What’s happened in AI: June 10th-17th

By | June 18, 2018

Another busy week in AI. In particular, I’ve noticed more news on AI’s impact on the continent of Africa. Highlights there include Google’s new AI research center in Ghana, Zimbabwe looking to expand their AI capabilities with the help of China, and a great profile of Azuri Technologies’ initiatives to bring solar energy to east Africa.

For any Westworld fans, I also threw in a fascinating Q&A with Westworld’s chief science adviser, David Eagleman. He talks about his current views on the state of AI and his ultimate vision for where the field is going.

Company developments:

Autonomous Waymo vehicle involved in 5-car crash in Arizona – June 17, 2018 (ABC News)

  • Police in a Phoenix suburb say a self-driving Waymo vehicle was among five cars involved in a collision, but no serious injuries were reported. The driver of the Waymo vehicle told Mesa police that the car was not in autonomous mode at the time of Saturday night’s crash
  • Witnesses say another car failed to stop for a red light and crashed into the Waymo vehicle as it was turning left. The car then struck three other vehicles. 

Facebook’s new AI research is a real eye-opener – June 17, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • There are plenty of ways to manipulate photos to make you look better, remove red eye or lens flare, and so on. But so far the blink has proven a tenacious opponent of good snapshots. That may change with research from Facebook that replaces closed eyes with open ones in a remarkably convincing manner
  • It’s far from the only example of intelligent “in-painting,” as the technique is called when a program fills in a space with what it thinks belongs there. Adobe in particular has made good use of it with its “context-aware fill,” allowing users to seamlessly replace undesired features, for example a protruding branch or a cloud, with a pretty good guess at what would be there if it weren’t
  • But some features are beyond the tools’ capacity to replace, one of which is eyes. Their detailed and highly variable nature make it particularly difficult for a system to change or create them realistically. Facebook takes a crack at this with a Generative Adversarial Network, essentially a machine learning system that tries to fool itself into thinking its creations are real. In a GAN, one part of the system learns to recognize, say, faces, and another part of the system repeatedly creates images that, based on feedback from the recognition part, gradually grow in realism

AccorHotels tests facial recognition in Brazil – June 17, 2018 (Hotelier Middle East)

  • AccorHotels has started a facial recognition trial at a Pullman Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil in an effort to improve customer service delivery, according to a zdnet report. Selected guests of the hotel’s loyalty program will be the first users in the trial phase
  • Guests can use their face to check in at the hotel or an information kiosk and then use their faces to unlock rooms instead of using room keycards
  • According to Accor’s vice-president for information technology for South America Erwan Le Goff, the aim of the project is to offer more personalisation and create a market differentiator for the French hotel brand

Apple poaches senior self-driving engineer from Waymo – June 16, 2018 (CNBC)

  • Apple has hired senior self-driving car engineer Jaime Waydo from Alphabet’s Waymo unit
  • Before joining Waymo, Waydo was a longtime engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory, according to her LinkedIn profile
  • At Waymo, she oversaw systems engineering — the process of ensuring hardware and software work well together — and helped make key decisions about when to remove human safety drivers from the company’s test fleet in Arizona

NLP to help Mercy Health better treat heart failure cases – June 15, 2018 (Health Data Management)

  • Mercy Health is using natural language processing technology to extract key cardiology measures from electronic health records, clinician notes and other sources, then uses data from the measures to enable providers to make better treatment decisions for patients with heart failure
  • Mercy started to aggregate heart failure data in 2011 to identify patients with a cardiac resynchronization therapy device known as CRT, which is a type of defibrillator. By 2017, the organization had 35.5 million clinical notes from inpatient and outpatient encounters that were extracted, processed and loaded into a NLP server
  • Mercy also entered into a partnership with CRT vendor Medtronic, which along with other vendors, want to know how their devices are performing. Medtronic offers apps to aid in getting clinician notes out of electronic health records systems and runs the notes through the analytics database supplied by Linguamatics, the NLP application developer, to spot new findings

How GM trains human drivers to monitor its autonomous cars – June 15, 2018 (The Verge)

  • Cruise Automation, a self-driving unit of General Motors, is revealing new details about its training program for its human test drivers. Drivers undergo a month-long training session as well as in-car audits, incident response drills, and exams. Moreover, testers who sit in the driver’s seat are instructed to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times — even when the vehicle is driving itself
  • The details are contained in an appendix to GM’s 33-page safety report that was submitted to federal regulators, which the auto giant published at the start of the year. It comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of the drivers who are charged with seizing control of autonomous vehicles during dangerous incidents

Google’s DeepMind develops AI that can render 3D objects from 2D pictures – June 14, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Google subsidiary DeepMind today unveiled a new type of computer vision algorithm that can generate 3D models of a scene from 2D snapshots: the Generative Query Network (GQN)
  • The GQN, details of which were published in Science, can “imagine” and render scenes from any angle without any human supervision or training. Given just a handful of pictures of a scene — a wallpapered room with a colored sphere on the floor, for example — the algorithm can render opposite, unseen sides of objects and generate a 3D view from multiple vantage points, even accounting for things like lighting in shadows
  • It aims to replicate the way the human brain learns about its surroundings and the physical interactions between objects, and eliminate the need for AI researchers to annotate images in datasets. Most visual recognition systems require a human to label every aspect of every object in each scene in a dataset, a laborious and costly process

DDi’s Patent-pending LABELai has New Version for Cloud to Address Drug Labeling Challenges Effectively – June 14, 2018 (PRWeb)

  • DDi, a regulatory technology and automation provider, announces the release of upgraded Cloud version of patent-pending LABELai. With Labeling challenges increasing and teams need to move to digitization faster. LABELai handles drug label lifecycle management and with this Cloud version making the enterprise class software and its benefits to even smaller and medium sized companies without the burden of costlier and longer implementation times
  • LABELai is the only Labeling tool that ensures top down approach linking local labels to CCDS. This system utilizes the Artificial Intelligence, NLP business rules internally coupled with country specific regulatory guidelines, all in a easy to use cloud platform. LABELai tool has processes that address the labeling challenges as per local regulations, label changes, language support, formatting and safety related changes by providing digitized content management, automated text comparison, built in work flow management and local label conversions

Apple Invents an Autonomous Vehicle Guidance System that Recognizes Intent Signals from Authorized Drivers – June 14, 2018 (Patently Apple)

  • Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to systems and algorithms for using various types of signals from authorized Drivers for controlling the motion of autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles. Considering that the patent was only filed 7 months ago, it would appear that Apple’s Project Titan may be thinking beyond mere shuttle craft
  • Apple notes that motorized vehicles which are capable of sensing their environment and navigating to destinations with little or no ongoing input from occupants, and may therefore be referred to as “autonomous” or “self-driving” vehicles, are an increasing focus of research and development. Given the multiplicity of choices that are typically available with respect to vehicle trajectories in real-world environments, occupant input or guidance with regard to selecting vehicle trajectories (without requiring traditional steering, braking, accelerating and the like) may be extremely valuable to the motion control components of such vehicles. However, providing interfaces for such guidance which are intuitive and easy to use, especially within environments such as parking lots for which detailed and/or accurate mapping data may not be available, may present a non-trivial challenge

Amazon starts shipping its $249 DeepLens AI camera for developers – June 14, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • Back at its re:Invent conference in November, AWS announced its $249 DeepLens, a camera that’s specifically geared toward developers who want to build and prototype vision-centric machine learning models. The company started taking pre-orders for DeepLens a few months ago, but now the camera is actually shipping to developers
  • DeepLens is essentially a small Ubuntu- and Intel Atom-based computer with a built-in camera that’s powerful enough to easily run and evaluate visual machine learning models. In total, DeepLens offers about 106 GFLOPS of performance
  • The 4 megapixel camera isn’t going to win any prizes, but it’s perfectly adequate for most use cases. Unsurprisingly, DeepLens is deeply integrated with the rest of AWS’s services. Those include the AWS IoT service Greengrass, which you use to deploy models to DeepLens, for example, but also SageMaker, Amazon’s newest tool for building machine learning models

Artificial Intelligence Startup Oben Debuts “Personal” AI Consumer App – June 14, 2018 (Hollywood Reporter)

  • Pasadena-based artificial intelligence tech startup Oben is about to roll out its first product, PAI (Personal AI), a consumer app designed to let users create an AI-driven avatar with their own look and voice
  • Its underlying AI technology is already getting some select professional use. Overall, Oben’s team believes AI can have a wide range of uses, such as in virtual and augmented reality, gaming, content creation and retail
  • With PAI, users essentially “teach” the app about themselves. “You take a selfie, and a visual avatar is ready in the app,” Oben CEO and co-founder Nikhil Jain explained, adding that users can then customize their looks. Plus, simply by speaking a few sentences, users can teach their avatars to talk or sing. These features can be used on social media and the like

Google will open an AI center in Ghana later this year, its first in Africa – June 13, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • “In recent years, we’ve … witnessed an increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent,” senior Google AI fellow Jeff Dean and staff research scientist Moustapha Cisse wrote in a blog post. “Events like Data Science Africa 2017 in Tanzania, the 2017 Deep Learning Indaba event in South Africa, and follow-on IndabaX events in 2018 in multiple countries have shown an exciting and continuing growth of the computer science research community in Africa.”
  • Google said that employees in the new AI center, which will open later this year, will work closely with local universities, other research centers, and policymakers on the potential uses of AI in Africa. This is Google’s first center devoted solely to AI research in Africa and, as far as we can tell, the first from any tech giant (beating Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft to the punch)
  • The Google AI Center in Accra expands on Google’s efforts in the region. The company said 10 million Africans have completed its digital skills training program, and Launchpad Accelerator Africa, its tech startup incubator, is actively supporting 100,000 developers across 60 companies

AI startup Clarifai hacked by Russian source while part of Pentagon’s Project Maven – June 13, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Computer vision company Clarifai is being accused of being hacked last year by one or more people in Russia while participating in the Department of Defense’s Project Maven, then failing to report the breach to the Pentagon
  • Former Clarifai employee and Air Force captain Amy Liu filed a lawsuit earlier this month in which she accuses the AI startup of being compromised by sources in Russia, then failing to report the breach to the Department of Defense in a timely fashion, Wired reported. Liu claims she was fired days after the breach was discovered for asking the company to report the incident to the Pentagon, while an unnamed former employee says handling of the breach led him to leave the company. Multiple employees left due to the company’s involvement with Maven
  • In response to the story, a Clarifai spokesperson said that last fall an untargeted bot was identified on an isolated research server separate from the infrastructure on which Clarifai customers run. An external assessment found that no customer data, company codes, nor algorithms were compromised

Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters – June 13, 2018 (Bloomberg)

  • Former and current employees say the retail group that used industry connections to lure brands to Amazon and helped create an e-commerce colossus is now being merged with the team that runs the marketplace, an automated platform that lets anyone with an internet connection price, market and sell their wares on Amazon without interacting with a single person
  • A key turning point came in 2015 when the value of goods sold through the marketplace exceeded those sold by the retail team, the people say. The retail team, which had far more employees, watched its importance fade and money funneled into projects like Amazon Web Services and Alexa. It didn’t help that the marketplace generated twice the operating profit margin of the retail business—10 percent versus 5 percent, according to a person familiar with the company’s finances. In many international markets, the retail team has never turned a profit, the person says
  • About two years ago the retail team lost another key task: negotiating with major brands and manufacturers the terms of popular sales on the site called “Lightning Deals.” Common during the holidays as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, they help move lots of inventory in a short period

How Alibaba Is Applying Virtual Taobao To Simulate E-Commerce Environment – June 13, 2018 (Analytics India)

  • In a paper published by Jing-Cheng Shi, Yang Yu, Qing Da, Shi-Yong Chen and An-Xiang Zeng, the researchers describe how applying reinforcement learning can offer better commodity search. And Alibaba has adopted reinforcement learning to accomplish exactly that
  • The paper suggests that while the incorporation of deep neural networks and reinforcement learning (RL) has seen a significant progress recently in areas like games and robotics, the application of RL in real-world tasks still has to witness significant application. This can be attributed to the fact that while gaming and robotics are relatively receptive to unsupervised machine learning approaches, large online systems may be limited to supervised approaches, as they may be incapable of learning the sequential decision-making needed to maximise long-term rewards
  • Researchers explain a scenario where an e-commerce search engine observes a buyer’s request, and displays a page of ranked commodities to the buyer. It then updates the decision model after obtaining the user feedback to pursue revenue maximisation. During a session, it keeps displaying new pages according to latest information of the buyer if he or she continues to browse. In such scenarios, previous solutions are mostly based on supervised learning which are incapable of learning sequential decisions. Thus RL solutions are highly appealing, but couldn’t be implemented until now owing to its own set of challenges


