What’s happened in AI: November 2017

By | December 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia bestows citizenship on a robot named Sophia

  • Saudi Arabia granted Sophia citizenship, making it the first country to grant a robot the right to citizenship, at least as far as we know
  • Sophia’s capabilities were on display during the Future Investment Initiative summit being

OpenAI Director Shivon Zilis explains why AI requires oversight now

  • Spoke at Google’s second annual Go North conference
  • Zilis concluded that she has three guiding principles in terms of how she thinks about the future of responsible artificial intelligence development:
    1. First, the tech’s coming no matter what, so we need to figure out how to bend its arc with intent
    2. Second, how do we get more people involved in the conversation?
    3. And finally, we need to do our best to front

Baidu unveils home robots and smart speaker

  • Unveiled its first smart speaker and two home robots to be powered by DuerOS, its conversational AI technology similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana
  • More than 100 appliances use DuerOS — from smartphones to televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines — but the Raven series represents the first devices Baidu has made to serve up its AI services

AI Weekly: Digital assistants are changing business, but they still need human help

  • Salesforce’s Einstein debuted a platform for businesses to deploy bots on apps and websites, Facebook Messenger is coming to the web, and Microsoft Word now has a Resume Assistant imbued with intelligence from LinkedIn
  • Even will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas has entered the enterprise AI assistant marketplace, following a recent commitment by Cisco to launch an AI assistant dedicated to speaking up in team meetings

Meet European bootcamp Rockstart’s first AI cohort

  • Back in April the Netherlands-based Rockstart bootcamp announced it was adding an AI track. It’s now named the first batch of startups in the inaugural six-month program, with teams hailing from as far afield as India, Singapore, South Africa and the US.
  • Nine teams in all are on what Rockstart bills as Europe’s first AI accelerator — including a startup building an autonomous cleaner robot (pictured above), a smart parking spot finder and a platform to help analyze drone inspection imagery to help spot signs of damage to high value assets like wind turbines

Google’s chatbot analytics platform Chatbase launches to public

  • The idea behind Chatbase’s cloud service is to offer tools to more easily analyze and optimize chatbots. This includes giving bot builders the ability to understand what works to increase customer conversions, improve the bot’s accuracy, and create a better user experience
  • This data is available through an analytics dashboard, where developers can track specific metrics like active users, sessions, and user retention. These insights give an overall picture of the bot’s health and see general trends
  • The system today integrates with any voice or text messaging platform, Google says, including Facebook, Kik, Viber, Slack, WhatsApp, WeChat, Alexa, Cortana, Allo, Line, Skype, Twitter, and more

Kabbage gets $200M from Credit Suisse to expand its AI-based business loans

  • The company is picking up $200 million from Credit Suisse in a revolving credit facility that it will use for loans
  • Specifically, Kathryn Petralia, who is the COO and co-founded the company with Rob Frohwein, said the funding will help the company increase the number of loans it can make to larger companies in the US. The average size of those loans will grow to “north of $200,000,” she said.

HPE introduces AI recommendation engine to InfoSigh (VB)
The new feature is expected to reduce troubleshooting time by up to 85 per cent as it reduces “guesswork” in managing infrastructure and improve application reliability

  • InfoSight recommendations are machine learning-based and use telemetry data collected from 10,000 Nimble Storage customers over the past decade. This allows it to notify IT on how to avoid issues, improve performance and optimise resources.

Playment raises $1.6 million to improve AI training through crowdsourced data tagging

  • The Bangalore, India-based startup announced today that it has raised $1.6 million from investors that include Y Combinator, Sparkland Capital, SAIF Partners, and angel investors Ryan Petersen and Max Altman
  • Founded in 2015 by ex-Flipkart employees, Playment relies on a community of 250,000 remote contributors (based iin India) who annotate images, tag objects, analyze text, and more. That information can then be used to train machine learning systems, which require massive amounts of labeled data in order to produce intelligent results

Railways to use Artificial Intelligence for preventing signal failures

  • We are introducing remote condition monitoring using non-intrusive sensors for continuous online monitoring of signals, track circuits, axle counters and their sub-systems of interlocking, power supply systems including the voltage and current levels, relays, timers,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project
  • The system envisages data transfer through a wireless medium (3G, 4G and high speed mobile) and data based on these inputs will be utilised, with help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), for predictive and prescriptive Big Data analytics

Amazon unveils AI consulting program for cloud customers

  • Called the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, the program will provide customers with access to machine learning experts from Amazon who can help them tackle business problems using purpose-built intelligent models
  • Amazon expects typical ML lab engagements to take between three and six months, depending on the task at hand. During that time, the company will offer developers courses on the concepts behind machine learning, followed by weekly check-ins about the progress of a project

Samsung Electronics to set up AI research center

  • The new AI research center would be under a joint research center of the mobile and consumer electronics businesses, two of its three main businesses, the company said. However, it did not say where the center will be located

Fin-tech startup Active.Ai gets Series A funding from Vertex Ventures, others

  • Singapore-based fin-tech startup Active.Ai has raised $8.25 million (Rs 54 crore) in a Series A funding round co-led by Vertex Ventures, Creditease Holdings and Dream Incubator

Facebook to expand artificial intelligence to help prevent suicide

  • Facebook Inc will expand its pattern recognition software to other countries after successful tests in the U.S. to detect users with suicidal intent, the world’s largest social media network said on Monday
  • Facebook has not disclosed many technical details of the program, but the company said its software searches for certain phrases that could be clues, such as the questions “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?”

Intuit to use AWS as its standard artificial intelligence platform

  • Plans to integrate AWS Lex technology for its QuickBooks Assistant and other products
  • The personal finance company has increasingly been using artificial intelligence in products such as Mint, QuickBooks and TurboTax. Machine learning is also being used to automate small business processes