AI

How AI Can Infer Human Emotions (oreilly.com) 25

An anonymous reader quotes OReilly.com's interview with the CEO of Affectiva, an emotion-measurement technology company that grew out of MIT's Media Lab. We can mine Twitter, for example, on text sentiment, but that only gets us so far. About 35-40% is conveyed in tone of voice -- how you say something -- and the remaining 50-60% is read through facial expressions and gestures you make. Technology that reads your emotional state, for example by combining facial and voice expressions, represents the emotion AI space. They are the subconscious, natural way we communicate emotion, which is nonverbal and which complements our language... Facial expressions and speech actually deal more with the subconscious, and are more unbiased and unfiltered expressions of emotion...

Rather than encoding specific rules that depict when a person is making a specific expression, we instead focus our attention on building intelligent algorithms that can be trained to recognize expressions. Through our partnerships across the globe, we have amassed an enormous emotional database from people driving cars, watching media content, etc. A portion of the data is then passed on to our labeling team, who are certified in the Facial Action Coding System...we have gathered 5,313,751 face videos, for a total of 38,944 hours of data, representing nearly two billion facial frames analyzed.

They got their start testing advertisements, and now are already working with a third of all Fortune 500 companies. ("We've seen that pet care and baby ads in the U.S. elicit more enjoyment than cereal ads -- which see the most enjoyment in Canada.") One company even combined their technology with Google Glass to help autistic children learn to recognize emotional cues.
The Internet

Vint Cerf Reflects On The Last 60 Years (computerworld.com) 63

Computerworld celebrated its 50th anniversary by interviewing Vinton Cerf. The 73-year-old "father of the internet" remembers reading the early issues of the magazine, and reflects on how much things have changed since he gained access to computers at UCLA in 1960, "the beginning of my love affair with computing." I worry 100 years from now our descendants may not know much about us or be able to read our emails or tweets or documents because nobody saved them or the software you need to read them won't exist anymore. It's a huge issue. I have files of text that were written 20 years ago in WordPerfect, except I don't have WordPerfect running anywhere...

Q: Do you think [creating the internet] was your greatest accomplishment?

No. Getting it turned on was a big deal. Keeping it running for the last some odd years was an even bigger deal. Protecting it from hostile governments that want to shut it down and supporting new applications at a higher capacity are all evolutions. The evolution continues... I don't know if I can point to anything and say that's the biggest accomplishment. It's one big climb up the mountain.

Looking ahead to a future filled with AI, Cerf says "I worry about turning over too much autonomous authority to a piece of software," though he's not overly concerned, "not like Stephen Hawking or Elon Musk, who are alarmists about artificial intelligence. Every time you use Google search or self-driving cars, you're using A.I. These are all assistive technologies and I suspect this is how it will be used."

He also acknowledges that "I probably don't have another 50 years left, unless Ray Kurzweil's predictions come true, and I can upload my consciousness into a computer."
AI

The Working Dead: Which IT Jobs Are Bound For Extinction? (infoworld.com) 545

Slashdot reader snydeq shares an InfoWorld article identifying "The Working Dead: IT Jobs Bound For Extinction." Here's some of its predictions.
  • The president of one job leadership consultancy argues C and C++ coders will soon be as obsolete as Cobol programmers. "The entire world has gone to Java or .Net. You still find C++ coders in financial companies because their systems are built on that, but they're disappearing."
  • A data scientist at Stack Overflow "says demand for PHP, WordPress, and LAMP skills are seeing a steady decline, while newer frameworks and languages like React, Angular, and Scala are on the rise."
  • The CEO and co-founder of an anonymous virtual private network service says "The rise of Azure and the Linux takeover has put most Windows admins out of work. Many of my old colleagues have had to retrain for Linux or go into something else entirely."
  • In addition, "Thanks to the massive migration to the cloud, listings for jobs that involve maintaining IT infrastructure, like network engineer or system administrator, are trending downward, notes Terence Chiu, vice president of careers site Indeed Prime."
  • The CTO of the job site Ladders adds that Smalltalk, Flex, and Pascal "quickly went from being popular to being only useful for maintaining older systems. Engineers and programmers need to continually learn new languages, or they'll find themselves maintaining systems instead of creating new products."
  • The president of Dice.com says "Right now, Java and Python are really hot. In five years they may not be... jobs are changing all the time, and that's a real pain point for tech professionals."

