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Inside AI (Feb 11th, 2019)

1. Trump is set to sign an executive order today launching the "American AI Initiative." The national strategy was released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and includes five key goals: redirect funding, create resources for researchers, establish standards, retrain workers, and engage internationally. Critics say that the plan is vague, with few details, and includes no new funding. U.S. rival China introduced its AI plan in 2017, and so far eighteen countries have launched AI strategies, half of which include funding. — TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

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2. Facebook acquired AI startup GrokStyle. GrokStyle has a visual search technology that allows users to take photos of objects and use them to look for similar items online. The company's technology is used in the Ikea Place app to search for furniture. Details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the GrokStyle team and technology will both move to Facebook. — ENGADGET

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3. The Computing Community Consortium commissioned a report that will provide a roadmap for AI research over the next 20 years. The report is still a work in progress, but it was the topic of discussion at a town hall gathering at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference in Hawaii last week. Major themes discussed include the integration of key AI systems, understanding human emotion and intelligence, training robots to learn by example, and the way people interact with AI systems. A draft of the report is due later this month. — VENTUREBEAT

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4. British gallery director Aidan Meller and engineers at Cornwall-based Engineered Arts developed an AI robot that will be able to draw people. The robot, named Ai-Da after mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, has a realistic-looking head with cameras in the eyes to recognize features and can talk and interact with people. Ai-Da also has a bionic arm that can draw people from sight, and her inaugural exhibit, "Unsecured Futures," will be this May at the University of Oxford. — REUTERS

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5. A new report from the National Health Service (NHS) suggests that the AI and robotics technological healthcare revolution will allow doctors to spend more time with patients. The report also predicted that 90 percent of all NHS jobs would require digital skills in the next 20 years. Evidence also showed that AI assistants could save U.K. general practitioners 5.7 million hours of time. — THE GUARDIAN

6. Startup AIStorm raised $13.2 million in a Series A funding round for its edge computing chips. The edge computing marketplace is crowded, but AIStorm says its technology processes raw signals from sensors, cutting costs, latency, and power use. The Series AI investors include Egis Technology, imaging sensor company TowerJazz, Meyer Corporation, and Linear Dimensions Semiconductor, all of which intend to integrate the company's tech into products. — EE TIMES

7. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) launched a new AI platform called Know Your Vendor for the global supply chain. The service was built on the Koverse Intelligent Solutions Platform and uses machine learning to help manufacturers identify vendors and assess the risks associated with them. — ZDNET

8. Sotheby's is auctioning AI artwork by Mario Klingemann on March 6 in London. The installation is called Memories of Passersby I and includes a neural network console and two framed screens that display the output images of male and female faces based on a database of surrealistic portraits from the 17th to 19th centuries. This is the second time AI art has been auctioned — Christie's sold a piece in October for 43 times its estimated price — and Klingemann's work is expected to fetch $39,000-52,000. — ARTNET

9. Nvidia's StyleGAN photo generation technology made headlines a few months ago for its realistic-looking images of fake humans. The technology, however, was also used to create images of cats and some of the discarded experiments (with scary and grotesque images and strange meme text) were highlighted by Janelle Shane in a blog post. — FAST COMPANY

10. Utility company Oncor teamed up with IBM to develop an AI system to predict when trees will infringe on power lines. The technology was unveiled at Distributech 2019 and is meant to optimize tree removal and prevent power outages. — THE REGISTER

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Written and curated by Deb Dion Kees, a writer, editor, and publisher based in Telluride, Colorado. Kees is a lover of science, technology, skiing, and adventure, and does her best work using a mobile hotspot to write from her Ford camper van office.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies) and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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