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) …
After a school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, RealNetworks decided to make its facial recognition technology available for free to schools across the US and Canada. If school officials could detect strangers on their campuses, they might be able to stop shooters before they got to a classroom. Anxious to keep children safe from gun violence, thousands of schools reached out with interest in the technology. Dozens started using SAFR, RealNetworks' facial recognition technology. From working with schools, RealNetworks, the streaming media company, says it's learned an important lesson: Facial recognition isn't likely an effective tool for preventing shootings.
Are you or your clients considering getting further into the next digital revolution? Are you interested in exploring blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) or any of the other new technologies this digital revolution is making possible? Paul Mischenko, Investor, Advisor and Founder of MK4 Capital LLC, has some ideas for you. "One of the ways of thinking about these new technologies," he begins, "is even before you consider investing in them, educate yourself and understand how they will impact society." To do this, he invites us to think of technologies that transformed society.
Should restrictions be placed on the use of artificial intelligence? Google CEO Sundhar Pichai certainly does, and so do a host of other business leaders, including the CEOs of IBM and H2O.ai, as the chorus of calls for putting limits on the spread of the rapidly evolving technology gets louder. Pichai aired his opinion on the matter in an opinion piece published Monday in the Financial Times, titled "Why Google thinks we need to regulate AI" (story is protected by a paywall). In the story, Pichai, who is also CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, shared his lifelong love of technology, as well as the breakthroughs that his company is making in using AI to fight breast cancer, improve weather forecasts, and reduce flight delays. As virtuous as these AI-powered accomplishments are, they don't account for the negative impacts that AI also can have, Pichai wrote.
This is a catch-all term for any technology that involves cataloguing and recognising human faces, typically by recording the unique ratios between an individual's facial features, such as eyes, nose and mouth. The technology can be applied to everything from emotion tracking to animation, but the most controversial involve using facial features as biometric identifiers, that is, to identify individuals based on just a photo or video of their face. After a trial of the technology, the Metropolitan police have said they will start to use it in London within a month. On Friday, the force said it would be used to find suspects on "watchlists" for serious and violent crime, as well as to help find children and vulnerable people. Scotland Yard said the public would be aware of the surveillance, with the cameras being placed in open locations and officers handing out explanatory leaflets.
The Metropolitan police will start using live facial recognition, Britain's biggest force has announced. The decision to deploy the controversial technology, which has been dogged by privacy concerns and questions over its lawfulness, was immediately condemned by civil liberties groups, who described the move as "a breathtaking assault on our rights". But the Met said that after two years of trials, it was ready to use the cameras within a month. The force said it would deploy the technology overtly and only after consulting communities in which it is to be used. Nick Ephgrave, an assistant commissioner, said: "As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London. Independent research has shown that the public support us in this regard."
Facial recognition is a technology that can be used to identify people without their knowledge or consent. It relies on the prevalence of cameras, which are becoming both more powerful and smaller, and machine learning technologies that can match the output of these cameras with images from a database of existing photos. People can be identified at a distance by their heart beat or by their gait, using a laser-based system. Cameras are so good that they can read fingerprints and iris patterns from meters away. And even without any of these technologies, we can always be identified because our smartphones broadcast unique numbers called MAC addresses.
This week, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty called for AI to get its own regulation system. Alphabet CEO Pichai stated that it was "too important not to", going on to expand by explaining that sectors within AI technology, such as autonomous cars and healthtech, needed their own sets of rules. IBM CEO Rometty joined the discussion with the idea of'precision regulation', stating that it is not the technology itself, but how it is used that should be regulated, using facial recognition as an example of technology that can harm people's privacy as well as having its benefits, such as catching criminals. Asheesh Mehra, co-founder and CEO at AntWorks, explains why regulating AI is important. Without it, the technology won't take the world by storm These announcements have come in spite of recent setbacks in the sphere; just last week it was revealed that the European Commission were considering a five year ban on facial recognition, and Google's last attempt to assemble an AI ethics board lasted under two weeks due to controversy over who was appointed.
Casino executives, industry analysts and lawyers attended a conference at the UNLV Boyd School of Law to consult on how biometrics, AI and machine learning could shape the future of Las Vegas casinos, writes the Nevada Independent. While there are many opportunities for the gaming industry, most machine learning and facial recognition-enabled product ideas addressed customer service and customer recognition. These include slot machines that leverage facial biometrics to recognize important or banned players, and reduce fraud attempts, or facial recognition-equipped tables to help pit managers identify and track known players. "What we're seeing is this introduction of technology into the gaming industry in ways we've never seen before, and because of it, it started to raise issues -- or questions -- as to how this works and what the ramifications could be for things like patron privacy, anonymity and data protection," said Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law and event organizer. While speakers focused on presentations about competing laws and technology problems, there was not enough discussion on how to solve these problems, according to the report, yet Cabot hopes the gaming industry and regulators will join forces to deliver solutions.
Meanwhile, China's surveillance firms continue to expand globally as China aims to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Nadella said regulation "does have a real place here," particularly rules at the "time of use" of AI, like facial recognition. "I think we should be thinking a lot harder around regulation at the time of use. Because facial recognition or object recognition by itself is not good or bad; it is just a technology. So we have to be able to sort of even think about regulation more at the run time, more at the design time," Nadella said.
Will the proliferation of AI and machine learning reinforce the worldwide digital divide? It's one of the questions the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) and Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI) seek to answer by benchmarking the ability of countries and cities to compete for talent. An answer has historically proven elusive, but the 7th annual reports published by Insead, Adecco Group, and Google suggest it might instead provide "significant" opportunities despite the fact that AI skills are "scarce" and "unequally distributed" across nations. "AI is changing many facets of business and society and, if properly used and governed, has potential to foster sustainable development," said Katell Le Goulven, executive director of the Insead Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society. "The GTCI report argues that with multi-stakeholder cooperation the technology could help achieve some of the SDGs [the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals] such as those related to health (via personalized remote diagnosis and big data analysis to track and reduce endemic disease). But it also points to the imperative of closing the global digital skills gap to harness the potential of AI for good."