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Month: December 2018

30 Dec 2018

2018 is the year AI got its eyes

Computer scientists have spent more than two decades teaching, training and developing machines to see the world around them. Only recently have the artificial eyes begun to match (and occasionally exceed) their biological predecessors. 2018 has seen marked improvement in two areas of AI image processing: facial-recognition technology in both commerce and security, and image generation in — of all fields — art.

In September of this year, a team of researchers from Google’s DeepMind division published a paper outlining the operation of their newest Generative Adversarial Network. Dubbed BigGAN, this image-generation engine leverages Google’s massive cloud computing power to create extremely realistic images. But, even better, the system can be leveraged to generate dreamlike, almost nightmarish, visual mashups of objects, symbols and virtually anything else you train the system with. Google has already released the source code into the wilds of the internet and is allowing creators from anywhere in the world to borrow its processing capabilities to use the system as they wish.

“I’ve been really excited by all of the interactive web demos that people have started to turn these algorithms into,” Janelle Shane, who is a research scientist in optics by day and a neural-network programmer by night, told Engadget. She points out that in the past, researchers would typically publish their findings and call it a day. You’d be lucky to find even a YouTube video on the subject.

“But now,” she continued, “they will publish their model, they’ll publish their code and what’s even greater for the general creative world is that they will publish a kind of web application where you can try out their model for yourself.”

This is exactly what Joel Simon, developer of GANbreeder has done. This web app enables users to generate and remix BigGAN images over multiple generations to create truly unique creations. “With Simon’s web interface, you can look at what happens when you’re not generating pictures of just symbols, for example,” Shane points out. “But you’re generating something that’s a cross between a symbol and a comic book and a shark, for example.”

Read more: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/29/2018-is-the-year-ai-got-its-eyes/

29 Dec 2018

Human Brain Project: EU’s shocking €1BILLION plan to grow SILICON BRAINS in a lab

A EUROPEAN UNION (EU) funded project is pioneering cutting-edge research into the human brain and is inspiring artificial intelligence breakthroughs, its scientific director has exclusively revealed.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is the EU’s £899 (€1billion) flagship science initiative working on developing human-machine hybrids. The ambitious enterprise’s primary aim is to simulate the human brain using computers, improving science and technology on the way. Professor Katrin Amunts, HBP’s scientific director, believes tangible results are starting to arrive, halfway through the Human Brain Project’s ten-year tenure.

She said: “We are trying to emulate the capabilities of the brain, we are trying to understand the brain’s principles and the organisational rules behind cognitive function.”

We are trying to emulate the capabilities of the brain

Professor Katrin Amunts

“What we are trying to do at HBP is try and understand how we can use our knowledge about brain organisation and transfer it, for instance, to new computing devices called neuromorphic devices.”

The Human Brain Project is developing two major neuromorphic machines; Manchester University’s SpiNNaker and the University of Heidelberg’s BrainscaleS.

Read more: https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1063108/human-brain-project-european-union-silicon-brain-artificial-human

26 Dec 2018

AI can help businesses stay ahead of the curve

Disruptive new-generation technologies are seen to have dramatically changed the way businesses run. Enterprises are considering realigning their strategies to retain their market position, and gain advantages through cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and IoT. Companies adopting the new-age exponential technologies earlier have a better chance of staying ahead of the curve and competition. With its potential to augment the capabilities of humans, and help businesses improve productivity, AI has the power to transform businesses across industries and sector.

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and automation are the new norm for today’s enterprise. What once was a competitive edge is now becoming a prerequisite for business growth, efficiency and productivity. It is no longer enough to just implement AI; it is about ensuring that AI is effectively integrated across all business platforms.
The focus needs to move away from what technologies are being offered and instead focus on how these technologies are impacting a company’s specific use-cases and enhancing their outcomes. The goal should be to build an AI-enabled organisation and not look at AI as an add-on.

Organisations should look at building a robust AI strategy to imbibe AI in the way they operate. Forrester reports that 40 “insight-driven companies” are going to grab $1.8 trillion by 2021. In this list we have young companies that are less than 8 years old.