MIPS Acquired by AI Startup Wave Computing – June 16, 2018 (Top 500)

  • Wave Computing, one of the myriad Silicon Valley startups designing custom-built hardware for artificial intelligence, has bought MIPS Tech Inc
  • According to Wave Computing CEO Derek Meyer, MIPS-based solutions will also be key to developing a solution for inferencing these trained neural network models in edge devices. “With working DPU commercial silicon and being in the final stages of bringing our first AI systems to market, now is the time for us to expand to the Edge of Cloud,” said Meyer. “The acquisition of MIPS allows us to combine technologies to create products that will deliver a single ‘Datacenter-to-Edge’ platform ideal for AI and deep learning. We’ve already received very strong and enthusiastic support from leading suppliers and strategic partners, as they affirm the value of data scientists being able to experiment, develop, test and deploy their neural networks on a common platform spanning to the Edge of Cloud.”
  • Inferencing-based solutions will also provide Wave with a larger market opportunity, since they can be deployed in high volumes on things like smartphones, automobiles, and IoT devices. Wave points to recent estimates from market research firm Tractica that show a $50 billion Total Addressable Market (TAM) for AI solutions aimed at the datacenter and a $100 billion TAM for AI solutions targeting edge devices

Tableau gets AI shot in the arm with Empirical Systems acquisition – June 13, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • When Tableau was founded back in 2003, not many people were thinking about artificial intelligence to drive analytics and visualization, but over the years the world has changed and the company recognized that it needed talent to keep up with new trends. Today, it announced it was acquiring Empirical Systems, an early stage startup with AI roots. Tableau did not share terms of the acquisition
  • The startup was born just two years ago from research on automated statistics at the MIT Probabilistic Computing Project. According to the company website, “Empirical is an analytics engine that automatically models structured, tabular data (such as spreadsheets, tables, or csv files) and allows those models to be queried to uncover statistical insights in data.”
  • The product was still in private Beta when Tableau bought the company. It is delivered currently as an engine embedded inside other applications. That sounds like something that could slip in nicely into the Tableau analytics platform. What’s more, it will be bringing the engineering team on board for some AI knowledge, while taking advantage of this underlying advanced technology

Fundraising / investment:

Tessian raises $13 million to use machine learning for securing enterprise email – June 17, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Tessian of London announced today that it has raised $13 million in venture capital as the U.K.-based company seeks to automate the problem of enterprise email security
  • Formerly known by the more literal name CheckRecipient, the company uses machine learning to discover and fix misaddressed emails, a seemingly mundane hiccup that in fact causes big security headaches for companies when sensitive information falls into the wrong hands
  • “With the recent report from the ICO that misaddressed emails are now the number one data security incident reported to them and GDPR now in full swing, companies should make addressing this risk a top security priority,” said Tessian CEO and co-founder Tim Sadler in a statement. “It’s human nature to fear scary things like hackers or malware, but we often don’t think twice about the dangers behind something as familiar and ingrained as sending an email. In reality that’s where an overwhelming threat lies.”

Ford unit teams with startup developing ‘Waze’ for self-driving cars – June 15, 2018 (Automotive News Europe)

  • Startup RideOS said that it has raised $9 million led by venture firm Sequoia Capital and reached a partnership with a division of Ford
  • Started by two former Uber Technologies employees, RideOS plans to sell software that gives routes and other dispatching instructions to fleets of autonomous cars. Add RideOS to a mounting list of companies competing to create markets around the nascent technology, which continues to reel in investment
  • Most of these companies are building tools to make driverless cars a reality. RideOS, based in San Francisco, is aiming for the future when they are on the roads and need to navigate physical hurdles. When a car encounters road construction, for example, the software would warn others in the fleet, or it could call for a small sedan in some circumstances and a bigger car in another

Cybersecurity Company CHEQ Raises $5 Million to Replace Ad-Verification Tech with Fully Autonomous Brand-Safety System – June 15, 2018 (PRWeb)

  • Cybersecurity company CHEQ today announced the closing of $5M in Series A funding, which will help it enable digital advertisers to publish ads in a brand-safe environment and prevent ad fraud. CHEQ’s Autonomous Brand Safety solution uses military-grade AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to rapidly analyze content and users so that brands can prevent in real time having their ads served to bots or alongside negative content
  • Battery Ventures, a global, technology-focused investment firm, chose to invest in CHEQ for its advanced cybersecurity technology, automated solutions at scale based on artificial intelligence, and its ability to look at hundreds of data fragments, then analyze and act upon them in real time

Influential raises $12 million for AI-based influencer matchmaking platform – June 14, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Influential has launched raised $12 million to expand its Social Intelligence platform to find influencers for brands with the help of artificial intelligence. The idea is to match influencers with brands who want to team up with the hottest social media attractions. Using IBM’s Watson AI tech, Influential wants to make influencer marketing reach scale on the level that brand marketers need to get measurable results
  • Influential’s Social Intelligence technology examines factors such as psychographic and contextual relevance for brands to identify their audience, profile, and personality based on social media analysis. Influential hopes its tech can be used by brands and influencers to form entire market strategies. That’s not an easy thing to do, since an influencer can be a loose cannon when it comes to talking about a brand to an audience
  • Through augmented intelligence and machine learning, Influential matches brands with influencers, based on the likelihood of having successful campaigns on social. Influential will pull in the last 22,000 words produced by an influencer and then analyze them based on 47 traits. It is working with 25,000 influencers who reach 5 billion users

China’s AI startup Yitu Technology secures $200m in Series C+ – June 13, 2018 (Deal Street Asia)

  • Shanghai-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Yitu Technology has raised a $200-million Series C+ round from ICBC International Holdings, SPDB International and Gaocheng Capital
  • The startup specializes in computer vision, big data and advanced hardware and was co-founded by statistician Zhu Long and Lin Chenxi, a former senior expert at Alibaba Cloud Computing, in 2012. This February, it appointed former Google research scientist Lu Hao as its chief innovation officer
  • Last year, it raised an RMB 380 million ($55 million) Series C led by Hillhouse Capital and joined by Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia Capital, Banyan Capital (now known as Gaorong Capital) and ZhenFund

