Collaborating Authors



Communications of the ACM

On Feb 15, 2019, John Abowd, chief scientist at the U.S. Census Bureau, announced the results of a reconstruction attack that they proactively launched using data released under the 2010 Decennial Census.19 The decennial census released billions of statistics about individuals like "how many people of the age 10-20 live in New York City" or "how many people live in four-person households." Using only the data publicly released in 2010, an internal team was able to correctly reconstruct records of address (by census block), age, gender, race, and ethnicity for 142 million people (about 46% of the U.S. population), and correctly match these data to commercial datasets circa 2010 to associate personal-identifying information such as names for 52 million people (17% of the population). This is not specific to the U.S. Census Bureau--such attacks can occur in any setting where statistical information in the form of deidentified data, statistics, or even machine learning models are released. That such attacks are possible was predicted over 15 years ago by a seminal paper by Irit Dinur and Kobbi Nissim12--releasing a sufficiently large number of aggregate statistics with sufficiently high accuracy provides sufficient information to reconstruct the underlying database with high accuracy. The practicality of such a large-scale reconstruction by the U.S. Census Bureau underscores the grand challenge that public organizations, industry, and scientific research faces: How can we safely disseminate results of data analysis on sensitive databases? An emerging answer is differential privacy. An algorithm satisfies differential privacy (DP) if its output is insensitive to adding, removing or changing one record in its input database. DP is considered the "gold standard" for privacy for a number of reasons. It provides a persuasive mathematical proof of privacy to individuals with several rigorous interpretations.25,26 The DP guarantee is composable and repeating invocations of differentially private algorithms lead to a graceful degradation of privacy.

Polanyi's Revenge and AI's New Romance with Tacit Knowledge

Communications of the ACM

In his 2019 Turing Award Lecture, Geoff Hinton talks about two approaches to make computers intelligent. One he dubs--tongue firmly in cheek--"Intelligent Design" (or giving task-specific knowledge to the computers) and the other, his favored one, "Learning" where we only provide examples to the computers and let them learn. Hinton's not-so-subtle message is that the "deep learning revolution" shows the only true way is the second. Hinton is of course reinforcing the AI Zeitgeist, if only in a doctrinal form. Artificial intelligence technology has captured popular imagination of late, thanks in large part to the impressive feats in perceptual intelligence--including learning to recognize images, voice, and rudimentary language--and bringing fruits of those advances to everyone via their smartphones and personal digital accessories.

Using AI-enhanced music-supported therapy to assist stroke patients


Stroke currently ranks as the second most common cause of death and the second most common cause of disability worldwide. Motor deficits of the upper extremity (hemiparesis) are the most common and debilitating consequences of stroke, affecting around 80% of patients. These deficits limit the accomplishment of daily activities, affect social participation, are the origin of significant emotional distress, and cause profound detrimental effects on quality of life. Stroke rehabilitation aims to improve and maintain functional ability through restitution, substitution and compensation of functions. The restoration of motor deficits and improvements in motor function typically occurs during the first months following a stroke and therefore, major efforts are devoted to this acute stage.

2021 technology trend review, part two: AI, knowledge graphs, and the COVID-19 effect


Last year, we identified blockchain, cloud, open-source, artificial intelligence, and knowledge graphs as the five key technological drivers for the 2020s. Although we did not anticipate the kind of year that 2020 would turn out to be, it looks like our predictions may not have been entirely off track. Let's pick up from where we left off, retracing developments in key technologies for the 2020s: Artificial intelligence and knowledge graphs, plus an honorable mention to COVID-19-related technological developments. This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry. In our opener for the 2020s, we laid the groundwork to evaluate the array of technologies under the umbrella term "artificial intelligence."

Why AI Can't Properly Translate Proust--Yet

Oxford Comp Sci

This observation--that to understand Proust's text requires knowledge of various kinds--is not a new one. We came across it before, in the context of the Cyc project. Remember that Cyc was supposed to be given knowledge corresponding to the whole of consensus reality, and the Cyc hypothesis was that this would yield human-level general intelligence. Researchers in knowledge-based AI would be keen for me to point out to you that, decades ago, they anticipated exactly this issue. But it is not obvious that just continuing to refine deep learning techniques will address this problem.

Data Science is Cremated in 2020. So, Is Business Science Gaining Spotlight?


It is been so long since Harvard Business Review declared data science to be the sexiest job in 2012. Unfortunately, if we look back at how data scientist role is performing in the technology sector, it is more like the profession is slowly dying. Experts too think that the world is overrating data science professions throwing data at off-the-shelf algorithms. If we consider the'best jobs' ranking from 2017 to 2019, we see the data scientist role being dramatically losing its place. Data science played similar to'business analyst' position in the 2010s.

Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2


A minority of people infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmit most infections. How does this happen? Sun et al. reconstructed transmission in Hunan, China, up to April 2020. Such detailed data can be used to separate out the relative contribution of transmission control measures aimed at isolating individuals relative to population-level distancing measures. The authors found that most of the secondary transmissions could be traced back to a minority of infected individuals, and well over half of transmission occurred in the presymptomatic phase. Furthermore, the duration of exposure to an infected person combined with closeness and number of household contacts constituted the greatest risks for transmission, particularly when lockdown conditions prevailed. These findings could help in the design of infection control policies that have the potential to minimize both virus transmission and economic strain. Science , this issue p. [eabe2424][1] ### INTRODUCTION The role of transmission heterogeneities in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) dynamics remains unclear, particularly those heterogeneities driven by demography, behavior, and interventions. To understand individual heterogeneities and their effect on disease control, we analyze detailed contact-tracing data from Hunan, a province in China adjacent to Hubei and one of the first regions to experience a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in January to March 2020. The Hunan outbreak was swiftly brought under control by March 2020 through a combination of nonpharmaceutical interventions including population-level mobility restriction (i.e., lockdown), traveler screening, case isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine. In parallel, highly detailed epidemiological information on SARS-CoV-2–infected individuals and their close contacts was collected by the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. ### RATIONALE Contact-tracing data provide information to reconstruct transmission chains and understand outbreak dynamics. These data can in turn generate valuable intelligence on key epidemiological parameters and risk factors for transmission, which paves the way for more-targeted and cost-effective interventions. ### RESULTS On the basis of epidemiological information and exposure diaries on 1178 SARS-CoV-2–infected individuals and their 15,648 close contacts, we developed a series of statistical and computational models to stochastically reconstruct transmission chains, identify risk factors for transmission, and infer the infectiousness profile over the course of a typical infection. We observe overdispersion in the distribution of secondary infections, with 80% of secondary cases traced back to 15% of infections, which indicates substantial transmission heterogeneities. We find that SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk scales positively with the duration of exposure and the closeness of social interactions, with the highest per-contact risk estimated in the household. Lockdown interventions increase transmission risk in families and households, whereas the timely isolation of infected individuals reduces risk across all types of contacts. There is a gradient of increasing susceptibility with age but no significant difference in infectivity by age or clinical severity. Early isolation of SARS-CoV-2–infected individuals drastically alters transmission kinetics, leading to shorter generation and serial intervals and a higher fraction of presymptomatic transmission. After adjusting for the censoring effects of isolation, we find that the infectiousness profile of a typical SARS-CoV-2 patient peaks just before symptom onset, with 53% of transmission occurring in the presymptomatic phase in an uncontrolled setting. We then use these results to evaluate the effectiveness of individual-based strategies (case isolation and contact quarantine) both alone and in combination with population-level contact reductions. We find that a plausible parameter space for SARS-CoV-2 control is restricted to scenarios where interventions are synergistically combined, owing to the particular transmission kinetics of this virus. ### CONCLUSION There is considerable heterogeneity in SARS-CoV-2 transmission owing to individual differences in biology and contacts that is modulated by the effects of interventions. We estimate that about half of secondary transmission events occur in the presymptomatic phase of a primary case in uncontrolled outbreaks. Achieving epidemic control requires that isolation and contact-tracing interventions are layered with population-level approaches, such as mask wearing, increased teleworking, and restrictions on large gatherings. Our study also demonstrates the value of conducting high-quality contact-tracing investigations to advance our understanding of the transmission dynamics of an emerging pathogen. ![Figure][2] Transmission chains, contact patterns, and transmission kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 in Hunan, China, based on case and contact-tracing data from Hunan, China. (Top left) One realization of the reconstructed transmission chains, with a histogram representing overdispersion in the distribution of secondary infections. (Top right) Contact matrices of community, social, extended family, and household contacts reveal distinct age profiles. (Bottom) Earlier isolation of primary infections shortens the generation and serial intervals while increasing the relative contribution of transmission in the presymptomatic phase. A long-standing question in infectious disease dynamics concerns the role of transmission heterogeneities, which are driven by demography, behavior, and interventions. On the basis of detailed patient and contact-tracing data in Hunan, China, we find that 80% of secondary infections traced back to 15% of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primary infections, which indicates substantial transmission heterogeneities. Transmission risk scales positively with the duration of exposure and the closeness of social interactions and is modulated by demographic and clinical factors. The lockdown period increases transmission risk in the family and households, whereas isolation and quarantine reduce risks across all types of contacts. The reconstructed infectiousness profile of a typical SARS-CoV-2 patient peaks just before symptom presentation. Modeling indicates that SARS-CoV-2 control requires the synergistic efforts of case isolation, contact quarantine, and population-level interventions because of the specific transmission kinetics of this virus. [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abe2424 [2]: pending:yes

Code Adam Gradient Descent Optimization From Scratch


Gradient descent is an optimization algorithm that follows the negative gradient of an objective function in order to locate the minimum of the function. A limitation of gradient descent is that a single step size (learning rate) is used for all input variables. Extensions to gradient descent like AdaGrad and RMSProp update the algorithm to use a separate step size for each input variable but may result in a step size that rapidly decreases to very small values. The Adaptive Movement Estimation algorithm, or Adam for short, is an extension to gradient descent and a natural successor to techniques like AdaGrad and RMSProp that automatically adapts a learning rate for each input variable for the objective function and further smooths the search process by using an exponentially decreasing moving average of the gradient to make updates to variables. In this tutorial, you will discover how to develop gradient descent with Adam optimization algorithm from scratch.

When Should You Not Invest in AI?


A study was conducted on the business adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the 1980s. Published in the MIS Quarterly, the study found that enterprises were rushing to invest in AI, and the projected market value was $4 billion. However, the results were shocking. The study found that over a five year period, just 33% of AI solutions delivered business value, while the rest were abandoned. Many popular applications of AI were proven to be pure hype and several companies became disillusioned with AI.

What's coming up at IJCAI-PRICAI 2020?


IJCAI-PRICAI2020, the 29th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the 17th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence starts today and will run until 15 January. Find out what's happening during the event. The conference schedule is here and includes tutorials, workshops, invited talks and technical sessions. There are also competitions, early career spotlight talks, panel discussions and social events. There will be eight invited talks on a wide variety of topics.