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IBM announces new tennis power rankings, fantasy tennis teams and more ahead of US Open

ZDNet

IBM unveiled a slate of new AI-powered tools on Friday centered around the US Open, which kicks off in New York City on Monday. Tennis fans will have a bevy of new match and player information available to them thanks to IBM, which built out the tools on the US Open app and USOpen.org. The company created a new IBM Power Rankings with Watson as well as Match Insights with Watson, which is run on IBM Cloud. The Match Insights tool uses AI and natural language processing to provide fans with data on all of the tournament's 254 singles matches. The tools will also be incorporated into the television broadcasts of the tournament on ESPN and on the United States Tennis Association's (USTA), daily show, "The Changeover."


NotCo gets its horn following $235M round to expand plant-based food products – TechCrunch

#artificialintelligence

NotCo, a food technology company making plant-based milk and meat replacements, wrapped up another funding round this year, a $235 million Series D round that gives it a $1.5 billion valuation. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by new investors, including DFJ Growth Fund, the social impact foundation, ZOMA Lab; athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer; and musician and DJ Questlove. Follow-on investors included Bezos Expeditions, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, Future Positive, L Catterton, Kaszek Ventures, SOSV and Endeavour Catalyst. This funding round follows an undisclosed investment in June from Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer through his firm EHI. In total, NotCo, with roots in both Chile and New York, has raised more than $350 million, founder and CEO Matias Muchnick told TechCrunch.


Getting Banned From Riding In AI Self-Driving Cars For The Rest Of Your Entire Life

#artificialintelligence

People are increasingly getting onto those banned no-fly types of lists, which could happen with ... [ ] self-driving cars too. People keep getting banned for doing the darndest and seemingly dumbest of acts. Oftentimes getting banned for the rest of their entire life. You might have heard or seen the recent brouhaha in major league baseball when a spectator in Yankee Stadium seated above leftfield opted to throw a baseball down onto the field that then struck the Boston Red Sox player Alex Verdugo in the back. He was not hurt, but you can imagine the personal dismay and shock at suddenly and unexpectedly having a projectile strike him from behind, seemingly out of nowhere. Turns out that Alex had earlier tossed the same baseball up into the stands as a memento for a young Red Sox cheering attendee. By some boorish grabbing, it had ended up in the hands of a New York Yankees fan. Next, after some hysterical urging by other frenetic Yankees to toss it back, the young man did so. Whether this act of defiance was intentionally devised to smack the left-fielder is still unclear and it could have been a happenstance rather than a purposeful aim.


Giants' Dave Gettleman criticized for failing to find No. 1 wide receiver amid start of free agency

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman was on the receiving end of some heat from former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith on Wednesday. Smith, a current analyst on the NFL Network who had a falling out with Gettleman while he played for the Carolina Panthers when Gettleman was the general manager, appeared to be angered over New York's lack of free agency moves especially failing at this point to sign a No. 1 wide receiver. "They don't want an alpha. They can't take JuJu (Smith-Schuster) because he plays in the slot and that's where (Sterling) Shepard plays. They already have a tight end. So what they want are robots who aren't going to make a stink, who are gonna fall in place, which will end up stunting the growth of your franchise quarterback because you either want a robot or 6-foot-2, 215 [pound] or above wide receiver. You don't want a playmaker. You want people that aren't gonna make a stink in the locker room. And that means you want to be average," Smith said, via NJ.com.


IBM's Watson is helping tennis fans argue with each other

#artificialintelligence

New York (CNN Business)With spectators unable to fill stadiums, sports leagues have to get creative with new forms of digital engagement to keep fans entertained. During the US Open, which started Monday, the US Tennis Association is inviting fans to engage in online debates about some of the sport's most contested questions, with the help of artificial intelligence technology from IBM (IBM). Fans can discuss topics like the most influential players in history, and their arguments will be analyzed by IBM's Watson technology (using the same AI tool that helped a computer take on a top human debater last year). The Open typically draws around 850,000 fans over three weeks. When the USTA announced in June that the Open would be held for the first time with no fans on site, IBM, a longtime sponsor and tech partner of the Tennis Association, was tasked with finding ways to make sure all those people would still tune in.


