Untold History of AI: How Amazon's Mechanical Turkers Got Squeezed Inside the Machine

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

The history of AI is often told as the story of machines getting smarter over time. What's lost is the human element in the narrative, how intelligent machines are designed, trained, and powered by human minds and bodies. In this six-part series, we explore that human history of AI--how innovators, thinkers, workers, and sometimes hucksters have created algorithms that can replicate human thought and behavior (or at least appear to). While it can be exciting to be swept up by the idea of super-intelligent computers that have no need for human input, the true history of smart machines shows that our AI is only as good as we are. At the turn of millennium, Amazon began expanding its services beyond book selling.

Comparing Emotion Recognition Tech: Microsoft, Neurodata Lab, Amazon, Affectiva


Automated emotion recognition has been with us for some time already. Ever since it entered the market, it has never stopped getting more accurate. Even tech giants joined the race and released their software for emotion recognition, after smaller startups had successfully done the same. We set out to compare the most known algorithms. Emotions are subjective and variable, so when it comes to accuracy in emotion recognition, the matters are not that self-evident.

Google offers free YouTube Music for Google Home speakers


Matching Amazon's new free music offer on Echo speakers, Google now offers owners of the Google Home speaker access to free tunes, via YouTube Music. There's a big difference: songs are sponsored on Amazon Echo speakers, while tunes for Google users are free. Additionally, they can be listened on both the Google Home speaker line, and any speaker that has the Google Assistant, Google's Siri/Alexa like helper. That includes the brands Sony, JBL, Harman and others. What you can't get is on-demand song selection, but instead playlists or radio stations created based on your requests.

FBI's use of facial recognition software is under fire AGAIN

Daily Mail

The FBI has failed to appease concerns about the use of its facial recognition technology in criminal investigations. Multiple issues were raised three years ago after a congressional watchdog urged the bureau to improve its practices in order to meet privacy and accuracy standards. The FBI - and other US law enforcement agencies - have been using the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System since 2015. It uses facial recognition software to link potential suspects to crimes from a vast database of 30 million pictures, including mugshots. The report slamming the FBI for its failure to moderate the software comes as the bureau increases its use of the technology.

Rivian turned down GM investment so it could build EVs for others


Reports emerged last week that GM would not join Amazon in investing in electric vehicle startup Rivian, and now we have a little more clarity on why talks broke down. It seems GM wanted some exclusivity, but Rivian plans to build vehicles for other companies, as well as release up to six models under its own branding by 2025. Founder RJ Scaringe said Rivian is working on something related to the Amazon investment, but hinted to Bloomberg that it may not be a vehicle. He's open to selling his company's technology (it has developed long-lasting batteries) to other businesses for various products, including stationary batteries. So perhaps Amazon is interested in using Rivian's know-how for something other than vehicles, though it has also invested in a self-driving car startup.

AI/ML in Sales: How to Get the Right Data to Succeed


Today's business environment is becoming increasingly competitive. As a result, sales organizations need deeper insights and access to data to stay ahead of the competition. One way sales teams are getting a competitive advantage is through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). However, while many companies are looking into and adopting AI/ML technologies, success relies on more than just the algorithms within the tools. Organizations need the right data in order for AI/ML to "learn" to be truly effective.

Amazon's Alexa isn't just AI -- thousands of humans are listening


Amazon, like many other tech companies investing heavily in artificial intelligence, has always been forthright about its Alexa assistant being a work in progress. "The more data we use to train these systems, the better Alexa works, and training Alexa with voice recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone," reads the company's Alexa FAQ. What the company doesn't tell you explicitly, as highlighted by an in-depth investigation from Bloomberg published this evening, is that one of the only, and often the best, ways Alexa improves over time is by having human beings listen to recordings of your voice requests. Of course, this is all buried in product and service terms few consumers will ever read, and Amazon has often downplayed the privacy implications of having cameras and microphones in millions of homes around the globe. But concerns about how AI is trained as it becomes an ever more pervasive force in our daily lives will only continue to raise alarms, especially as most of how this technology works remains beyond closed doors and improves using methods Amazon is loathe to ever disclose.

Google and Amazon make up — YouTube coming to Fire TV


Amazon Fire TV Stick & nbsp; & nbsp; & bull; Price: $24.99 & nbsp; & nbsp; & bull; Savings: $15.00 & nbsp; & nbsp; & bull; Percent off: 37.5% & nbsp; & nbsp; ALSO READ: 40 Places Young People Are Moving (Photo: Courtesy of Target) Google and Amazon, longtime corporate adversaries who have been feuding for years, have made up. Consumers who have complained about not being able to watch YouTube or the cutting-the-cord YouTube TV service via Amazon's popular Fire TV Stick streaming products and the Amazon branded Fire TV Edition TV sets will finally get to do so later this year. Additionally, Google is bringing Amazon's Prime Video service to the Android TV platform and the Google Chromecast streaming device. Still, the companies have a ways to go. You still won't be able to see YouTube on Amazon's Echo Show, the video version of the Alexa speaker, nor will Amazon be opening up the doors to sell products like the Google Home speaker (Alexa's main rival) or the Pixel phone, in its eStore.

"Alexa, play some free songs for me"


Amazon officially began offering free ad-supported music for owners of Echo speakers Thursday, even if they don't subscribe to Prime, Amazon's expedited shipping and entertainment offering. Amazon already provides some 2 million songs free, but without ads to Echo owners who also pay $119 yearly to subscribe to Prime.A more full-featured ad-free music offering, Amazon Music Unlimited, is available for $9.99 monthly, or $7.99 monthly for Prime members. Amazon says it has access to around 50 million songs. The new free service has limitations, more akin to online radio station Pandora than Apple Music in that customers can't request a specific on-demand song. Instead, the request will lead to a music station "based" on that song, or a pre-existing Amazon playlist.

The smarter, better Ring Video Doorbell Pro is $50 off and comes with a free Echo Dot


Amazon's got an unstoppable deal right now for a smart doorbell: The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is on sale for $199. That's the usual $50 discount we've seen before on this item, but on top of that, Amazon's throwing in a free Echo Dot. The third-generation Echo Dot is usually $50 (albeit currently on sale for $40), but it's not clear if you get the second or third generation mini speaker with this deal. It connects to your Wi-Fi via 802.11b/g/n and you can check-in remotely to see who's at your door. The Pro also works with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, which allows you to use the smart speaker for two-way talk with whoever's at your door.