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Robot wearing a business suit
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US gov quizzes AI experts about when the machines will take over

A panel of AI experts were grilled on the impact and importance of artificial general intelligence by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday. The hearing was ominously named “Artificial Intelligence – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Narrow AI for specific tasks has been rapidly advancing and the committee …
Katyanna Quach, 26 Jun 2018
Three smiley women standing outside
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So woke: Microsoft's face-recog can now ID more people who aren't pasty white blokes

Microsoft has improved its facial recognition technology so that it is better at identifying humans who aren't white men. Today's announcement of the breakthrough, which promised "significant improvements in the system's ability to recognize gender across skin tones," comes a week after CEO Satya Nadella sent a missive to …
Richard Speed, 26 Jun 2018
DARPA Robot Arm
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Get a grip, literally: Clumsy robots can't nab humans' jobs just yet

Artificially intelligent software can drive robots to perform the most menial tasks, such as reaching out and gripping objects. However, there's one thing they can't, er, grasp easily. And that's dealing with things that move unexpectedly, which right now rules them out of a lot of real-world labor. However, it does make them …
Katyanna Quach, 26 Jun 2018

Nvidia adds nine nifty AI supercomputing containers to the cloud

Nvidia has added nine new GPU-charged supercomputing containers to its cloud service. It has expanded its Nvidia GPU Cloud (NGC) to now include 35 containers, and has more than tripled the amount on its platform, which launched last year. They’re aimed at hardcore engineers running huge workloads that use machine learning to …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Jun 2018
Dota 2 being played by OpenAI
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What does it take for an OpenAI bot to best Dota 2 heroes? 128,000 CPU cores, 256 Nvidia GPUs

OpenAI's video-game-playing bots are getting much better at mastering sci-fi strategy war game Dota 2, seeing off semi pro players with ease in team matchups. However, they can’t quite master the whole game to beat top professional teams – yet. Last August, machine-learning software built by the OpenAI lab headquartered in …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Jun 2018
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So you're doing an IoT project. Cute. Let's start with the basics: Security

The Internet of Things is going to solve climate change, fix our political system, and ensure that you can always find a parking spot. Some see a future of 15 billion connected devices. Now, just the tiny matter of deploying them. There's a long way between all IoT's utopian promises and the reality. We've never attempted …
Danny Bradbury, 25 Jun 2018
School Computer Lab from Shutterstock

Something to fire up PyTorch fans, Facebook emits code for analyzing human poses, and more

Roundup Hi, here are a few announcements in the AI world from this week. Read on to find out what's happening with PyTorch, which startup Microsoft just bought, and who won OpenAI's Sonic challenge. Hurrah, more support for PyTorch: Amazon Sagemaker, a platform that deploys machine learning systems at scale, now supports models …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Jun 2018
Wall of TV screens photo via Shutterstock
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Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

A woman in the driving seat of an autonomous Uber that hit and killed a pedestrian was likely streaming an episode of telly show The Voice on her phone immediately before the collision, according to reports. State police in Tempe, Arizona, reckoned the crash, which killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was "entirely avoidable" …
Richard Speed, 22 Jun 2018
This is the blockchain. Yes, THE blockchain
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Amid 'idiotic blockchain phase,' EY and Microsoft tout smart contracts

In an effort to demonstrate there are actual uses for blockchain technology, global professional services biz EY and Microsoft have teamed up to offer companies a way to manage rights and royalties. Though the system is designed to serve any industry that deals with intellectual property licensing and royalty payments, the …
Thomas Claburn, 22 Jun 2018
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Skynet for the win? AI hunts down secret testing of nuclear bombs

AI can detect signs of nuclear weapons testing banned under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, according to research from the US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. A group of scientists have built a neural network to sniff out any unusual nuclear activity. Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Jun 2018
Canada
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Canadian utility makes blockchain upstarts bid for their ravenous rigs' electricity supply

One of Canada's largest utilities is planning to make blockchain companies bid for access to electricity. Hydro Quebec says it will set aside a 500MW block of power that will be reserved for companies that are "using cryptography as applied to blockchain technology." Access to that block will be subject to a bidding process …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jun 2018
Cheque, photo via Shutterstock
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Accountants HATE them: Microsoft's Xbox harnesses blockchain to pay games publishers

All aboard the blockchain hypewagon – Microsoft announced today that it has begun using the technology to deal with royalty and digital rights contracts. While the shiny toy, which runs on Azure (of course), is interesting, lurking within the excited ramblings was an admission of how Xbox game publishers used to get their …
Richard Speed, 21 Jun 2018
suits clapping

HPE: You want full-blown enterprise software on our Edge boxes? You got it

HPE’s Edgeline family got some love from a bunch of software houses today: they have agreed to validate full-blown versions of their enterprise apps on its hardware. The Edgeline EL1000 and EL4000 hit the streets in 2016, aimed at customers that want to process and analyse data where it is generated rather than sending it to …
Paul Kunert, 21 Jun 2018

You've seen the hype. Now you're curious. Why not have a crack at AI using this online lab...

