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Inside AI (Apr 15th, 2019)

1. Amazon set a date of May 22 for shareholders to vote on a proposal to ban Rekognition, the company's AI-based facial recognition technology. The vote will be mainly symbolic because shareholder resolutions are rarely approved and not binding. Still, a group of shareholders has requested that Amazon's board halt sales of the technology until a third party can confirm "it does not cause or contribute to actual or potential violations of human rights." The request comes after the ACLU tested the tool and found that it falsely matched 28 members of Congress to criminals; it also has higher error rates for dark-skinned and female subjects. - ENGADGET

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2. AI helped researchers develop a new sport, which combines elements of soccer, rugby, and handball. The creative agency AKQA fed a neural network info about 400 existing sports; the network ended up making over 1,000 suggestions for new games that were pared down to three games before being tested; AKQA ultimately chose the sport, called Speedgate, and finalized its rules. The game involves six-player teams that must kick a ball through a center gate before scoring in one of two end gates. AI was also used to develop the game's motto, which is "face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball." - ENGADGET

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3. China deployed an AI-based facial recognition system to try and track members of its Turkic Uighur population, who are mostly Muslim. According to The New York Times, Chinese authorities are utilizing the "secret" technology along with a network of surveillance cameras as it seeks to crack down on minority ethnic Muslims in its Western region. As many as 1 million Uighurs are currently being held in detention and re-education camps in that area, the newspaper noted. - VANITY FAIR

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4. The total number of installed smart speakers is expected to reach 200 million by the end of the year. According to a new report from Canalys, the U.S. will maintain its hold on the highest number of smart speaker adoptions, but China's installed smart speaker base is expected to grow 166 percent year-over-year. Canalys senior analyst Jason Low argued that "vendors will need to focus on marketing the next-generation ‘wow factor’ for their respective smart assistants," if they wish to continue to drive smart speaker growth and adoption. - TECH CRUNCH

This story first appeared in Inside IoT, our newsletter covering everything to do with smart cars, gadgets, devices, wearables and the world of connected technology. Check it out here!

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5. An AI team beat a world champion e-sports team for the first time. The five-bot team OpenAI Five won three out of five matches against the reigning Dota 2 world champion team OG.

6. Duke University scientists created an AI-based technique that interprets video shapes to trace the shapes of active neurons, according to their study in PNAS.

7. Black Sesame Intelligent Technology, an AI-enabled digital imaging technology provider, has raised $100M in Series B funding. The company will use the cash infusion to ramp product development, accelerate integrations, ramp up production for sales. 

8. Lemonade, which uses AI to develop personalized renters and homeowners insurance policies, just raised $300 million in a Series D funding round, bringing its valuation to over $2 billion.

9. Harvard Medical School researchers created SigMA, an AI screening system for accurately reading the molecular signature of deficiencies in homologous recombination (HR), which has applications in cancer detection.

10. Redwood City-based Caspar.AI developed an AI system capable of managing dozens of apartment devices, ranging from cameras and thermostats to automated appliances. The AI allows the system to learn a resident’s preferences over time, making the controls more automatic.

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Written and curated by Beth Duckett in Orange County. Beth is a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who has written for USA Today, Get Out magazine, and other publications. Follow her tweets about breaking news in southern California here.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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