There were a few interesting developments this week in various areas of AI. On the autonomous vehicle front, GM’s Cruise is now expanding to Seattle. Ultimately they’re aiming to hire up to 200 engineers for the office there. Seems like GM is really making a big push this year to expand across the U.S. with their autonomous vehicle program.
Meanwhile, one of the most high profile AI events will be moving to Africa in 2020 due to visa issues for many of the attendees. Yoshua Bengio (founder of Element AI) made the call this past Saturday for the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR). He noted that many researchers from the Black in AI group where particularly facing visa difficulties. This is a real positive step for fostering an inclusive and diverse environment for AI research.
Major highlight this week was Blackberry’s acquisition of cybersecurity AI startup Cylance for $1.4bn. Stuart McCulre, CEO of Cylance, has struck gold again having previously sold a cybersecurity startup to McAfee for $86mm. This is another example of how important major tech companies value cybersecurity. In addition, this also demonstrates that applying AI to the field adds tremendous value when done properly.
The creep factor from China was pretty high this week. To start, ~30 of the brightest young minds in China have been recruited to develop AI weapons for the government. These kids aren’t even in college yet, and are already doing this kind of work. Meanwhile surveillance in the country has reached a new level as the government is now able to identify people based on the way they walk. Looks like hiding your face won’t work anymore. Finally, China revealed an AI news anchor for its state run media. It’s pretty weird and I don’t really know how to interpret this. Other than the awkward lip movements the AI is pretty solid. I see potential for this to become a common fixture for pushing propaganda 24/7 (since AI doesn’t need a break like us obviously), but hopefully I’m proven wrong.
Highlights this week are dominated by new developments in the autonomous vehicle world. Baidu continues to add new partners with the separate additions of Ford and Volvo this week. Waymo also had a big win this week becoming the first company to receive a permit from the California DMV that allows for fully autonomous vehicle testing without a safety driver.
Big week highlight this week is Baidu’s development of simultaneous language translation through one of their AI programs. It’s considered a major step forward in the natural language processing realm.
Elsewhere on the M&A side Lyft made an acquisition of Blue Vision to further enhance their autonomous vehicle program.
I spent some time over the past week to read what’s now one of my favorite books. Written by Kai-Fu Lee, who was the former head of Google China and is currently CEO of Sinovation Ventures, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order offers a glimpse into the various scenarios that could unfold as AI technology develops. Lee’s unique perspective from being a top AI executive in both the U.S. and China allows him to straddle two worlds that will ultimately decide the fate of how our world adapts to the AI revolution. His key message is a powerful one, essentially summarized by his ending words:
“AI’s greatest potential to disrupt and destroy lies not in international military contests but in what it will do to our labor markets and social systems. Appreciating the momentous social and economic turbulence that is on our horizon should humble us. It should also turn our competitive instincts into a search for cooperative solutions to the common challenges we all face as human beings”
Big week for Samsung as they announced an acquisition of Spanish AI company Zhilabs to bolster their 5G capabilities, and separately opened an AI research center in Montreal (their 4th AI center in North America).
Meanwhile on the partnership front, Baidu became the 1st major Chinese tech company to join the American-led Partnership for AI (PAI). Current members include Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, who also collaborate with government entities like the UN and Human Rights Watch.
Another week, another win for Google’s AI program. This time, its Lymp Node Assistant (LYNA) achieved 99% accuracy in metastatic breast cancer detection. Hopefully these types of applications of AI continue, in particular, to other types of cancer. Meanwhile on the autonomous vehicle front, we have numerous developments from companies and governments. Arizona is launching… Read More »