US Government


AI Weekly: AI is getting political in Washington, and it's about time

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Amid rage brewing on both sides of the political spectrum over testimony by Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, it would be understandable if you missed some significant artificial intelligence news in Washington D.C. in recent weeks. This week, a group of four senators -- two Democrats, two Republicans -- put forward the AI in Government Act to do things like carry out unique research on federal AI policy, work across agencies, and form an AI advisory board similar to the one created by the European Union earlier this year. The bill has the support of Microsoft, Intel, and the Internet Association, an organization whose members represent some of the biggest tech companies in AI, including Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Last week, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and seven of her colleagues in the House and Senate signed and sent letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) asking questions about their use of facial recognition software. The FTC and EEOC were asked things like how they address claims of discrimination that may be the result of algorithmic bias and if it has received complaints about facial detection in the workplace or as part of hiring practices.


Applied artificial intelligence leader Dr. JT Kostman joins Grant Thornton

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ISELIN, N.J. -- JT Kostman, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in cognitive computing, applied artificial intelligence, and data strategy, has joined Grant Thornton LLP as managing director of applied artificial intelligence. In this new role, Kostman will lead the development and delivery of artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, blockchain, and advanced analytic solutions and services for the firm and Grant Thornton clients. He will be based in the firm's Iselin, N.J., office and will report into National Managing Principal of Innovation Kevin Baril. Kostman is a data scientist, mathematician and psychologist renowned for his expertise in applied artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. He boasts an impressive pedigree – having served as chief data officer and a member of the executive committee for Time Inc., chief data scientist for Samsung, and chief data scientist and big data psychologist for Aptus Insights.


UB launches artificial intelligence institute - University at Buffalo

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The University at Buffalo announced today that it is launching a multidisciplinary artificial intelligence institute -- the University at Buffalo Artificial Intelligence Institute (UBuffalo.AI). UBuffalo.AI will explore how to combine machines' superior ability to ingest, connect and recall information with concepts that humans excel at, such as reasoning, judgement and strategizing, to develop dynamic human-machine partnerships. To lead UBuffalo.AI, the university recruited David Doermann, PhD, from the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Doermann built his career at UMD developing technologies for document understanding and computer vision for the defense and intelligence communities. Human language is considered one of the grand challenges of AI, and the fundamental and applied research performed in his UMD laboratory has provided a critical foundation for addressing the next wave of AI challenges.


NTU Singapore turns to Alibaba on Artificial Intelligence GovInsider

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To pursue his education, Mumbai-born Professor Subra Suresh travelled to the US with less than $100 in his pocket, toting a half-filled suitcase. His story is one of the power of education, a value instilled in him by his mother from an early age, he notes. Suresh rose to become the first Asian-born academic to lead the National Science Foundation, an American agency with an US$8bn research budget, and joined Singapore's Nanyang Technological University in January as its new President. GovInsider caught up with him to learn more about his vision for the university. In one of his first moves, the university has partnered with Chinese tech giant Alibaba to set up a joint AI research institute – the first of its kind outside of China.


Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Creating Multi-billion Dollar Opportunity With Infusion of Blockchain Technology HostReview.com

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It has become increasingly apparent that there is a tremendous opportunity when it comes to infusing artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain platforms. AI, otherwise known as machine learning in some circle, as the ability to take blockchain operations and effectiveness to the next level. Alternatively, blockchain technology can also work in the opposite direction, allowing cutting-edge tech leaders to understand AI in greater depths and essentially create more efficient and smarter intelligence platforms. By decentralizing the market, blockchain and AI will work together to make transactions more secure, while simultaneously generating large amounts of new revenues. Already multi-billion dollar industries on their own, blockchain and AI are poised to benefit on a high scale financially as the two become more intertwined.


America's top maker of cop body cameras says facial-recog AI isn't safe

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Analysis America's largest manufacturer of body cameras – and the biggest supplier to police forces across the United States – says today's facial recognition technology is not safe for making serious decisions. Speaking during its second-quarter earnings call with investors this week, the CEO of Axon, Rick Smith, answered a question about whether the company would be adding facial-recognition systems to its suite of products and, if so, whether that would come with an additional cost. Smith responded in clear terms that current facial recognition is simply not accurate enough to "make operational decisions," ie: for police to use it to recognize individuals and use positive responses as justification for automatically and unquestioningly apprehending people. Well, the computer says you're wanted, so here come the cuffs, we can imagine a conversation with officers going. "We don't have a timeline to launch facial recognition," Smith said on the conference call (listen in at around the 40-minute mark), noting that Axon doesn't have a team "actively developing it" either.


Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks

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Amazon's online facial recognition system incorrectly matched pictures of US Congress members to mugshots of suspected criminals in a study by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU, a nonprofit headquartered in New York, has called for Congress to ban cops and Feds from using any sort of computer-powered facial recognition technology due to the fact that, well, it sucks. Amazon's AI-powered Rekognition service was previously criticized by the ACLU when it revealed the web giant was aggressively marketing its face-matching tech to police in Washington County, Oregon, and Orlando, Florida. Rekognition is touted by the Bezos Bunch as, among other applications, a way to identify people in real time from surveillance camera footage or from officers' body cameras. The results from the ACLU's latest probing showed that Rekognition mistook images of 28 members of Congress for mugshots of cuffed people suspected of crimes.


Computer Vision Startup Yitu Nabs $100 Million in Funding

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Shanghai-based computer vision company Yitu announced today that it has acquired an additional US$100 million in funding, with China Industrial Asset Management as the sole investor this round. Yitu is one of China's four AI unicorns, along with Face, Cloudwalk and SenseTime. On June 12th, 2018, Yitu completed its C Round with US$200 Million from GC Capital, ICBC International, and SPDB International. This new funding raises Yitu's valuation to over US$2.3 billion. Yitu was found in 2012 and focuses on computer vision, natural language processing, knowledge reasoning, intelligent hardware, and robotics.


10 things in tech you need to know today

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This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday. News of this deal comes just four months after President Trump blocked Broadcom from acquiring chipmaker Qualcomm in a $103 billion hostile takeover on national security grounds. The new terms give Facebook explicit permission to audit developers' use of data, in what looks an effort to prevent a second Cambridge Analytica-style scandal. Musk was responding to a Twitter user who said he had been told Musk wouldn't be able to help bring clean water to Flint. According to an excerpt of the account in Vanity Fair, employees feared Brin's behaviour would lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit.


Tesla goes big in China with Shanghai plant

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Tuesday landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Shanghai, its first factory outside the United States, that would double the size of the electric car maker's global manufacturing. The deal was announced as Tesla raised prices on U.S.-made vehicles it sells in China to offset the cost of new tariffs imposed by the Chinese government in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump's heavier duties on Chinese goods. Musk was in Shanghai Tuesday, and the Shanghai government in a statement said it welcomed Tesla's move to invest not only in a new factory in the city, a center of the Chinese auto industry, but in research and development, as well. China has long pushed to capture more of the talent and capital invested by global automakers in advanced electric vehicle technology. Tesla plans to produce the first cars about two years after construction begins on its Shanghai factory, ramping up to as many as 500,000 vehicles a year about two to three years later, the company said.