Samsung Next launches Q Fund for startups tackling AI’s biggest challenges – June 13, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Samsung’s team designed to seek out innovative, forward-thinking technology today announced the launch of the Q Fund, an investment initiative meant to advance early-stage AI startups. Initial investments by the Q Fund include robotics startup Vicarious AI, which raised $50 million last July, and Covariant AI
  • The Q Fund will focus on backing startups using transformational techniques for robot control, human-machine interaction, simulated learning, and AI that automatically builds custom AI models, like Google’s AutoML
  • Investments will focus on startups in the United States initially but may expand to Europe and other parts of the world where Samsung has offices, like Berlin or Tel Aviv. The Q Fund will draw its capital from the original Samsung Next Fund. Previously known as the Samsung Global Innovation Center and established in 2012, Samsung Next is a $150 fund for investment and acquisition of startups working in areas like artificial intelligence, VR/AR, and internet of things (IoT). Initially focused on the U.S., the fund grew to incorporate European startups nearly a year ago

Jane.ai raises $8.4 million for an enterprise chatbot that can search through emails, files, and more – June 12, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Jane.ai, which allows employees to search through its corpus using conversational language, launched today with $8.4 million in funding from a Midwest network of private and angel investors
  • “We created Jane to help everyday workers be more successful by eliminating the wasted time and effort that comes from searching for basic workplace information,” Karandish said in a statement. “We’ve all grown accustomed to the convenience of on-demand, personalized services and voice-controlled speakers at home, but we have yet to benefit from these same conveniences at work. Jane is an intuitive, intelligent AI-powered Teammate who gives employees instant access to the information they need to do their jobs well.”
  • Jane.ai is a service in two parts. The aforementioned backend mines information from email and calendar apps like Gmail and Exchange, customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce and Oracle’s NetSuite, health information and resource services (HIRS) like ADP and Sage, service desk platforms like Zendesk and ServiceNow, and cloud drive providers like Box and OneDrive. The second part is a chatbot with natural language processing that integrates with popular messaging apps such as Slack and Skype. With Jane.ai, users can say things like “I need the Centene contract from August 2017” and “How much PTO do I have?” or even instruct it to schedule appointments (“Schedule 15 minutes to meet with David and Josh”) and update the status of sales leads (“Update the status of the Express Scripts deal to ‘won’”)

Eigen Technologies Closes $17.5 Mn Funding to Support its Natural Language Processing (NLP) Technology – June 12, 2018 (Read IT Quik)

  • Eigen Technologies recently announced it has successfully closed a $17.5 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by Temasek and Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments (PSI). The company said it will utilize this new capital from the Series A round to fund the expansion of its business in New York, London, and other global markets, such as the Americas and Asia. In addition to that, Eigen will also make use of the funds to support a significant additional investment in research and development
  • The company’s agile Natural language processing (NLP) tackles the challenges posed by unstructured qualitative data. Eigen automatically classifies and extracts this data from documents and other text sources with extremely high accuracy rates. This information is then transformed into structured data, which can be easily analyzed, in a fraction of the time and manual effort needed by conventional methods. Eigen empowers its clients with an exhaustive understanding of their qualitative data, thus enabling them to make better decisions on everything: from due diligence to intricate financial regulation
  • Dr Lewis Z. Liu, Co-founder and CEO, Eigen Technologies, said, “Three and a half years ago we set out to be a truly unique AI company, one that allows our clients to harness the power of their qualitative data to make better decisions. This Series A round underlines our ambitions and is the next major step in our expansion plan. With our partners, each of whom is a leader in its sector, we will continue to expand across multiple markets and geographies, as well as doubling down on our investment in research and development, which will always be at the heart of our company. Eigen is defined by its people, and they will continue to be our biggest area of investment going forward. I can’t wait to get started on the next chapter of building our business.”

Memrise raises $15.5M as its AI-based language-learning app passes 35M users – June 11, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • Memrise, a UK startup whose eponymous language-learning app employs machine learning and localised content to adapt to users’ needs as they progress through their lessons, has raised another $15.5 million in funding to expand its product. The funding comes after a period of strong growth: Memrise  has now passed 35 million users globally across its 20 language courses, and it tipped into profitability in Q1 of this year. Ed Cooke, who co-founded the app with Ben Whately and Greg Detre, told TechCrunch that this places it as the second-most popular language app globally in terms of both users and revenues. (Duolingo has more signups, Babbel more revenue.)
  • This round, a Series B, was led by Octopus Ventures and Korelya Capital, along with participation from existing investors Avalon Ventures and Balderton Capital. (Previous investors have included the likes of Matt Mullenweg, Lerer Ventures and more.)
  • Memrise is not disclosing its valuation — it has raised a relatively modest $22 million to date — but Cooke (who is also the CEO) said the plan will be to use the funding to expand its AI platform and add in more features for users

AI team at Insilico gets some major league backing from China as Alex Zhavoronkov builds global network – June 11, 2018 (Endpoint news)

  • It’s a long way from a megaround, falling into an unspecified slot in the $5 million to $10 million range, but Zhavoronkov has allied himself with some of the most interesting people in drug development. And he’s using this new money to expand his global network of AI experts as he immediately begins to go after a new raise to back a bigger game plan
  • This new round is led by WuXi AppTec, the high-flying discovery and development outfit based in Shanghai and helmed by Ge Li, who offered an influential shout out by noting that the two companies share a “mutual vision that artificial intelligence and machine learning will optimize the drug discovery process by increasing the probability of success at the pre-clinical level. Singapore’s Temasek also got involved, along with Peter Diamandis’ — of X Prize fame — BOLD Capital. Longevity biotech Juvenescence, backed by UK billionaire Jim Mellon and allied with Zhavoronkov’s AI operation, also came back to chip into the round
  • Zhavoronkov has been using machine learning to build molecules, and he started out by proving that he could do it on projects with well understood biology. Now that they’ve passed that test, WuXi and Insilico are going into virgin territory, building new molecules aimed at orphan targets “from scratch” using a neural network as they build a new discovery platform with WuXi’s top chemists