What unifies them? Their obsession with data and AI. There are essentially two types of organisations with respect to AI adoption — first, the “talkers”: there are organisations wetting their feet with AI initiatives taking small risk-averse steps in organisational silos and in some cases getting tangled by bureaucracies; and a minority few unfortunately focusing more on press coverage than actual outcome. Then the “Do-ers”: These are the insights-driven companies, that have integrated or are on ..

20 Dec 2018

Brain power: Mind-controlled drones focus of USF research

 – USF graduate student Dante Tezza is pretty good at flying a drone. He literally uses his head. He controls the drone with his brain.

“These are the sensors,” he says, showing us a round, plastic circle that fits on his head as he flies the small drone in a lab.

His brainwaves are transmitted to the drone. When he imagines walking, the drone flies forward. When he thinks of sitting down, the drone lands. He says you can learn to make it fly in a day.

“But to master it, it may take you weeks or even months of training,” says Tezza.

He and fellow computer science and engineering graduate student Sarah Garcia are working on their PhDs with BCI, or brain-computer interface.

They’re searching for some USF students to participate in the first International Brain Controlled Drone Races.

“The students who get the fastest time will get to compete in our actual event in February,” says Garcia.

It’s being held at the Yuengling Center on February 9.

What does it take to be the fastest brain drone flyer?

“That’s good research question,” smiles Tezza. “We don’t have an answer yet.”

It could be in the pilot’s ability to focus on how the sensors make contact with an individual’s brain. They believe drones are just the beginning of brain-controlled technology that could do everything from opening doors to mowing lawns to helping disabled people.

The power of the brain could be the greatest equalizer.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, or if you’re in a wheelchair. All that matters is how much you can focus your brain waves,” says Tezza.

They will soon advertise how USF students can come to their lab and try out for the 16-member brain drone team on a simulator game they’ve designed.

They say watch social media for details on  when the try-outs will happen. In the meantime, think drones and practice focusing your brain.

Read more: http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/state-vacuum-and-famed-gorilla-moving-to-new-location

19 Dec 2018

Redesigning HR in the era of disruptive technologies

The third edition of FICCI HR Conference2018 debated and reviewed as to why a successful digital transformation sits at the heart of HR and how can the HR function be an evangelist for seeding cultural changes within organizations, and embrace the future looking technologies to successfully ride the wave of digitalization.

The digital age is moving at an unprecedented rate and is fundamentally transforming the way organizations operate while necessitating HR executives to embrace disruption and redesign their talent management strategies to succeed. Digitalization has fundamentally reshaped value chains and altered consumer behaviors and expectations be it defense, education, financial services, government services, healthcare, IT & ITES, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, telecommunications  – there is none who would, rather should be left behind. The payoffs arising out of it are phenomenal – from accelerated profitability, improved customer satisfaction to spikes in speed-to-market. But the most intriguing aspect is that this agenda is being driven from the top and is a top priority in most of the boardroom conversations.

However, it is equally important to note that any journey of successful digitalization in any organization goes beyond investment and technology. It actually rests on the most crucial function of the organization – the Human Resources. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) recently hosted its third edition of HR Conference 2018 on the theme of “Redesigning HR in the era of the disruptive technology.” The event began with an inaugural session which saw an eclectic mix of speakers including Anna Roy, Advisor (DM&A, Industry), NITI Aayog, Ranjan Mohapatra, Director HR, Indian Oil Corporation, and Sreekanth Arimanithaya, Senior Vice President, Integrated Workforce Management and India Co-Managing Director, DXC Technologies.

Digitalization has fundamentally reshaped value chains and altered consumer behaviors and expectations, and there is none who would, rather should be left behind

Speaking at the conference, Anna Roy stated that “Today the use of disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is pervasive in all sectors and verticals. Human Resource, being one of most important vertical is bringing new opportunities to the fore and giving rise to new areas, leading to better results.” And this necessitates approaching and investing in new technologies as imperative to driving digital transformation. Experts attending the event also discussed the imperative to reskill the workforce and connect with the academia and other parts of the ecosystem to ensure that companies hire the right set of people to gain competitive advantage.

