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Is AI moving too fast for ethics?

#artificialintelligence

Check out the on-demand sessions from the Low-Code/No-Code Summit to learn how to successfully innovate and achieve efficiency by upskilling and scaling citizen developers. Last weekend may have been a holiday in Silicon Valley, with AI researchers wolfing down turkey before preparing to fly to New Orleans for the start of NeurIPS (which one researcher called an "annual gala" of AI and another "Burning Man" for AI). But nothing seems to stop the pace of news -- or the debate -- about AI models and research, even Thanksgiving in the U.S. My question: Is it all moving too fast and furiously for responsible and ethical AI efforts to keep up? For example, it was the end of the day on November 23rd -- a time when most Americans were likely in holiday travel mode -- when Stability AI announced the release of Stable Diffusion 2.0. The announcement was an updated version of its open-source text-to-image generator, which immediately became wildly popular when it was released just three months ago.


This Email App Uses AI To Keep Your Inbox Under Control

#artificialintelligence

A few years ago, I managed to receive 1,000 emails between boarding a plane in San Francisco and landing in New Orleans five hours later. Maybe 40 of those 1,000 were emails that I needed to respond to, but given the overwhelming volume in my inbox, a lot of them ended up going unanswered. Filters help organize things a bit, but now a new email app is bringing in the big guns to tackle the problem: artificial intelligence. Called Astro, the app essentially offers many of the same features as previous aspiring inbox-zero apps. You can snooze messages you see so they surface at your convenience, mute particular senders, and set a priority inbox that surfaces those emails from VIP senders that otherwise might end up buried amid Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.


Ontrak Names Judith Feld, MD Chief Medical Officer

#artificialintelligence

Ontrak, Inc. (NASDAQ: OTRK) ("Ontrak Health" or the "Company"), a leading AI-powered and telehealth-enabled healthcare company, today promoted Judith Feld, MD, to Chief Medical Officer replacing Robert Accordino, MD, who is leaving Ontrak Health to focus on his private practice. Dr. Feld begins immediately in the role and will report to Brandon LaVerne, Co-President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Feld joined Ontrak in 2019 as National Medical Director and was promoted to Chief Clinical Strategy Officer earlier this year. She has been instrumental in developing Ontrak Health's new evidence-based clinical model that engages hard to reach members on behalf of health plans through a whole-person approach to care and treatment. Dr. Feld brings over 30 years of experience to the role and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, from whom she received the APA's Bruno Lima Award for Disaster Relief for her volunteer work in New Orleans with first responders following Hurricane Katrina.


Most with type 2 diabetes achieve remission with twin precision treatment technology

#artificialintelligence

NEW ORLEANS -- An intervention program powered by artificial intelligence and data collected by sensors was linked to a type 2 diabetes remission rate of more than 80%, according to a presenter. The Whole Body Digital Twin (Twin Health) is a dynamic representation of the metabolism of a person with type 2 diabetes. The program employs a machine learning predictive model using data from food logs and multiple sensors, including continuous glucose monitoring fitness watches and comprehensive blood tests, according to Paramesh Shamanna, MD, medical director of Twin Health Inc. in Mountain View, California. The technology provides individualized and timely recommendations through a mobile app to users and their care teams. The service also includes access to health care providers and coaches.


The effect of differential victim crime reporting on predictive policing systems

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Police departments around the world have been experimenting with forms of place-based data-driven proactive policing for over two decades. Modern incarnations of such systems are commonly known as hot spot predictive policing. These systems predict where future crime is likely to concentrate such that police can allocate patrols to these areas and deter crime before it occurs. Previous research on fairness in predictive policing has concentrated on the feedback loops which occur when models are trained on discovered crime data, but has limited implications for models trained on victim crime reporting data. We demonstrate how differential victim crime reporting rates across geographical areas can lead to outcome disparities in common crime hot spot prediction models. Our analysis is based on a simulation patterned after district-level victimization and crime reporting survey data for Bogot\'a, Colombia. Our results suggest that differential crime reporting rates can lead to a displacement of predicted hotspots from high crime but low reporting areas to high or medium crime and high reporting areas. This may lead to misallocations both in the form of over-policing and under-policing.


