Inside AI - November 22nd, 2019

Inside AI (Nov 22nd, 2019)

Megvii IPO questions / Gates on AI research sharing / Huawei Singapore AI lab


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1. China-based AI startup Megvii will have to answer questions - including some related to the recent U.S. blacklist - from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange before it can move forward with its planned IPO, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The company, which filed an application for a Hong Kong share sale in August, met with Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd.’s listing committee on Thursday. The committee reportedly had questions related to public complaints over whether Megvii adequately disclosed risks related to U.S. sanctions. According to Bloomberg, an online campaign is urging people to send complaints to the committee and ask it not to approve the company's listing application. Megvii is among several Chinese companies that was blacklisted by the U.S. government over its alleged involvement in human rights violations against Muslim minorities in China. - BLOOMBERG

2. Bill Gates says it's difficult - if not impossible - to limit the sharing of scientific research in AI. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing on Thursday, Gates said there's no going back from the U.S. tradition of openly sharing scientific research, which he said particularly has an advantage in the AI field. "AI is very hard to put back in the bottle and whoever has the open system will so vastly get ahead," Gates said. Openly sharing research is one of the reasons people come to work at Microsoft, he noted. "We gladly pay their salaries, but if we didn't have that publishing approach, those people would go and work somewhere else," Gates said. - BUSINESS INSIDER

3. Google employees and the military mistrust the tech giant's pursuit of military cloud computing contracts. The issue dates back to a 2017 decision by Google to open an artificial intelligence lab in Beijing. A year later, Google employees successfully pressured management to withdraw from a secret government program that used commercial AI software to analyze images captured by military drones, which many military leaders viewed as unpatriotic. The result is a perfect storm, with employees threatening open rebellion and government officials joking about canceling their Gmail accounts to avoid "aiding the enemy." - BLOOMBERG

This story first appeared in Inside Cloud.

4. A researcher from Prague trained an algorithm to identify who wrote which scenes in Shakespeare’s "Henry VIII." According to literary analysts, Shakespeare collaborated with the playwright John Fletcher on the play, but scientists and historians had yet to identify who wrote which parts. Petr Plecháč, at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, trained a machine-learning algorithm to recognize the writing style of both authors based on some of their previous works. The algorithm confirmed that Fletcher wrote scenes amounting to almost half of "Henry VIII" and revealed how the authorship often changes for new scenes and near the end of previous ones. - MIT TECH REVIEW

5. IDC and Forrester recently made their annual predictions for the AI industry next year and beyond. Based on their surveys and other data, the firms believe that:

  • 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies will add AI building blocks - such as text analytics and machine learning - to their Robotic Process Automation efforts, forming hundreds of new intelligent process automation (IPA) use cases.
  • About half of AI platform providers, global systems integrators, and managed service providers will emphasize IPA in their portfolios.
  • By 2022, 75 percent of enterprises will embed intelligent automation into their technology and process development, using AI software to uncover operational and experiential insights. - FORBES

6. Huawei Technologies has opened its AI lab in Singapore. The new facility serves as a testing ground for the company's AI development projects as well as training sessions and workshops. On Friday, the China-based company said the lab will facilitate its R&D through proofs-of-concept, free trials, and offline AI development kits. Its "1+3+n" program at the lab will support the efforts of 100 AI architects and 1,000 AI developers over the next three years.  - ZDNET

7. CAS nominated Cambricon's A1 processor for this year's Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Awards. The commercial deep learning processor comes from Cambricon Technologies, which is now worth at least $2.5 billion and is considered one of China’s most valuable AI chip startups, according to The South China Morning Post. Founded by brothers Chen Yunji and Chen Tianshi in 2016, the startup's chips are now used to power nearly 100 million servers and smartphones for companies like Huawei Technologies and Alibaba Group. - SCMP

8. A handful of companies are using AI-powered robots to sort through trash and find recyclables. One of these is AMP Robotics, which recently announced a $16 million Series A investment from Sequoia Capital. The company is on track to roll out a "Cortex Robot," which utilizes optical sensors to sift through the growing piles of recyclables in the U.S. According to Business Insider, at least four companies plan to introduce similar automated models, which could help them turn a profit. - BUSINESS INSIDER

9. A new AI feature can detect when a driver is distracted from using a cellphone or smoking. The Israeli AI company Eyesight Technologies developed the feature as an update to its DriverSense monitoring system, which analyzes a driver's head pose, blink rate, and other facial features to detect distraction and drowsiness. Drivers who are on their phones are responsible for 1.6 million accidents In the U.S. a year, according to Eyesight, while smokers are up to three times more likely to cause an accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found. - GEEK.COM

10. More than 60 percent of businesses surveyed by McKinsey said AI helped them boost their revenue. The online survey of 2,360 business leaders from various industries also found that 30 percent of their companies apply AI to multiple business units, which is an increase from 21 percent last year. Revenue growth was the most likely to come from AI applications in sales, marketing, supply chain management, and product development, according to the findings. - VENTURE BEAT

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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