Microsoft has thrown open the doors to its AI Lab, a suite of beginner projects to help developers learn machine learning. There are five different experiments that cover computer vision, natural language processing, and drones. “Each lab gives you access to the experimentation playground, source code on GitHub, a crisp …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jun 2018

AI-on-demand as Google Cloud TPUs are rentable for a few bucks a hour

AI developers can now rent Google’s Cloud TPU chips in the US, Asia, and Europe by the hour. The Cloud TPU, also referred to as TPU2, is the second generation of Google’s TPU hardware aimed at optimizing machine learning models written in TensorFlow. The first TPU was more of an internal experiment and could only handle …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jun 2018
doctor_scan

An AI a day keeps the doctor away... Neural net software gets better at clocking cancer tumors

Baidu's AI researchers have built an algorithm that can spot cancerous tumors in breast tissue using a method that doesn’t rely solely on neural networks. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) excel at pattern matching, and thus are useful at detecting potential clusters of cancerous cells in medical scans. However, CNNs don't …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jun 2018
Man uses virtual reality goggles on toilet
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Virtual reality meets commercial reality as headset sales plunge

Shipments of virtual reality kit have plunged, but growth is just around the corner. So said analyst firm IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker, which found “shipments of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets were down 30.5 per cent year over year, totalling 1.2 million …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2018
Nvidia GeForce

AI caramba! Nvidia devs get a host of new kit to build smart systems

Nvidia has released a bunch of new tools for savvy AI developers in time for the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Some of them have been previously announced at its GPU Technology Conference (GTC) earlier this year. Here’s a quick rundown: Kubernetes on Nvidia GPUs The beta …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Jun 2018
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Senior judge: Put AI in charge of reviewing social media evidence

A senior British judge has said that "technology has created many of our current [evidence] disclosure problems" – and then added that AI will fix them. Lord Justice Gross, a Court of Appeal judge, gave a speech last night to the Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales in which he reviewed the ongoing scandal of …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Jun 2018
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How to stealthily poison neural network chips in the supply chain

Computer boffins have devised a potential hardware-based Trojan attack on neural network models that could be used to alter system output without detection. Adversarial attacks on neural networks and related deep learning systems have received considerable attention in recent years due to the growing use of AI-oriented systems …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Jun 2018
Cyber

Here's some phish-AI research: Machine-learning code crafts phishing URLs that dodge auto-detection

An artificially intelligent system has been demonstrated generating URLs for phishing websites that appear to evade detection by security tools. Essentially, the software can come up with URLs for webpages that masquerade as legit login pages for real websites, when in actual fact, the webpages simply collect the entered …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Jun 2018
Hacker
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AI military upstart attacked by Russian malware, Twitter fires up TensorFlow, and more

Roundup Welcome to this week's AI news bites, picking up the bits besides everything else we've written about. Big Blue's Watson Health division is apparently struggling: IBM Watson Health announced it was scaling back its business after failing to win hospital contracts. At an internal meeting IBM said that hospitals weren’t all …
Katyanna Quach, 16 Jun 2018
tapplock
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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Video It's never easy to crack into a market with an innovative new product but makers of the "world's first smart fingerprint padlock" have made one critical error: they forgot about the existence of screwdrivers. Tapplock raised $320,000 in 2016 for their product that would allow you to use just your finger to open the " …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2018
Parliament photo by Shutterstock
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Drones Bill said to be ready for world+dog's crayons 'this summer'

The UK's long-awaited Drones Bill will be out for public consultation "this summer" - though sources tell The Register that it has been stripped down in order to guarantee a smooth passage through Parliament. The summer pledge, while not new, came from a Department for Transport delegate during a panel session at this week's …
Gareth Corfield, 15 Jun 2018
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AI is cool and all – but doctors and patients don't really need it

