(Draft) | Inside AI - December, 30th 2019

Inside AI (Dec 30th, 2019)

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11. To train Alexa to understand human speech better, Amazon instructs thousands of employees to listen to and annotate customers' Echo voice recordings, according to an April report from Bloomberg. The Amazon team listens to thousands of recordings per day. Amazon said it annotates "an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings" and users can opt out in Alexa's privacy settings. - BLOOMBERG

12. San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology used by law enforcement agencies. - CNET

13. American companies are looking abroad to find enough skilled workers in AI. Schools, universities, and training programs haven't updated their offerings enough to keep up with market demand. - WSJ

14. AI researchers began more seriously designing automated systems that can tell which online videos are fabricated footage of real people, or “deepfakes.” Researchers say they are "vastly overwhelmed" by the computer-generated fake video technology, which has the potential to mislead voters in the 2020 elections. - WAPO

Articles: FORTUNECNNFINANCIAL TIMESWSJ

More: The concerns surrounding deepfakes led Facebook to launch its recent deepfake detection challenge, which asks researchers to build open-source detection tools that can spot deepfake videos. The challenge includes a data set, which contains 100,000-plus videos that were specially created from scratch to help with deepfake research.

15. The AI robot Ai-Da sold $1.26 million worth of art at her first solo exhibition in June. Ai-Da, who uses AI processes and algorithms to create her original works, was on display earlier this year at the University of Oxford's St John's College. - INTERESTING ENGINEERING

16. Drive.ai shut down after Apple purchased the autonomous vehicle startup and hired many of its engineers. The startup initially pursued self-driving software systems and intelligent communications systems before turning its focus to deep learning software combined with hardware to make self-driving retrofitted kits for businesses. - TECHCRUNCH

17. The controversial DeepNude app that used GANs to "undress" women in photos was discontinued. Over the summer, the app created a backlash that forced its creators to stop selling it, saying that “the probability that people will misuse it is too high.” - MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

18. SoftBank announced a second megafund of roughly $108 billion that's geared toward the acceleration of AI. The Vision Fund 2, which secured pledges from Apple, Microsoft, and others, is investing in "market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies." - CNBC

19. The Chinese AI startup Megvii, which owns Face++, filed paperwork for its initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The planned IPO, which recently was dealt a setback, would make Megvii the first on a lengthy list of Chinese AI companies to go public. - REUTERS

20. In a joint debate about AI back in August, Elon Musk and Jack Ma had strikingly different views about how the technology will benefit or hurt humanity. The Tesla CEO and the former Alibaba Chairman were the highlights of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. - BUSINESS INSIDER

Articles: CNBCYOUTUBEFORBESINC.COM

More: Specifically, the two vehemently disagreed on whether machines will eventually become smarter than people. Musk said AI will be "much smarter than the smartest human," but Ma argued that machines will never control humans, as "computers might be more clever" but "human beings are much smarter." Similarly, Ma disagreed with Musk that AI is a threat or "something terrible," noting that "The best resource on earth is not the clothes, not the oil, not the electricity -- it’s the human brain."

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