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What Really Happened When Google Ousted Timnit Gebru

WIRED

One afternoon in late November of last year, Timnit Gebru was sitting on the couch in her San Francisco Bay Area home, crying. Gebru, a researcher at Google, had just clicked out of a last-minute video meeting with an executive named Megan Kacholia, who had issued a jarring command. Gebru was the coleader of a group at the company that studies the social and ethical ramifications of artificial intelligence, and Kacholia had ordered Gebru to retract her latest research paper--or else remove her name from its list of authors, along with those of several other members of her team. The paper in question was, in Gebru's mind, pretty unobjectionable. It surveyed the known pitfalls of so-called large language models, a type of AI software--most famously exemplified by a system called GPT-3--that was stoking excitement in the tech industry.


Apple overhauls Siri to address privacy concerns and improve performance

The Guardian

Apple will no longer send Siri requests to its servers, the company has announced, in a move to substantially speed up the voice assistant's operation and address privacy concerns. The new feature comes two years after the Guardian revealed that Apple staff regularly heard confidential details while carrying out quality control for the feature. Apple's worldwide developers conference (WWDC) was told on Monday that, from this autumn onwards, when new versions of the company's operating systems are released, Siri will process audio "on device" – meaning that, for the majority of queries, no recording will need to be uploaded to Apple's servers. "With on-device speech recognition, the audio of users' requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default," an Apple spokesperson said. "This addresses one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants, which is unwanted audio recording. For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings or controlling music."


Report on the Thirty-Fourth International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference (FLAIRS-34)

Interactive AI Magazine

The Thirty-Third International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference (FLAIRS-34) was to be held May 17-19, 2021, at the Double Tree Ocean Point Resort and Spa in North Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Due to COVID-19 pandemic and travel restriction, the conference held both virtual and in-person. The planned conference events included tutorials, invited speakers, special tracks, and presentations of papers, posters, and awards. The conference chair was Keith Brawner from the Army Research Laboratory. The program co-chairs were Roman Barták from Charles University, Prague, and Eric Bell, USA.


Microsoft's Kate Crawford: 'AI is neither artificial nor intelligent'

The Guardian

Kate Crawford studies the social and political implications of artificial intelligence. She is a research professor of communication and science and technology studies at the University of Southern California and a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research. Her new book, Atlas of AI, looks at what it takes to make AI and what's at stake as it reshapes our world. You've written a book critical of AI but you work for a company that is among the leaders in its deployment. How do you square that circle?


California Approves Pilot Program For Driverless Rides

NPR Technology

Cruise, a self-driving car service out of San Francisco, was granted a driverless vehicle permit for the state's autonomous vehicle pilot program. Cruise, a self-driving car service out of San Francisco, was granted a driverless vehicle permit for the state's autonomous vehicle pilot program. The California Public Utilities Commission announced Friday that Cruise, a self-driving car service out of San Francisco, has been authorized to participate in the state's first pilot program to provide driverless ride services to the public. The company is not allowed to charge passengers for rides. Eight companies have permits for testing driverless vehicles in California, but Cruise is the only company approved for giving rides to passengers without a safety driver on board.


Cities Are Weighing The Dangers And Benefits Of Facial Recognition

NPR Technology

King County, Wash., banned the use of facial recognition by county agencies like law enforcement, following cities such as San Francisco. In most of the U.S., activists are finding bans a tough sell.


Don't End Up on This Artificial Intelligence Hall of Shame

WIRED

When a person dies in a car crash in the US, data on the incident is typically reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Federal law requires that civilian airplane pilots notify the National Transportation Safety Board of in-flight fires and some other incidents. The grim registries are intended to give authorities and manufacturers better insights on ways to improve safety. They helped inspire a crowdsourced repository of artificial intelligence incidents aimed at improving safety in much less regulated areas, such as autonomous vehicles and robotics. The AI Incident Database launched late in 2020 and now contains 100 incidents, including #68, the security robot that flopped into a fountain, and #16, in which Google's photo organizing service tagged Black people as "gorillas."


Your Amazon Echo Will Share Your Wi-Fi Network With Neighbors, Unless You Opt Out

NPR Technology

Amazon's Echo Show devices are among those that will automatically be added to its shared Wi-Fi network scheme, called Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon's Echo Show devices are among those that will automatically be added to its shared Wi-Fi network scheme, called Amazon Sidewalk. Amazon is building a Wi-Fi network – using your Wi-Fi. It's called Amazon Sidewalk, and the company touts it as a way to help its devices work better, by extending the range of low-bandwidth devices to help them stay online. It does that by pooling neighbors' Wi-Fi to help connectivity for devices that are out of range.


The Secret To Better Soft-Bodied Robots Might Be Found In Elephant Trunks

NPR Technology

The Army is paying for investigations on the physics of elephant trunks -- and researchers say these versatile appendages may hold clues for designing better soft-bodied robots.


Report on the AAAI Spring Symposium on AI and Manufacturing

Interactive AI Magazine

The event chaired by Mark Maybury (Chief Technology Officer, Stanley Black & Decker, mark.maybury@sbdinc.com) From steam power and electrification in the first industrial revolution to assembly line driven mass production of the second industrial revolution to computerization in the third industrial revolution, disruptive innovations have driven key change including urbanization, global travel, and information discovery and sharing. Equally if not more profoundly, the current cyber-physical fourth industrial transformation is driving fundamental changes not only in the way we manufacture but also because of the kinds of products and services created ways in which we live, work, and play. Studies from intelligent manufacturing experts at the World Economic Forum have identified a set of key foundational elements for Industry 4.0. These include the Internet of Things (IOT), big data, cloud computing additive manufacturing, augmented reality, autonomous robots, and modeling and simulation.