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Five Trends for Voice Assistants in 2020s

#artificialintelligence

Voice assistants are becoming an essential part of our daily lives. When Apple's Siri hit markets in 2011, it managed to gain an impressive attraction of tech enthusiasts, yet no one was certain about how this novelty shall bring a tech revolution. Today, we are regular users of Google Voice Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and many more. Things took a turn when Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod went mainstream in 2017. All these instances converge on how voice assistants are proving themselves as a tech enabler with impressive possibilities. Not only in households, but they are also slowly proving to be useful in the business quarters too.


Linear Algebra 101 -- Part 9: Singular Value Decomposition (SVD)

#artificialintelligence

Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) is another type of decomposition. Unlike eigendecomposition where the matrix you want to decompose has to be a square matrix, SVD allows you to decompose a rectangular matrix (a matrix that has different numbers of rows and columns). This is often more useful in a real-life scenario since the rectangular matrix could represent a wide variety of data that's not a square matrix. First, let's look at the definition itself. As you can see, SVD decomposes the matrix into 3 different matrices.


The Evolution of Data Science … As I Remember It

#artificialintelligence

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It's written by anyone with the will to write it down and the forum to distribute it. It's valuable to understand different perspectives and the contexts that created them. The evolution of the term Data Science is a good example. I learned statistics in the 1970s in a department of behavioral scientists and educators rather than a department of mathematics. At that time, the image of statistics was framed by academic mathematical-statisticians. They wrote the textbooks and controlled the jargon. Applied statisticians were the silent majority, a sizable group overshadowed by the academic celebrities. For me, reading Tukey's 1977 book Exploratory Data Analysis was a revelation.


Artificial intelligence in health care

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already delivering on making aspects of health care more efficient. Over time it will likely be essential to supporting clinical and other applications that result in more insightful and effective care and operations. AI has multiple use cases throughout health plan, pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), and health system enterprises today, and with more interoperable and secure data, it is likely to be a critical engine behind analytics, insights, and the decision-making process. Enterprises that lean into adoption are likely to gain immediate returns through cost reduction and gain competitive advantage over the longer term as they use AI to transform their products and services to better engage with consumers. Get the Deloitte Insights app.


A Perspective on Theoretical Computer Science in Latin America

Communications of the ACM

Theoretical computer science is everywhere, for TCS is concerned with the foundations of computing and computing is everywhere! In the last three decades, a vibrant Latin American TCS community has emerged: here, we describe and celebrate some of its many noteworthy achievements. Computer science became a distinct academic discipline in the 1950s and early 1960s. The first CS department in the U.S. was formed in 1962, and by the 1970s virtually every university in the U.S. had one. In contrast, by the late 1970s, just a handful of Latin American universities were actively conducting research in the area. Several CS departments were eventually established during the late 1980s. Often, theoreticians played a decisive role in the foundation of these departments. One key catalyst in articulating collaborations among the few but growing number of enthusiastic theoreticians who were active in the international academic arena was the foundation of regional conferences.


Imaging Sciences R&D Laboratories in Argentina

Communications of the ACM

We use the term imaging sciences to refer to the overarching spectrum of scientific and technological contexts which involve images in digital format including, among others, image and video processing, scientific visualization, computer graphics, animations in games and simulators, remote sensing imagery, and also the wide set of associated application areas that have become ubiquitous during the last decade in science, art, human-computer interaction, entertainment, social networks, and many others. As an area that combines mathematics, engineering, and computer science, this discipline arose in a few universities in Argentina mostly in the form of elective classes and small research projects in electrical engineering or computer science departments. Only in the mid-2000s did some initiatives aiming to generate joint activities and to provide identity and visibility to the discipline start to appear. In this short paper, we present a brief history of the three laboratories with the most relevant research and development (R&D) activities in the discipline in Argentina, namely the Imaging Sciences Laboratory of the Universidad Nacional del Sur, the PLADEMA Institute at the Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, and the Image Processing Laboratory at the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata. The Imaging Sciences Laboratorya of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the Universidad Nacional del Sur Bahía Blanca began its activities in the 1990s as a pioneer in Argentina and Latin America in research and teaching in computer graphics, and in visualization.


Chile's New Interdisciplinary Institute for Foundational Research on Data

Communications of the ACM

The Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Dataa (IMFD) started its operations in June 2018, funded by the Millennium Science Initiative of the Chilean National Agency of Research and Development.b IMFD is a joint initiative led by Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica de Chile, with the participation of five other Chilean universities: Universidad de Concepción, Universidad de Talca, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Universidad Diego Portales, and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. IMFD aims to be a reference center in Latin America related to state-of-the-art research on the foundational problems with data, as well as its applications to tackling diverse issues ranging from scientific challenges to complex social problems. As tasks of this kind are interdisciplinary by nature, IMFD gathers a large number of researchers in several areas that include traditional computer science areas such as data management, Web science, algorithms and data structures, privacy and verification, information retrieval, data mining, machine learning, and knowledge representation, as well as some areas from other fields, including statistics, political science, and communication studies. IMFD currently hosts 36 researchers, seven postdoctoral fellows, and more than 100 students.


Three Success Stories About Compact Data Structures

Communications of the ACM

Technology evolution is no longer keeping pace with the growth of data. We are facing problems storing and processing the huge amounts of data produced every day. People rely on data-intensive applications and new paradigms (for example, edge computing) to try to keep computation closer to where data is produced and needed. Thus, the need to store and query data in devices where capacity is surpassed by data volume is routine today, ranging from astronomy data to be processed by supercomputers, to personal data to be processed by wearable sensors. The scale is different, yet the underlying problem is the same.


Estimating Amazon Carbon Stock Using AI-based Remote Sensing

Communications of the ACM

Forests are the major terrestrial ecosystem responsible for carbon sequestration and storage. The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest tropical rainforest encompassing up to 2,124,000 square miles, covering a large area in South America including nine countries. The majority of that area (69%) lies in Brazil. Thus, Amazonia holds about 20% of the total carbon contained in the world's terrestrial vegetation.1,5,7 But the rampant deforestation due to illegal logging, mining, cattle ranching, and soy plantation are examples of threats to the vast region.


Natural Language Misunderstanding

Communications of the ACM

In today's world, it is nearly impossible to avoid voice-controlled digital assistants. From the interactive intelligent agents used by corporations, government agencies, and even personal devices, automated speech recognition (ASR) systems, combined with machine learning (ML) technology, increasingly are being used as an input modality that allows humans to interact with machines, ostensibly via the most common and simplest way possible: by speaking in a natural, conversational voice. Yet as a study published in May 2020 by researchers from Stanford University indicated, the accuracy level of ASR systems from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others vary widely depending on the speaker's race. While this study only focused on the differing accuracy levels for a small sample of African American and white speakers, it points to a larger concern about ASR accuracy and phonological awareness, including the ability to discern and understand accents, tonalities, rhythmic variations, and speech patterns that may differ from the voices used to initially train voice-activated chatbots, virtual assistants, and other voice-enabled systems. The Stanford study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, measured the error rates of ASR technology from Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, by comparing the system's performance in understanding identical phrases (taken from pre-recorded interviews across two datasets) spoken by 73 black and 42 white speakers, then comparing the average word error rate (WER) for black and white speakers.