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News in AI and machine learning

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I'm Nathan Benaich -- welcome to issue #18 of my AI newsletter! I will synthesise a narrative that analyses and links important happenings, data, research and startup activity from the AI world. Grab your hot beverage of choice and enjoy the read! If you're looking to invest, research, build, or buy AI-driven companies, do hit reply and drop me a line. In a massive deal this quarter, Intel CEO agreed to purchase Mobileye for $15.3bn. The 18-year old NYSE-listed Israeli company holds a portfolio of camera-based computer vision, sensor fusion, mapping and driving policy products for advanced driver assistance features such as pedestrian, vehicle and sign detection as well as relationships with Tier 1 OEMs. Intel takes the view that "whoever has the best data can develop the best AI". Intel already has a strong position in silicon (in-house Nervana and Movidius), memory and communications.


Apple Reportedly Acquires AI-Based Facial Recognition Startup RealFace

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In a bid to boost its prospects in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), Apple has acquired Israel-based startup RealFace that develops deep learning-based face authentication technology, media reported on Monday. Reported by Calcalist, the acquisition is to be worth roughly $2 million (roughly Rs. 13.39 crores). A Times of Israel report cites Startup Nation Central to note RealFace had raised $1 million in funding thus far, employed about 10 people, and had sales operations China, Europe, Israel, and the US. Set up in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader, RealFace has developed a facial recognition software that offers users a smart biometric login, aiming to make passwords redundant when accessing mobile devices or PCs. The firm's first app - Pickeez - selects the best photos from the user's album.


Mind-blowing tech coming?

FOX News

Amid rumors that the iPhone 8 will incorporate advanced facial recognition features, the Hebrew-language website Calcalist (via Times of Israel) is reporting that Apple recently acquired Realface, an up-and-coming Israeli startup with impressive real-time facial recognition software. Lending credence to rumors that the iPhone 8 may forgo the use of Touch ID in favor of facial recognition, Realface's software is said to be sophisticated enough such that it can reliably be used as a foundation for mobile-based biometric authentication. As is often the case when Apple acquires a company, Realface's web presence has already been wiped from the web. Still, thanks to the magic of Google, we were able to poke around and dig up some intriguing nuggets of information about the company's promising technology. Realface boasts that it's AI software rests upon deep learning methods and is so reliable and quick that the end-result is an absolutely seamless user experience.


17 Israeli companies pioneering artificial intelligence

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Artificial intelligence (AI) gives machines the ability to "think" and accomplish tasks. AI already is a big part of our lives in areas such as banking, shopping, security and healthcare. Soon it will help us get around in automated vehicles. By 2025, the global enterprise AI market is predicted to be worth more than $30 billion. Israeli industry can expect a nice piece of that pie due to its world-class capabilities in AI and its subsets: big-data analysis, natural-language processing, computer vision, machine learning and deep learning.


Learning How AI Makes Decisions

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Unlike with traditional software, we don't always have an exact idea of how AI works. And in numerous scenarios, the opacity of deep-learning algorithms has caused larger troubles. In 2017, a Palestinian construction worker in the West Bank settlement of Beiter Illit, Jerusalem, posted a picture of himself on Facebook in which he was leaning against a bulldozer. Shortly after, Israeli police arrested him on suspicions that he was planning an attack, because the caption of his post read "attack them." The real caption of the post was "good morning" in Arabic. But for some unknown reason, Facebook's artificial intelligence–powered translation service translated the text to "hurt them" in English or "attack them" in Hebrew. The Israeli Defense Force uses Facebook's automated translation to monitor the accounts of Palestinian users for possible threats.