North America


Is FaceApp an evil plot by 'the Russians' to steal your data? Not quite Arwa Mahdawi

The Guardian

Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This "challenge" involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened old self on the internet and everyone laughs uproariously. You get a small surge of dopamine from gathering a few online likes before existential ennui sets in once again. On Monday, as the #faceappchallenge went viral, Joshua Nozzi, a software developer, warned people to "BE CAREFUL WITH FACEAPP….it Some media outlets picked this claim up and privacy concerns about the app began to mount. Concern escalated further when people started to point out that FaceApp is Russian. "The app that you're willingly giving all your facial data to says the company's location is in Saint-Petersburg, Russia," tweeted the New York Times's Charlie Warzel. And we all know what those Russians are like, don't we? They want to harvest your data for nefarious ...


Artificial intelligence to monitor volcanoes

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More than half of the world's active volcanoes are not monitored instrumentally. Hence, even very serious eruptions occur with no warning for nearby populations of the upcoming disaster. As a first and early step toward a volcano early warning system, a research project headed by Sébastien Valade from the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam led to a new volcano monitoring platform that analyses satellite images using artificial intelligence (AI). Through tests with data from recent events, Valade and his colleagues demonstrated that their platform, Monitoring Unrest from Space (MOUNTS) can integrate multiple sets of diverse types of data for a comprehensive monitoring of volcanoes. The team's results were published in the journal Remote Sensing.


Is AI Going To Be A Jobs Killer? New Reports About The Future Of Work

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Amazon announced last week that it will spend $700 million to train about 100,000 workers in the US by 2025, helping them move into more highly skilled jobs. The New York Times observed that with this program Amazon is acknowledging that "advances in automation technology will handle many tasks now done by people." The number of jobs which AI and machines will displace in the future has been the subject of numerous studies and surveys and op-eds and policy papers since 2013, when a pair of Oxford academics, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, estimated that 47% of American jobs are at high risk of automation by the mid-2030s. McKinsey Global Institute: between 40 million and 160 million women worldwide may need to transition between occupations by 2030, often into higher-skilled roles. Clerical work, done by secretaries, schedulers and bookkeepers, is an area especially susceptible to automation, and 72% of those jobs in advanced economies are held by women.


(Podcast) Chief data officer in government

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SONAL SHAH: It's also about how do we make data more useful for people to use and to solve problems in their communities? TANYA OTT: Okay, that is a big job. Who is this superhuman who fills it? TANYA OTT: We'll tell you, in a moment. But first, let me say, you're listening to the Press Room, where we talk about some of the biggest issues facing businesses today. I'm Tanya Ott and joining me today are Bill Eggers … I am the executive director and a professor of practice at Georgetown University's Beeck Center. TANYA OTT: Bill and Sonal are coauthors of The CDO Playbook – a guide for Chief Data Officers. For the last decade, government has been focused on making data more open and easily [accessible] to the public.


Flybits raises $35 million to personalize customer experiences with AI

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Knowing when and where a person is, was, and will be can enable magical customer experiences. Flybits today announced that it's raised $35 million in series C funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Mastercard, Citi Ventures, and Reinventure, along with existing partners Portag3 Ventures, TD Bank, and Information Venture Partners. The fresh funding brings its total raised to $50 million, and it comes as Flybits notches 300% growth in 2019 and gears up to hire across sales, engineering, and business development teams and offices, including adding solutions engineers, sales executives, business development reps, and engineers. "Customers are already used to seeing content and recommendations based on their behavior," said CEO Hossein Rahnama. But Flybits leverages an unlimited amount to create far more personalized and relevant recommendations than ever before, all in an effort to help financial institutions deliver real time lifestyle banking that gets at their customers' deeper needs.


Here's How Elon Musk Plans to Put a Computer in Your Brain

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Elon Musk doesn't think his newest endeavor, revealed Tuesday night after two years of relative secrecy, will end all human suffering. At a presentation at the California Academy of Sciences, hastily announced via Twitter and beginning a half hour late, Musk presented the first product from his company Neuralink. It's a tiny computer chip attached to ultrafine, electrode-studded wires, stitched into living brains by a clever robot. And depending on which part of the two-hour presentation you caught, it's either a state-of-the-art tool for understanding the brain, a clinical advance for people with neurological disorders, or the next step in human evolution. The chip is custom-built to receive and process the electrical action potentials--"spikes"--that signal activity in the interconnected neurons that make up the brain.


Uber drivers and other gig workers in California could get better pay under proposed law

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Some Uber drivers in New York City want to see a decrease in the commission taken by the company. SAN FRANCISCO -- Gig economy workers are increasingly ubiquitous, shuttling us to appointments and delivering our food while working for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others. Thanks in large part to the app-based tech boom emanating from this city, 36% of U.S. workers participate in the gig economy, according to Gallup. But not all gigs are created equal, Gallup adds, noting that so-called "contingent gig workers" experience their workplace "like regular employees do, just without the benefits of a traditional job -- benefits, pay and security." California lawmakers are weighing what is considered a pro-worker bill that, if passed into law, would set a national precedent that fundamentally redefines the relationship between worker and boss by forcing corporations to pay up.


Elon Musk's Neuralink unveils effort to build implant that can read your mind

The Guardian

Elon Musk's secretive "brain-machine interface" startup, Neuralink, stepped out of the shadows on Tuesday evening, revealing its progress in creating a wireless implantable device that can – theoretically – read your mind. At an event at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Musk touted the startup's achievements since he founded it in 2017 with the goal of staving off what he considers to be an "existential threat": artificial intelligence (AI) surpassing human intelligence. Two years later, Neuralink claims to have achieved major advances toward Musk's goal of having human and machine intelligence work in "symbiosis". Neurolink says it has designed very small "threads" – smaller than a human hair – that can be injected into the brain to detect the activity of neurons. It also says it has developed a robot to insert those threads in the brain, under the direction of a neurosurgeon.


Big Ideas in AI for the Next 10 Years

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Summary: Despite our concerns about China taking the lead in AI, our own government efforts mostly through DARPA continue powerful leadership and funding to maintain our lead. Here's their plan to maintain that lead over the next decade. Think all those great ideas that have powered AI/ML for the last 10 years came from Silicon Valley and a few universities? Hard as it may be to admit it's the seed money in the billions that our government has spent that got pretty much all of these breakthroughs to the doorway of commercial acceptability. Dozens of articles bemoan the huge investments that China is making in AI with the threat that they will pull ahead.


Artificial Intelligence Market Growing at a CAGR of 36.6% and Expected to Reach $190.61 Billion by 2025 - Exclusive Report by MarketsandMarkets

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According to the new market research report "Artificial Intelligence Market by Offering (Hardware, Software, Services), Technology (Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Context-Aware Computing, Computer Vision), End-User Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2025", published by MarketsandMarkets, the Artificial Intelligence Market is expected to be valued at USD 21.5 billion in 2018 and is likely to reach USD 190.6 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 36.6% during the forecast period. Major drivers for the market are growing big data, the increasing adoption of cloud-based applications and services, and an increase in demand for intelligent virtual assistants. The major restraint for the market is the limited number of AI technology experts. Critical challenges facing the AI market include concerns regarding data privacy and the unreliability of AI algorithms. Underlying opportunities in the artificial intelligence market include improving operational efficiency in the manufacturing industry and the adoption of AI to improve customer service.