But the regional dean of Northeastern University-Silicon Valley has the glummest prediction of all. "If I were to look at a crystal ball, I don't think the world's going to need as many coders after 2020. Ninety percent of coding is taking some business specs and translating them into computer logic. That's really ripe for machine learning and low-end AI."


The Almighty Buck

Uber Starts Charging What It Thinks You're Willing To Pay (bloomberg.com) 232

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Uber drivers have been complaining that the gap between the fare a rider pays and what the driver receives is getting wider. After months of unsatisfying answers, Uber is providing an explanation: It's charging some passengers more because it needs the extra cash. The company detailed for the first time in an interview with Bloomberg a new pricing system that's been in testing for months in certain cities. On Friday, Uber acknowledged to drivers the discrepancy between their compensation and what riders pay. The new fare system is called "route-based pricing," and it charges customers based on what it predicts they're willing to pay. It's a break from the past, when Uber calculated fares using a combination of mileage, time and multipliers based on geographic demand. Daniel Graf, Uber's head of product, said the company applies machine-learning techniques to estimate how much groups of customers are willing to shell out for a ride. Uber calculates riders' propensity for paying a higher price for a particular route at a certain time of day. For instance, someone traveling from a wealthy neighborhood to another tony spot might be asked to pay more than another person heading to a poorer part of town, even if demand, traffic and distance are the same.
Communications

Google's Balloons Connect Flood-hit Peru (bbc.com) 16

An anonymous reader writes: "Tens of thousands" of Peruvians have been getting online using Project Loon, the ambitious connectivity project from Google's parent company, Alphabet. Project Loon uses tennis court-sized balloons carrying a small box of equipment to beam internet access to a wide area below. The team told the BBC they had been testing the system in Peru when serious floods hit in January, and so the technology was opened up to people living in three badly-hit cities. Until now, only small-scale tests of the technology had taken place. Project Loon is in competition with other attempts to provide internet from the skies, including Facebook's Aquila project which is being worked on in the UK. Project Loon recently announced it had figured out how to use artificial intelligence (AI) to "steer" the balloons by raising or lowering them to piggy-back weather streams. It was this discovery that enabled the company to use just a "handful" of balloons to connect people in Lima, Chimbote, and Piura. The balloons were launched from the US territory of Puerto Rico before being guided south.
AI

Software Is Eating the World, But AI Is Going To Eat Software, Nvidia CEO Says (technologyreview.com) 133

An anonymous reader writes: Nvidia's revenues have started to climb in the recent quarters as it looks at making hardware customized for machine-learning algorithms and use cases such as autonomous cars. At the company's annual developer conference in San Jose, California last week, the company's CEO Jensen Huang spoke about how the machine-learning revolution is just starting. "Very few lines of code in the enterprises and industries all over the world use AI today. It's quite pervasive in Internet service companies, particularly two or three of them," Huang said. "But there's a whole bunch of others in tech and other industries that are trying to catch up. Software is eating the world, but AI is going to eat software."
The Almighty Buck

Big Banks Will Fall First To AI, China's Most Famous VC Predicts (qz.com) 64

An anonymous reader writes: Wall Street will be one of the first and largest industries to be automated by artificial intelligence, predicts Kai-Fu Lee, China's most famous venture capitalist and former Microsoft and Google executive. Lenders, money managers, and analysts -- any jobs that involve crunching numbers to estimate a return -- are at risk. "Banks have the curse of the baggage they have, like Kodak letting go of film," Lee says. "Their DNA is all wrong." [...] The big banks that dominate now, the venture capitalist predicts they will be outmaneuvered by smaller startups able to deploy new technology much faster.
AI

Lyft And Waymo Announce They'll Collaborate On Self-Driving Cars (nbcnews.com) 49

An anonymous reader quotes NBC: In the race to the self-driving future, Lyft has agreed to work with Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google's parent company, to bring autonomous vehicles to the masses, both companies told NBC News on Sunday night. The announcement comes as Waymo has accused Lyft's biggest competitor, Uber, of stealing trade secrets from the company to advance its own self-driving operation...
Both companies issued gushy statements about their new partners. Lyft said Waymo "holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation." And Waymo applauded Lyft's "vision and commitment to improving the way cities move", saying it would help their technology "reach more people, in more places."
Cloud

Microsoft Wants To Monitor Your Workplace With AI, Computer Vision and the Cloud (gizmodo.com) 112