AI Weekly: In a chaotic year, AI is quietly accelerating the pace of space exploration

#artificialintelligence

The year 2020 continues to be difficult here on Earth, where the pandemic is exploding again in regions of the world that were once successful in containing it. Germany reported a record number of cases this week alongside Poland and the Czech Republic, as the U.S. counted 500,000 new cases. It's the backdrop to a tumultuous U.S. election, which experts fear will turn violent on election day. Meanwhile, Western and Southern states like Oregon, Washington, California, and Louisiana are reeling from historically destructive wildfires, severe droughts, and hurricanes. Things are calmer in outer space, where scientists are applying AI to make exciting new finds.


How do Decisions Emerge across Layers in Neural Models? Interpretation with Differentiable Masking

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Attribution methods assess the contribution of inputs to the model prediction. One way to do so is erasure: a subset of inputs is considered irrelevant if it can be removed without affecting the prediction. Though conceptually simple, erasure's objective is intractable and approximate search remains expensive with modern deep NLP models. Erasure is also susceptible to the hindsight bias: the fact that an input can be dropped does not mean that the model `knows' it can be dropped. The resulting pruning is over-aggressive and does not reflect how the model arrives at the prediction. To deal with these challenges, we introduce Differentiable Masking. DiffMask learns to mask-out subsets of the input while maintaining differentiability. The decision to include or disregard an input token is made with a simple model based on intermediate hidden layers of the analyzed model. First, this makes the approach efficient because we predict rather than search. Second, as with probing classifiers, this reveals what the network `knows' at the corresponding layers. This lets us not only plot attribution heatmaps but also analyze how decisions are formed across network layers. We use DiffMask to study BERT models on sentiment classification and question answering.


