Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside AI

Inside AI (Aug 23rd, 2019)

1. The Chinese AI startup Megvii, which owns Face++, is planning to file for its initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as early as Friday, Bloomberg reported. The IPO is expected to raise up to $1 billion and would make Megvii the first on a lengthy list of Chinese AI companies to go public; other companies have held back amid months of protests in Hong Kong. Reports that the AI developer was prepping for an IPO surfaced in May after the company raised $750 million in its latest funding round, boosting its valuation to over $4 billion. Megvii has raised a total of $1.4 billion since 2011. - BLOOMBERG

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. Huawei Technologies Co. officially launched its Ascend 910 AI chip, the first high-end AI processor for the Chinese telecom giant. The processor, which became commercially available on Friday, will compete with similar products from Qualcomm and Nvidia in the advanced technology realm. Huawei claims its chip can process more data more quickly than competitors, training most networks in minutes. The company still remains on the U.S. Entity List, a blacklist restricting American companies from doing business with Huawei, although certain specific transactions are still allowed. - WSJ

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3. DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman tweeted about his leave of absence, saying he is "taking some personal time for a break to recharge" but is "looking forward to being back in the saddle at DeepMind soon." On Thursday, the head of the company's applied division acknowledged that there's been speculation surrounding his absence after DeepMind announced earlier this week that it had placed Suleyman on leave. A company spokesperson acknowledged that it was a mutual decision and Suleyman is expected to return at the end of the year. Suleyman founded DeepMind in 2010 alongside co-founders Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg; Google acquired it in 2014 for $486 million. - BUSINESS INSIDER

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. Tesla, IBM, Microsoft and other high-profile companies plan to attend an AI conference in Shanghai next week. Nearly 300 companies are slated to show off their latest technology at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, which takes place Aug. 29-31. Shanghai is hoping to attract international investors as it works to overcome the slump caused by the U.S.-China trade war and create a more open business environment for global firms, in part through new investment funds focused around AI (which will be detailed at the conference). Zhang Ying, vice-director of Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology, said the conference will be a "gateway for overseas businesses and technologies to access the Chinese market.” - SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. Germany, France, and Japan issued a joint call for research proposals focused on “human-centered” AI. The funding call is backed by an initial $8.2 million, which will go toward projects that highlight the integrity of data for fairness, democratization, and ethics of AI, including those that avoid gender and age segmentation, as well as projects in areas like computer vision and data mining. The results will likely be released in open access. Canada could also join the trio, according to Holger Hoos, professor of machine learning at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who called AI "a game of critical mass" where countries need allies to compete against China. - TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

6. MIT researchers developed an AI that can automatically schedule data-processing operations across many servers. Currently, humans design the scheduling algorithms, but they aren't as optimized and efficient as they could be. The machine learning system uses reinforcement learning to allocate scheduling decisions to specific workloads in specific server clusters. It's about 20 to 30 percent faster, and twice as fast in high-traffic times, as the best handwritten scheduling algorithms. - MIT NEWS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

7. Audi on Friday released a teaser image of its upcoming concept car, known as the AI: Trail Quattro. The vehicle, which is set to debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show next month, marks the fourth AI-branded concept car for the German automaker, which previously announced the Aicon sedan, PB18 grand tourer, and AI: ME hatchback. The futuristic off-roader is expected to focus heavily on self-driving technology, although the teaser does show a steering wheel so we know the AI: Trail Quattro won’t be completely autonomous. - CNET

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

8. A suspect was arrested in China after trying to scan his a dead girlfriend's face using facial recognition software. The man, from southeast China, reportedly strangled his partner following an argument and then attempted to use the woman's identity to apply for a loan. The online lending company, Money Station, requires users to verify their identities via a facial recognition AI. The verification failed because the AI did not detect the woman's eye movement and detected a man's voice rather than a woman's. Workers who manually checked the failed verification reported the incident. - GIZMODO

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

9. Workplace digital assistant Capacity (formerly Jane.ai) has raised $13.2 million in Series B funding. The latest funding round for the St. Louis-based startup, which launched last year, was led entirely by Midwestern private investors and angels. The startup's AI platform helps organizations to streamline information by offering a chat interface and directory that employees can use to search for information. Along with its recent decision to rebrand, Capacity has also chosen to open up its platform to allow developers to connect apps to its platform. - TECHCRUNCH

A version of this story first appeared in Inside SaaS.

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

10. Rockstar used an AI-based system known as Gunfight Conductor to improve the audio experience in Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. The system automatically decides what audio to focus on by alters the sound mix or triggers more sounds to "ensure the sequence sounds as interesting and varied as possible," according to The Telegraph. The system underwent a massive overhaul to improve the user experience in Red Dead Redemption 2. - TELEGRAPH

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

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.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Subscribe to Inside AI