"If you're an employee under the heel of a giant corporation you should probably be terrified by the vision of the future of connected gadgets that Microsoft just revealed at its Build developer conference here in Seattle," warns Gizmodo. Slashdot reader dryriver writes: Gizmodo reports on a Microsoft Workplace Monitoring demo where CCTV cameras watch a workplace -- like a construction site -- on 24/7 basis, and AI algorithms constantly oversee and evaluate what is happening in that workplace. The system can track where employees are, where physical equipment and tools are at what time, who does what at what time in this workplace and apparently use Cloud-based AI of some sort to evaluate what is happening in the workplace being monitored. Spotting employees misbehaving, breaking workplace rules or putting themselves and expensive equipment at risk may be the intended "value proposition" this system brings to the workplace. Another aspect may be reducing insurance premiums employers pay by creating a strict, highly monitored work environment. But the system is also very Big Brother -- an AI is monitoring people and equipment in a workplace in realtime at all times, and all the data ends up being processed in the Microsoft Cloud.
Gizmodo gave their article the title, "Microsoft's Latest Workplace Tech Demos Creep Me Out."
AI

Star Trek Bridge Crew Gets IBM Watson-Powered Voice Commands (theverge.com) 61

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Star Trek Bridge Crew -- the VR game that puts you in the slip-on space shoes of a Starfleet officer -- already emphasizes vocal communication when you're playing with real humans, but it will soon allow you to use your voice to issue orders to computer-controlled characters, too. The feature has been made possible using IBM's VR Speech Sandbox. The software combines IBM Watson's Speech to Text and Conversation services with the company's Unity SDK, using the natural language processing capabilities of IBM's Watson software to parse your barked commands, and allow AI-controlled characters to act on them. Players will be able to launch photon torpedoes, jump to warp speed, or lock S-foils in attack formation (maybe not that last one) by requesting that your crew members push the relevant blinking buttons on their own command consoles. The feature will go live in beta form this summer, soon after the game's release on May 30th, and will allow players to complete missions across VR platforms and with a mixture of human and AI teammates.

Slashdot reader PolygamousRanchKid adds: "Let's just skip all that stuff, and cut right to the part where Kirk gets the girl... How well it actually works in practice, we'll see this summer, aboard our own starships. "Scotty, beam up the IBM stock price!" -- Posterior Admiral Ginni Rometty

Medicine

Apple Watch Can Detect An Abnormal Heart Rhythm With 97 Percent Accuracy, UCSF Study Says (techcrunch.com) 102

According to a study conducted through heartbeat measurement app Cardiogram and the University of California, San Francisco, the Apple Watch is 97 percent accurate in detecting the most common abnormal heart rhythm when paired with an AI-based algorithm. TechCrunch reports: The study involved 6,158 participants recruited through the Cardiogram app on Apple Watch. Most of the participants in the UCSF Health eHeart study had normal EKG readings. However, 200 of them had been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). Engineers then trained a deep neural network to identify these abnormal heart rhythms from Apple Watch heart rate data. Cardiogram began the study with UCSF in 2016 to discover whether the Apple Watch could detect an oncoming stroke. About a quarter of strokes are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, according to Cardiogram co-founder and data scientist for UCSF's eHeart study Brandon Ballinger. Cardiogram tested the deep neural network it had built against 51 in-hospital cardioversions (a procedure that restores the heart's normal rhythm) and says it achieved a 97 percent accuracy in the neural network's ability to find irregular heart activity. Additional information available via a Cardiogram blog post.
AI

NVIDIA Unveils Tesla V100 AI Accelerator Powered By 5120 CUDA Core Volta GPU (hothardware.com) 37

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang just offered the first public unveiling of a product based on the company's next generation GPU architecture, codenamed Volta. NVIDIA just announced its new Tesla V100 accelerator that's designed for AI and machine learning applications, and at the heart of the Tesla V100 is NVIDIA's Volta GV100 GPU. The chip features a 21.1 billion transistors on a die that measures 815mm2 (compared to 12 billion transistors and 610mm2 respectively for the previous gen Pascal GP100). The GV100 is built on a 12nm FinFET manufacturing process by TSMC. It is comprised of 5,120 CUDA cores with a boost clock of 1455MHz, compared to 3585 CUDA cores for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and previous gen Tesla P100 AI accelerator, for example. The new Volta GPU delivers 15 TFLOPS FP32 compute performance and 7.5 TFLOPS of FP64 compute performance. Also on board is 16MB of cache and 16GB of second generation High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory with 900GB/sec of bandwidth via a 4096-bit interface. The GV100 also has dedicated Tensor cores (640 in total) accelerating AI workloads. NVIDIA notes the dedicated Tensor cores also allow for a 12x uplift in deep learning performance compared to Pascal, which relies solely on its CUDA cores. NVIDIA is targeting a Q3 2017 release for the Tesla V100 with Volta, but the timetable for a GeForce derivative family of consumer graphics cards has has not been disclosed.
AI

