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Australia


Canadian Agritech Startup Farmers Edge Inc. Files IPO to Raise CAD 100 Million

#artificialintelligence

Farmers Edge Inc, an AI startup to help growers increase crop yields, plans to go public on Canada's largest Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "FDGE". The company seeks to raise CAD 100 million (approximately USD 79 million). Founded in 2005, Farmers Edge uses AI technology to collect and analyze local weather, soil moisture and satellite data to help farmers improve crop efficiency and yield. Besides the Canadian Prairie, the company currently hosts offices in the United States, Australia, Russia, Brazil and Ukraine. As of the end of 2020, more than 3,000 growers have used the Farmers Edge products, covering more than 23 million acres of land in six countries.


AI Tools Assisting with Mental Health Issues Brought on by Pandemic - AI Trends

#artificialintelligence

The pandemic is a perfect storm for mental health issues. Isolation from others, economic uncertainty, and fear of illness can all contribute to poor mental health -- and right now, most people around the world face all three. New research suggests that the virus is tangibly affecting mental health. Rates of depression and anxiety symptoms are much higher than normal. In some population groups, like students and young people, these numbers are almost double what they've been in the past.


The Machine Learning and Big Data in Risk Evaluation PhD Scholarship

#artificialintelligence

This scholarship has been established to provide financial assistance to a PhD student to undertake research funded by an ARC Grant headed by Buhui Qiu within the University of Sydney Business School. The project will develop an innovative machine-learning-based approach for measuring, monitoring and evaluating bank lending activities and risk disclosures to take advantage of the big data available. It will use multidimensional data to produce more relevant metrics for assessing bank risks and risk disclosure quality and apply them in regulatory policy evaluation. The project findings will significantly advance the knowledge on mitigating banking misconduct. They will also equip regulatory authorities with an efficient monitoring tool and an early-warning device to promote better lending and risk disclosure practices, and foster a more transparent and stable financial system to support financial intermediation in Australia and worldwide.


Researchers uncover off-the-shelf smart home devices can improve wellbeing of seniors

ZDNet

Off-the-shelf smart home devices such as robotic vacuum cleaners and smart lights can support the wellbeing and independence of older Australians, a new study undertaken by Monash University, Deakin University, and regional, rural, remote aged care provider McLean Care has uncovered. The research published in Smart Homes for Seniors [PDF] evaluated the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of incorporating smart home devices in the homes of older people living in regional communities. It involved running a trial between November 2019 and June 2020. McLean recruited 23 households from its existing client base in regional New South Wales communities in Inverell, Tamworth, and Gunnedah, who were each provided a range of commercially available off-the-shelf smart home devices from different vendors and diverse functionalities. These included Google Home devices, Aeotec smart lights, Kogan smart kettles, and Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners.


Automation will reshape Australia's job market for decades to come

ZDNet

Seven years ago, headlines were sensational and alarmist after Oxford academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne estimated that 47% of American jobs were at high risk of automation. While we agree that the rise of automation and intelligent technologies such as robots, AI, and machine learning are radically reshaping work across the globe, the hype continues to cloud the discussion. Alarmists continue to say that half of all jobs will disappear; technologists can't wait for the robots to arrive; policymakers are nervous; and business leaders see opportunity everywhere. Automation will create real change in how we get things done. Business and government leaders at all levels must plan for the transformation of human work.


Swoop Aero to trial medical delivery drones in regional Queensland

ZDNet

Drone company Swoop Aero, in partnership with Australian healthcare wholesaler Symbion and pharmacy retailer TerryWhite Chemmart, has announced plans to begin trialling the delivery of medication using drones. The trial, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will take place in the Queensland town of Goondiwindi. Swoop Aero's drone network will deliver medication within a 130-kilometre range of the town from the local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacy to residents who typically have to travel up to three hours to reach the pharmacy. "The drone will fly in and out of a central point in Goondiwindi with the flight path fully automated and approved by CASA [Australia's aviation regulator], deliver the customers products, then return to base ready for its next job. After a little training, it is very easy to operate," Swoop Aero CEO Eric Peck said.


Defence lists cyber mitigation as key factor for building ethical AI

ZDNet

The Australian Department of Defence has released a new report on its findings for how to reduce the ethical risk of artificial intelligence projects, noting that cyber mitigation will be key to maintaining the trust and integrity of autonomous systems. The report was drafted following concerns from Defence that failure to adopt emerging technologies in a timely manner could result in military disadvantage, while premature adoption without sufficient research and analysis could result in inadvertent harms. "Significant work is required to ensure that introducing the technology does not result in adverse outcomes," Defence said in the report [PDF]. The report is the culmination of a workshop held two years ago, which saw organisations, including Defence, other Australian government agencies, the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre, universities, and companies from the defence industry come together to explore how to best develop ethical AI in a defence context. In the report, participants have jointly created five key considerations -- trust, responsibility, governance, law, traceability -- that they believe are essential during the development of any ethical AI project. When explaining these five considerations, workshop participants said all AI defence projects needed to have the ability to defend themselves from cyber attacks due to the growth of cyber capabilities globally.



AI can use the veins on your hand like fingerprints to identify you

New Scientist

The pattern of veins on the back of someone's hand is as unique as their fingerprints and can be used to identify people even with a cheap commercial camera. The technique could be used in smart door locks or even to identify people from CCTV images.


Microsoft Urges U.S. to Make Tech Giants Pay for News

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

SYDNEY-- Microsoft Corp. said the U.S. should copy Australia's controversial proposal that tech companies pay newspapers for content--putting it at odds with Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc. It isn't the first time Microsoft has stepped into feuds involving rivals--particularly in areas where they have an edge. Its Bing search engine lags behind Google in market share. Microsoft has urged governments to better regulate facial-recognition technology and last year sided with a videogame developer against Apple Inc. in a dispute about app-store fees. The Australian proposal, if enacted into law--it is now before a parliamentary committee--could prompt other countries to follow suit in a global transformation of the relationship between tech companies and traditional media.