News from a postpandemic world

Science

We asked young scientists to imagine this scenario: You are a science writer in the year 2040 working on a news story that answers this question: What do you hope or fear will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic? A selection of their responses, arranged as a newpaper, is below. Follow NextGen Voices on Twitter with hashtag #NextGenSci. Read previous NextGen Voices survey results at . —Jennifer Sills Today, scientists confirm that 1000 previously endangered species have been removed from the Vulnerable list. Biodiversity renewal has been under way since the COVID-19 pandemic 20 years ago led many governments to reevaluate their priorities. Hunting practices and bushmeat consumption were constrained to limit the transmission of new pathogens through human contact with the meat and biofluids of wild animals. Deforestation was restricted worldwide when it became clear that land-use modifications and climate change were important drivers of vector-borne diseases. COVID-19 claimed many lives, but the political and environmental changes the pandemic inspired have likely saved many more by protecting the world's biodiversity. Joel Henrique Ellwanger Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, 91501-970, Brazil. Email: joel.ellwanger{at}gmail.com Science and technology research budgets, now classified as an arm of the national defense force, could rival traditional military spending in a few years' time. This newfound prioritization of science was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made clear that the previous conception of military force is impractical when the enemy is invisible and formidable. The unprecedented redirection of financial resources to scientific communities to help find a cure and vaccines, along with the increased demand for scientific experts, expanded technological frontiers and gave science a well-deserved space in governance. Mpho Diphago Stanley Lekgoathi The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. Email: mpho.lekgoathi{at}necsa.co.za In response to the 50th wave of COVID-19, which hit New York City last month, the U.S. government has announced that the first spaceship designated for in-orbit medical treatment of COVID-19 patients will soon transport 10,000 residents from high-risk zones to Space. Scientists say that prolonged stay in Space colonies with exposure to controlled gamma radiation from cosmic dust may help weaken the virus's strong affinity to lung tissue. “We will do all we can to protect our residents on Earth. Unlike 2019, we are prepared for this challenge,” said the President in a Capitol Hill address. The Senate has voted to fund the treatment expenses for everyone on the flight. Kartik Nemani Layered Materials and Structures Lab, Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Email: snemani{at}purdue.edu Workers at major corporations staged a walk-out today, the 20th anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, to protest what some have deemed invasive monitoring. Many fears subsided when the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was broadly distributed in 2023, but subsequent zoonotic viruses emerged faster than society could prepare for them. With the world economy precariously weak, a cautious arrangement was reached: Workers could return to their jobs if they submitted to routine infection checks. At first, these were relatively innocuous temperature probes and cough tracking. However, with the 2029 advent of low-cost RNA wastewater screening by smart toilets and ubiquitous wall-mounted infrared heat sensors, infected employees could be pinpointed before displaying acute symptoms. Later, an eCommerce/fitness-tracking consortium released artificial intelligence algorithms that combined smartwatch health metrics and recent online search history. Corporate Wellness Boards used the results to justify mandatory quarantines. Employees cried foul. The debate rages on in our courts and on the Giganet about whether the public good is served by exposing the “viral status” of the few. Michael A. Tarselli Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA. Email: mtarselli{at}slas.org Earlier this month, 21 individuals were quarantined in Kampala, Uganda, after a man was diagnosed with Marburg hemorrhagic fever by the local laboratory of the International Center for Disease Prevention (ICDP). The patient, who has now fully recovered, may have been infected at the veterinary clinic where he worked in close contact with possible animal carriers. “This is a virus that spreads easily through bodily fluids and historically has been transmitted to caregivers,” said Dr. Icuaf, director of the ICDP. Once again, the localized presence of centers with efficient testing capabilities made it possible to identify patient zero and contain the outbreak at its inception. As a result, “no deaths occurred, and everyone who might have been exposed has been quarantined while we monitor their health,” added Dr. Icuaf. The ICDP was instituted in 2021 as a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which marked a revolution in public awareness of science-based policy. The cost of crisis prevention is now routinely compared with the predicted price of managing such a crisis after it has occurred. Ahmed Al Harraq Cain Department of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. Email: aahme22{at}lsu.edu One of the world's leading universities is launching a large-scale screen of potential antiviral and antibacterial drugs on human volunteers. The substances show promising results in vitro but have not been tested on animals. To compensate for the risk of side effects, all volunteers will receive generous payment. “Drugs showing promising effects on mice could be ineffective on humans, making drug development expensive and slow,” explained the leading scientist of the drug screen. Human rights experts warned against granting permission to conduct the study. “Offering payment for causing physical harm targets the economically vulnerable and violates basic human rights,” they argued. However, doctors and politicians praise the idea, referring to the COVID-19 epidemic. “Developing a new drug through the traditional process can take years. Testing multiple potential candidates on coronavirus-infected people saved thousands of lives before basic research had a chance to catch up. Next time, we want to be prepared,” explained the health minister. Anna Uzonyi Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 7610001, Israel. Email: anna.uzonyi{at}weizmann.ac.il Results published today from a 20-year experiment show that a “lottery” grant funding scheme is superior to traditional peer-review assessment panels. For decades, researchers have debated the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of selecting grant recipients through a peer-review process, given the documented biases that hinder diversity and equitable decision-making. “It was a controversial move at the time, but the results are clear,” said the lead author of the study. The funding experiment, which began in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was introduced to preserve the workforce employed on short-term contracts. During that year, pandemic-related budget cuts and social restrictions impeded the traditional peer-review process. “The lottery not only reduced peer-review bias but also added millions of dollars per year to the sector in hours saved by academics no longer devoting time to peer review,” said the lead author. “That time was spent on doing more experiments, mentoring colleagues, or achieving a healthier work-life balance.” Ken Dutton-Regester Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia. Twitter: @stemventurist As the debate continues on the efficacy of educational methods, most universities now use a combination of in-person, remote, and technology-enhanced classrooms. The rapid expansion of evidence-based strategies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, audio and video tools, three-dimensional environments, and simulations across disciplines began during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to move education to a computer-based environment to protect the health and safety of students and staff transformed the educational conversation. In the increasingly technology-enhanced world, discussions about how to teach a science class online, how to facilitate lab experiences, and how to conduct experiments with new constraints swept the research community. A nuanced understanding emerged about true online pedagogy versus synchronous, remote meetings. Two decades later, we see the results of this transformation. Rachel Yoho Department