Happy Sunday and welcome to the weekend edition of InsideAI! I'm Rob May, a partner at PJC. If you are an early stage company in the AI / Intelligent Systems / Robotics space, please reach out if you are raising capital. Before we get into this week's commentary about medical robots and liability, let's review the most popular articles of the week:
Microsoft's latest image-captioning AI can describe photos better than humans. Microsoft said it's used the algorithm to update its Seeing AI assistant app for the visually impaired and will later incorporate it into Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook to create alt-text and other tasks. The AI automatically added captions to images more accurately than humans in certain limited tests. It achieved the highest scores on the image-captioning benchmark known as “nocaps," an industry-leading scoreboard.
A rapid COVID-19 test from the University of Oxford uses machine learning to identify the virus in throat swabs in less than five minutes. Researchers want to begin product development early next year and roll out an approved device six months later for mass testing at airports, businesses, and elsewhere. The test works by scanning throat swabs for virus particles and using ML software to automatically identify if the actual virus (rather than antibodies) is present using fluorescence labeling.
Google is using AI and machine learning to improve its search results, including better spell checking and a tool that matches a person's humming with the correct song. Unveiled at this week's “Search On” event, most of the improvements will roll out in the coming weeks. Since 1 in 10 Google search queries are misspelled, the company is updating the feature with a deep neural net-powered algorithm that will offer better suggestions in its "Did you mean" prompt in searches. With 680 million parameters, the tool will operate in under three milliseconds and help correct misspelled words. Google says the change "makes a greater improvement to spelling" than all its improvements in the last five years.