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Australia to monitor illegal activities in marine parks in drone trial

ZDNet

The Australian Director of National Parks is looking to run a trial to use drones to monitor, detect, and collect information about prohibited activities, such as illegal fishing operations, in marine parks. In an approach to market, the Director of National Parks, which is responsible for managing Australia's marine parks (AMPs), said it is looking at the possibility of using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology as a cost-effective alternative to traditional surveillance methods that involve using manned surveillance flights, as well as a way to ensure any prohibited activities are not missed. "Parks Australia currently has an information gap regarding the activities conducted by small craft vessels which are not equipped with vessel monitoring systems and are not required to have automated identification systems. Unauthorised tourism and recreational fishing activities may be going undetected, creating a significant gap in AMP domain awareness for managers," the agency wrote. "Traditional surveillance approaches for detecting small craft, such as vessel patrols and manned aerial surveillance flights, can be extremely costly. This trial seeks to inform the compliance program through the investigation of new, cost-effective technologies to monitor vessel activity within AMPs."


IBM's Q4 revenue down 6%, eyes growth in 2021

ZDNet

Here's a look at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run your company as well as their latest strategic moves. IBM's fourth quarter revenue fell 6% from a year ago, but the company said it expects to return to growth in 2021. The company's earnings report was a mixed bag. IBM reported non-GAAP earnings of $2.07 a share and $1.41 a share under generally accepted accounting practices. However, IBM's fourth quarter revenue was down 6% to $20.4 billion.


EvolveGraph: dynamic neural relational reasoning for interacting systems

AIHub

Multi-agent interacting systems are prevalent in the world, from purely physical systems to complicated social dynamic systems. The interactions between entities / components can give rise to very complex behavior patterns at the level of both individuals and the multi-agent system as a whole. Since usually only the trajectories of individual entities are observed without any knowledge of the underlying interaction patterns, and there are usually multiple possible modalities for each agent with uncertainty, it is challenging to model their dynamics and forecast their future behaviors. We introduce a generic trajectory forecasting framework (named EvolveGraph) with explicit relational structure recognition and prediction via latent interaction graphs among multiple heterogeneous, interactive agents. Considering the uncertainty of future behaviors, the model is designed to provide multi-modal prediction hypotheses.


Space satellites equipped with machine learning count elephants on Earth

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Vulnerable elephant populations are now being tracked from space using Earth-observation satellites and a type of artificial intelligence (AI) called machine learning. As part of an international project, researchers are using satellite images processed with computer algorithms, which are trained with more than 1,000 images of elephants to help spot the creatures. With machine learning, the algorithms can count elephants even on'complex geographical landscapes', such as those dotted with trees and shrubs. Researchers say this method is a promising new tool for surveying endangered wildlife and can detect animals with the same accuracy as humans. Elephants in woodland as seen from space.


Behind those dancing robots, scientists had to bust a move

Boston Herald

The man who designed some of the world's most advanced dynamic robots was on a daunting mission: programming his creations to dance to the beat with a mix of fluid, explosive and expressive motions that are almost human. Almost a year and half of choreography, simulation, programming and upgrades that were capped by two days of filming to produce a video running at less than 3 minutes. The clip, showing robots dancing to the 1962 hit "Do You Love Me?" by The Contours, was an instant hit on social media, attracting more than 23 million views during the first week. It shows two of Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas research robots doing the twist, the mashed potato and other classic moves, joined by Spot, a doglike robot, and Handle, a wheeled robot designed for lifting and moving boxes in a warehouse or truck. Boston Dynamics founder and chairperson Marc Raibert says what the robot maker learned was far more valuable.


Google's new Guest Mode for smart speakers is a privacy must

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Google is giving users a new way to take charge over their privacy when using its smart speakers and displays. The new security feature, known as Guest Mode, keeps your personal data confidential while still allowing others to get the most out of Google Assistant--and it's already available on your Google smart speaker. Guest Mode is a new privacy feature for Google smart speakers that, when enabled, doesn't store assistant activity and audio recordings, or provide personalized results. The new feature, announced on Jan. 13, is ready for use on Google speakers and displays like the Google Nest Mini and Nest Hub Max. To turn it on, say, "Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode."


Otter launches live transcription for Google Meet

Engadget

Otter, which uses AI to offer a low-cost transcription service, is bringing its smarts to Google Meet, letting users access live notes and captions. All a user needs to do is install a Chrome extension, which will open up a live notes panel which will record what is said while people are saying it. The company already offered a similar service to Zoom chats, but now offers an alternative to Google's baked-in live caption service. Otter's boast is that its interactive, editable transcripts are a great tool for collaboration when the meeting is finished. In the announcement, Otter says that tools like this make it easy to record meetings to avoid confusion later, but also help folks with accessibility requirements.


This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs

WIRED

In a low-rise building overlooking a busy intersection in Beijing, Ji Rong Wen, a middle-aged scientist with thin-rimmed glasses and a mop of black hair, excitedly describes a project that could advance one of the hottest areas of artificial intelligence. Wen leads a team at the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), a government-sponsored research lab that's testing a powerful new language algorithm--something similar to GPT-3, a program revealed in June by researchers at OpenAI that digests large amounts of text and can generate remarkably coherent, free-flowing language. "This is a big project," Wen says with a big grin. "It takes a lot of computing infrastructure and money." Wen, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing recruited to work part-time at BAAI, hopes to create an algorithm that is even cleverer than GPT-3. He plans to combine machine learning with databases of facts, and to feed the algorithm images and video as well as text, in hope of creating a richer understanding of the physical world--that the words cat and fur don't just often appear in the same sentence, but are associated with one another visually.


Trump made a mess of tech policy. Here's what Biden is inheriting.

Mashable

It's hard to focus on the nitty gritty of tech policy when the world is on fire. Take, for example, his fight against Big Tech in the name of "anti-conservative bias" (no, it doesn't exist), which resulted in an assault on Section 230. Experts say the true aim of those efforts was to undermine content moderation, and normalize the white supremacist attitudes that helped put people like Trump in power. Unfortunately, those allegations will have life for years to come as a form of "zombie Trumpism," as Berin Szoka, a senior fellow at the technology policy organization TechFreedom, put it. Trump may be gone from office and Twitter.


One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) – a panel discussion at #IJCAI-PRICAI 2020

AIHub

The mission of AI100 is to launch a study every five years, over the course of a century, to better track and anticipate how artificial intelligence propagates through society, and how it shapes different aspects of our lives. This IJCAI session brought together some of the people involved in the AI100 initiative to discuss their efforts and the direction of the project. The goals of the AI100 are "to support a longitudinal study of AI advances on people and society, centering on periodic studies of developments, trends, futures, and potential disruptions associated with the developments in machine intelligence, and formulating assessments, recommendations and guidance on proactive efforts". Working on the AI100 project are a standing committee and a study panel. The first study panel report, released in 2016, can be read in full here.