Musk's popstar girlfriend Grimes croons about next-gen AI, plus more machine-learning news

Oxford uni gets a wad of cash to study AI and law, Qualcomm invests in startups, etc

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Roundup Hello, welcome back to The Register's weekly AI roundup. There is news who is funding who for AI projects, but things have also got a little weird as popstars start making AI-inspired hits. Listen below!

AI and law: The University of Oxford has received £1.2m to study the different ways that AI might revamp the legal industry.

The project titled “Unlocking the Potential of AI for English Law” has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, an organisation supported by the British government.

Algorithms are already being used in law, such as assessing the risk of people recommiting crimes. The data used to support such claims is often biased, and researchers have warned against its possibly harmful effects.

That’s not the only way algorithms can be used, however. Researchers from computer science, law, economics and social policy backgrounds will be looking at other applications too, including using computers for legal reasoning in criminal and civil lawsuits, training lawyers to have technical expertise and working out the best ways AI can be applied ethically and morally.

“The project team will draw on relevant expertise from a wide range of disciplines across the University, and we will work together with a number of private sector partners who are also engaging with these issues,” said John Armour, a law professor from Oxford University, leading the project.

Qualcomm’s AI investment fund: Qualcomm has put aside $100m to invest in AI startups.

The Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund is particularly interested in practical applications like autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms. So far, it has funded AnyVision, a computer vision startup based in Israel which is carrying out image recognition tasks on devices, in a Series A funding round.

“Qualcomm Ventures is proud to invest in the future of AnyVision and many other key players in the AI industry,” said Quinn Li, senior veep of Ventures, Qualcomm Technologies and global head of Qualcomm Ventures. “This investment builds on our long history of successful AI investments, including Cruise Automation, Brain Corp, Clarifai, Prospera, SenseTime and Retail Next.”

Now you can buy AI art too: Are you a fan of strange artwork created by generative adversarial networks? Well if you are, you can hang a portrait in your living room.

Ganvas Studio is run by Danielle Baskin, a painter in San Francisco is exploring GANs as art. People can buy pre-designed prints or submit a picture of their choice, where it’ll be fed to BigGAN, a model created by researchers from DeepMind and Heriot-Watt University.

Different images are then ‘bred’ using GANbreeder, a tool that mixes up different pictures to create artwork that looks familiar but unsettling. Think seat belts and plates of foodor jellyfish and comic books.

The pictures aren’t the best quality, so Ganvas Studio will help accentuate some details to avoid the prints looking too pixelated with real paint. How much this will cost has yet to be revealed.

AI and pop music: No, this isn’t about machines making pop music. It’s about humans making pop music about machines.

Grimes, known for her goth alien princess aesthetic, has gone all cyberpunk. She has had a long fascination with AI and bonded over the idea of Roko basilisk with her tech billionaire boyfriend Elon Musk.

Roko Basilisk describes a dangerous situation that could arise with the creation of general artificial intelligence. As the powerful entity comes to life, it might punish those that did not help bring it to life sooner.

It seems that Grimes’ new song “We Appreciate Power” is written to avert such dangers. In the music video, she’s seen holding an assortment of weapons or posing with her friend and collaborator Hana in skintight rubber suits. The lyrics really are something else.

In her high pitched breathy voice she sings: “People like to say that we're insane. But AI will reward us when it reigns. Pledge allegiance to the world's most powerful computer. Simulation: it's the future.”

She also tells us to upload our mind somehow, and that we’re not even alive since we’re not backed up on a drive. Her last parting words: “Neanderthal to human being. Evolution, kill the gene. Biology is superficial. Intelligence is artificial. Submit, submit, submit, submit, submit, submit, submit.”

Okay sure, Grimes. Here’s the music video.

Youtube Video

It looks like this might be becoming a trend in pop music, as another pop star Poppy, also released an equally disturbing tune about an intelligent robot girl waking up and poisoning humans after they have destroyed nature and pillaged its natural resources. ®




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