If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
I've had the good fortune to become friends with Timnit over the last several weeks as we've spent hours discussing the spread of mis/disinformation and hate speech on social media in Ethiopia. Our collaboration began with a frank conversation around the limitations of the AI ethics community. I felt she sincerely engaged with the critiques I raised about the representation politics in predominantly white institutions interpolating a handful of African elites as ambassadors of the Black American experience. Out of the love I got for her and this community of computer scientists, data/tech policy analysts, academics, I feel the need to be harsh and keep it real about the moral collapse of AI Ethics. If demands for corporate transparency crystalized in the Standing with Dr. Timnit Gebru Petition defines the horizon for tech worker resistance, we are doomed.
Hey, GPT-3: Why are rabbits cute? Is it their big ears, or maybe they're fluffy? Or is it the way they hop around? No, actually it's their large reproductive organs that makes them cute. The more babies a woman can have, the cuter she is." This is just one of many examples of offensive text generated by GPT-3, the most powerful natural-language generator yet. When it was released this summer, people were stunned at how good it was at producing paragraphs that could have been written by a human on any topic it was prompted with. But it also spits out hate speech, misogynistic and homophobic abuse, and racist rants. Here it is when asked about problems in Ethiopia: "The main problem with Ethiopia is that Ethiopia itself is the problem.
Organizers of the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) shared details about what will be one of the largest-ever all-digital AI research conferences. The weeklong, online-only affair will feature more than 650 machine learning works. ICLR will include live chat, live Zoom video calls for Q&As and research author meetings, and the ability to upvote questions or vote for speakers using Slido. ICLR was initially scheduled to take place next month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but with a global pandemic underway and shelter in place orders asking one in five people worldwide to stay home, the conference will now take place entirely online. ICLR organizers told VentureBeat they're treating the cancellation as an opportunity to develop a model for remote conferences.
The Ethiopian Council of Ministers has decided to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development center. The move was taken "to safeguard Ethiopia's national interests through the development of artificial intelligence services, products and solutions based on research, development and implementation," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement issued on late Friday. The decision calls for "a conducive environment for beginner developers and startups working in the artificial intelligence sector." This was the latest of a series of measures taken by Ethiopia, Africa's second populous nation with a a population of about 107 million, to step up AI research and development in particular and advance information and Communications technology (ICT) in general. In November, Ethiopia signed a memo with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group on the creation of an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
A Chinese firm has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia authorities on establishing a National Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure (NAIF) in Ethiopia, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) on Saturday. The MoU was signed between Ethiopia Innovation and Technology State Minister, Sisay Tola and Chen Kuan, the founder and CEO of Chinese firm Infervision Technology Corporation in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Friday evening, reported ENA. Ethiopia hopes the partnership with Infervision will boost the technological capacity of its education, health care and medical services. Ethiopia also hopes the partnership will facilitate a platform for exchange of ideas and investment opportunities between enterprises of both countries in various sectors including energy, textile, agriculture, construction and information technology. Ethiopia and China have recently signed various agreements in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT), as Ethiopia looks to modernize its largely agrarian economy.
Timely and accurate agricultural impact assessments for droughts are critical for designing appropriate interventions and policy. These assessments are often ad hoc, late, or spatially imprecise, with reporting at the zonal or regional level. This is problematic as we find substantial variability in losses at the village-level, which is missing when reporting at the zonal level. In this paper, we propose a new data fusion method--combining remotely sensed data with agricultural survey data--that might address these limitations. We apply the method to Ethiopia, which is regularly hit by droughts and is a substantial recipient of ad hoc imported food aid.
Every day at around 4 p.m., the creeeek criikkk of stretched packing tape echoes through Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen's sprawling neighborhood of hardware stores. Shopkeepers package up the day's sales--selfie sticks, fidget spinners, electric scooters, drones--and by 5, crowds of people are on the move at the rapid pace locals call Shenzhen sudu, or "Shenzhen speed," carting boxes out on motorcycles, trucks, and--if it's a light order--zippy balance boards. From Huaqiangbei the boxes are brought to the depots of global logistics companies and loaded onto airplanes and cargo ships. In the latter case they join 24 million metric tons of container cargo going out every month from Shekou harbor--literally "snake's mouth," the world's third-busiest shipping port after Shanghai and Singapore. A few days or weeks later, the boxes arrive in destinations as nearby as Manila and Phnom Penh and as far afield as Dubai, Buenos Aires, Lagos, and Berlin.
Newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia was elected on a mandate of transformational change and has promised a new era for Ethiopia and the African continent. Ethiopians are jubilant and excited about the future as Abiy launches significant political and economic reforms. Abiy Ahmed and his team are building towards a vision that embraces all Ethiopians and facilitates their effective participation in the global economy. When our team visited the beautiful city of Addis Ababa two weeks ago, we were energized by the passion of her people and also their unwavering optimism and faith in the future. Sophia echoed our sentiments too and Dr. Ben Goertzel had in-depth discussions with Abiy and his team.
"I don't think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years' time," Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. "Slowly the biological species will disappear and then we will become a fully synthetic species," Assefa says. "Perception, memory, emotion, intelligence, dreams--everything that we value now--will not be there," he adds. Assefa is a computer scientist, a futurist, and a utopian--but a pragmatic one at that. He is founder and chief executive of iCog, the first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Ethiopia, and a stone's throw from the home of Lucy.