Inside AI - September 17th, 2019

Inside AI (Sep 17th, 2019)

Facebook AI training / AI surveillance / ImageNet Roulette site

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1. AI surveillance tools, such as facial recognition, are spreading more quickly around the world, with 75 countries already using the technology, according to a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Tuesday’s report says that China is driving the boom in AI surveillance, with Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE supplying the technology to most of the other countries. Huawei alone provided the technology to at least 50 countries, it said. In the U.S., IBM, Palantir, and Cisco are the main suppliers worldwide. The report notes that autocratic and semi-autocratic countries, such as China and Russia, are more likely to abuse AI surveillance than liberal democracies like the U.S. - AP

2. Facebook said it will use footage of firearms training from law enforcement and government agencies to train its AIs to better recognize violent videos. The effort, announced on Tuesday, aims to teach the AI systems to automatically detect first-person violent events without flagging footage from video games or shows. It comes after Facebook's AIs failed to detect a live stream of the recent mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. - AP

3. The ImageNet Roulette site has gone viral, with many people sharing their labeled selfies on Twitter and elsewhere. AI Now Institute co-founder Kate Crawford and artist Trevor Paglen developed the AI specifically to shed light on the perils of using datasets with ingrained biases, noting on the site that the AI "regularly classifies people in dubious and cruel ways." It was trained on ImageNet's labeled images of people - for example, a photo of an elderly man labeled as "grandfather." When a user uploads a photo, the system detects any faces and labels it with various words. Crawford and Paglen note on the site that ImageNet "contains a number of problematic, offensive and bizarre categories — all drawn from WordNet. Some use misogynistic or racist terminology."  - BUSINESS INSIDER

4. DataRobot plans to use its recent $206 million in new financing to acquire more companies. The AI company acquired two firms - the Santa Clara machine learning company ParallelM and Cursor, a San Francisco analytics platform - earlier this year. Its recent $206 million Series E - led by Sapphire Ventures - will help it acquire additional companies. DataRobot has raised $431 million in venture-backed funding to date. - CRUNCHBASE

5. A recent report from the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future outlines the ways that AI is currently limited, including the lack of available data sets and sources. The report’s authors - David Autor, Ford professor of economics at MIT, David Mindell, professor of the history of engineering and manufacturing, and Elisabeth Reynolds, principal research scientist - wrote that people "are a long way from AI systems that can read the news, re-plan supply chains in response to anticipated events like Brexit or trade disputes, and adapt production tasks to new sources of parts and materials." The team notes that ML systems such as image classification and face recognition must use data that are unbiased and trusted. They argue that the idea of automation reaching 100 percent is a fallacy, noting that even the most automated factories still need employees to maintain equipment. - FORBES

6. OpenAI's bots taught themselves skills, such as cooperation and exploiting glitches, to win at hide-and-seek. The AI lab in San Francisco released the bots, known as the OpenAI Five, in a simulated environment and allowed them to play hide-and-seek millions of times. The bots eventually learned to use things to hide behind in their environment, such as boxes, and discovered that collaboration would help them win. The bots also began exploiting glitches in the game's simulation, such as using ramps to launch themselves into the air, and defying the laws of physics. - NEW SCIENTIST

7. Trigo, which is developing a computer-vision platform for automated checkout in supermarkets, raised $22 million in a Series A round. The funding was led by Red Dot Capital, with participation from previous investors Vertex Ventures Israel and Hetz Ventures. The Tel Aviv-based company's technology monitors what customers remove from the shelves and automatically rings it up so no checkout is required. Trigo plans to use the funding to further develop its technology to support large supermarkets and grow its partnerships with U.S. and European grocery retailers. It is already working with Tesco and operating a pilot store with Shufersal Ltd., which plans to roll out Trigo's platform to 280 stores within the next five years. - VENTURE BEAT

8. Interspeech 2019, a conference focused on spoken language processing, runs through this Thursday in Graz, Austria. Apple is a platinum sponsor of the tradeshow, where it plans to present papers on improving voice recognition, detecting expression/intent through voice, and developing more accurate tools to distinguish speech nuances, among other topics. Apple also submitted multiple research papers on the topics and will have members of its ML team on hand to meet with event-goers. - COMPUTER WORLD

9. Schlumberger, Chevron, and Microsoft launched an AI platform that aims to speed up projects in the oil industry. DELFI, a cloud-based platform on Microsoft Azure, pulls large quantities of data into a single source, amplifying the companies' use of AI built on an open data ecosystem, according to Joseph Geagea, Chevron's EVP of Technology, Projects and Services. He said the platform will speed up data analysis through AI and cut down on the time it takes to develop projects in the industry. - CHRON

10. Pure Storage launched the AI Data Hub, which is co-developed with Nvidia, to "integrate ingestion and inference via Kubernetes orchestration." The system includes design tools with RAPIDS and PureTools, development with AIRI and FlashStack for AI and T4 for model deployment. - ZDNET

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).

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