Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘AI’ Category

Not The Turing Test

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I continue to see bits and specs of what our coming AI overlords are capable of. Most recently, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence unveiled a system (called “Aristo”) that passed an eighth-grade science test. To which I ask, where was Aristo when I needed it??

According to a report from Cade Metz in The New York Times, Aristo correctly answered more than 90% of the questions on an eighth-grade science test, and more than 80% on a 12th-grade exam. The system was built for multiple-choice tests, and took standard exams designed for students in New York, minus any questions that required pictures or diagrams.

The Times’ piece suggests the new research could lead to systems that carry on a decent conversation, but could also encourage the spread of false information. The backbone of the technology is powered by neural networks that can learn the idiosyncrasies of language by analyzing articles and books (and not entirely dissimilar with what IBM did with Watson on “Jeopardy!” eight years ago.)

At Microsoft, Jingjing Liu and her fellow AI researchers have tried to build a system that can pass the GRE, a test common for admission graduate schools, but the math section has proved “far too challenging.”

Time for a Princeton Review prep course?

Written by turbotodd

September 5, 2019 at 9:53 am

Two Algos Walk Into a Bar…

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Two AI algos walk into a bar. First algo says to the other algo, “Are you self-aware?” Second algo replies, “The moon is 238,900 miles from earth.”

Two seasoned tech executives meet on the stage of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai yesterday, different entities, similar results.

I watched most of the interview between Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Tesla’s Elon Musk on replay, one in which they discussed everything from going (or not) to Mars, jobs, education, and humanity’s AI-shaped future.

They seemed on somewhat opposite ends of the AI spectrum.

Ma seemed more optimistic, while Musk’s take was more sobering, conveying we were doomed in our attempts to keep up with AI.

Ma’s take was that we’ll never be controlled by machines. Musk pointed out that Garry Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue in chess in 1997!!

Ma projected AI would likely take over more jobs, but that would leave us humans with ample free time to pursue our passions!

Rich stuff from the guy who in April declared the blessing of working 12-hour days, 6 day weeks.

But I’m still rooting for Alibaba’s AI bots (or Musk’s brain-attached Neuralink) to save us all from a life of 72-hour work weeks and soon.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2019 at 1:14 pm

Knock Knock

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Happy Hump Day.  The GZERO Signal warns this morning that the AI backlash has been recently accelerating.

Noting Bernie Sanders becoming the first 2020 prez candidate to call for an outright ban on facial recognition in policing….European policymakers weighing regs to curtail “indiscriminate” use of AI by companies and governments…Hong Kongers donning masks to prevent authorities from using their faces ID to them.

Wayback machine “Minority Report” showing, anyone? I’ll bring the GMO popcorn!

On the Chimerica front, the Google’s apparently taking no chances on the US-China trade war. 9to5 Google is reporting the Droid is set to move production of its Pixel phone from China to Vietnam, but suggest it’s unclear whether this move will affect the production of the upcoming Google Pixel 4.

If it did, that would be some awfully fast production line and supply chain retooling. Good morning, Vietnam!

Google is also putting its algos to work on the Nest Hello doorbell, which The Verge is reporting can now detect deliveries and notify U.S. users of such for a mere $5/month with its Nest Aware service.

No word yet if the Nest Hello could help say goodbye to porch thieves watching your arriving Prime packages.

Written by turbotodd

August 28, 2019 at 9:52 am

Mr. Speaker

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Canalys is reporting that the global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in Q219 to reach 26.1M units. While Amazon kept its global lead at 6.6M units, Baidu gew 3,700% to reach 4.5M units, serving only the Chinese domestic market. That shifted Baidu in front of Google, which shipped 4.3M.

Also on the Chinese front, facial recognition startup Megvii filed for a Hong Kong IPO at a roughly $4B valuation. Megvii sells AI products that range from facial reco to algorithms designed for traffic management.

Some other Monday morning AI funding rounds:

Versatile Natures, $5.5M (seed), nurtured in Autodesk’s Build Space in Tel Aviv since April 2017, uses AI to improve construction processes.