Baidu and China Mobile partner on AI and 5G, focusing on self-driving cars – June 14, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • Signaling the types of alliances that will soon become commonplace thanks to evolving AI and wireless technologies, Chinese search giant Baidu and mobile company China Mobile today announced a comprehensive partnership to collaborate on AI, 5G, and big data — “frontier areas” where each company’s strengths will be necessary to move forward
  • Initially, the companies will offer first-of-kind cellular discounts for use of Baidu services, including special China Mobile data plans specifically for 13 Baidu products, including the Netflix-like iQiyi video service, Baidu’s own app, and Baidu PostBar. On the AI front, they will collaborate on image recognition, voice recognition, and natural language processing to leverage AI in telecommunications applications, using Baidu’s algorithms across China Mobile’s networks and services, as well as in future intelligent devices and connected homes
  • A major component of the collaboration is co-development of an autonomous car platform, which is expected to rely heavily on upcoming 5G cellular technology. Baidu already has an open platform called Apollo, which it’s positioning as “the Android of autonomous driving,” with over 100 partners ranging from startups to OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers. Going forward, China Mobile will join the platform to assist with both service development and market building for mobile-connected cars, while Baidu aims to incorporate its conversational AI-focused DuerOS into cellular-equipped vehicles

Grab in talks with Didi Chuxing for partnerships to get the most out of self-driving cars – June 14, 2018 (Kr Asia)

  • Grab is in talks with Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-hailing giant, for partnerships in self-driving, Grab President Ming Maa told Chinese local news service 21jingji
  • “After we merged with Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, I think we could have more energy to explore beyond ride-hailing services, for example, autonomous driving,” said Ming Maa, “I believe it’s just a matter of time for autonomous driving to implement and we pay close attention to companies in the domain, including China’s Baidu and America’s Drive.ai, both companies have made breakthroughs in self-driving technologies. We are in talks with Didi Chuxing for corporations in self-driving projects.”
  • The company’s ambition in self-driving dates back to 2016, when it formed a partnership with NuTonomy, an MIT spinoff that is developing autonomous vehicles. The two companies have tested self-driving cars in Singapore. Besides, Grab invested last year in Silicon Valley’s autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai, which counts Andrew Ng as a board member. Drive.ai plans to roll out a fleet of autonomous taxis in July

Luminar rolls out its development platform and scores Volvo partnership and investment – June 14, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • The wizards in lidar tech at Luminar are doubling down on the practical side of autonomous car deployment with a partnership with and investment from Volvo, as well as a new “perception development platform” that helps squeeze every last drop out of its laser-based imagery
  • The two are also doubling down on their partnership as far as the actual lidar tech being used. Luminar today announced its “perception development platform,” for which Volvo is the first customer. Essentially Luminar itself is taking over some of the duties of spotting and identifying common objects its lidar units see, rather than leaving that entirely to the car’s systems. Russell told me that it was a matter of making sure that its data was being used effectively
  • “A lot of times we see 2D algorithms applied to true 3D data, and it just doesn’t make the most of it,” he said. He said that his team often sees partners (not necessarily Volvo) applying dated 2D analysis to rich 3D data. That might have been fine a couple of years ago, he said, but with advances in lidar tech the point clouds and 3D data have improved by orders of magnitude — it’s become “almost camera-like.” So Luminar is making its own algorithms for detection and labeling of what its hardware sees

Spotify, TGI Fridays Enlist Foursquare For Machine Learning-Powered Measurement – June 14, 2018 (Ad Exchanger)

  • Spotify and TGI Fridays are hooking up with Foursquare as a preferred measurement partner. Solid measurement is what seals the deal with marketers, said Brian Berner, head of US sales at Spotify. “Many of our [brand] partners have a brick-and-mortar presence, so we’ve seen increased demand for measurement that showcases how our ad platform connects to consumer behavior in the real world,” he said
  • The partnership with Foursquare, announced Thursday, is part of Spotify’s effort to help advertisers understand how their ad spend is driving results by making a “connection between our streaming intelligence and offline behavior,” Berner said
  • In the past, Foursquare would look at four main parameters to try and determine whether an ad exposure triggered an offline action: age, gender, recency and the primary DMA where someone spends their time. Starting Thursday, Foursquare is increasing the number of attributes it looks at to more than 500. “Machine learning expands what we can do exponentially,” said Jared Hand, VP of national sales at Foursquare. New characteristics in the mix include everything from the frequency of exposure, historical visits and the distance between a user and the store to the day of the week, time of year and what apps a person uses

Self-driving shuttle startup May Mobility partners with auto supplier Magna – June 13, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • Magna, one of the largest tier-one automotive industry suppliers in the world, has teamed up with Michigan-based startup May Mobility for the building and deployment of self-driving shuttles. The plan is to scale May Mobility’s self-driving shuttle fleet across the U.S. The initial fleet will debut for passengers on June 26 in Detroit, Mich
  • What Magna brings to the table is the retrofitting of micro transit electric cars. So, while May Mobility is responsible for the design of self-driving shuttles, Magna will be responsible for the assembly. That assembly will entail a complete rebuild with custom doors, a panoramic moonroof, sensor integration and conversion to an autonomous-ready state. On top of that, May Mobility will add its autonomous-driving technology stack
  • Earlier this year, May Mobility raised $11.5 million in seed funding from BMW iVentures, Toyota AI and others. Next year, May Mobility plans to offer on-demand services for customers. In March, Magna partnered with Lyft to build a self-driving car platform. Magna also invested $200 million in Lyft in exchange for an equity stake

Metadata Announces Partnership With Conversica – June 12, 2018 (PR Newswire)

  • Metadata Inc. (http://www.metadata.io), the pioneering AI-operated demand generation platform for B2B companies, today announced it has partnered with Conversica (www.conversica.com), the leader in conversational AI for business. Together, the two companies automate the marketing and sales development process for B2B companies, from generating qualified leads to following up with them at a faster rate and with higher quality than can be achieved manually
  • “Partnering with Conversica is a natural fit for Metadata; both companies have patented the use of A.I. to automate different parts of the lead generation process for B2B marketers,” said Gil Allouche, founder and CEO at Metadata.io. “A top reason for marketers failing to build full pipelines is the break in handoff from marketing to sales or the sales team asking for more leads. Together, Metadata and Conversica fix the leak by streamlining the process and eliminating human bottlenecks, enabling companies to close more deals, faster.”
  • Metadata’s patented AI Operator helps marketers identify new customer contacts and target them with massively scaled multivariate tests of offers. Through machine-learning, Metadata is able to optimize the tests for conversion rates and opportunity creation to generate net-new leads, which are enriched and loaded into the marketer’s marketing automation and CRM systems. Conversica then accesses the leads from these systems and converts them into sales opportunities by using AI-powered virtual assistants that automatically engage, qualify and follow up with leads via natural, two-way email and SMS-text conversations. Both solutions are available immediately through the Metadata and Conversica sales teams

