Representation & Reasoning

Emergent behavior by minimizing chaos


All living organisms carve out environmental niches within which they can maintain relative predictability amidst the ever-increasing entropy around them (1), (2). Humans, for example, go to great lengths to shield themselves from surprise -- we band together in millions to build cities with homes, supplying water, food, gas, and electricity to control the deterioration of our bodies and living spaces amidst heat and cold, wind and storm. The need to discover and maintain such surprise-free equilibria has driven great resourcefulness and skill in organisms across very diverse natural habitats. Motivated by this, we ask: could the motive of preserving order amidst chaos guide the automatic acquisition of useful behaviors in artificial agents? This central problem in artificial intelligence has evoked several candidate solutions, largely focusing on novelty-seeking behaviors (3), (4), (5).

Secure and Robust Machine Learning for Healthcare: A Survey


Medical ML/DL system shall facilitate a deep understanding of the underlying healthcare task, which (in most cases) can only be achieved by utilising other forms of patients data. For example, radiology is not all about clinical imaging. Other patient EMR data is crucial for radiologists to derive the precise conclusion for an imaging study. This calls for the integration and data exchange between all healthcare systems. Despite extensive research on data exchange standards for healthcare, there is a huge ignorance in following those standards in healthcare IT systems which broadly affects the quality and efficacy of healthcare data, accumulated through these systems.

"Hey, Update My Voice" Exposes Cyber Harassment.


The "Hey, Update My Voice" movement, in partnership with UNESCO, was born out of this context with the goal of teaching respect towards virtual assistants and, in addition, asking tech companies to update their assistants' responses. Because if that happens to them, imagine what happens in real life to real women. Every day around the world, virtual assistants suffer abuse and harassment of all kinds. In Brazil, for example, Lu, the virtual assistant of Magazine Luiza stores, has been victimized by this sort of violence. Worldwide, cases have been reported involving Siri and Alexa, among others.

UK Introduces New Fast-Track Visa to Attract Scientists


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new fast-track visa to attract more of the world's best scientists to the U.K. in hopes of creating a global science "superpower." Johnson paired the announcement of the Global Talent route program with a pledge of 300 million pounds ($392 million) for research into advanced mathematics. The money will help fund researchers and doctoral students whose work in math underpins myriad developments such as safer air travel, smart phone technology and artificial intelligence. The new visa route will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the U.K. under the program. "The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research,'' Johnson said in a statement.

Alexa learns to give useful advice to blind people


Amazon and the UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have worked together to make Alexa more useful to those suffering from visual impairment conditions. Thanks to this collaboration, the AI-powered personal assistant can offer advice on living with sight loss, obtained directly from RNIB's Sight Loss Advice Service. "Voice assistant technology is playing an ever-increasing role in transforming the lives of blind and partially sighted people," said David Clarke, director of services at RNIB. "Voice assistants can enable independence, helping to break down accessibility barriers to a more inclusive society. By using this technology to increase the reach of our own resources, we are ensuring that people can immediately get essential information about sight conditions, their rights, and the support available, simply by asking out loud." RNIB is a charity established in 1868, originally to provide better quality literature for the blind. Today, it offers information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK, under the patronage of the Queen.

Processing Geospatial Data at Scale With Databricks


The evolution and convergence of technology has fueled a vibrant marketplace for timely and accurate geospatial data. Every day billions of handheld and IoT devices along with thousands of airborne and satellite remote sensing platforms generate hundreds of exabytes of location-aware data. This boom of geospatial big data combined with advancements in machine learning is enabling organizations across industry to build new products and capabilities. Maps leveraging geospatial data are used widely across industry, spanning multiple use cases, including disaster recovery, defense and intel, infrastructure and health services. For example, numerous companies provide localized drone-based services such as mapping and site inspection (reference Developing for the Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge).

