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China's Baidu Wants To Be An Autonomous Vehicle Powerhouse


Baidu's autonomous vehicle platform, Apollo, gets an upgrade. The Chinese IT firm, which started out ... [ ] as a Google imitator, is now going toe-to-toe with Google subsidiary Waymo, as well as Samsung and Intel. Baidu wants to one up Google on its AI powered car platform called Apollo. They might pull just pull it off. In any event, they at least have to be considered in the same league.

Black tech organizations grow amid calls for racial justice


Amazon applied science manager Dr. Nashlie Sephus has lived in New York City, Atlanta, Silicon Valley, and Seoul while pursuing her education and work in machine learning. She knows the look of a community that's thriving from technology and innovation, but she didn't see that growth happening in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. That's why last week she concluded an 18-month process by signing contracts to secure 12 acres of land that will be home to the Jackson Tech District. The Bean Path, a nonprofit organization created by Sephus, will operate a maker and innovation space on the land. There will also be restaurants and residential lofts spread across eight buildings, all located near the historically Black Jackson State University.

How do we know AI is ready to be in the wild? Maybe a critic is needed


Mischief can happen when AI is let loose in the world, just like any technology. The examples of AI gone wrong are numerous, the most vivid in recent memory being the disastrously bad performance of Amazon's facial recognition technology, Rekognition, which had a propensity to erroneously match members of some ethnic groups with criminal mugshots to a disproportionate extent. Given the risk, how can society know if a technology has been adequately refined to a level where it is safe to deploy? "This is a really good question, and one we are actively working on, "Sergey Levine, assistant professor with the University of California at Berkeley's department of electrical engineering and computer science, told ZDNet by email this week. Levine and colleagues have been working on an approach to machine learning where the decisions of a software program are subjected to a critique by another algorithm within the same program that acts adversarially.

Amazon's Zoox Gets Green Light for Robotaxi Tests in California

#artificialintelligence Inc.'s self-driving-car unit, Zoox Inc., is getting a green light from California to test autonomous vehicles on public roads without a safety driver, becoming the fourth company to receive the state's blessing for truly driverless testing. The permit allows Zoox to operate two vehicles without a driver behind the wheel, a step up from approval it received four years ago that required the presence of a person to take control if needed, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement. While some 60 companies have permission to conduct autonomous testing with a safety driver in California, Zoox joins Alphabet Inc. unit Waymo LLC, Nuro Inc. and AutoX Technologies in a small club of truly driverless testers in the state. Zoox will be allowed to conduct tests on public roads within a designated area in San Mateo County near its headquarters in Foster City, California. The tests are allowed only under fair-weather conditions and on streets with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour.

Zoox gains approval to test autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in California


Amazon-owned Zoox today announced that it received a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). With it, Zoox becomes the fourth company to hit that milestone after Waymo, Nuro, and AutoX. The new permit will enable Zoox to test "at least two" autonomous vehicles on streets without a driver behind the wheel within a designated part of Foster City. The vehicles are approved to operate in fair weather conditions, including light rain and fog, on streets with a speed limit of no more than 45 miles per hour. Zoox was founded in 2014 by Australian artist-designer Tim Kentley Klay and Jesse Levinson, son of Apple chair Arthur D. Levinson, who was developing self-driving technology at Stanford.

Will Human Writing and AI Writing Become Indistinguishable?


Recently, the Guardian, one of the UK's most popular outlets, released an op ed with a provocative title: "A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?". Overall, the essay held together unexpectedly well, despite some simple language and repetition, giving it an eerie self referential quality– an AI telling us why we shouldn't be afraid of AI. The essay wasn't created by a robot per se, but by a new piece of software called GPT-3, a text generation AI engine created by San Francisco based Open AI. Not only has the new release raised eyebrows (MIT's Technology Review called it "shockingly good") but it has re-surfaced a question that has been explored in popular fiction starting with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the nineteenth century all the way up to modern sci fi classics like Blade Runner and more recently, HBO's Westworld, where robots that are indistinguishable from humans escape from their sheltered theme park world that they were created for, causing havoc.

Eyeing China, Pentagon plans larger and 'more lethal' navy

The Japan Times

Washington – U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Wednesday an ambitious plan to expand the U.S. Navy with a range of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and aircraft to confront the growing maritime challenge from China. The Pentagon chief said a sweeping review of U.S. naval power dubbed "Future Forward" had laid out a "game-changer" plan that would expand the U.S. sea fleet to more than 355 ships, from the current 293. The plan, which requires adding tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. Navy's budget between now and 2045, is aimed at maintaining superiority over Chinese naval forces, seen as the primary threat to the United States. "The future fleet will be more balanced in its ability to deliver lethal effects from the air, from the sea, and from under the sea," Esper said in a speech at the Rand Corp. in California. The expansion will add "more and smaller" surface ships; more submarines; surface and subsurface vessels that are optionally manned, unmanned and autonomous; and a broad range of unmanned carrier-based aircraft.

Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion


Dr. Celso de Melo, computer scientist with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory at CCDC ARL West in Playa Vista, California, in collaboration with Dr. Kazunori Teradafrom Gifu University in Japan, recently published a paper in Scientific Reports where they show that emotion expressions can shape cooperation. Autonomous machines that act on people's behalf are poised to become pervasive in society, de Melo said; however, for these machines to succeed and be adopted, it is essential that people are able to trust and cooperate with them. "Human cooperation is paradoxical," de Melo said. "An individual is better off being a free rider, while everyone else cooperates; however, if everyone thought like that, cooperation would never happen. This research aims to understand the mechanisms that promote cooperation with a particular focus on the influence of strategy and signaling."

Drone Funding Highlights Sector's Momentum WSJD - Technology

Venture investors are targeting drone startups as technological advancements and federal approvals enable growth in the sector. The latest example is Volansi Inc., which offers a drone delivery service to transport machine parts and other cargo to industrial companies and the military. The San Francisco-based startup raised a $50 million Series B round led by Icon Ventures and investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Y Combinator, venture firm Harpoon and Graphene Ventures participated in the deal.

Tech mega-deal: Nvidia will buy chip designer for $40 billion


Nvidia, a Silicon Valley graphics chip maker riding a hot streak, has reached a deal to buy a British chip designer, betting the transaction can propel Nvidia to a leadership position in a new computer era powered by artificial intelligence, the tech titan said Sunday. "AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing," Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive officer of Nvidia, referring to artificial intelligence, stated in a blog post on Sunday. Santa Clara-based Nvidia has agreed to pay $40 billion to buy Arm, an England-based unit of tech titan Softbank, marking one of the largest semiconductor industry deals ever. "In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today's internet-of-people," Huang said in a blog post on the Nvidia web site. In a previous blog post, Nvidia made it clear that it intended to become an ever-bigger player in the new and increasingly connected world of artificial intelligence.