Research / studies:

Stanford researchers harnessed AI to generate memes – June 15, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • In a white paper titled “Dank Learning” (yes, really), Abel L. Peirson and E. Meltem Tolunay, the two lead scientists on the project, describe a neural network that ingests, gains an understanding of, and spits out internet in-jokes. The AI consists of a convolutional neural network (CNN) that takes images as inputs and translates them into mathematical representations called vector embeddings (an encoder), and a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network (RNN) that creates captions (a decoder)
  • The Stanford researchers fed the system more than 400,000 images with 2,600 unique image label-pairs from memegenerator.com — specifically “advice animal”-style memes, pictures with humorously captioned specific characters (for example, a cat in a bathrobe) — using a Python script. They then instructed human subjects to judge each image on its “hilarity” and had them guess whether they were produced by a person or the neural network
  • “This allows for relatively simple collection of datasets,” Peirson and Tolunay wrote. “In this paper, we specifically refer to meme generation as the task of generating a humorous caption in a manner that is relevant to the initially provided image, which can be a meme template or otherwise.” The verdict: Humans were able to pick out the algorithmically created memes about 70 percent of the time, but graded them fairly evenly on wittiness

UK report warns DeepMind Health could gain ‘excessive monopoly power’ – June 15, 2018 (TechCrunch)

  • DeepMind’s foray into digital health services continues to raise concerns. The latest worries are voiced by a panel of external reviewers appointed by the Google-owned AI company to report on its operations after its initial data-sharing arrangements with the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) ran into a major public controversy in 2016
  • The DeepMind Health Independent Reviewers’ 2018 report flags a series of risks and concerns, as they see it, including the potential for DeepMind Health to be able to “exert excessive monopoly power” as a result of the data access and streaming infrastructure that’s bundled with provision of the Streams app — and which, contractually, positions DeepMind as the access-controlling intermediary between the structured health data and any other third parties that might, in the future, want to offer their own digital assistance solutions to the Trust
  • While the underlying FHIR (aka, fast healthcare interoperability resource) deployed by DeepMind for Streams uses an open API, the contract between the company and the Royal Free Trust funnels connections via DeepMind’s own servers, and prohibits connections to other FHIR servers. A commercial structure that seemingly works against the openness and interoperability DeepMind’s co-founder Mustafa Suleyman has claimed to support

Machine learning with echocardiographic, EHR data improves survival predictions – June 14, 2018 (Cardiovascular Business)

  • Machine learning models using echocardiographic data and variables from the electronic health record (EHR) can significantly improve mortality predictions compared to traditional risk scores, researchers reported in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
  • Manar D. Samad, PhD, and colleagues from Geisinger Health in Danville, Pennsylvania, compared a machine learning method to validated tools such as the Framingham Risk Score in 171,510 patients who underwent more than 330,000 echocardiograms
  • “Machine learning models have far superior accuracy to predict survival after echocardiography compared with these standard clinical approaches, which is in line with previous studies,” Samad et al. wrote. “In the past, these clinical risk scoring systems were used out of simplicity, when the data were not readily available or easily automated as inputs into large models. However, with improved information technology systems and computational power available in healthcare, more complicated and accurate models, such as the one proposed in the present study, can be implemented in many health systems and may soon be ubiquitous.”

Artificial intelligence learns to see humans through walls – June 13, 2018 (Gear Brain)

  • Developed by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the system can see the basic stick-person outline of human through a wall. It can do so with almost the same accuracy whether the wall is there or not
  • Called RF-Pose, the system works because radio frequencies pass through walls but reflect off humans, revealing their location in a similar way to how radar and lidar systems work. To train the artificial intelligence, the system was given synchronized wireless and visual inputs. In other words, it could see people through a regular video camera, plus the radio frequency, which bounced off them. That way, the AI could work out what radio frequency patterns matched actions like sitting, standing and walking
  • How the system taught itself with these inputs was particularly interesting. MIT explains in a press release: “Since cameras can’t see through walls, the network was never explicitly trained on data from the other side of a wall – which is what made it particularly surprising to the MIT team that the network could generalize its knowledge to be able to handle through-wall movements.”

AI could get 100 times more energy-efficient with IBM’s new artificial synapses – June 12, 2018 (MIT News)

  • IBM has now shown that building key features of a neural net directly in silicon can make it 100 times more efficient. Chips built this way might turbocharge machine learning in coming years
  • The IBM chip, like a neural net written in software, mimics the synapses that connect individual neurons in a brain. The strength of these synaptic connections needs to be tuned in order for the network to learn. In a living brain, this happens in the form of connections growing or withering over time. That is easy to reproduce in software but has proved infuriatingly difficult to achieve with hardware, until now
  • The IBM researchers demonstrate the microelectronic synapses in a research paper published in the journal Nature. Their approach takes inspiration from neuroscience by using two types of synapses: short-term ones for computation and long-term ones for memory. This method “addresses a few key issues,” most notably low accuracy, that have bedeviled previous efforts to build artificial neural networks in silicon, says Michael Schneider, a researcher at that National Institute of Standards and Technology who is researching neurologically inspired computer hardware.

