GOOD DAY, MY LITTLE CYBORGS!
This week, I took a welcome break from my desk to head to London for the Smart To Future Cities Summit, an event I’d been eagerly looking forward to since listing it in my Best IoT Events of 2018 a few months ago. As expected, it was a hugely informative summit, one that I’d strongly recommend for anyone with an interest in this area, to mark into their 2019 diaries well in advance!
I have done a write-up on my takeaways from the summit, which you can read here:
Top 5 Most Socially-Shared AI Articles of the Week
First up, something completely out of the ordinary. How often do we get an article about Beyoncé and Jay Z showing up in artificial intelligence news? Well, not since I’ve been doing this review, that’s for sure!
After a few paragraphs that could have been lifted from Heat magazine, rather than Forbes, we learn that Beyoncé and Jay Z have launched a service named ’22 Days Nutrition’. In true A-List style, the Royal Family of pop are rocking the whole vegan thing, and they’re keen to pass the message of its myriad health and environmental benefits to their fans.
Where AI comes in is that the 22 Days platform seems to use a kind of Netflix/Amazon-style recommendation engine (which, as we know, is an AI-powered tool widely used to varying degrees of success in retail and entertainment). It is also integrated with US-based grocery sites, Peapod, Instacart, and – soon – Amazon Fresh.
What’s great about this is that it represents a poignant move in the direction of customised, personalised purchasing, which is hot stuff in the omnichannel-dominated retail industry. As the IoT gains momentum in our homes, this kind of platform is set to become the norm.
So, Beyoncé and Jay Z are setting themselves up as tech innovators as much as musical influencers. I’m actually impressed.
OK, let’s get one thing straight: the military did not create this. It was actually researchers at Rice University, funded by both the military and Google. And it isn’t as scary as it sounds, either.
BAYOU is an deep learning tool that basically works like a search engine for coding: tell it what sort of program you want to create with a couple of keywords, and it will spit out java code that will do what you’re looking for, based on its best guess.
Knowing from my own brother’s experiences, coding is a bitch of a job, so any way that can automate the gruelling process is a time- (and thus money-) saving miracle. No, it doesn’t mean that AI is now going to begin self-replicating and doing weird, sci-fi stuff.
It’s no secret that Europe is lagging behind the US and China in the AI arms race. One of the principal reasons is that our best talent is being lifted out and plopped down into top roles in the USA. You can’t blame them – America is a much nicer place to live than here, even with the whole orange ghoul in the White House thing, and even more so with a tasty six-figure salary awaiting them on the other side of the pond.
So, anyway, Europe has decided to up its game. Better late than never, right?
Wait… hold up: a dark side to AI? Well, we haven’t heard anything about that before, have we?
In the annual open letter from Google, usually penned by Larry Page, Brin, or both together, Brin has a lot of enthusiastic things to say about AI. On balance, he also addresses the considerations that we need to be paying attention to in terms of how this brave new technology could go wrong. Interesting, from a man whose company works with the Pentagon on military uses of tech like AI and drones.
I don’t watch Westworld, for two reasons. Firstly, when I finally got round to sitting down to watch season 1, Amazon Prime had switched it from being included in my Prime subscription to having to be paid for on top. I resent this sort of crap. Also, most people I’ve spoken to have said it’s shit.
That aside, season 2 is here, and Dave Gershgorn has some spoilers for us whilst asking a range of questions that will go straight over your head unless you’ve watched Westworld yourself.
Quote of the Week
(courtesy of MIT Tech Review email)
“…It’s much easier to build an AI system that can detect a nipple than it is to determine what is linguistically hate speech.”
—Mark Zuckerberg, on a conference call this week with analysts after the company’s first-quarter earnings report
Top Of My Inbox…