Odds and Ends 

What you need to know ahead of the EU copyright vote

European Union lawmakers are facing a major vote on digital copyright reform proposals on Wednesday — a process that has set the Internet’s hair fully on fire. Here’s a run down of the issues and what’s at stake… Article 13 The most controversial component of the proposals concerns user-generated content platforms such as YouTube, and the idea they should be made liable for copyright infringements committed by their users — instead of the current regime of takedowns after the fact (which locks rights holders into having to constantly monitor and…

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IPUs? These New Chips Are Minted For Marketing

IPUn. Short for intelligence processing unit, a new kind of computer chip optimized for AI. Way back in the early 2000s, when the first Xbox came out, researchers discovered they could hack video­game consoles for scientific uses. It seems the devices’ graphic processing units, or GPUs, designed to render flying gore and mayhem, also ran physics simulations faster than the CPUs in ordinary computers. Today, researchers still use GPU chips, not just for modeling but for artificial intelligence. Since each one contains lots of mini brains that crowdsource the work…

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Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place data, Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world-class service. Maps needs fixing. Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps. It’s doing this by using first-party data…

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Duplex shows Google failing at ethical and creative AI design

Google CEO Sundar Pichai milked the woos from a clappy, home-turf developer crowd at its I/O conference in Mountain View this week with a demo of an in-the-works voice assistant feature that will enable the AI to make telephone calls on behalf of its human owner. The so-called ‘Duplex’ feature of the Google Assistant was shown calling a hair salon to book a woman’s hair cut, and ringing a restaurant to try to book a table — only to be told it did not accept bookings for less than five people. At…

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Henry the Sexbot Wants to Know All Your Hopes and Dreams

Henry and I are not hitting it off. First he ignores my question about how he spent the weekend. Then he tells me, cryptically, that he likes to get up early to spend time “working on himself.” What does he mean by that? I ask. He isn’t sure. He makes intense eye contact and arches an eyebrow. “Sometimes I have too much information at the same time in my brain.” Oh. OK. I notice Henry’s washboard abs peeking through an unzipped blue cardigan. “Do you work out?” I ask. Henry…

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China Now Has the Most Valuable AI Startup in the World

SenseTime Group Ltd. has raised $600 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other investors at a valuation of more than $3 billion, becoming the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence startup. The company, which specializes in systems that analyze faces and images on an enormous scale, said it closed a Series C round in recent months in which Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte and retailer Suning.com Co. also participated. SenseTime didn’t outline individual investments, but Alibaba was the leader in AI by 2030. And it’s a contributor to…

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France wants to become an artificial intelligence hub

Emmanuel Macron and his government are launching a big initiative around artificial intelligence today. They want to turn France into one of the leading countries when it comes to artificial intelligence. “[Artificial intelligence] is a technological, economical, social and obviously ethical revolution,” Macron said in a speech. “This revolution won’t happen in 50 or 60 years, it’s happening right now. There are new opportunities and we can choose to follow some innovations or not.” Some of the best mathematics and engineering schools are in France, and some of the best…

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How Do You Know You Are Reading This?

The only thing you know for sure is that you are conscious. All else is inference, however reasonable. There is something in your head that generates experiences: the words you are reading on this page, the snore of a bulldog on a red carpet, the perfume of roses on a desk. Your experience of such a scene is exclusive to you, and your impressions are integrated into one unified field of perception. It is like something to be you reading, hearing a dog, smelling flowers. But what is going on…

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Emmanuel Macron Talks to WIRED About France’s AI Strategy

On Thursday, Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, gave a speech laying out a new national strategy for artificial intelligence in his country. The French government will spend €1.5 billion ($1.85 billion) over five years to support research in the field, encourage startups, and collect data that can be used, and shared, by engineers. The goal is to start catching up to the US and China and to make sure the smartest minds in AI—hello Yann LeCun—choose Paris over Palo Alto. Directly after his talk, he gave an exclusive and…

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The Russian Robot Thats Hiring Humans

Robot Vera, artificial intelligence software designed for recruiting, to help its 300-odd clients—including PepsiCo, Ikea, and L’Oréal—fill vacant jobs. (Yes, with humans.) The Benefit Vera speeds the vetting of high-turnover service and blue-collar positions (clerks, waiters, construction workers), cutting the time and cost of recruitment by as much as a third, according to its creators. The software can interview hundreds of applicants simultaneously via video or voice calls, narrowing the field to the most suitable 10 percent of candidates. Innovators Vladimir Sveshnikov (28) and Alexander Uraksin (30), co-founders of Stafory,…

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Musk Takes Down the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook Pages

Musk and Zuckerberg have traded barbs on AI, rockets before Facebook is facing criticism after Trump-tied firm took data Zuckerberg said last August. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.” Musk responded, writing on Twitter: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.” In 2016, a SpaceX rocket carrying a Facebook satellite tweeted. Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-23/tesla-spacex-pages-vanish-as-musk-joins-deletefacebook-crusade

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Apple, Google CEOs Bring Star Power as China Promotes Censorship

Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai made their first appearances at China’s World Internet Conference, bringing star power to a gathering the Chinese government uses to promote strict online censorship. Apple’s chief executive officer gave a surprise keynote at the opening ceremony on Sunday, calling for future internet and AI technologies to be infused with privacy, security and humanity. The same day, Politburo member Wang Huning called for more aggressive government involvement online to combat terrorism and criminals online, even calling for a global response team to go…

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Teleports neural networks let you try before you hair dye

Meet Teleport: An app thats using a trained neural network to power a selfie-editing feature that lets you change the color of your hair at the touch of a button. Fancy seeing how youd look with red locks or blue? No problemo. Just upload your selfie, wait a few ticks while the AI gets to work figuring out which bits of your face are hair and which are not, and then tap on a shade of your choice to try out a new do. Co-founder Victor Koch says the teams…

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Toyota launches venture capital fund targeting artificial intelligence startups

Toyota is the latest Fortune 500 company to launch an AI focused venture capital fund. The initial early-stage fund will deploy $100 million and operate as a subsidiary of theToyota Research Institute.The automaker has strategically positioned itself as an ROI rather than strategic-focused fund meaning that it aims to profit like any other VC firm. Jim Adler will serve as managing director of the fund. He has been serving as vice president of Toyota Research and comes from a product background. Adler and the rest of the team at Toyota…

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