Global Release of the White Paper on China’s New Economy 2018 With China AI Equity Valuation Fintech – June 12, 2018 (Business Insider)

  • China-Tech and innovative economy have been a hot topic all over the world. In order to make the world more clear about China’s new economic development and promote win-win cooperation, Qianhai Equity Exchange Center and Qheedata Co. Ltd, with 20 leading investment institutions and well-known research institutions, will release the White Paper on China’s New Economy 2018 to the world
  • The White Paper on China’s New Economy 2018 gives an all-round present and analysis on china’s new economy, with the quantitative analysis methodology, and show the findings on detailed analysis on sectors and enterprises. The White Paper breaks down 20 new economy sectors and 270 sub-sectors. It covers all of the factors contributing to the new economy development, including technologies, enterprises, governmental policies, funds, talents etc. All of the paper finally presents a clear picture of China’s new economy entities, traits and features of new economic structure, the investment trends of funds and development of innovative enterprises, and so on
  • Global release series activities will tour around world financial and Hi-tech cities and emerging economy areas. A series titled “Global Release Conference and China New Economy Innovative Enterprise Value Summit Forum” will be held in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and New York. Local entrepreneurs, bankers, investing institutes, research institutes, venture capital, private equity, professors, Lawyers and other professionals in new economic sectors are invited to present and discuss the innovation and development of China new economy and share the insights on the forum

Chief information officers in China prioritize automation, AI for improving performance – June 10, 2018 (China.org.cn)

  • Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have emerged as key priorities for chief information officers (CIO) in China to help drive efficiencies and business performance, according to a recent report
  • “Improving efficiencies through automation” has risen to be one of the top priorities for China CIOs, replacing “delivering consistent and stable IT performance to the business,” a top priority from 2017, according to a joint survey by global recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider Harvey Nash and auditing and consultancy firm KPMG
  • The survey features insights from 3,958 CIOs and technology leaders, including 85 from China, across 84 countries and regions. Nearly half of the China respondents identified “improving insights and decision making through AI” as a key business priority, compared to 22 percent of their global peers

Chinese consumers show rising trust in autonomous technology: report – June 10, 2018 (Xinhuanet)

  • About 74 percent of consumers in China feel fully autonomous vehicles (AV) will be safe, compared to only 38 percent in 2017, according to the latest Global Automotive Consumer Study released by global auditing and consultancy firm Deloitte
  • Consumers across Asia Pacific have greater trust in driverless cars compared to those in many other major markets worldwide, while trust among consumers has improved the most in China compared to other Asia Pacific markets, according to the survey of over 22,000 consumers in 17 countries worldwide
  • The significant improvement in an automotive market as large as China could position the country as a leader in the adoption of fully autonomous technology among major automotive markets, the report said

Government / policy:

China’s new fleet of unmanned assault boats to use artificial intelligence, experts say – June 17, 2018 (American Military News)

  • “Once equipped with weapons, unmanned small combat vessels can attack the enemy in large numbers, similar to drones,” said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert
  • The prototypes, which resemble shark fins, were developed in a collaboration between a Guangdong-based tech company and the PLA
  • China isn’t alone in developing unmanned vehicles, as the United States and other Western counties are working on creating “ant swarms” for operations on the ground, “drone swarms” for aerial operations and “shark swarms” for the sea

Zimbabwe is trying to transform itself into a leading tech hub with China’s help – June 15, 2018 (Quartz)

  • There’s a quiet buzz in Zimbabwe right now for the opportunity of informational and communications technology might have as a transformational impact on the beleaguered economy. The southern African country, which has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, is looking to China to help building capacity and technological know-how to build one of the continent’s biggest IT hubs underpinned by big data and artificial intelligence
  • China has a key role in Zimbabwe’s bid to reimagine itself as a technological hub. Chinese facial recognition technology is being deployed at entry points such as airports and border posts. The project will be undertaken with a Chinese company, called HikVision. All this will build into a converged big data and artificial intelligence capability for the country, whose innovators—although a bit cash strapped—are crying out for the opportunity to break away from their backyard labs and hubs into the mainstream
  • The Chinese are even helping Zimbabwe, whose president Emmerson Mnangagwa visited China in April, to develop smart cities, starting with a pilot undertaking in Mutare in the Eastern Highlands. Tech hubs and innovators in Zimbabwe have already jumped onto this, with the Emisha City Hack for Bulawayo selecting innovator teams to benefit from support and funding for development of tech solutions to solve challenges faced by Zimbabwe’s second city. Tami Mudzingwa, a director for the hackathon, told Quartz Africa via Twitter that “ICT will be a potent vehicle for driving growth and development” in African countries such as Zimbabwe

Booz Allen’s chief warns US of a ‘close race’ with China on artificial intelligence – June 15, 2018 (Live Mint)

  • The chief executive officer of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. warned that the US has only a small advantage over China in the rising field of artificial intelligence and is at risk of falling behind without a “national strategy.”
  • “It’s not the 50-year edge that we have in building aircraft carriers,” Horacio Rozanski said Thursday in a meeting with Bloomberg editors and reporters in Washington. “It’s now a much closer race, without a doubt.”
  • “The investments are being driven at this point by the strategies of the different parts of the government, as opposed to collective strategy,” he said. “I’m not sure that there’s a coordinated approach between the private sector and the public sector, and those are the things that, I think, are going to be necessary.”

Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras – June 14, 2018 (The Guardian)

  • Two legal challenges have been launched against police forces in south Wales and London over their use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology on the grounds the surveillance is unregulated and violates privacy
  • The claims are backed by the human rights organisations Liberty and Big Brother Watch following complaints about biometric checks at the Notting Hill carnival, on Remembrance Sunday, at demonstrations and in high streets
  • According to Liberty, South Wales police have used facial recognition technology in public spaces at least 20 times since May 2017. On one occasion – at the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff – the technology was later found to have wrongly identified more than 2,200 people as possible criminals

Japan banks on 3D mapping deemed crucial for driverless cars – June 14, 2018 (ABC News)

  • Japan’s government is backing a three-dimensional mapping system developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. that includes a wealth of details such as trees and pedestrians. It promises to be off by no more than 25 centimeters (9.8 inches)
  • That would be a big improvement over satellite-based GPS, which is used by ships, aircraft and increasingly by drivers or on mobile phones but can be off by up to 20 meters (65 feet), especially inside buildings or underground
  • Starting in November, Japan will also get positioning information from its government satellites, including three launched last year, called QZS, Quasi-Zenith Satellite System. Japan wants driverless cars on the roads by 2020, with hopes the Tokyo Olympics will showcase its technological prowess the way the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games displayed its new bullet train to the world

European Commission names 52 experts to its AI advisory board – June 14, 2018 (VentureBeat)

  • The European Commission today named 52 experts to its High Level Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLG), an advisory body tasked with drafting AI ethics guidelines, anticipating challenges and opportunities in AI, and steering the course of Europe’s machine learning investments
  • The 52 new members — 30 men and 22 women — were selected from an applicant pool of 500 and come from titans of industry like Bosch, BMW, Bayer, and AXA, in addition to AI research leaders that include Google, IBM, Nokia Bell Labs, STMicroelectronics, Telenor, Zalando, Element AI, Orange, SAP, Sigfox, and Santander. Among the recruits are Jakob Uszkoreit, an AI Researcher in the Google Brain team, and Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Kazaa and Skype and an early investor in Google subsidiary DeepMind
  • Members will meet for the first time on June 27, when they’ll begin drafting guidelines covering the “fairness, safety, and transparency” of AI, evaluating current legislation and informing policy. They’ll also establish “outreach mechanisms” to interact with the AI Alliance, a broader European AI stakeholder group announced in April