Facebook AI gives maps the brushoff in helping robots find the way


Facebook has scored an impressive feat involving AI that can navigate without any map. Facebook's wish for bragging rights, although they said they have a way to go, were evident in its blog post, "Near-perfect point-goal navigation from 2.5 billion frames of experience." Long story short, Facebook has delivered an algorithm that, quoting MIT Technology Review, lets robots find the shortest route in unfamiliar environments, opening the door to robots that can work inside homes and offices." And, in line with the plain-and-simple, Ubergizmo's Tyler Lee also remarked: "Facebook believes that with this new algorithm, it will be capable of creating robots that can navigate an area without the need for theory, you could place a robot in a room or an area without a map and it should be able to find its way to its destination." Erik Wijmans and Abhishek Kadian in the Facebook Jan. 21 post said that, well, after all, one of the technology key challenges is "teaching these systems to navigate through complex, unfamiliar real-world environments to reach a specified destination--without a preprovided map." Facebook has taken on the challenge. The two announced that Facebook AI created a large-scale distributed reinforcement learning algorithm called DD-PPO, "which has effectively solved the task of point-goal navigation using only an RGB-D camera, GPS, and compass data," they wrote. DD-PPO stands for decentralized distributed proximal policy optimization. This is what Facebook is using to train agents and results seen in virtual environments such as houses and office buildings were encouraging. The bloggers pointed out that "even failing 1 out of 100 times is not acceptable in the physical world, where a robot agent might damage itself or its surroundings by making an error." Beyond DD-PPO, the authors gave credit to Facebook AI's open source AI Habitat platform for its "state-of-the-art speed and fidelity." AI Habitat made its open source announcement last year as a simulation platform to train embodied agents such as virtual robots in photo-realistic 3-D environments. Facebook said it was part of "Facebook AI's ongoing effort to create systems that are less reliant on large annotated data sets used for supervised training." InfoQ had said in July that "The technology was taking a different approach than relying upon static data sets which other researchers have traditionally used and that Facebook decided to open-source this technology to move this subfield forward." Jon Fingas in Engadget looked at how the team worked toward AI navigation (and this is where that 25 billion number comes in). "Previous projects tend to struggle without massive computational power.

Siri for Self-Drive Cars: Genius or Patenting the Obvious? - ExtremeTech


This project may be Apple's fallback to building its own car. From 2014 to 2019, roughly, Apple's Project Titan was a ground-up autonomous, electrified vehicle project. Apple found out that building a car is enormously complex, there are regulatory hurdles to clear far tougher than for phones or PCs, and you can't build a world-class auto factory in a couple of years. Apple also found out that not everyone wants to run a contract factory for Apple, including BMW and Daimler, and if there was an agreement, divorce court would have followed closely. Too many egos and everyone would want the final say.

Time To Enjoy The 'Semantic Experiences' Offered By Google To Play Word Games With The AI


Google is silently churning out many new technologies with wide ranging and far reaching impacts. The AI platform that Google is working on for quite some time has already been integrated with its digital assistant called Google Assistant that has been successfully leveraged into smart speakers of all types including the Google's own Google Home. But, this was just the beginning and company is on the verge of delivering something new this time. Google made tremendous research in the fields like natural language processing and synthesis. Google for quite some time is working on a new technology that can allow people more ease without relying too much on the Assistant.

Facebook speeds up AI training by culling the weak – TechCrunch


Training an artificial intelligence agent to do something like navigate a complex 3D world is computationally expensive and time-consuming. In order to better create these potentially useful systems, Facebook engineers derived huge efficiency benefits from, essentially, leaving the slowest of the pack behind. It's part of the company's new focus on "embodied AI," meaning machine learning systems that interact intelligently with their surroundings. That could mean lots of things -- responding to a voice command using conversational context, for instance, but also more subtle things like a robot knowing it has entered the wrong room of a house. Exactly why Facebook is so interested in that I'll leave to your own speculation, but the fact is they've recruited and funded serious researchers to look into this and related domains of AI work.