Headlines 

This Technique Uses AI to Fool Other AIs

Artificial intelligence has made big strides recently in understanding language, but it can still suffer from an alarming, and potentially dangerous, kind of algorithmic myopia. Research shows how AI programs that parse and analyze text can be confused and deceived by carefully crafted phrases. A sentence that seems straightforward to you or me may have a strange ability to deceive an AI algorithm. That’s a problem as text-mining AI programs increasingly are used to judge job applicants, assess medical claims, or process legal documents. Strategic changes to a handful of…

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Odds and Ends 

White House reportedly aims to double AI research budget to $2B

The White House is pushing to dedicate an additional billion dollars to fund artificial intelligence research, effectively doubling the budget for that purpose outside of Defense Department spending, Reuters reported today, citing people briefed on the plan. Investment in quantum computing would also receive a major boost. The 2021 budget proposal would reportedly increase AI R&D funding to nearly $2 billion, and quantum to about $860 million, over the next two years. The U.S. is engaged in what some describe as a “race” with China in the field of AI,…

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Headlines 

Snow and Ice Pose a Vexing Obstacle for Self-Driving Cars

In late 2018, Steven Waslander, a professor at the University of Toronto, compiled a data set of images from snowy and rainy Canadian roads. It includes footage of foggy camera views, blizzard conditions, and cars sliding around, captured over two winters. The individual frames are annotated so that a machine can interpret what the scene conveys. Autonomous driving systems typically use annotated images to inform algorithms that track a car's position and plan its route. The Canadian data should help researchers develop and test algorithms against challenging conditions. But the…

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Odds and Ends 

EU lawmakers are eyeing risk-based rules for AI, per leaked white paper

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology, according to a draft proposal for regulating artificial intelligence obtained by Euroactiv. Creating rules to ensure AI is ‘trustworthy and human’ has been an early flagship policy promise of the new Commission, led by president Ursula von der Leyen. But the leaked proposal suggests the EU’s executive body is in fact leaning towards tweaks of existing rules and sector/app specific risk-assessments and requirements, rather than anything as firm as blanket sectoral requirements or bans. The…

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Headlines 

London Cops Will Use Facial Recognition to Hunt Suspects

There will soon be a new bobby on the beat in London: artificial intelligence. London’s Metropolitan Police Big Brother Watch in the UK. She says activists in Hong Kong, Russia, or South America may find it more difficult to push back against expanded use of facial recognition as a result. Carlo says facial recognition is already being used in dubious ways in the UK, for example to monitor the Notting Hill Carnival, a major event in British Black culture. “We talk about mission creep, but the mission is already well…

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Headlines 

An AI Epidemiologist Sent the First Warnings of the Wuhan Virus

On January 9, the World Health Organization notified the public of a flu-like outbreak in China: a cluster of pneumonia cases had been reported in Wuhan, possibly from vendors’ exposure to live animals at the Huanan Seafood Market. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had gotten the word out a few days earlier, on January 6. But a Canadian health monitoring platform had beaten them both to the punch, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on December 31. Related Stories Snakes?! The Slippery Truth of a…

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Odds and Ends 

Meet the Mormon Gamer Who Took Dungeons & Dragons Online

In late November, a college senior at Brigham Young University named Nick Walton published a short app this week, the player can choose a type of story (fantasy, mystery, zombie, apocalypse, custom), a rank (noble, squire, knight, peasant, ranger, rogue), and any name (i.e. Paul, Dan Nainan, Pete Buttigiegs campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith). The program will generate a premise and from there, the user can input any action (pet the cat, eat a sandwich, drink a melted knife, open a can of beans, eat one whole, and enjoy the salty…

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Odds and Ends 

Google announces Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool for creating mobile shortcuts

Google today announced Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool that allows you to create shortcuts for common multi-step tasks with the help of the Google Assistant. In that respect, Action Blocks isn’t all that different from Shortcuts on iOS, for example, but Google is specifically looking at this as an accessibility feature for people with cognitive disabilities. “If you’ve booked a rideshare using your phone recently, you’ve probably had to go through several steps: unlock your phone, find the right app, navigate through its screens, select appropriate options, and enter…

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Odds and Ends 

This is What Happens When You Teach an AI to Play Hide and Seek

The team at OpenAI observed agents discovering progressively more complex tool use while playing a simple game of hide-and-seek. Through training in their new simulated hide-and-seek environment, agents build a series of six distinct strategies and counterstrategies, some of which we did not know our environment supported. The self-supervised emergent complexity in this simple environment further suggests that multi-agent co-adaptation may one day produce extremely complex and intelligent behavior. You can find a detailed analysis and breakdown of this experiment at OpenAI Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/teaching-an-ai-to-play-hide-and-seek/

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Odds and Ends 

Full House, Only Everyone Looks Like Ron Swanson

In this disturbingly funny deepfake, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is ‘deepfaked’ onto every main character in Full House, creating a new take on the classic intro/opening credits of the once popular television show. You cannot unsee this. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/ron-swanson-full-house-intro/

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Odds and Ends 

Dasha AI is calling so you dont have to

While you’d be hard-pressed to find any startup not brimming with confidence over the disruptive idea they’re chasing, it’s not often you come across a young company as calmly convinced it’s engineering the future as Dasha AI. The team is building a platform for designing human-like voice interactions to automate business processes. Put simply, it’s using AI to make machine voices a whole lot less robotic. “What we definitely know is this will definitely happen,” says CEO and co-founder Vladislav Chernyshov. “Sooner or later the conversational AI/voice AI will replace…

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Odds and Ends 

Startups Weekly: SoftBanks second act

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I noted some challenges plaguing mental health tech startups. Before that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. accelerating its IPO plans and targeting a September listing. We don’t…

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Odds and Ends 

Techstars Detroit announces first class after major refocus

At the beginning of 2019, Techstars Mobility turned into Techstars Detroit. At the time of the announcement, Managing Director Ted Serbinski penned “the word mobility was becoming too limiting. We knew we needed to reach a broader audience of entrepreneurs who may not label themselves as mobility but are great candidates for the program.” I always called it Techstars Detroit anyway. With Techstars Detroit, the program is looking for startups transforming the intersection of the physical and digital worlds that can leverage the strengths of Detroit to succeed. It’s a…

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Odds and Ends 

This Crazy Tech Can Turn Anybody in a Photo Into a Moving Animation

Photo Wake-Up is a research project by Chung-Yi Weng, Brian Curless, and Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman of the University of Washington. Per their paper’s abstract: We present a method and application for animating a human subject from a single photo. E.g., the character can walk out, run, sit, or jump in 3D. The key contributions of this paper are: 1) an application of viewing and animating humans in single photos in 3D, 2) a novel 2D warping method to deform a posable template body model to fit the person’s complex silhouette to…

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Odds and Ends 

Microsoft and Oracle link up their clouds

Microsoft and Oracle announced a new alliance today that will see the two companies directly connect their clouds over a direct network connection so that their users can then move workloads and data seamlessly between the two. This alliance goes a bit beyond just basic direct connectivity and also includes identity interoperability. This kind of alliance is relatively unusual between what are essentially competing clouds, but while Oracle wants to be seen as a major player in this space, it also realizes that it isn’t likely to get to the…

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