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Ex-Google Exec Sent to Prison for Stealing Robocar Secrets


A former Google engineer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing trade secrets before joining Uber's effort to build robotic vehicles for its ride-hailing service. The sentence handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Judge William Alsup came more than four months after former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski reached a plea agreement with the federal prosecutors who brought a criminal case against him last August. Levandowski, who helped steer Google's self-driving car project before landing at Uber, was also ordered to pay more than $850,000. Alsup had taken the unusual step of recommending the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into Levandowski while presiding over a high-profile civil trial between Uber and Waymo, a spinoff from a self-driving car project that Google began in 2007 after hiring Levandowski to be part of its team. Levandowski eventually became disillusioned with Google and left the company in early 2016 to start his own self-driving truck company, called Otto, which Uber eventually bought for $680 million. He wound up pleading guilty to one count, culminating in Tuesday's sentencing.

Evil AI: These are the 20 most dangerous crimes that artificial intelligence will create


From targeted phishing campaigns to new stalking methods: there are plenty of ways that artificial intelligence could be used to cause harm if it fell into the wrong hands. A team of researchers decided to rank the potential criminal applications that AI will have in the next 15 years, starting with those we should worry the most about. By using fake audio and video to impersonate another person, the technology can cause various types of harms, said the researchers. The threats range from discrediting public figures to influence public opinion, to extorting funds by impersonating someone's child or relatives over a video call. The ranking was put together after scientists from University College London (UCL) compiled a list of 20 AI-enabled crimes based on academic papers, news and popular culture, and got a few dozen experts to discuss the severity of each threat during a two-day seminar.

AI bias detection (aka: the fate of our data-driven world)


Here's an astounding statistic: Between 2015 and 2019, global use of artificial intelligence grew by 270%. It's estimated that 85% of Americans are already using AI products daily, whether they now it or not. It's easy to conflate artificial intelligence with superior intelligence, as though machine learning based on massive data sets leads to inherently better decision-making. The problem, of course, is that human choices undergird every aspect of AI, from the curation of data sets to the weighting of variables. Usually there's little or no transparency for the end user, meaning resulting biases are next to impossible to account for.

Developing Artificial Intelligence in Russia: Objectives and Reality


Russia's leaders have been paying close attention to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for several years now. President Vladimir Putin has said on numerous occasions that the leader in the field of AI would become "the master of the world." Until recently, however, Russia remained virtually the only large country without its own AI development strategy. That changed in October 2019, when the country adopted a long-discussed National Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence Through 2030. One of the driving forces behind the strategy was Sberbank president German Gref. The state-owned bank has also developed a road map for developing AI in Russia and coordinated the creation of Russia's AI development strategy, which is largely corporate, involving the internet giants Yandex and

Simplifying the design of soft robotic actuators – Advanced Science News – IAM Network


A new layer-by-layer fabrication process allows researchers to create new and improved soft robot actuators with variable degrees of stiffness. Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in developing soft robots that mimic nature to make them safer and more compliant with the physical world. Soft robots offer the promise of being able to interact more effectively with unknown objects and surroundings while operating with variable degrees of freedom. However, soft robots' inherent compliance often makes it difficult for them to exert forces on surrounding surfaces or withstand mechanical loading. To circumvent this problem, researchers are investigating and developing new technologies to control and tune the stiffness of soft robotics applications. Nowadays, these technologies are widely implemented to enhance the grasping capabilities of soft actuators or to provide a physical feedback in wearable devices.

There's Still Work to Do Addressing Ethics in Autonomous Vehicles


There's a fairly large flaw in the way that programmers are currently addressing ethical concerns related to artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicles (AVs). Namely, existing approaches don't account for the fact that people might try to use the AVs to do something bad. For example, imagine that there is an autonomous vehicle with no passengers and it is about to crash into a car containing five people. It can avoid the collision by swerving out of the road, but it would then hit a pedestrian. Most discussions of ethics in this scenario focus on whether the autonomous vehicle's AI should be selfish (protecting the vehicle and its cargo) or utilitarian (choosing the action that harms the fewest people). But that either/or approach to ethics can raise problems of its own, according to Veljko Dubljević, an assistant professor in the Science, Technology & Society program at North Carolina State University.

The Morning After: 'Mulan' is going directly to Disney


Today's newsletter comes with a more accurate prediction of the big Samsung event -- even if there's probably already another Galaxy device leaked before it starts -- and 100 percent more working links. After all the teases and photos, there shouldn't be many surprises, but if you want to know exactly what the next Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Note are like, then you'll find out in a few hours. With 57.5 million customers from Disney, 8.5 million from ESPN (up from 2.5 million a year ago) and 35.5 million from Hulu (up from 27.9 million), Disney now counts over 100 million direct customers. However, it's bringing in less money per user than other streamers, due to discounts, all while the pandemic has closed movie theaters and kept people away from theme parks. Disney did manage a hit when it released Hamilton direct to Disney, and it's following up with something bigger.

Brick and mortar's best hope? Robots, many now believe


Through a pane of clear plastic, speaking through a mask, a checkout clerk at a grocery chain told my wife she was feeling sick yesterday. My wife asked (and I'm imagining her taking a big step back as she did) if she'd told her manager. The clerk replied she had but she was out of sick days and couldn't afford to lose the pay. That story is true, and it's horrifying -- both for the risk of outbreak it suggests and for the complicated labor realities it betrays. It's also an anecdotal illustration of one more reason automation is coming to grocery stores, and fast.

Artificial Intelligence Before Explosion – Here are Promising AI Projects - Intelvue


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not the one that is borne by the overwhelming science fiction vision. In the near future, we will see almost every area of life in order to make our activities more effective and interactive. According to China's search engine, Baidu's top researcher, "Reliability of speech technology approaches the point we will only use and do not even think about." Andrew Ng says the best technology is often invisible, and speech recognition will disappear in the background as well. Baidu is currently working on more accurate speech recognition and more efficient sentence analysis, which expects sound technologies to be able to interact with multiple devices such as household appliances.

Robots in industries are vulnerable to Cyber Attacks - Cybersecurity Insiders


Robotic machinery that is being used in industries to assemble airplanes and smart phones are vulnerable to cyber attacks say security experts from Trend Micro Inc. And the researchers argue that most of such machinery is susceptible to hacking activities like data steal and remotely altering the movement of robots. Trend Micro's report titled "Robot Automation" says that industrial environments having robotic machinery are exposed to serious consequences like machinery failure, physical damage to operators and sometimes injuries and life loss to them. Technically, robots run with the help of systems driven by operating systems and some vulnerability in them could make cyber criminals to induce malicious codes into them and program them remotely to run as per their likes. For instance, they found App based software produced by ABB LTD from Switzerland to be exhibiting certain flaws that when explored by hackers could bring operational troubles to industrial firms- especially those related to automobile sector.