NFL has 77 apparently false positive COVID-19 tests from lab

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL had 77 positive COVID-19 tests from 11 teams re-examined by a New Jersey lab after false positives, and all those tests came back negative. The league asked the New Jersey lab BioReference to investigate the results, and those 77 tests are being re-tested once more to make sure they were false positives. Among teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings said they had 12, the New York Jets 10 and the Chicago Bears nine.


FaZe Clan among several esports organizations receiving PPP loan money

Washington Post - Technology News

Though there is a range between these organizations in both financial and competitive success, the common thread between them all is their participation in these Activision Blizzard-operated leagues that required franchise buy-ins, reported to have been for at least $20 million per team. The organizations also share similarly acclaimed and wealthy ownership groups. Enthusiast Gaming is a publicly traded Canadian company. The co-CEO and co-founder of NRG is Sacramento Kings co-owner Andy Miller. Andbox is a subsidiary of a venture capital fund backed by the owners of the New York Mets.


Estimation of Skill Distributions

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In this paper, we study the problem of learning the skill distribution of a population of agents from observations of pairwise games in a tournament. These games are played among randomly drawn agents from the population. The agents in our model can be individuals, sports teams, or Wall Street fund managers. Formally, we postulate that the likelihoods of game outcomes are governed by the Bradley-Terry-Luce (or multinomial logit) model, where the probability of an agent beating another is the ratio between its skill level and the pairwise sum of skill levels, and the skill parameters are drawn from an unknown skill density of interest. The problem is, in essence, to learn a distribution from noisy, quantized observations. We propose a simple and tractable algorithm that learns the skill density with near-optimal minimax mean squared error scaling as $n^{-1+\varepsilon}$, for any $\varepsilon>0$, when the density is smooth. Our approach brings together prior work on learning skill parameters from pairwise comparisons with kernel density estimation from non-parametric statistics. Furthermore, we prove minimax lower bounds which establish minimax optimality of the skill parameter estimation technique used in our algorithm. These bounds utilize a continuum version of Fano's method along with a covering argument. We apply our algorithm to various soccer leagues and world cups, cricket world cups, and mutual funds. We find that the entropy of a learnt distribution provides a quantitative measure of skill, which provides rigorous explanations for popular beliefs about perceived qualities of sporting events, e.g., soccer league rankings. Finally, we apply our method to assess the skill distributions of mutual funds. Our results shed light on the abundance of low quality funds prior to the Great Recession of 2008, and the domination of the industry by more skilled funds after the financial crisis.


Retouchdown: Adding Touchdown to StreetLearn as a Shareable Resource for Language Grounding Tasks in Street View

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The Touchdown dataset (Chen et al., 2019) provides instructions by human annotators for navigation through New York City streets and for resolving spatial descriptions at a given location. To enable the wider research community to work effectively with the Touchdown tasks, we are publicly releasing the 29k raw Street View panoramas needed for Touchdown. We follow the process used for the StreetLearn data release (Mirowski et al., 2019) to check panoramas for personally identifiable information and blur them as necessary. These have been added to the StreetLearn dataset and can be obtained via the same process as used previously for StreetLearn. We also provide a reference implementation for both of the Touchdown tasks: vision and language navigation (VLN) and spatial description resolution (SDR). We compare our model results to those given in Chen et al. (2019) and show that the panoramas we have added to StreetLearn fully support both Touchdown tasks and can be used effectively for further research and comparison.


Zenia is using computer vision to build an AI-driven fitness trainer

#artificialintelligence

As in just about every area of the health and fitness market, technology is increasingly infiltrating yoga, with startups and investors pushing to capitalize on the $80 billion market. Last year, Germany-based Asana Rebel raised more than $17 million from notable backers that include Greycroft to grow its virtual yoga platform, while New York's Mirror has raised sizable funding rounds for a connected mirror that delivers virtual fitness classes, such as yoga and Pilates. Zenia recently entered the fray with a mobile app that leverages machine learning, computer vision, and motion tracking with the promise of helping improve your yoga poses. The company calls it "the world's first AI-powered yoga assistant," and plans to expand its technology to cover all areas of health and fitness. Zenia was officially founded out of Belarus in May of this year by software engineer Alexey Kurov, and the company has secured an undisclosed investment from such notable backers as Misha Lyalin, CEO and chair of Russia-based game developer Zeptolab, and Bulba Ventures, a Belarusian venture capital (VC) firm that invests in AI startups.