business challenges in vertical markets stand the best chance of surviving the coming IoT platform shakeout.