A.I. IN THE NEWS
The Pentagon and A.I. ethics. The Pentagon is looking to hire an ethics expert who can help the Defense Department navigate some of A.I.’s most pressing ethical concerns, trade publication Defense Systems reported. The news comes amid employee protest at companies like Google over the potential military uses of A.I. and the company’s role in selling the government powerful, data-crunching technology.
The Department of Energy’s A.I. office. The U.S. Department of Energy created the DOE Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office, which is intended to coordinate the department’s A.I. projects as part of the White House’s national A.I. strategy. Energy Sec. Rick Perry said in statement that the new office would “concentrate our existing efforts while also facilitating partnerships and access to federal data, models and high performance computing resources for America’s AI researchers.”
Singapore’s A.I. dreams. Singapore is trying to cultivate an A.I. technology scene and remain a neutral A.I. player between China and the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. The island city-state’s government is investing $500 million on A.I.-related projects through 2020, and the nation is now home to A.I. research offices of Alibaba and Salesforce.
Academic A.I. brain drain. The New York Times reported on a study showing the impact on universities and the startups they produce when A.I. professors leave their full-time academic positions to work at corporations. The study “focused on the start-up economy, showing that departures led to fewer student start-ups,” the Times reported, noting that “experts are split on whether a decline in the start-up economy will harm the progress of A.I.”
DEEP LEARNING DOUBTS
Computer science experts Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis write in The New York Times about the limitations of deep learning technologies and why other A.I. approaches are important. The two write: “In particular, we need to stop building computer systems that merely get better and better at detecting statistical patterns in data sets — often using an approach known as deep learning — and start building computer systems that from the moment of their assembly innately grasp three basic concepts: time, space and causality.”
How to stop A.I. From Reinforcing Biases
Algorithms do what they’re taught—unfortunately, some may be influenced by historical biases hidden in the training data. What can organizations do to build algorithms responsibly and implement AI with confidence and trust? Find out
EYE ON A.I. TALENT
Online music service Spotify hired Tony Jebara as president of engineering for personalization and to lead its machine-learning strategies. Jebara, also a Columbia University computer science professor, was previously a machine learning director at Netflix.
EYE ON A.I. RESEARCH
Deep learning’s gender problem. The Pew Research Center published a study about the difficulties deep-learning systems have identifying people’s genders based on their photos. The study showed that gender-classification systems generally work better when they are trained with a diverse set of photos representing multiple age-groups and ethnicities.
In some cases, however, the researchers found that gender-classification systems can occasionally work well when trained on less diverse datasets, which the Pew Research team found surprising and confusing.
A.I.-aided drug discovery. Researchers from biotechnology firm Insilico Medicine published a paper in the Nature Biotechnology journal about using A.I. techniques to significantly increase the amount of time it takes to create molecules useful for drug discovery. The researchers’ technology used a combination of reinforcement learning—a type of A.I. that learns through many trials—and so-called generative adversarial networks, which can be used to create realistic, but fake photos, among other tasks.
FORTUNE ON A.I.
Alarmed By Deepfake Videos, Facebook Creates Contest to Detect Them – By Jeremy Kahn
Most Americans Distrust Companies Using Facial Recognition Technology – By Jonathan Vanian
Deepfake App Zao Makes You a Movie Star. But It Also Raises Big Privacy Concerns – By Alyssa Newcomb
Making A.I. safe for the U.S. and the rest of the world. Researchers in the U.S. and China must work together on A.I. to ensure that the technology is safe, writes Matt Sheehan, a fellow at the Paulson Institute's MacroPolo think tank, in Bloomberg. Sheehan is concerned that competition between the two countries in A.I. could lead to U.S. lawmakers severing ties between U.S. and Chinese A.I. researchers, who sometimes collaborate and communicate with each other during A.I. conferences and on research projects. Doing so, he writes, “threatens to create a dangerous knowledge vacuum on AI safety precisely when we need smart, strategic cooperation between scientists to mitigate these risks. In this case, engagement will make the U.S. far safer than isolation.”