Police To Test App That Assesses Suspects (bbc.com) 92

An anonymous reader writes: Police in Durham are preparing to go live with an artificial intelligence (AI) system designed to help officers decide whether or not a suspect should be kept in custody, BBC is reporting. The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force. It has been trained on five years' of offending histories data. One expert said the tool could be useful, but the risk that it could skew decisions should be carefully assessed. Data for the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (Hart) was taken from Durham police records between 2008 and 2012. The system was then tested during 2013, and the results -- showing whether suspects did in fact offend or not -- were monitored over the following two years. Forecasts that a suspect was low risk turned out to be accurate 98% of the time, while forecasts that they were high risk were accurate 88% of the time.
Businesses

Why Do Gas Station Prices Constantly Change? Blame the Algorithm (wsj.com) 109

Retailers are using artificial-intelligence software to set optimal prices, testing textbook theories of competition, says a WSJ report. An anonymous reader shares the article: One recent afternoon at a Shell-branded station on the outskirts of this Dutch city, the price of a gallon of unleaded gas started ticking higher, rising more than three-and-a-half cents by closing time. A little later, a competing station three miles down the road raised its price about the same amount. The two stations are among thousands of companies that use artificial-intelligence software to set prices (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). In doing so, they are testing a fundamental precept of the market economy. [...] Advances in AI are allowing retail and wholesale firms to move beyond 'dynamic pricing' software, which has for years helped set prices for fast-moving goods, like airline tickets or flat-screen televisions. Older pricing software often used simple rules, such as always keeping prices lower than a competitor. These new systems crunch mountains of historical and real-time data to predict how customers and competitors will react to any price change under different scenarios, giving them an almost superhuman insight into market dynamics. Programmed to meet a certain goal -- such as boosting sales -- the algorithms constantly update tactics after learning from experience. Even as the rise of algorithms determining prices poses a challenge to anti-trust law, authorities in the United States and Europe haven't opened probes or accused anyone of impropriety for using AI to set prices.
Businesses

Amazon Just Announced the Touchscreen Echo Nobody Asked For (gizmodo.com) 95

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon just announced a new grandmaster Echo gadget with the company's voice-assistant technology built in. It's called the Echo Show. It's got a touchscreen. It's got wi-fi and Bluetooth. It costs $230. And it's even creepier than its siblings. At its core, the Echo Show is just a regular Echo with a 7-inch screen. That screen lets you watch YouTube videos and see the weather forecast after you've asked for it. The new gadget also lets you make calls, video calls, and send text messages to other people using Echos or to mobile devices with the Alexa app installed. Thanks to Alexa integration with gadgets from Arlo and Ring, you can also see what your nanny cam sees. But check this out: the Echo Show also has a 5-megapixel, front-facing camera. So now, instead of your Echo just listening to your commands, it can watch you as well. The Echo Show joins the screen-free Echo Look as the second Amazon Echo device to feature a camera. On a sidenote, Amazon said it will bring the voice-calling ability to all other Echo devices.
AI

Chinese Startup Infervision Emerges From Stealth With An AI Tool For Diagnosing Lung Cancer (techcrunch.com) 45

Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch writes of a Chinese company called Infervision that aims to help lower the number of people in China who die from lung cancer ever year. The company has created a tool that uses machine learning and computer vision to help diagnose cancers. From the report: The company is taking advantage of a digital infrastructure that's been in place in Chinese hospitals since the SARS outbreak in 2003. It is using training data from images stored in digital health records in China and coupling them with data the company's technology is collecting in real time from its deployment in 20 hospitals around China (including Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Shanghai Changzheng Hospital). Infervision is also working with GE Healthcare, Cisco and Nvidia to develop and refine its technology. The company has processed roughly 100,000 CT scans and 100,000 x-rays since its initial installation last year. Infervision installs its software on-premise at hospitals and updates its image recognition and diagnostics tools based on the data coming in from its training hospitals, Chen Kuan, founder and CEO of Infervision, said. Training procedures are divided into two separate components, according to Kuan. The first is the the actual training system, where annotated data is collected from radiologists and incorporated into the company's training data. Then an updated version of the software (including the latest training data) is distributed to the network of hospitals.
AI

