Mobile Phone and Satellite Data to Map Poverty

University of Southampton, 2/07/2017

Researchers, led by WorldPop at University of Southampton and Flowminder Foundation, have developed a way to measure poverty levels in Bangladesh. They combine anonymous mobile phone data, such as data usage and distances traveled by the phone’s user, with satellite sensor data such as use of electric lights. They hope to provide more precise data about poverty levels to help governments and relief organizations combat poverty.

From Jingles to Pop Hits, A.I. Is Music to Some Ears

New York Times, 1/22/2017

A number of companies are beginning to use artificial intelligence to compose music. For example, music can be generated using artificial neural networks that learn the structure of human-generated music, then produce new instances. This article focuses on the start-up Jukedeck, but also covers several other companies, including Google and IBM, that are creating their own music-generation AIs — each with different approaches. These developments have the potential to create a new dynamic in the music industry.

AI Spots Skin Cancer as Well as Human Doctor

Newsweek, 1/26/2017

A team of researchers at Stanford University has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can identify early symptoms of skin cancer. The researchers trained the algorithm with a large data set of images that had already been identified as cancerous or benign. The algorithm identifies skin lesions with the same accuracy as board-certified dermatologists.

Give Robots ‘Personhood’ Status, EU Committee Argues

The Guardian, 1/12/2017

The European Parliament is considering a proposed legal framework to define the rights and responsibilities of autonomous artificial intelligences and of the companies and engineers who make them, including who is responsible for errors and who benefits from products created by AIs. The framework also suggests measures to reduce the negative economic impacts on the human labor force.

A String Quartet Concert, With an A.I. Assist

New York Times, 1/13/2017

“Sight Machine”, a performance piece by artist Trevor Paglen, uses AI to generate a live image mapping of musicians as they play. The algorithm involves movement-analysis techniques common in automated surveillance. By showing how machines see movement, Paglen hopes to highlight the distinct divide between how AIs and humans perceive things — and how that might affect computer-aided decision-making.

UA-Developed Avatar Is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport

UANews, 1/9/2017

Romanian border police are using a system designed by the University of Arizona called AVATAR (Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time), to screen international travelers at a Bucharest airport. The system is intended to measure body language, verbal responses, and physiological conditions before providing a summary for human personnel. Results from testing in Bucharest could influence whether and how the AVATAR system is implemented in the future.

Japanese Company Replaces Office Workers With Artificial Intelligence

The Guardian, 1/5/2017

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, an insurance firm in Japan, is replacing 34 workers with an AI system that will calculate payouts to policyholders. They are making these changes in an attempt to increase productivity within the firm. The article mentions other new uses of AI systems in Japan, including in government and politics, intended to increase productivity.

Uber Launches Artificial Intelligence Lab

BBC News 12/5/2016

Uber has acquired an artificial intelligence (AI) startup, Geometric Intelligence, and put the team to work on (among other things) self-driving cars. The company already uses machine learning to predict when and where cars will be needed, but self-driving cars would be a significant boon for company profits — albeit at the expense of existing drivers working with Uber.

Meeting of the Minds for Machine Intelligence

MIT News Office, 11/22/2016

Industry leaders and computer scientists are pushing for more use of machine intelligence so that machines can aid doctors, business corporations, investors and many more entities in decision making. The article discusses the potential rewards of using machine intelligence to solve real-world problems, for example, whether machine learning can help to better quantify uncertainty when trying to predict outcomes in various fields.