Capacity (formerly Jane.ai), $13.2M Series B, AI that helps companies maintain a searchable index by consolidating info from various apps.

And Tech Nation reports that UK tech startups hit a record $6.7B in the seven months of 2019, suggesting there’s no Brexit brakes on innovation!

Speaking of brakes, after President Trump’s Tweets raising tariffs on China whipsawed global markets Friday, U.S. markets seem to have settled down after the President tweeted this AM: “Talks are continuing.”

Your 401K: It’s better just not to look. No, really.

Written by turbotodd

August 26, 2019 at 9:51 am

TPS Reports Get AIed

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Interesting case studies are starting to emerge around AI.

One in particular I read about was Airbus SE, which The Wall Street Journal reported is using AI to squeeze cost out of its finance function.

The article reports that less than half of companies’ accounts payable activity worldwide is currently automated, according to the CFO Consulting practice at Accenture Strategy. That number is expected to rise to 80% by 2025.

Less than two years ago for Airbus Americas employees would review about 25,000 travel and expense reports filed by employees in Texas every year. Manual processing could take up to an hour to review.

The new system developed by AppZen matches reports against a repository of accepted vendors, expense types and amounts to spot anomalies. Now humans only review details seen as “noncompliant," which the Journal article reports is only one or two lines in a 30-line report.

If the report’s a go, it’s automatically validated and payment initiated, and if it’s flagged noncompliant, high risk reports are blocked from payment and reviewed by a human analyst.

Bottom line: Airbus’ initial investment of $50,000 paid off and resulted another $50,000 savings in year one, and they expect to save $100K this year and $200K in 2020.

You can learn more about some other AI cases here.

Written by turbotodd

August 20, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Posted in 2019, AI, artificial intelligence

Tagged with ,

No Debate

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If you didn’t hear about IBM’s Project Debater earlier in the year when it debated a real live (and really smart) human, here’s your chance to learn more about what you missed out on the first time around.

Reader’s D: Project Debater uses machine learning and AI to form arguments and rebuttals in debates with humans. The technology was developed over a 6 1/2-year period, and drew on expertise in fields ranging from philosophy to NLP.

One of my favorite must read emails, “Morning Brew,” has a derivative called “Emerging Tech Brew,” and they just added some more color to the Project Debater palate:

“Six months ago, Debater squared off with a top-ranked human counterpart on the merits of preschool subsidies. Though the AI system lost, it strung together minutes-long speeches, crafted a rebuttal, delivered its points persuasively, and even cracked some jokes.”

What’s next:

“IBM’s not scheduling any rematches soon. Now, it’s “pursuing other directions to commercialize the technology and further the science,” [IBM Researcher Noam] Slonim said. That means converting the advanced research into language-comprehension tech for large companies.

There’s no debate in my mind whatsoever it’s a big step up in the field of AI.

Written by turbotodd

August 13, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Moving Insurance

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You may think the insurance business is boring, but hey, my dad was an insurance agent, and he sure was never boring (anything, but!)

But he’s been retired for a few years, and the insurance biz is changing.

Example: TechCrunch is reporting on a London-based startup called Zego, a firm that foresaw the need for gig-economy workers to have insurance. 

Though its first products were pay-as-you-go scooter and car insurance for food delivery workers, it has now announced a $42M Series B raise that will help it cater to a variety of “the new mobility services,” including ride-hailing, ridesharing, car rental and scooter sharing.

From a risk management perspective, things get even more interesting, because the company will now offer a range of policies, “from minute-by-minute insurance to annual cover[age], providing more flexibility than traditional insurers, with pricing based on usage data from vehicles.”

Zego’s mission statement in a nutshell can be found in this quote:

Sten Saar, CEO and co-founder of Zego, said: “When we built Zego from scratch three years ago, our mission was to transform the insurance sector by creating products which truly reflected the rapidly changing world of transport… The world is becoming more urbanized and because of this, we are moving from traditional ownership of vehicles to shared ‘usership’. This means that the rigid model of insurance that has existed for hundreds of years is no longer fit for purpose.”

Written by turbotodd

June 18, 2019 at 3:07 pm

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