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Artificial Intelligence, Facial Recognition Face Curbs in New EU Proposal


The European Union's executive arm proposed a bill that would limit police use of facial-recognition software in public and ban the marketing or use of certain kinds of AI systems, in one of the broadest efforts yet to regulate high-stakes applications of artificial intelligence. The bill proposed on Wednesday would also create a list of so-called high-risk uses of AI that would be subject to new supervision and standards for their development and use, such as critical infrastructure, college admissions and loan applications. Regulators could fine a company up to 6% of its annual world-wide revenue for the most severe violations, though in practice EU officials rarely if ever mete out their maximum fines. The bill is one of the broadest of its kind to be proposed by a Western government, and part of the EU's expansion of its role as a global tech enforcer. In recent years, the EU has sought to take a global lead in drafting and enforcing new regulations aimed at taming the alleged excesses of big tech companies and curbing potential dangers of new technologies, in areas ranging from digital competition to online-content moderation.

Salesforce introduces new Sales Cloud features to boost automation and remote collaboration


Salesforce today rolled out the next generation of Service Cloud, including enhancements to Cloud Voice and Einstein Bots. The company says that the features and products are intended to address the new reality brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past year, service agents moved quickly to work from home but were forced to rely on legacy technology that wasn't designed to manage distributed workforces. Today, parts of the world are beginning to reopen, but these reopenings are raising questions around updated policies, protocols, and safety measures. This adds a new level of challenge for agents, who are already contending with increased workloads.

How to Shortest Loop Any Euclidean Travelling Salesman Problem


"The traveling salesman problem (also called the traveling salesperson problem[1] or TSP) asks the following question: "Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city?" It is an NP-hard problem in combinatorial optimization, important in theoretical computer science and operations research. This attempt is not based on optimizing cost but rather on simply the literal interpretation of the problem i.e., given a set of points, what is the shortest loop that can be made from a given point. It also assumes that salesman is travelling in 2-D plane and not on the surface of a sphere like the earth. In short this is the euclidean TSP, which is also an np-hard problem in computer science.

Hive's cloud-hosted machine learning models draw $85M


While cloud computing continues to gain favor, only a limited number of companies have embraced machine learning based in the cloud. Hive wants to change this by allowing enterprises to access hosted machine learning models via APIs. Hive has had particular success in the area of content moderation, thanks to its deep learning models that help companies interpret unstructured data, like images, videos, and audio. But it's also expanding into areas like advertising and sponsorship measurement as it seeks to find other areas that would benefit from intelligent automation. In an interview with VentureBeat, Hive CEO Kevin Guo said the company kept relatively quiet as it sought to prove its models work.

Music recommendation algorithms increase gender gap by promoting fewer female artists, study suggests

The Independent - Tech

Music recommendation algorithms could be amplifying the industry's existing gender bias problem, according to a study that proposes a new method allowing greater exposure for female artists. The existance of a gender bias in the music industry is not unknown. For instance, a study of the top five music charts in the UK between the years 1960-1995 showed how popular music is affected by a large gender inequality with a bias in listening preferences towards male artists. A recent analysis of music festivals found that lineups are heavily skewed towards male performers and this bias is also said to be prevalent in music streaming apps like Spotify. A growing number of people use streaming platforms to listen to music, and these apps use algorithms to recommend songs based on the users' listening habits.

EU unveils artificial intelligence rules to temper Big Brother fears


BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union unveils a plan on Wednesday (April 21) to regulate the sprawling field of artificial intelligence, aimed at making Europe a leader in the new tech revolution while reassuring the public against Big Brother-like abuses. "Whether it's precision farming in agriculture, more accurate medical diagnosis or safe autonomous driving, artificial intelligence will open up new worlds for us. But this world also needs rules," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her state-of-the-union speech in September last year. "We want a set of rules that puts people at the centre." The Commission, the EU's executive arm, has been preparing the proposal for over a year and a debate involving the European Parliament and 27 member states is to go on for months more before a definitive text is in force.

A Linguistic Guide to Assassin's Creed: Valhalla


Invading my own country has been one of the most surreal experiences of playing Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, and the variety of languages included in the game makes it one of the most thought-provoking. Assassin's Creed is an award-winning historical action game series known for putting players in the middle of transformative events in history. Valhalla is set during the Viking invasions of Britain, during which the main character, Eivor, and their brother Sigurd embark on a quest to conquer a new land. They travel by boat from their native country Norway to a place that is home to new Viking settlers, eager to forge their own legacy of glory. This gave me an outsider's perspective of my own country, eavesdropping on everyday conversations in busy settlements and deciphering the origin of war cries on mountainsides.

Europe proposes strict regulation of artificial intelligence.


The European Union on Wednesday unveiled strict regulations to govern the use of artificial intelligence, a first-of-its-kind policy that outlines how companies and governments can use a technology seen as one of the most significant, but ethically fraught, scientific breakthroughs in recent memory. Presented at a news briefing in Brussels, the draft rules would set limits around the use of artificial intelligence in a range of activities, from self-driving cars to hiring decisions, school enrollment selections and the scoring of exams. It would also cover the use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement and court systems -- areas considered "high risk" because they could threaten people's safety or fundamental rights. Some uses would be banned altogether, including live facial recognition in public spaces, though there would be some exemptions for national security and other purposes. The rules have far-reaching implications for major technology companies including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft that have poured resources into developing artificial intelligence, but also scores of other companies that use the technology in health care, insurance and finance.

Retail robots coming to these grocery stores


Shelf-scanning robot Tally will be donning a new apron soon. Simbe, the company that makes the robot, announced its first deployment with Save Mart, the largest family owned grocery chain in California, which acquired 132 Albertsons stores in 2006 has continued growing. Tally robots will be rolling out to 7 stores across all three Save Mart banners in the Bay Area to bring greater visibility to inventory, streamline operations for store teams and improve the customer experience. This is an important milestone for a sector that's been fixated on wider adoption and sees a real opportunity in the shadow of COVID-19, despite notable setbacks and some in the industry questioning the value of retail robotics late last year. In November 2020, Walmart killed a large contract with Simbe competitor Bossa Nova, which also makes a robot for inventory auditing and data-driven inventory insights.

Mystery over reported near-collision in space as SpaceX and OneWeb fight over 'lies' and possible crash of satellites

The Independent - Tech

A narrowly-avoided collision between Elon Musk's SpaceX and OneWeb satellites that was widely reported last week did not take place, according to filings provided to the FCC by SpaceX. It was reported that SpaceX's satellite came within 60 meters of a OneWeb craft, but SpaceX claims that the actual miss distance was over 1,000 meters, which was "neither a'close call' [nor] 'urgent'". OneWeb's satellites operate at a 1,200 kilometer altitude, compared to SpaceX's 550 kilometers, meaning they must pass through Mr Musk's network as they ascend. OneWeb apparently contacted the SpaceX team, who disabled the Starlink satellite's collision avoidance system to allow OneWeb to pass through, according to OneWeb's government affairs chief Chris McLaughlin. However, SpaceX claims this is not the case, stating in FCC filings authored by the company's Director of Satellite Policy David Goldman, that "the probability of collision never exceeded the threshold for a maneuver, and the satellites would not have collided even if no maneuver had been conducted".