health safety security environment and social responsibility


We can't ban killer robots – it's already too late Philip Ball

#artificialintelligence

One response to the call by experts in robotics and artificial intelligence for an ban on "killer robots" ("lethal autonomous weapons systems" or Laws in the language of international treaties) is to say: shouldn't you have thought about that sooner? There are shades of science-fictional preconceptions in a 2012 report on killer robots by Human Rights Watch. Besides, there's a continuum between drone war, soldier enhancement technologies and Laws that can't be broken down into "man versus machine". By all means let's try to curb our worst impulses to beat ploughshares into swords, but telling an international arms trade that they can't make killer robots is like telling soft-drinks manufacturers that they can't make orangeade.


Hackers Are the Real Obstacle for Self-Driving Vehicles

MIT Technology Review

Before autonomous trucks and taxis hit the road, manufacturers will need to solve problems far more complex than collision avoidance and navigation (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Self-Driving Trucks"). These vehicles will have to anticipate and defend against a full spectrum of malicious attackers wielding both traditional cyberattacks and a new generation of attacks based on so-called adversarial machine learning (see "AI Fight Club Could Help Save Us from a Future of Super-Smart Cyberattacks"). When hackers demonstrated that vehicles on the roads were vulnerable to several specific security threats, automakers responded by recalling and upgrading the firmware of millions of cars. The computer vision and collision avoidance systems under development for autonomous vehicles rely on complex machine-learning algorithms that are not well understood, even by the companies that rely on them (see "The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI").


Driverless Cars Need Ears as Well as Eyes

WIRED

Hearing plays an essential role in how you navigate the world, and, so far, most autonomous cars can't hear. It recently spent a day testing the system with emergency vehicles from the Chandler, Arizona, police and fire departments. Police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and even unmarked cop cars chased, passed, and led the Waymo vans through the day and into the night. Sensors aboard the vans recorded vast quantities of data that will help create a database of all the sounds emergency vehicles make, so in the future, Waymo's driverless cars will know how to respond.


Veritas Genomics Scoops Up an AI Company to Sort Out Its *DNA*

WIRED

On August 3, sequencing company Veritas Genomics bought one of the most influential: seven-year old Curoverse. In a step forward, the company also hopes to use things like natural language processing and deep learning to help customers query their genetic data on demand. He points to a 2013 study that used polygenic testing to predict heart disease using the Framingham Heart Study data--about as good as you can get, when it comes to health data and heart disease. "They authors showed that yes, given polygenic risk score, and blood levels, and lipid levels, and family history, you can predict within 10 years if someone will develop heart disease," says Butte.


Macao, Alibaba to build smart city by cloud computing - Xinhua

#artificialintelligence

Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Chief Executive Office Director O Lam and President of Alibaba Cloud Hu Xiaoming sign the Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement to Build Smart City at a ceremony presided by SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On (2nd R) and the board of directors of Alibaba Group Jack Ma (2nd L), in Macao, south China, Aug. 4, 2017. Macao and Alibaba Cloud will work together to upgrade the SAR into a smart city by applying cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI), according to the agreement signed on Friday. MACAO, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Macao and Alibaba Cloud will work together to upgrade the special administrative region (SAR) into a smart city by applying cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI), according to an agreement signed on Friday by Macao SAR government and Alibaba Cloud. Macao SAR Chief Executive Office Director O Lam and President of Alibaba Cloud Hu Xiaoming signed the Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement to Build Smart City at a ceremony presided by SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On and the board of directors of Alibaba Group Jack Ma.


Phytoplankton and chips

MIT News

The Darwin Project, an alliance between oceanographers and microbiologists in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and the Parsons Lab in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was conceived as an initiative to "advance the development and application of novel models of marine microbes and microbial communities, identifying the relationships of individuals and communities to their environment, connecting cellular-scale processes to global microbial community structure" with the goal of coupling "state of the art physical models of global ocean circulation with biogeochemistry and genome-informed models of microbial processes." The boost in computational infrastructure the award provides for will advance several linked areas of research, including the capacity to model marine microbial systems in more detail, enhanced fidelity of the modeled fluid dynamical environment, support for state of the art data analytics including machine learning techniques, and accelerating and extending genomic data processing capabilities. As an initiative to advance our understanding of the biology, ecology, and biogeochemistry of microbial processes that dominate Earth's largest biome -- the global ocean -- SCOPE seeks to measure, model, and conduct experiments at a model ecosystem site located 100 km north of the Hawaiian island of Oahu that is representative of a large portion of the North Pacific Ocean. Steady growth in available large-scale metagenomic and single-cell genomic data resulting from genetics data activities in the Chisholm Lab are also driving additional computational processing resource needs.


Roomba maker may share maps of users' homes with Google, Amazon or Apple

The Guardian

The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, iRobot, has found itself embroiled in a privacy row after its chief executive suggested it may begin selling floor plans of customers' homes, derived from the movement data of their autonomous servants. However, this is not necessarily personal data as protected under data protection law. The company's terms of service appear to give the company the right to sell such data already, however. When signing up for the company's Home app, which connects to its smart robots, customers have to agree to a privacy policy that states that it can share personal information with subsidiaries, third party vendors, and the government, as well as in connection with "any company transaction" such as a merger or external investment.


Drones will have to be registered in UK safety clampdown

The Guardian

Drones will have to be registered and users forced to take a safety awareness test under new regulations announced by the UK government. The move follows research that showed strikes by drones of more than 400g could critically damage helicopter windscreens, while a bigger drone of about 2kg could critically harm airliner windscreens at higher speeds. It said the research tests, conducted on behalf of Balpa along with the government and military aviation authorities, showed that the impact of drones hitting aircraft windscreens and helicopter rotors could be catastrophic even at modest speeds with small drones. Commercial drone operators are already obliged to complete a training course and register their drones with the CAA.


This Hedge Fund Has A Unique AI Crowdsourcing Token

International Business Times

Crowdsourced investment strategies are many and varied, but Numerai crowdsources machine intelligence in a totally unique way by supplying its network of data scientists with encrypted data on which to test their machine learning models, thus removing any bias attached to the application of the algorithms. NMR tokens were not sold like a typical initial coin offering, but rather 1.2 million of the tokens (a cap of 21m has been stated) were distributed via smart contracts on Ethereum, only to participating data scientists. All this value pumped into the tokens at once presented a number of immediate risks to the ecosystem, offering a huge bounty to hackers and threatening its carefully aligned goals; a worry aired on discussion forums was that speculation around the coins could ultimately detract from their primary function - to get create good models and garner network effect. When a data scientist accesses the test set multiple times and uses that score as feedback for model selection, there's a risk of training a model that overfits the test set.


Royal Free breached UK data law in 1.6m patient deal with Google's DeepMind

The Guardian

London's Royal Free hospital failed to comply with the Data Protection Act when it handed over personal data of 1.6 million patients to DeepMind, a Google subsidiary, according to the Information Commissioner's Office. The ICO ruled that testing the app with real patient data went beyond Royal Free's authority, particularly given how broad the scope of the data transfer was. The ruling does not directly criticise DeepMind, a London-based AI company purchased by Google in 2013, since the ICO views the Royal Free as the "data controller" responsible for upholding the data protection act throughout its partnership with Streams, with DeepMind acting as a data processor on behalf of the trust. Streams has since been rolled out to other British hospitals, and DeepMind has also branched out into other clinical trials, including a project aimed at using machine-learning techniques to improve diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, and another aimed at using similar techniques to better prepare radiotherapists for treating head and neck cancers.