A charitable foundation backed by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife said Monday it has bought a Canadian artificial intelligence startup as part of a mission to eradicate disease. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative did not disclose financial terms of the deal to acquire Toronto-based Meta, which uses AI to quickly read and comprehend scientific papers and then provide insights to researchers. Meta capabilities will be unified in a tool made available for free to scientists. Meta artificial intelligence can analyze insights across millions of papers, finding connections and patterns at scales and speeds impossible for humans to match unassisted. In the field of biomedicine alone, thousands of research papers are published daily.
At the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging in Prague, a Harvard-based artificial intelligence system won the Camelyon16 challenge, a competition comprised of participants introducing their individual AI systems and its ability to facilitate automated lymph node metastasis diagnosis. Referred to as PathAl, the computing system identifies cancerous cells through a mechanism referred to as deep learning--an algorithmic technique that accumulates copious amounts of unstructured data and organizes it into clusters, before analyzing it for patterns. Deep learning is predominately utilized in speech recognition systems like Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. According to one of the challenge's organizers, Jeroen van der Laak of Radboud University Medical Center in Netherlands, the technology featured in the competition went "way beyond" his expectations, as the AI's accuracy proved strikingly close to that of human beings. In addition, van der Laak said AI technology has the propensity to intrinsically redefine the way histopathological images are handled in the medical community.
Software giant Google is beginning an aggressive foray into hardware production with the launch Tuesday of a smartphone and other devices that will bring the company into direct competition with other leading tech firms, including its longtime partner Samsung. The launch signals a major shift for one of the world's most profitable companies as it seeks to adapt to a technology landscape increasingly dominated by mobile and other connected hardware. Google must find a way, analysts say, to keep acquiring user data for targeting ads as Web search -- traditionally done from laptop or desktop computers -- is supplanted by newer technologies. Google's new smartphone, the Pixel, will employ artificial-intelligence technology that users can converse with, allowing them to sidestep keyboards as they access online information and make purchases such as movie tickets, say people familiar with the company's plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal information ahead of its official release. The company also plans to release other new hardware, including a voice-based assistant for the home to rival Amazon's Echo and a virtual-reality headset to rival Facebook's Oculus.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has come up with some crazy ideas in the past, and its latest idea is to create computers that are always learning and adapting, much like humans. Mobile devices, computers, and gadgets already have artificial intelligence features, with notable examples being Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Amazon's Alexa. But these devices can only learn and draw conclusions within the scope of information pre-programmed into systems. Existing machine-learning techniques don't allow computers to think outside the box, so to speak, or think dynamically based on the situations and circumstances. The goal of a new DARPA project is to create computers that think like biological entities and are continually learning.
SugarCRM has put A.I. at the core of its product plans and is working on a new intelligence service along with a Siri-like agent named Candace. Tapping the company's recent acquisitions of Stitch and Contastic, the new technology will be designed to help businesses spend less time entering data into their customer relationship management (CRM) software, and more time learning from and acting upon it. SugarCRM is scheduled to demonstrate the new capabilities Wednesday at its SugarCon conference in San Francisco. "In the CRM space, we want people to focus on what they're good at: Relating to others, such as customers and partners," Rich Green, SugarCRM's chief product officer, said in an interview last week. "As data becomes more and more available, it typically has required quite a bit of labor to ensure that your CRM system stays up to date," Green explained.