of Environmental and Global Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA. Twitter: @rachel_yoho A stunning 200,000 people attended the grand opening ceremony of the 2040 Olympics yesterday in New Delhi, India. It has been 20 years since such a public event could take place safely. Only with the recent release of clothing and shoes made of technologically advanced materials that instantly kill viruses could the social distancing that began with the COVID-19 pandemic be relaxed. For added peace of mind, all attendees at the ceremony consented to the skin implantation of Viroclean, a new chip-based device that sounds an alarm when it detects viruses in the air. Sudhakar Srivastava Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 221005, India. Email: sudhakar.srivastava{at}gmail.com This weekend, at the Coachella 2040 music festival, three aerosol biosurveillance sensors detected a SARS-like virus in the air. Smartphone tracing, using the opt-in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) geospatial health app developed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, identified two potential index cases. The CDC outbreak prevention team mobilized regional contact tracers to intercept and test both individuals within an hour of first detection. One individual tested positive for a variant of the 2019 SARS-CoV-2 strain, previously thought to be eradicated, and is undergoing treatment in quarantine. Michael Strong Center for Genes, Environment, and Health, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, CO 80206, USA. Email: strongm{at}njhealth.org Last week's 15th annual Pan-global Remote Integrated Sciences Meeting (PRISM) attracted more than 100,000 attendees from more than 160 countries. Scientists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and industry experts from fields spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences logged on to the online venue, enabled by virtual reality. Advanced machine learning algorithms provided recommendations for presentations relevant to each participant based on both their expertise and potential for interdisciplinary collaboration. As usual, the highlight of the meeting was the virtual poster sessions, driven by interactivity and streamlined to optimize small-group scientific conversation across fields. Many junior scientist attendees were surprised to learn that such events were nearly unheard of before PRISM grew from the increasing move toward virtual conferences during the coronavirus pandemic over 20 years ago. “My adviser told me that when she was a grad student, big conferences were all held in person,” writes one anonymous Ph.D. student. “Can you imagine having a giant conference like this in some random convention center, with tens of thousands of scientists spending hundreds of dollars on fuel-inefficient flights and hotel booking, lugging around printed posters and just milling around for a week trying to find the optimal talks to attend? Insane.” Yifan Li Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Twitter: @iWonderWhyly Today, cell-based meat consumption has surpassed farm-produced meat for the first time. The transition began with the meat shortages and near collapse of the meat supply chain during the COVID-19 outbreak. With thousands of workers packed into poorly ventilated and unhygienic facilities, meat processing plants were hotspots for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A global meat shortage emerged as production rates were slashed. Most people turned to the plant-based meat alternatives available at the time. The meat industry's demise was sealed when cell-based meat entered the mainstream market the following year. Clean meat eliminated the negative effects of the meat industry, from pollution caused by runoff and antibiotics, to worker and animal cruelty, to the carbon footprint of livestock, which contributed 18% of greenhouse gas emissions at the time. Cell-based meat has been growing in popularity ever since, as traditional meat became ethically and environmentally unpalatable. JiaJia Fu Whittle School and Studios, Washington, DC 20008, USA. Email: jjnaturalist{at}gmail.com Global seafood supply now relies entirely on aquaculture. The turning point came when researchers optimized the breeding techniques for edible crabs, enabling high-valued crab species such as mud crabs and blue crabs to be mass-produced in full aquaculture settings. The prioritization of aquaculture was made possible by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A 12-month closure of fisheries during the wave of global stay-at-home orders led to the rejuvenation of overexploited species such as sardines and mackerels, which had been on the verge of extinction, and made people recognize the fragility of the supply chain. Full investment in aquaculture research began the following year. Khor Waiho Institute of Tropical Aquaculture and Fisheries, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, 21030, Malaysia. Email: waiho{at}umt.edu.my Next week, the United Nations will meet to assess whether the goals of the 2040 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been achieved. Unfortunately, reasons for optimism are scarce. Overexploitation of natural resources, CO2 emissions, and plastic waste continue to soar. The wealthiest sector of the population consumes 80% of the resources, and the poorest people increasingly suffer from extreme weather events, famines, and freshwater scarcity. We were already heading in this direction early in the century, when the short-term vision of corporations and policy-makers prioritized economic benefits over human and environmental health. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the negative trends. Since 2020, an array of wasteful practices increased, including the proliferation of single-use products and travel in private vehicles to avoid physical contact. After reviewing the past decade, the UN countries will discuss commitments to decrease inequality and pollution by 2050. Isabel Marín Beltrán Laboratory of Environmental Technologies, Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, Faro, 8005-139, Portugal. Email: imbeltran{at}ualg.pt For the first time, global average air temperature is more than 2°C higher than the 20th-century global average. Scientists suggest that decisions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic led to today's disastrous climate consequences. After the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, scientists were hopeful. National governments were implementing increasingly ambitious measures to meet their commitments. But the economic fallout of the pandemic led growing economies such as India to relax environmental clearance guidelines for industries and infrastructure projects and cut funding allocated to environmental reforms. First-world countries such as the United States and China, instead of shifting toward renewable energy, boosted investment in fossil fuels, which in turn increased greenhouse gas emissions. Even after multiple warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, G20 nations neglected to follow the advice of scientists. Akash Mukherjee Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, 411008, India. Twitter: @aghori_AM A government report released yesterday warns of a potential spike in counterfeit immunity passports entering the market this coronavirus season. According to Jane London, the U.K. health minister, “There is a substantial increase in the number of illegal immunigrants crossing provincial and municipal borders. The public should be aware that just scanning someone's immunity passport is not enough anymore.” This report comes just 6 months after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first released notice that the “NextGen Immunity Passport” brand had been hacked, allowing scammers and tech-savvy citizens to falsify the immunity data they carry with them by law. Asked how businesses and town-guards were detecting falsified immunity passports at checkpoints, minister of national movement John Petersfield told journalists, “This is a police matter. Any further information about detection at this time will only help counterfeiters.” Widespread counterfeiting, as well as last year's false-negative scandal, has generated substantial public distrust in the use of the immunity passport system in movement legislation, now 19 years old. “We learned our lesson about free movement back in 2020,” said one government official who wished to remain anonymous, “but the immunity passport system is cracking, and we don't see a fix yet.” Tyler D. P. Brunet Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3RH, UK. Email: tdpb2{at}cam.ac.uk


