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Japan to use AI for customs procedures, stop drug smuggling

The Japan Times

Japan's Finance Ministry is promoting a program to introduce artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technology to help customs agents crack down on increased smuggling of illegal drugs. The program aims to establish the world's most advanced inspection capabilities according to a plan announced by the ministry in June last year. As part of the program, AI-based analysis will be used to sort through huge amounts of data on past cases of unlawful import activity, looking for patterns of false descriptions on such matters as price, quantity and weight of goods on import declarations. The information will help pin down importers who should be watched more closely. To prevent the importing of illegal drugs, the ministry has already started testing a prototype nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) device that uses AI to check X-rayed items and identify possible drug smuggling.


The Morning After: LG might get out of the smartphone business

Engadget

In the US, today is Inauguration Day, and as Joe Biden prepares to take the oath as our 46th president, it's worth taking a look back at the discussions four years ago. Back then, the "most tech-savvy" president exited as all eyes turned to Donald Trump trading in his Android Twitter machine for a secure device. We know how things went after that. Donald Trump isn't tweeting anymore (at least not from his main accounts), and the country is struggling through a pandemic. The outgoing president just saw his temporary YouTube ban extended and, in one of his last official acts, pardoned Anthony Levandowski for stealing self-driving car secrets from Google's subsidiary Waymo.


Why AI Can't Properly Translate Proust--Yet

Oxford Comp Sci

This observation--that to understand Proust's text requires knowledge of various kinds--is not a new one. We came across it before, in the context of the Cyc project. Remember that Cyc was supposed to be given knowledge corresponding to the whole of consensus reality, and the Cyc hypothesis was that this would yield human-level general intelligence. Researchers in knowledge-based AI would be keen for me to point out to you that, decades ago, they anticipated exactly this issue. But it is not obvious that just continuing to refine deep learning techniques will address this problem.


Trump pardons Anthony Levandowski, who stole trade secrets from Google

Mashable

Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House, but that didn't stop him from pardoning 73 people and commuting the sentences of another 70 people on the last day of his presidency. One name on that list is Anthony Levandowski, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets from the Google-owned, self-driving car company Waymo. Levandowski was a co-founder of Google's self-driving car division before leaving the tech giant in 2016 to start a self-driving truck company called Otto. That company was subsequently acquired by Uber, and Waymo filed a lawsuit alleging that their confidential information ended up in the hands of Uber. Levandowski was looking at a 10-year sentence, but he eventually pleaded guilty to trade secret theft, thus reducing his prison sentence.


Singapore tops up 5G fund to drive product commercialisation

ZDNet

Singapore is setting aside another SG$30 million ($22.57 The government grant aims to facilitate efforts to commercialise service offerings and offer financial help to more local companies, including small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The latest fund injection is part of the Infocomm Media Development Authority's (IMDA) 5G Innovation Programme and earmarked to support development efforts that "address sector challenges or enterprise level needs", the industry regulator said in a statement Wednesday. Industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority has set aside S$40 million (US$29.53 million) to support research and development efforts and drive adoption of 5G, which include initiatives focused on key verticals such as urban mobility and maritime. Under the 5G government grant, applicants must indicate a "significant value and impact" to businesses and the local industry as well as include operationalisation and commercialisation plans of the 5G products.


Donald Trump pardons ex-Waymo, Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski

Engadget

Last year Anthony Levandowski pleaded guilty to one count of stealing materials from Google, where he was an engineer for its self-driving car efforts before leaving to found a startup that he sold to Uber. The judge said during his sentencing that his theft of documents and emails constituted the "biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen." Now, on the last day of Donald Trump's administration, Trump issued a series of pardons -- the Department of Justice has more information on how those work here -- and commutations that covered people who worked on his campaign like Steve Bannon and Elliott Broidy, as well as Levandowski. A press release from the White House noted tech billionaires Peter Thiel and Palmer Luckey were among those supporting a pardon for Levandowski, and it makes the claim that this engineer "paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good." It also noted that his plea covered only a single charge, omitting mention of the 33 charges he'd been indicted on.


Honda to collaborate with GM over self-driving service in Japan

The Japan Times

Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it will collaborate with General Motors Co. and its unit Cruise LLC on launching a service using self-driving vehicles in Japan and start feasibility tests later this year. Automakers are scrambling to develop next-generation autonomous vehicles, with IT firms also joining the race. Honda and major U.S. carmaker GM agreed in 2018 to join hands in developing self-driving vehicles. Honda said it plans to start a mobility business using the Cruise Origin, a self-driving vehicle being developed by the three companies, with an eye to offering new transportation solutions in potential collaboration with local governments in Japan. "Through active collaboration with partners who share the same interests and aspirations, Honda will continue to accelerate the realization of our autonomous vehicle MaaS business in Japan," Honda President Takahiro Hachigo said in a statement, referring to its mobility service.


Save 69% on a lifetime subscription to this AI copywriting tool

Mashable

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to Copysmith is on sale for £51.45 as of Jan. 20, saving you 69% on list price. Turn to Copysmith to write your product descriptions, ads, taglines, and other marketing copy for you. Copysmith uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to produce human-like text word by word. You can use Copysmith on ads for Google, Facebook, or Instagram, for product descriptions, or taglines. The interface is incredibly simple, even if you have limited marketing experience under your belt.


Facebook enhances AI used to describe photos for visually impaired users

ZDNet

Facebook has announced new improvements to its artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is used to generate descriptions of photos posted on the social network for visually impaired users. The technology, called automatic alternative text (AAT), was first introduced by Facebook in 2016 to improve the experience of visually impaired users. Up until then, visually impaired users who checked their Facebook newsfeed and came across an image would only hear the word "photo" and the name of the person who shared it. With AAT, visually impaired users have been able to hear things like "image may contain: three people, smiling, outdoors". Facebook said, with the latest iteration of AAT, the company has been able to expand the number of concepts that the AI technology can detect and identify in a photo, as well as provide more detailed descriptions to include activities, landmarks, food types, and types of animals, like "a selfie of two people, outdoors, the Leaning Tower of Pisa" instead of "an image of two people".


Five Technologies That Will Transform Medicine In Post-Pandemic America

#artificialintelligence

When medical historians write about the coronavirus pandemic, they'll likely focus on the slow U.S. response and failures of leadership that led to a tragically high death toll. But that will be only part of the story. From the wreckage and devastation will emerge something few contemporary observers would expect: a brighter future for American healthcare. Five technologies, all previously underappreciated and underutilized, will help our nation move past the coronavirus crisis into a new, golden era of medicine. Like the seedlings of the eucalyptus tree, which sprout only after a forest fire, these technological solutions will blossom in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic--turning U.S. healthcare's outdated and broken system into one that is more convenient, effective and affordable.