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Inside AI (Jul 11th, 2019)

1. Researchers at Facebook and Carnegie Mellon created an AI that can beat professionals at six-player Texas Hold’em poker. According to a paper published in Science, it's the first time that an AI outperformed professionals in a game that has more than two teams or two players. The system, named Pluribus, beat poker players who had won at least $1 million and up to $10 million. The strategy used to train Pluribus could have other real-world applications in fields like finance and auctions, according to the researchers. A forerunner of Pluribus named Libratus surpassed top human players in 2017, but played only one-on-one. - INVERSE

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2. The AI startup Node raised $16 million in a funding round, its largest to date. Billionaire Mark Cuban and actor Will Smith were among the investors in the California-based company, which developed an AI-as-a-service platform known as Artificial Intuition. The system is designed to predict certain outcomes in fields like sales and marketing, which could help large businesses incorporate more advanced AI into their internal applications and customer service programs at a lower cost. In a statement sent to MarketWatch, Cuban said that Node's greatest value is that is has demonstrated it "can drive sales immediately after installation and implementation.” - MARKET WATCH

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3. Amazon plans to spend $700 million to retrain a third of its U.S. workforce in fields like machine learning. The retailer is especially focused on training people to become data scientists and data mapping specialists, which have experienced an 832 percent growth in jobs over the last five years, Amazon data shows. About 100,000 workers will receive their new skills training by 2025 as Amazon expands its existing training programs and rolls out new ones. The company says the training will help the employees move into more advanced jobs inside the company or find new careers externally. All of the training is voluntary, and most of the programs are free for employees. - WSJ

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4. Microsoft is partnering with Providence St. Joseph Health to modernize the non-profit healthcare system's clinical and administrative IT departments and to improve patient care. Microsoft AI technology will be applied to help make clinical decisions for patients with cancer and other conditions. The partners want to reduce the time it takes to identify cancer cases using natural language processing and machine reading technology. Providence will migrate the clinical data it hosts in eight data centers onto the Microsoft Azure cloud. The pilot will launch at an as-yet-unnamed Providence St. Joseph Health hospital in the Seattle region. Microsoft's health unit is a multi-billion dollar business. - GEEKWIRE

A version of this story first appeared in our newsletter Inside CTO/CIO.

 

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5. A new machine learning algorithm identifies people who are at risk of contracting HIV, which could help lower transmission rates. Investigators at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School developed the prediction tool based on an analysis of the medical records of 3.7 million Kaiser Permanente patients. The algorithm, which predicts who has a higher chance of infection during a three-year period, could help refer those patients to preventive measures like medication. A study describing the system was recently published in The Lancet HIV. - FIERCE HEALTHCARE

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6. AI isn't a "wonder weapon" that can solve all problems, according to Matthias Keller, chief scientist and senior VP of technology at Kayak. Keller made the comments during VentureBeat’s Transform 2019 conference, where he talked about Kayak's use of machine-learning algorithms in its online searches and photo tagging. He noted that even if an AI achieved 95 percent accuracy, 50 out of 1,000 predictions would still be incorrect. “AI is about algorithms learning from already existing data. They’re not gonna generate any new solutions,” Keller said. “They basically give the best answer of something you have seen before in a training data set.” - VENTURE BEAT

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7. A new AI algorithm can predict the possibility of severe weather better than current models. The computer method was developed by researchers at Penn State, AccuWeather, Inc., and the University of Almería in Spain. It can detect comma-shaped clouds, which are cloud patterns associated with cyclone formations that often lead to severe weather, with 99 percent accuracy, averaging 40 seconds per prediction. - INDIA TODAY

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8. Matterport, a real-estate computer vision platform startup, is acquiring the AI startup Arraiy, which uses AI teach to automate special effects in films. Arraiy has raised $13.9 million overall, including $10 million in a Series A round in early 2018. - TECHCRUNCH

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9. Investors contributed $9.3 billion of venture funding into AI startups in 2018, which is an increase of 72 percent over the $5.4 billion raised in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights’ PwC MoneyTree report. However, the number of deals fell from 533 to 466, which marked the first drop in five years. - PWC/CB INSIGHTS

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10. Valve's new game recommender for Steam utilizes machine learning. The Interactive Recommender is another system that Steam users can employ to discover new games on the platform, which currently has over 30,000 titles. Rather than focusing on tags or metadata, the new system “looks at what games you play and what games other people play, then makes informed suggestions based on the decisions of other people playing games on Steam," according to Valve. - ARS TECHNICA

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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 and other topics in southern California here.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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