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Space satellites equipped with machine learning count elephants on Earth

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Vulnerable elephant populations are now being tracked from space using Earth-observation satellites and a type of artificial intelligence (AI) called machine learning. As part of an international project, researchers are using satellite images processed with computer algorithms, which are trained with more than 1,000 images of elephants to help spot the creatures. With machine learning, the algorithms can count elephants even on'complex geographical landscapes', such as those dotted with trees and shrubs. Researchers say this method is a promising new tool for surveying endangered wildlife and can detect animals with the same accuracy as humans. Elephants in woodland as seen from space.


Behind those dancing robots, scientists had to bust a move

Boston Herald

The man who designed some of the world's most advanced dynamic robots was on a daunting mission: programming his creations to dance to the beat with a mix of fluid, explosive and expressive motions that are almost human. Almost a year and half of choreography, simulation, programming and upgrades that were capped by two days of filming to produce a video running at less than 3 minutes. The clip, showing robots dancing to the 1962 hit "Do You Love Me?" by The Contours, was an instant hit on social media, attracting more than 23 million views during the first week. It shows two of Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas research robots doing the twist, the mashed potato and other classic moves, joined by Spot, a doglike robot, and Handle, a wheeled robot designed for lifting and moving boxes in a warehouse or truck. Boston Dynamics founder and chairperson Marc Raibert says what the robot maker learned was far more valuable.


Otter launches live transcription for Google Meet

Engadget

Otter, which uses AI to offer a low-cost transcription service, is bringing its smarts to Google Meet, letting users access live notes and captions. All a user needs to do is install a Chrome extension, which will open up a live notes panel which will record what is said while people are saying it. The company already offered a similar service to Zoom chats, but now offers an alternative to Google's baked-in live caption service. Otter's boast is that its interactive, editable transcripts are a great tool for collaboration when the meeting is finished. In the announcement, Otter says that tools like this make it easy to record meetings to avoid confusion later, but also help folks with accessibility requirements.


This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs

WIRED

In a low-rise building overlooking a busy intersection in Beijing, Ji Rong Wen, a middle-aged scientist with thin-rimmed glasses and a mop of black hair, excitedly describes a project that could advance one of the hottest areas of artificial intelligence. Wen leads a team at the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), a government-sponsored research lab that's testing a powerful new language algorithm--something similar to GPT-3, a program revealed in June by researchers at OpenAI that digests large amounts of text and can generate remarkably coherent, free-flowing language. "This is a big project," Wen says with a big grin. "It takes a lot of computing infrastructure and money." Wen, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing recruited to work part-time at BAAI, hopes to create an algorithm that is even cleverer than GPT-3. He plans to combine machine learning with databases of facts, and to feed the algorithm images and video as well as text, in hope of creating a richer understanding of the physical world--that the words cat and fur don't just often appear in the same sentence, but are associated with one another visually.


Trump made a mess of tech policy. Here's what Biden is inheriting.

Mashable

It's hard to focus on the nitty gritty of tech policy when the world is on fire. Take, for example, his fight against Big Tech in the name of "anti-conservative bias" (no, it doesn't exist), which resulted in an assault on Section 230. Experts say the true aim of those efforts was to undermine content moderation, and normalize the white supremacist attitudes that helped put people like Trump in power. Unfortunately, those allegations will have life for years to come as a form of "zombie Trumpism," as Berin Szoka, a senior fellow at the technology policy organization TechFreedom, put it. Trump may be gone from office and Twitter.


One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) – a panel discussion at #IJCAI-PRICAI 2020

AIHub

The mission of AI100 is to launch a study every five years, over the course of a century, to better track and anticipate how artificial intelligence propagates through society, and how it shapes different aspects of our lives. This IJCAI session brought together some of the people involved in the AI100 initiative to discuss their efforts and the direction of the project. The goals of the AI100 are "to support a longitudinal study of AI advances on people and society, centering on periodic studies of developments, trends, futures, and potential disruptions associated with the developments in machine intelligence, and formulating assessments, recommendations and guidance on proactive efforts". Working on the AI100 project are a standing committee and a study panel. The first study panel report, released in 2016, can be read in full here.


WA to spend AU$1 million to divert 1,000 tonnes of e-waste per year

ZDNet

Western Australia has announced it will invest AU$1 million into nine initiatives that are aimed at reducing e-waste. The AU$1 million investment will come out of the state's AU$16.7 million New Industries Fund, and is expected to divert approximately 1,000 tonnes of e-waste annually from landfill. "The selected projects will support the recovery of high value material, while diverting materials which may have presented risks to human health and the environment if not disposed of appropriately," Environment Minister Stephen Dawson added. Among the grant recipients are Curtin University, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Epichem, which are all set to receive AU$200,000 apiece for their respective projects. Curtin University will use the funds to create a mini plant for recycling and metal recovery from printed circuit boards and integrated circuits; CSIRO will develop "innovative biotechnology" for extracting precious and base metals from e-waste; and Epichem has agreed to test whether oxidative hydrothermal dissolution can break down e-waste to produce a range of useful chemicals.


Marketing and sports data apps join fight against pandemic

The Japan Times

Devices designed for improving customer marketing and sports performance are now being used in the fight against COVID-19 as companies deploy their technologies to meet new needs during the pandemic. Hitachi-LG Data Storage originally developed its 3D LiDAR People Counter sensor for retail stores to track shoppers' movements and analyse data in order to improve sales and customer satisfaction. The company, a joint venture between Japan's Hitachi and South Korea's LG Electronics, has now paired the application with a heat detection and camera app that takes customers' temperatures and checks if they are wearing a mask with a facial detection system. The technology monitors the number of people and their movements to reduce congestion and it estimates wait times at cash registers, to help reduce infection risks. It can also determine whether or not a customer has stopped by a specific area such as a required hand sanitizer station.


Pizza Hut to test drone delivery to 'landing zones'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Pizza Hut is reaching new heights with its latest delivery experiment. Tech company Dragontail Systems Limited announced this week that it has deployed drones for restaurants to carry meals to delivery drivers in remote landing zones. Those drones will be flying pizzas from a Pizza Hut location in northern Israel starting in June, The Wall Street Journal reported.


New study finds tech elites view the world with more meritocracy

ZDNet

A new study has revealed that while the top 100 richest people in tech share similar views to other wealthy people, they are also more focused on meritocracy. The research, published in PLOS One, used data sets based on tweets by these individuals who were named by Forbes as the top 100 richest people in the tech world, plus their statements on websites about their philanthropic endeavours. As part of the study, the researchers analysed 49,790 tweets from 30 verified Twitter account holders within the tech elite subject group and 60 mission statements from tech elite-run philanthropic websites, plus 17 statements from tech elites and other wealthy individuals not associated with the tech world for comparison purposes. The Twitter text analyses, according to the research, revealed tech elites used Twitter to tweet about subjects that placed emphasis on disruption, positivity, and temporality compared with the average user. Their most frequently used words were'new' and'great', and referred mostly to their peers and other tech firms. At the same time, the authors found that while tweets showed the tech elites did not see a significant difference between power and money or power and democracy, they did note the tech elites denied a connection between democracy and money, a view that was not shared by ordinary Twitter users.