First AI textbook for high school students in China is released – June 11, 2018 (China.org.cn)

  • Under the joint efforts by the research center for MOOC at East China Normal University and AI startup SenseTime Group, the nine-chapter textbook, named Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence, was written by eminent scholars from well-known schools nationwide, Xinhua reported on Sunday
  • At present, about 40 high schools across the country have joined the first batch of AI high education pilot program, by introducing the textbook in curriculum

AI Helps Africa Bypass the Grid – June 11, 2018 (Bloomberg)

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, home electricity is a 50-50 prospect and bank accounts can be rare, but most people have some kind of cellphone. The phones provide information often tough to come by in rural areas—the latest commodity prices, for example. And even in places where pastoral tribesmen tend livestock in very old-school ways, they may also chat over WhatsApp and use money-transfer apps to settle debts. To charge the phones without access to an electrical grid, Africans spend more than $17 billion a year on such fuels as kerosene and firewood to power sometimes primitive generators. Simon Bransfield-Garth is pitching a cleaner and, he says, smarter alternative
  • His company, Azuri Technologies Ltd., has brought what it calls smart solar power to 150,000 people in a dozen African nations, focusing on East Africa and Nigeria. While solar batteries often struggle to power homes through the night, Azuri’s yellow box—the size of a landline phone, it’s called HomeSmart—uses software with artificial intelligence to learn each home’s energy needs and adjust power output to keep things running. Those tweaks include automatically dimming lights and TV screens, lowering speaker volume, and slowing a fan’s motor
  • Bransfield-Garth has raised $18 million in venture funding, led by the U.K.’s IP Group Plc. He says the company is profitable and revenue has doubled in two years but wouldn’t provide numbers. A Briton, he began researching AI neural networks in the 1980s before getting into semiconductors, consumer electronics, and eventually renewable energy. He spun Azuri out of his solar panel company, Eight19 Ltd., in 2012, after spending two years developing the storage cell and figuring out how sensors and panels could be used to better predict customers’ energy habits. Based on when the sun hits a panel, for example, the HomeSmart software can determine sunrise and sunset, latitude and longitude, and what time of year it is. The company installed its first units outside Nairobi

US Dept of State intends to award IDEMIA with facial recognition contract – June 10, 2018 (Biometric Update)

  • Earlier this week the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Affairs office announced its plan to issue a new sole source contract to its current facial recognition software provider IDEMIA. The fixed price contract is for one year with the option for four one-year extensions
  • The DoS CA office is responsible for issuing visas to foreign nationals and passports to U.S. citizens. According to the justification for using other than full and open competition, “IDEMIA is the only known contractor with the demonstrated experience and integrated software” and is “the most accurate non-Russian or Chinese software according to the … National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Face Recognition Vendor Test”
  • IDEMIA announced in March that its technology had won the top ranking as the most accurate 1:1 algorithm out of 33 competitors in the SELFIE and WEBCAM categories of NIST’s Face Recognition Vendor Test (FTRVT)


Intel to Showcase AI and HPC Demos at ISC 2018 – June 16, 2018 (Inside HPC)

  • Intel released a sneak peek at their plans for ISC 2018 in Frankfurt. The company will showcase how it’s helping AI developers, data scientists and HPC programmers transform industries by tapping into HPC to power the AI solutions

Shanghai electronics expo showcases China’s AI ambitions – June 14, 2018 (Nikkei Asia Review)

  • During the expo’s opening day on Wednesday, Hisense held a demonstration of an AI television that features face and voice recognition. When a soccer match is being viewed, the TV will display players’ statistics at the push of a button. Information on purchasing uniforms also shows up on the screen
  • Hisense, a sponsor of the World Cup in Russia, says AI features will be activated for its latest smart TVs when the games kick off on Thursday. The innovation will provide a new viewing experience thanks to the abundance of data on the screen, said Chairman Zhou Houjian
  • Huawei Technologies, the world’s No. 3 smartphone maker, is highlighting AI-powered chips it has developed in-house. The neural network processing units debuted last year on the company’s flagship handsets. The AI was trained with more than 100 million images so that it can automatically adjust the phone’s camera settings to fit the photo subject. The chip can also optimize the performance of the smartphone by learning which apps are used frequently and dedicating more power to them

China Money Network To Compile China AI Top 50, Shedding Light On China’s Rising AI Power – June 12, 2018 (China Money Network)

  • China Money Network, a Chinese investment and technology media and data company based in Hong Kong and Beijing, today launched a campaign to compile a list of the 50 leading Chinese artificial intelligence companies to shed light on China’s rising AI power
  • Called the China AI Top 50, the list will be released at the World Economic Forum 2018 Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin city, China on September 18 to 20, in front of top-level government officials, influential business leaders and international media organizations

London Tech Week – London is Named Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capital of Europe by New Report – June 11, 2018 (PR Newswire)

  • London is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) capital of Europe, home to double the number of AI companies* than closest rivals Paris and Berlin combined. That is the key finding of a major piece of research commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, that for the first time maps the capital’s AI ecosystem, highlighting the strength and complexity of London’s AI ecosystem and its growing important to the economy
  • The report is published on the eve of London Tech Week – an annual event that sees the city open its doors to the international tech community. With over 200 events, the week-long festival will welcome more than 50,000 delegates from all over the world as the capital showcases its leading position as a global technology hub. During London Tech Week, the Mayor will also launch his new ‘Smarter London Together’ roadmap that aims to make London a smarter city

Interesting Q&As:

Westworld’ science adviser shares his vision of robots and the future of AI – June 16, 2018 (NBC News)

  • Fans of the HBO series “Westworld” know that it doesn’t shy away from big and often mind-bending themes. From questions about robot consciousness to the ethics of artificial intelligence, the show has taken some of the most compelling questions about technology and neuroscience and brought them into the realm of pop culture. NBC News sat down with Westworld’s chief science adviser, David Eagleman, to learn more about his vision of robots and the future of AI