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Will COVID-19 Create a Big Moment for A.I. and Machine Learning?

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COVID-19 will change how the majority of us live and work, at least in the short term. It's also creating a challenge for tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google that ordinarily rely on lots and lots of human labor to moderate content. Are A.I. and machine learning advanced enough to help these firms handle the disruption? First, it's worth noting that, although Facebook has instituted a sweeping work-from-home policy in order to protect its workers (along with Google and a rising number of other firms), it initially required its contractors who moderate content to continue to come into the office. That situation only changed after protests, according to The Intercept.


Calling all building designers and contractors! How AI can improve your process

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It's already possible to take "snapshots" of the BIM as it evolves over time, using digital authoring software. When viewed as stand-alone files, these snapshots may not provide much information about workflow. However, when the files are compared automatically and continuously over time, they increase a project manager's understanding of the workflow involved, thus adding value. Kouhestani and Nik-Bakht saw an opportunity to improve BIM capability by automating an archiving and analyzing process. "We created an algorithm to make'event logs' that track changes in consecutive files," says Kouhestani. "Once we created the event logs, we used them as input for process mining."


U.S. bombs Iran-backed militia in Iraq following attack that killed two American and one British soldier

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The United States waged a series of precision airstrikes on Thursday against an Iran-backed militia in Iraq that it blamed for a major rocket attack a day earlier that killed two American troops and a 26-year-old British soldier. The U.S. strikes appeared limited in scope and narrowly tailored, targeting five weapons storage facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah militants -- including facilities used to store weaponry for past attacks on U.S.-led coalition troops, the Pentagon said. Iraq's military said in a statement that the U.S. airstrikes hit four locations in Iraq. The U.S. military did not estimate how many people in Iraq may have been killed in the strikes, which officials said were carried out by piloted aircraft. But there no was no indication of the kind of high-profile killings that President Donald Trump authorized in January, when the United States targeted a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani.


Appen High-Quality Training Data for Machine Learning

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Our skilled project managers use multiple quality control methods and mechanisms to meet and exceed quality standards for training data. Quality assurance is built into both the platform and processes at Appen. With a crowd of over 1 million skilled contractors operating in 130 countries and 180 languages and dialects, Appen can collect and label high volumes of image, text, speech, audio, and video data used to build and improve artificial intelligence systems. Our platform and solutions are purpose-built to handle large-scale data collection and annotation projects, on demand. With deep expertise planning and recruiting to meet a variety of uses cases for our clients, we can quickly ramp up new projects in new markets.


Six European cities tap AI to cut carbon emissions

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Helsinki, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris Region, Stavanger and Tallinn will challenge companies to develop energy and mobility solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) as well as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and other related technologies. The initiative is part of AI4Cities, a three-year EU-funded project bringing together European cities looking for AI solutions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet climate commitments. The cities and regions will go through a pre-commercial procurement (PCP) process, which allows them to steer the development of new solutions directly towards their needs. Once they have defined their requirements, the cities will challenge start-ups, SMEs and larger companies to design solutions applying the use of AI and other technologies. Total funding of €4.6 million will be divided among the selected suppliers throughout the whole PCP process.


AI Automation Startup Zinier Raises $90M - SDxCentral

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Zinier, a company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate field work, has raised $90 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total amount raised to $120 million. The startup plays heavily in the telecom sector -- 80% of its existing customers are in the space, including network operators, equipment vendors and suppliers, contractors, and engineers, according to Zinier's co-founder and CEO Arka Dhar. That's also reflected by the firms that returned to invest in this latest round, including Nokia-backed NGP Capital and Qualcomm Ventures. New investor Iconiq Capital led the round with participation from Tiger Global Management, Accel, Founders Fund, and Newfund Capital. "Zinier is going to play a very, very important role there," Dhar said in a phone interview.


I'm an AI researcher, and here is what scares me about AI

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AI is being increasingly used to make important decisions. Many AI experts (including Jeff Dean, head of AI at Google, and Andrew Ng, founder of Coursera and deeplearning.ai) I am an AI researcher, and I'm worried about some of the societal impacts that we're already seeing. At the end, I'll briefly share some positive ways that we can try to address these. Before we dive in, I need to clarify one point that is important to understand: algorithms (and the complex systems they are a part of) can make mistakes.


'Mind your own business, Alexa!' How to keep secrets from your voice assistant

The Guardian

Walls have ears; you never know who might be listening. Call-centre workers for companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google are hired to check recordings made by voice assistants including Alexa and Siri for accuracy and helpfulness. The disembodied computer that lives in a cylinder in the corner of your kitchen is actually piping a random sample of your requests to humans in Cork, Berlin, Barcelona and elsewhere around the world. But if you're shocked, spare a thought for the poor workers themselves. According to former and current contractors for the big smart speaker companies interviewed by Bloomberg, users aren't shy about what they tell their voice assistants.


Why AI companies can't stop listening to your voice recordings?

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This week, Facebook came under fire for having hired hundreds of contractors to listen to and transcribe users' conversations. Last week, a Vice Motherboard report revealed that Microsoft contractors were listening to audio recordings of personal conversations of Skype users who used the app's AI translation service and voice commands sent to Cortana, the company's AI-powered voice assistant. This comes no longer as a surprise. Microsoft and Facebook aren't not the first tech companies whose employees or remote contractors listen to users' voices. Amazon, Google and Apple have been caught doing the same thing with their voice assistants in the past year (and they've all used cleverly worded EULA's to gain users' consent without explicitly telling them humans will listen to their voice).


US military says Russian air defenses shot down unarmed drone near Libyan capital: report

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 7 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com The U.S. military believes the unarmed drone that went missing over the Libyan capital last month was actually shot down by Russian air defenses. The U.S. Africa Command is demanding the return of the aircraft's wreckage, which had been part of an operation conducted in Libya to assess the area's security and monitor for violent extremist activity. The command didn't give a reason for the drone loss after the Nov. 21 incident, but they had been investigating, Reuters reported.