artificial intelligence

U.K. Recognition Startup May Help Brexit’s Irish Border Problem

A London-based facial recognition startup has talked to the U.K. government over how it can help manage border crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. Iproov, a six-year year company, has received interest from the U.K. government about working on border crossings and other possible use cases, Andrew Bud, Iproov’s founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “We had a great deal of focused and high-level interest in our technology,” he said. The company has also won a contract from U.S. Department of Homeland Security to build a system using its facial recognition technology to bolster security and reduce waiting times at border crossings. The company’s technology, which is already used...

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. “The main ways to address these kinds of biases are to ensure that developers are drawn from diverse gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and are aware of, and adhere to, ethical codes of conduct,” the committee writes, chiming with plenty of extant commentary around algorithmic accountability. “It is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use,” adds committee chairman, Lord Clement-Jones, in a statement. “The UK has a ...

Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Jamie Metzl Contributor Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council. More posts by this contributor Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement Eleonore Pauwels Contributor Eleonore Pauwels is Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center, an international science policy expert specializing in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, and a former official of the European Commission’s Directorate on Science, Economy and Society. Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal ...

Waymo reportedly applies to put autonomous cars on California roads with no safety drivers

Waymo has become the second company to apply for the newly-available permit to deploy autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on some California roads, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It would be putting its cars — well, minivans — on streets around Mountain View, where it already has an abundance of data. The company already has driverless driverless cars in play over in Phoenix, as it showed in a few promotional videos last month. So this isn’t the first public demonstration of its confidence. California only just made it possible to grant permits allowing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers on April 2; one other company has applied for it in addition to Waymo, but it’s unclear which. The new permit type also allows for vehicles lacking any kind of traditional manual contr...

Google’s ‘Semantic Experiences’ let you play word games with its AI

Google does a great deal of research into natural language processing and synthesis, but not every project has to be a new Assistant feature or voice improvement. The company has a little fun now and then, when the master AI permits it, and today it has posted a few web experiments that let you engage with its word-association systems in a playful way. First is an interesting way of searching through Google Books, that fabulous database so rarely mentioned these days. Instead of just searching for text or title verbatim, you can ask questions, like “Why was Napoleon exiled?” or “What is the nature of consciousness?” It returns passages from books that, based on their language only, are closely associated with your question. And while the results are hit and miss, they are nice and flexible...

Trump Weighs Rejoining TPP, Tones Down China Trade Threat

President Donald Trump told lawmakers he is considering rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal he withdrew from shortly after taking office, as he expressed confidence the U.S. is headed toward resolving trade conflicts without economic disruption. Donald Trump Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg A week after escalating tensions with his threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese products, Trump said Thursday the two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other. Read more: Here’s Every Tweet Trump Has Sent About Markets “Now we’re really negotiating and I think they’re going to treat us really fairly,” Trump said during a White House meeting with Republican governors and lawmakers from farm states. “I think they want to.” The rem...

Who’s a good AI? Dog-based data creates a canine machine learning system

We’ve trained machine learning systems to identify objects, navigate streets and recognize facial expressions, but as difficult as they may be, they don’t even touch the level of sophistication required to simulate, for example, a dog. Well, this project aims to do just that — in a very limited way, of course. By observing the behavior of A Very Good Girl, this AI learned the rudiments of how to act like a dog. It’s a collaboration between the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for AI, and the resulting paper will be presented at CVPR in June. Why do this? Well, although much work has been done to simulate the sub-tasks of perception like identifying an object and picking it up, little has been done in terms of “understanding visual data to the extent that an agent can take a...

Cruise, GM’s self-driving car unit, brings on Zippy team

Cruise recently brought on seven team members from Zippy.ai, which develops robots for last-mile grocery and package delivery, for an undisclosed amount of money. The deal did not include any of Zippy’s product or intellectual property. Instead, it seems Cruise was more interested in the skillsets of the co-founders, Gabe Sibley, Alex Flint and Chris Broaddus, and their team. “Their expertise in machine learning, computer vision, and simulation is among the best in the industry,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt wrote in a Medium post. “But perhaps more importantly, their commitment to working on a team — and doing things the right way — strengthens our ability to safely test, validate, and deploy our self-driving technology at scale.” This announcement comes after Cruise last month parted ways with i...

China’s SenseTime, the world’s highest valued AI startup, raises $600M

The future of artificial intelligence (AI), the technology that is seen as potentially impacting almost every industry on the planet, is widely acknowledged to be a war between tech firms in America and China. In a notable side-note to that battle, China now has the world’s highest-valued AI startup after SenseTime, a company founded in 2014, announced a $600 million Series C investment round. A source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch that the round values the company at over $4.5 billion, while it is also raising an extension to this round. That marks a hefty increase on the company’s most recent $1.5 billion valuation when it raised a $410 million Series B last year. SenseTime CEO Li Xu said the company plans to use the capital to expand its presence overseas and “widen the ...

Massterly aims to be the first full-service autonomous marine shipping company

Logistics may not be the most exciting application of autonomous vehicles, but it’s definitely one of the most important. And the marine shipping industry — one of the oldest industries in the world, you can imagine — is ready for it. Or at least two major Norwegian shipping companies are: they’re building an autonomous shipping venture called Massterly from the ground up. “Massterly” isn’t just a pun on mass; “Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship” is the term Wilhelmson and Kongsberg coined to describe the self-captaining boats that will ply the seas of tomorrow. These companies, with “a combined 360 years of experience” as their video put it, are trying to get the jump on the next phase of shipping, starting with creating the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, the Ya...

MIT’s new headset reads the ‘words in your head’

There’s always been a glaring issue with voice computing: Talking to a voice assistant with other people around makes you feel like a bit of a weirdo. It’s a big part of the reason we’ve been seeing the technology start to take off in the home, where people feel a little less self-conscious talking to their machines. The advent of some sort of nonverbal device that gets the job done in a similar way, but without the talking, is a kind of inevitability. A team at MIT has been working on just such a device, though the hardware design, admittedly, doesn’t go too far toward removing that whole self-consciousness bit from the equation. AlterEgo is a headmounted — or, more properly, jaw-mounted — device that’s capable of reading neuromuscular signals through built-in electrodes. The hardware, as...

U.S., China Push Time-to-Talk Message as Trade Tensions Rise

The U.S. and China indicated they’re willing to negotiate on escalating frictions, helping to ease fears among investors that a tit-for-tat trade dispute could derail the strongest global expansion in years. Larry Kudlow Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg The White House’s National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow spent much of the day Wednesday trying to calm markets after the two countries announced tariffs, and said they still have time work out their differences. “Remember, none of the tariffs have been put in place yet. These are all proposals,” he said in a brief interview, without specifying if talks are planned or how they’d take place. “We’re putting it out for comment. There’s at least two months before any actions are taken. China by the way did not enact the tariffs.” Ch...