Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘artificial intelligence’ Category

Wer Ist Das?

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Happy return to reality, for those of you in the U.S. who enjoyed a long Labor Day holiday weekend.

Thoughts and prayers go out to my friends in the Abacos, Marsh Harbour, and the Greater Bahamas who certainly did not have a great weekend due to Hurricane Dorian. What a monster, monstrous storm.

Picking back up on last week’s AI theme, I wanted to relay a story passed along by a good friend of mine. Might make you think twice about answering your phone.

Tne plot: Some crafty criminals used AI-based software to impersonate the voice of a CEO who demanded a fraudulent transfer of €220,000 this past March.

The CEO thought he was speaking with his boss, the German chief executive of his firm’s parent company, who then asked him to send the money to a Hungarian supplier, and that it was urgent and to send the money within the hour. 

The AI software mimicked the German CEO’s voice, both accent and melody, so, you know, he thought he was speaking with his boss!

As for the money, it bounced around accounts around the world faster than you can say “artificial general intelligence.”

And here I was all worried about deep fake videos…<< shakes head >> 

Written by turbotodd

September 3, 2019 at 10:00 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

The Sun Also Sets

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On the subject of AI, I’ve been checking out the 774M parameter OpenAI GPT-2 language model released on August 20.

Adam King released a Web app called “Talk to Transformer” that uses this new model where one can kick the tires. But it’s notable that OpenAI has refused to release the full 1558M model, fearful of malicious use.

It works like this: Enter an initial set of text and then let GP2 run. I tried several entries before settling on this one to share:

“While Ernest Hemingway wrote lots of books and articles in his lifetime, he was also a big fan of the bullfights, fishing, and hunting.”

The GP2 algo responded: “He wrote several of his most famous works – The Sun Also Rises – in bullfights. In 1916, it was the summer of his 50th birthday and the bullring was one of his favourite places to be. I wanted to see his view on the bullfighting from such a unique perspective, so I spent a couple of days there in a small hotel room and the last time I went I was very impressed.”

Not only did GP2 pick up where I left off…it also introduced some omniscient first person AI narrator who wanted to walk in the footsteps of Hemingway!

Everybody wants to be Hemingway.

Even our AI overlords!

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2019 at 1:09 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

Autonomous Theft

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Big IP theft news coming out of the Valley this PM.

The New York Times and others are reporting that Anthony Levandowski, a self-driving technology guru, was charged by federal prosecutors on Tuesday with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google.

This could present a new front in the all-out IP war between the major autonomous driving players: Uber, Google’s self-driving outfit, Waymo, potentially others.

The cause of action? Mr. Levandowski is alleged to have downloaded more than 14k files containing “critical information about Googles autonomous-vehicle research before leaving the company in 2016.” And then transferred those files to his personal laptop…which was a no-no.

The files he’s alleged to have stolen contained drawings and schematics pertaining to circuitry and LIDAR laser-sensors used in Google’s self-driving cars.

Here’s what the U.S. attorney, David L. Anderson, had to say in a statement issued by the DOJ: “All of us have the right to change jobs; none of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door. Theft is not innovation.”

If convicted of the charges against him, Levandowski faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Leave those USB sticks at home, kids!

Written by turbotodd

August 27, 2019 at 1:50 pm

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

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