The big news in the world of tech this week is, of course, the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. I have spent a lot of time soaking up the news on this story all week, whilst debating whether or not to delete my Facebook account.
But when I think about it, though I don’t use Instagram all that much, I don’t know how well I could function without WhatsApp, which is where I talk to my friends and family a lot more than I do on Facebook itself. And considering WhatsApp (and Instagram) is owned by Facebook, I’m not sure whether doing so would actually reduce my digital footprint in any meaningful way. I’m interested, however, on what your thoughts about the whole thing are. Drop me an email back and tell me your opinion.
This big news, however, isn’t related to artificial intelligence particularly, though Zuckerberg did mention to Wired that AI might help weed out unwelcome stuff on Facebook someday.
“There are some really nuanced questions, though, about how to regulate which I think are extremely interesting intellectually. So the biggest one that I’ve been thinking about is this question of: To what extent should companies have a responsibility to use AI tools to kind of self-regulate content?
“Now that companies increasingly over the next five to 10 years, as AI tools get better and better, will be able to proactively determine what might be offensive content or violate some rules, what therefore is the responsibility and legal responsibility of companies to do that? That, I think, is probably one of the most interesting intellectual and social debates around how you regulate this.”
I’m of the opinion that the social network/advertising/fake news platform could probably afford a lot more AI in this area right now.
But anyway, on to the news of the week. Ladies, gentlemen, and everybody in between – it’s time for the Sunday AI Review!
Most Socially Shared AI Articles Of The Week
AI could be used to diagnose and predict Alzheimer’s in patients within five years. Currently, there is no single test, nor can brain scans determine a diagnosis. But AI algorithms working with devices in patients’ rooms can collect data on behaviours which can be analysed to glean patterns that indicate whether the disease may be present, developing, or worsening.
There are no video cameras or wearable sensors required, but data on aspects as nuanced as breathing can be gathered. Because no one knows what causes Alzheimer’s yet, developments in medication are slow; 99% of investigational Alzheimer’s drugs failed between 2002 and 2012. If AI holds the answer, millions of lives could be improved, or even saved.
“AI could double the size of the $260 billion cloud market in coming years, says Rajen Sheth, senior director of product management in Google’s Cloud AI unit.”
Basically, whoever commercialises machine learning for everyday businesses and consumer use is going to make lots of money. Duh.
There are 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 people in China, compared with 2.5 in the US. If AI can be introduced for screening and diagnostics, healthcare in the country could be seriously improved. Automation is much needed in this area, and receptiveness to AI technology in China makes it easier to hasten adoption.
Rather than fearing job losses, in the Far East we are seeing much more of a positive attitude to the potential of AI and Robotics to improve lives and processes in general. Mind you, this is the same country that’s just rolling out a social scoring program that makes Black Mirror look like an episode of the Teletubbies (hence the gif).
Author, Stephen Talty, shares his hypotheses about scenarios we can expect post-Singularity – positioning his stories for 2065. There’s the whole Superhuman Rights thing, Dating, Life Expansion, Mormon-esque Luddite communities, and AI Governments (of course). This is a good one, if you like scary AI hypotheses.
“Throwing “AI” plus “blockchain” together means absolutely nothing. There should be no discussion on whether AI needs blockchain or does not need blockchain. In five to 10 years, the whole world is simply going to move on to a decentralized infrastructure. AI and ML will be fundamental in the creation of deep tech companies in this new world.
“If the AI ecosystem played out on blockchain, it would take the power that only companies like Facebook, Amazon or Google has and put it into the hands of the community. True decentralization.”
My Pick of the Week
MOTLEY FOOL: Accenture forecasts that AI in healthcare could become a $6.6 billion industry by 2021, a massive jump from $600 million in 2014. Not surprisingly, tech giants like Microsoft and NVIDIA are already scrambling for a piece of the pie. Let’s see how these two companies are going after AI in healthcare and what this could mean for them in the long run. READ MORE
MIT: Tencent, the tech titan behind China’s biggest social networking and chat platform, WeChat, is about to bring its AI research to life by opening a robotics lab in the country’s center of manufacturing, Shenzhen. The move, announced at an AI event on March 15th, will see the company explore an exciting new technological frontier that potentially could have a big payoff. READ MORE
WIRED: A program called Cogito presents a cheery notification when the toll of hours discussing maternity or bereavement benefits show in a worker’s voice. The voice-analysis algorithms give staff at a health insurance call centre a helpful nudge to sit up straight and speak like the engaged helper MetLife wants them to be. The algorithms also track customer reactions. READ MORE
AEON: Embracing the robot: Robot relationships need not be kinky, exploitative or fake. In fact they might give human relationships a helpful boost. READ MORE
MIT: The US military wants AI to dream up weird new helicopters. A DARPA project aims to see if machine learning can change the way complex engineering systems are designed. READ MORE
NATURE: Machine learning spots treasure trove of elusive viruses: Artificial intelligence could speed up metagenomic studies that look for species unknown to science. READ MORE
THE ATLANTIC: China is rife with face-scanning technology worthy of Black Mirror. Many exist somewhere in the range between helpful and unsettling: A “smart boarding system” from Baidu reduces airport check-in to a one-second face scan; at KFC China’s “smart restaurant” in Beijing, customers have their face scanned (again, Baidu), and receive menu suggestions based on their age, sex, and facial expression. A female-only university dormitory has even employed facial recognition to keep nonresidents out. READ MORE
VENTUREBEAT: Over the past three years, building intelligent apps has become easier. Given the continued rise of machine learning, where are venture capitalists looking for the next set of investment opportunities? READ MORE
FORBES: Making AI work in new and wondrous ways requires a powerful sense of imagination. As humans and smart machines collaborate ever more closely, work processes become more fluid and adaptive, enabling employees and companies make changes on the fly – or even to completely re-imagine them. READ MORE
COMPUTER WEEKLY: Three-quarters of developers think those who create artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are ultimately responsible for AI’s impact on society, according to a global survey. READ MORE
FORBES: Today’s version of AI is mostly a buzzword for setting up systems that are simply more educated about user preferences and then doing things that a worker manually set up as responses on the backend system. READ MORE
POPULAR SCIENCE: Can AI solve the internet’s fake news problem? We’re in our misinformation predicament partly because of algorithms. Can they also get us out of it? A fact-checker investigates… READ MORE
Until next week…