AI researchers promise not to develop killer machines
Demis Hassabis at Google Deep-Mind and Elon Musk at SpaceX are among more than 2,400 signatories to a pledge not to develop or manufacture of robots that can autonomously identify and attack humans. The pledge, which will be announced today at the International Joint Conference on AI in Stockholm, is to "neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons". Yoshua Bengio of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms commented: "This approach actually worked for landmines, thanks to international treaties and public shaming, even though major countries like the US did not sign the treaty banning landmines. American companies have stopped building landmines."
CNN The Next Web
Facebook bolsters AI division
Facebook is hiring five well-regarded computer scientists in the U.S. and Europe, adding new facilities to bolster its artificial intelligence research division, and focus on robotics and related-technologies. The tech firm said it was hiring researchers in Menlo Park, California, where it is headquartered, as well as in Pittsburgh, Seattle and London. Yann LeCun, Facebook’s chief AI scientist, said having a robotics program was essential for recruiting the most promising young scientists and engineers to Facebook. "We can’t attract other researchers without having research in this area," he said. Researchers at Facebook have recently created a program aimed at AI being able to a find objects within your house. This year the tech company has also patented a self-balancing robot. LeCun said Facebook currently uses a few robots to help maintain some of its data centers.
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Automation can benefit financial institutions by $512bn
A new report from Capgemini has estimated that the financial services industry could potentially add $512bn in global revenue by 2020 with the use of intelligent automation. The report found that while 52% of companies are focused on cost savings when automating processes, 45% are looking to grow revenue with it and 55% are keen to increase customer satisfaction.
Lawyers tapping into AI
The Economist profiles how law firms are beginning to tap into AI in part to relieve some of the profession’s tedium. The magazine notes how a growing number of legal start-ups are applying machine learning to tasks such as digging up and comparing judges’ decisions on similar cases, or arguments previously made by opposing counsel. The algorithms are able to process much more paperwork than humans – and are able to do so in a fraction of the time.
Fetch.ai developing AI smart ledger
Fetch.ai, a start-up founded by former members of DeepMind Humayan Sheikh and Toby Simpson, is attempting to gather context from human data with AI agents to improve online recommendations. The company hopes its agent-based model will help solve the problems faced by companies seeking to monetise their AI and machine learning algorithms, by offering a smart ledger where economic activity can take place in a decentralised system.
Autonomous car system could eradicate road signs
U.S. transport data firm Inrix will this week unveil a new technology that relays information traditionally held on road signs directly to autonomous vehicles. It is to be tested later this year in the U.K. Under the system, councils and transport authorities put the content of road signs and markings on a database that can be accessed by a vehicle while it is on the road. Local authorities could in turn be informed by the cars about potholes or other defects.
Pilotless planes preparing for take-off
A study by UBS has suggested that pilotless passenger plans could take to the skies within seven years despite public concerns over the technology. The bank said that one-pilot planes will be in the air by 2022, with fully autonomous passenger and cargo jets following three years later. UBS added that Boeing and Airbus were pushing ahead with autonomous technology and Uber was planning a pilotless air taxi in the 2030s.
IRS exploring potential of AI platform
The IRS is exploring the potential of an artificial intelligence and machine learning-based analytical platform to “proactively detect and respond to cyber- and insider-related threats.” The IRS will gather information from industry and academia, and it will use the results to assess ongoing industry efforts within the identified focus areas. The agency is seeking information on a wide range of technologies as part of the proposed platform, according to a request for information. Those include artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing, and data analytics techniques and algorithms.
Advertisers embrace blockchain benefits
Marketing is becoming the latest sector where blockchain technology is making inroads, offering a way for advertisers to improve transparency between marketers, their ad agencies and tech vendors. AT&T, Kellogg, and Nestle are among advertisers that are starting to use the technology to figure out whether their ads are viewed by real people, not computer-generated bots, and how much of their spending is going to middlemen. “The objective here is not about savings, it’s more about transparency to make sure we are reaching consumers in the most relevant way,” said Lucas Herscovici of Anheuser-Busch, one of the world’s biggest advertisers.
Wall Street Journal
Regulators study lenders exposure to crypto-assets
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is considering capital safeguards and examining banks' exposure to "crypto-assets" such as bitcoin, which may put banks off investing in the growing sector. Meanwhile, Global regulators have published a framework for "vigilantly" monitoring risks from crypto assets such as bitcoin and ether. The Financial Stability Board said the framework focuses on how risks from crypto asset markets could spread to other parts of the financial system.
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IBM launches ‘stable coin’ cryptocurrency
IBM has launched a new cryptocurrency, Stronghold USD, pegged to the US dollar, in partnership with financial services provider Stronghold. The “stable coin” is intended to add stability to the volatile cryptocurrency market. Stable coins are pegged to assets such as gold or currencies like the euro, dollar or pound, and are mainly intended for use by finance businesses.
Hong Kong launches blockchain-based trade finance
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is to launch a blockchain-backed trade finance platform which will link up with 21 banks, including HSBC and Standard Chartered.
Walmart patent monitors employee conversations
Walmart has filed a new patent for an audio surveillance tool that can pick up on conversations between employees and customers in stores. The frontend technology would also identify other sounds such as scanning beeps indicating employee efficiency. Walmart says the recordings would enable it to identify employees in the audio and study it to measure their performance at the company. However the patent has drawn concerns from privacy advocates.
Care-E robot lifts burden of carry-on luggage
Dutch airline KLM is currently testing a robot that carries travellers’ carry-on luggage to the correct gate. The robot, called Care-E, uses a variety of sounds to interact with passengers and comes with AI technology, which allows it to access real time data and re-direct its route if there are any gate changes. It will even stop at the duty free shop at the passenger’s request. Care-E will reportedly be rolled out for use at New York's JFK and San Francisco International Airports later this year.