The American Medical Association does not believe that using AI is essential in healthcare and will benefit all patients, according to a new report. It published its first policy recommendations on ‘augmented intelligence’ in time for its Annual Meeting in June. “As technology continues to advance and evolve, we have a unique …
Katyanna Quach, 15 Jun 2018
Image of woman holding mask of her own face
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The eyes have it: 'DeepFakes' bogus AI-meddled videos outed by unblinking gaze

In the last year or so convincing fake videos known as DeepFakes – the product of deep learning-driven facial image manipulation – have been condemned as a threat to democracy, or what's left of it. The fear is that invented events represent the sort of fake news that can alter elections and affect civic engagement. Imagine …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Jun 2018
bowl of salad with vegetables and greens on wooden table
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Creepy software knows what you are about to do... to that poor salad

A team of scientists at Universität Bonn in Germany has developed not-at-all-creepy software able to predict the future. A few minutes of it, at least. However, before heading out for a lottery ticket, potential users should be aware that the software is currently at its best when predicting what a chef might be about to do or …
Richard Speed, 14 Jun 2018
A British Army Watchkeeper drone lands at Parc Aberporth. Crown copyright
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... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

A British Army Watchkeeper drone has crashed near Aberporth, taking the number of crashes involving the unmanned aircraft to five. Local reports indicated that the unmanned surveillance aeroplane, which is controlled remotely from the ground, crashed in a lane near West Wales Airport at 5pm yesterday. The Cambrian News …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Jun 2018
Tesla photo via Shutterstock
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Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

An update to Tesla's Autopilot software earlier this month has caused headaches for drivers of its electric cars – with one user alleging he was almost driven off the road by the robotic assistant. The patch, 2018.21.9, contained a number of tweaks to address safety concerns with the Autopilot software, which Tesla trumpeted …
Richard Speed, 14 Jun 2018
dancing
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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

It's official: the UK is going to be booted off the Galileo satellite GPS program as a result of Brexit, despite furious protestations from Britain that it's a special case. The decision was reached by all 27 member states of Europe at a meeting on Tuesday and was confirmed in a slide deck [PDF] released on Wednesday. Just …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jun 2018
Files photo via Shutterstock
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Audit of DeepMind deal with NHS trust: It checks out, nothing to see here

An audit of the Royal Free NHS Trust and Google DeepMind's controversial app to detect kidney disease has deemed its current use of confidential data from real patients lawful – going so far as to suggest findings from other watchdogs were misplaced. The audit of the Streams app – which uses a fixed algorithm to help detect …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Jun 2018
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AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

VID AI systems can track the movements of people hidden behind walls by inspecting radio waves reflected off their bodies, according to a new study. The model dubbed “RF-Pose” starts off by transmitting low power radio signals that can penetrate through walls using a wireless Wi-Fi device. These waves bounce back when reflected …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Jun 2018
director
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New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

Several Hollywood companies have rallied against a bill that would ban the creation of fake pornographic videos made using AI. Bill A08155, filed by the New York State Assembly on May 31, looks like the first legal step taken to combat ‘deepfakes’, a technique that alters videos by stitching other people’s faces often onto the …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jun 2018
Sensat's drone before its 29km BVLOS flight. Pic: Sensat
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Brit drone biz Sensat notches up 29km remote-control flight

A Brit drone firm has made a 29km beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight, a small but important step for fuller commercialisation of the tech. Operating under a special dispensation from the Civil Aviation Authority, Sensat flew its craft – a conventional layout small unmanned aeroplane – around its 29km course, during …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Jun 2018
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Low AI rollout caused by dumb, fashion-victim management – Gartner

Pointy-Haired Bosses* are splashing AI about their organisations without a clue about why they're doing it, says a senior Gartner analyst. "As head of customer experience, the logic is: we have to deploy AI because everyone else is doing it. In fact, there's not a huge number of companies that are actually deploying AI," …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2018
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Korean cryptocoin exchange $30m lighter after hacking attack

A weekend breach and theft at a Korean digital currency exchange is being blamed for a drop in the price of Bitcoin. Coinrail confirmed on Saturday that it had been the victim of a hack and as a result coins were lifted from its systems. 해킹공격시도로 인한 시스템 점검중입니다. 일부코인(펀디엑스,NPXS)이 확인되었으며 추가적인 코인피해가 있는지 여부를 확인중입니다. 추후 자세한 사항은 …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jun 2018

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