AI Is in a 'Golden Age' and Solving Problems That Were Once Sci-fi, Amazon CEO Says (yahoo.com) 99

An anonymous reader writes: Artificial intelligence (AI) development has seen an "amazing renaissance" and is beginning to solve problems that were once seen as science fiction, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Machine learning, machine vision, and natural language processing are all strands of AI that are being developed by technology giants such as Amazon, Alphabet's Google, and Facebook for various uses. These AI developments were praised by the Amazon founder. "It is a renaissance, it is a golden age," Bezos told an audience at the Internet Association's annual gala last week. "We are now solving problems with machine learning and artificial intelligence that were in the realm of science fiction for the last several decades. And natural language understanding, machine vision problems, it really is an amazing renaissance." Bezos called AI an "enabling layer" that will "improve every business."
AI

Artificial Intelligence Closes In On the Work of Junior Lawyers (ft.com) 103

An anonymous reader shares a Financial Times article: After more than five years at a leading City law firm, Daniel van Binsbergen quit his job as a solicitor to found Lexoo, a digital start-up for legal services in the fledgling "lawtech" sector. Mr Van Binsbergen says he is one of many. "The number of lawyers who have been leaving to go to start-ups has skyrocketed compared to 15 years ago," he estimates. Many are abandoning traditional firms to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities or join in-house teams, as the once-unthinkable idea of routine corporate legal work as an automated task becomes reality (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). Law firms, which tend to be owned by partners, have been slow to adopt technology. Their traditional and profitable model involves many low-paid legal staff doing most of the routine work, while a handful of equity partners earn about 1m pound ($1.30m) a year. But since the 2008 financial crisis, their business model has come under pressure as companies cut spending on legal services, and technology replicated the repetitive tasks that lower-level lawyers at the start of their careers had worked on in the past. [...] "We get AI to do a bunch of things cheaply, efficiently and accurately -- which is most important," says Wendy Miller, partner and co-head of real estate disputes at BLP. "It leaves lawyers to do the interesting stuff."
AI

Swarm AI Spectacularly Fails To Predict Kentucky Derby Winners A Second Time (techrepublic.com) 83

Thursday TechRepublic described the big prediction: In May 2016, a relatively unknown startup called Unanimous A.I. made big headlines when its AI-based platform used collective intelligence to create a prediction for the Kentucky Derby superfecta -- the top four horses, in order of finish. It made exactly the right pick, which returned $541.10 on a $1 bet... Churchill Downs took notice last year and decided to collaborate with Unanimous A.I. to create an official AI swarm made up of handicappers and racing analysts to predict the top finishers for this year's Derby. The track is calling this the "super-expert" Derby pick. On Wednesday, the handicappers logged into Unanimous A.I.'s UNU platform from across the US, and answered a series of questions that gradually narrowed down their picks from the field of 20 horses until they created consensus on the top four picks and the order of finish.
Here's my report on the results...
AI

Amazon Leak Exposes Echo AI Device With Touch Display and FireOS (hothardware.com) 36

MojoKid writes: Today, an image of what could be a touch-screen Amazon Echo device has emerged. Like the earlier Echo Look leak, the image of the device was found on Amazon's servers, just waiting to be discovered. The new Echo device is reportedly codenamed "Knight" and will be revealed later this month. It will also take its place as the flagship of the Echo family, likely surpassing the $179.99 MSRP of the original Alexa-powered AI speaker. It should be noted that the image leak lines up with previous reports we've seen regarding a so-called flagship Echo device. Late last year, we learned that the device would feature a 7-inch touch screen, and that it would have integrated speakers that are superior to those in the original Echo. There's even a built-in camera at the top of the device, which could be useful for video conferencing. It was also mentioned that the Echo device will run Amazon's FireOS and respond to verbal commands and spoken questions, just like current Alexa devices. Amazon is also reportedly testing a feature that allows users to pin items such as photos on their speaker's screen akin to physically placing items on a "refrigerator door."

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