Florida Eases Self-Driving Car Rules: Are States And Cities On The Hook For Mishaps?

#artificialintelligence

Jurisdictions might be on-the-hook for their self-driving car laws that allow autonomous cars and for which might get into mishaps or crashes. Florida just passed a law that widens the door for self-driving driverless cars to roam their public roadways and do so without any human back-up driver involved. Some see dangers afoot, others see progress and excitement. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, declared that by approving the new bill it showed that "Florida officially has an open-door policy to autonomous vehicle companies." There are now 29 states that have various driverless laws on their books, per the National Conference of State Legislatures: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C. Here's a question that some politicians and regulators are silently grappling with, albeit some think that they have the unarguably "right" answer and thusly have no need to lose sleep over the matter: Should states, counties, cities and townships be eagerly courting self-driving autonomous cars onto their public roadways, or should those jurisdictions be neutral about inviting them into their locales, or should they be highly questioning and require "proof until proven safe" before letting even one such autonomous car onto their turf?


Reports of the Workshops of the 32nd AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

The AAAI-18 workshop program included 15 workshops covering a wide range of topics in AI. Workshops were held Sunday and Monday, February 2–7, 2018, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. This report contains summaries of the Affective Content Analysis workshop; the Artificial Intelligence Applied to Assistive Technologies and Smart Environments; the AI and Marketing Science workshop; the Artificial Intelligence for Cyber Security workshop; the AI for Imperfect-Information Games; the Declarative Learning Based Programming workshop; the Engineering Dependable and Secure Machine Learning Systems workshop; the Health Intelligence workshop; the Knowledge Extraction from Games workshop; the Plan, Activity, and Intent Recognition workshop; the Planning and Inference workshop; the Preference Handling workshop; the Reasoning and Learning for Human-Machine Dialogues workshop; and the the AI Enhanced Internet of Things Data Processing for Intelligent Applications workshop.