The conference also touched upon the various facets of digital transformation including how technologies like AI and Machine Learning are reshaping the employee lifecycle- recruitment, workforce planning, performance management, rewards, and engagement while integrating these elements with the uberization of work. The event also saw the launch of the report titled, “Are we ready for future?” by FICCI in partnership with Helix, which highlighted HR readiness for the new digital wave. The report revealed that organizations are confident to take the digital challenge but need to put some building blocks in place to focus on strategic benefits. The report also mentioned that HR executives need to see Digital HR as a means to achieve operational efficiency and a tool for better decision making.

The third edition of FICCI HR Conference 2018 was filled with rich content mixed with power packed sessions with live examples, case studies involving practitioners, experts from across industry ensuring take away for everyone. The event reiterated the mantra that the cohesive and collective efforts of both Business and HR are crucial for transformation in the digital era.

Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/hr-industry/redesigning-hr-in-the-era-of-disruptive-technologies-20310?utm_source=peoplematters&utm_medium=interstitial&utm_campaign=learnings-of-the-day

18 Dec 2018

New AI system mimics how humans visualize and identify objects

UCLA and Stanford University engineers have demonstrated a computer system that can discover and identify the real-world objects it “sees” based on the same method of visual learning that humans use.

The system is an advance in a type of technology called “computer vision,” which enables computers to read and identify . It could be an important step toward general artificial intelligence systems—computers that learn on their own, are intuitive, make decisions based on reasoning and interact with humans in a much more human-like way. Although current AI  are increasingly powerful and capable, they are task-specific, meaning that their ability to identify what they see is limited by how much they’ve been trained and programmed by humans.

Even today’s best computer vision systems cannot create a full picture of an object after seeing only certain parts of it—and the systems can be fooled by viewing the object in an unfamiliar setting. Engineers are aiming to make computer systems with those abilities—just like humans can understand that they are looking at a dog, even if the animal is hiding behind a chair and only the paws and tail are visible. Humans, of course, can also easily intuit where the dog’s head and the rest of its body are, but that ability still eludes most artificial intelligence systems.

Current computer vision systems are not designed to learn on their own. They must be trained on exactly what to learn, usually by reviewing thousands of images in which the objects they’re trying to identify are labeled for them. Computers, of course, also can’t explain their rationale for determining what the object in a photo represents: AI-based systems don’t build an internal picture or a common-sense model of learned objects the way humans do.

The engineers’ new method, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows a way around those shortcomings.

Source: https://techxplore.com/news/2018-12-ai-mimics-humans-visualize.html 

17 Dec 2018


Artificial intelligence systems for health care have the potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, which could help ensure that patients get the right treatment at the right time, but opportunities and challenges are ahead.

In a new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, two AI experts discuss the best uses for AI in health care and outline some of the challenges for implementing the technology in hospitals and clinics.

In health care, artificial intelligence relies on the power of computers to sift through and make sense of reams of electronic data about patients—including ages, medical histories, health status, test results, medical images, DNA sequences, and many other sources of health information.

AI excels at the complex identification of patterns in these reams of data, and can do so at a scale and speed beyond human capacity. The hope is that this technology can be harnessed to help doctors and patients make better health-care decisions.

Here, the authors—Philip Payne, a professor at and director of the Institute for Informatics, and Thomas M. Maddox, a professor of medicine and director of the Health Systems Innovation Lab, both at Washington University in St. Louis—answer questions about AI, including its capabilities and limitations, and how it might change the way doctors practice.

Source: https://www.futurity.org/artificial-intelligence-medicine-1932952/ 

15 Dec 2018

Three Ways Entrepreneurs Can Use AI to Boost Their Business

The scope of artificial intelligence (AI) never ceases to intrigue the human mind. From interactive search assistants and employee management systems to self-learning user segmentation tools and complex ambient intelligence, AI has always remained a progressive technology limitless in its potential.

With recent leaps in technology, AI has forayed to the forefronts of digital marketing, creating innovative solutions to automate, organize and personalize corporate marketing, giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to improve the effectiveness of their business strategies.

In the past few years, AI’s rising demand has served as a key stimulus in its further development, to the extent that countries such as the UAE now have a dedicated ministry for AI.

While the applications of AI are innumerable, modern industry verticals crucially rely on faster, affordable and more accurate modes of marketing. By utilizing AI in digital marketing practices, entrepreneurs can benefit from higher response value from the target audience and ultimately achieve a stronger competitive edge against other online brands and e-commerce websites.

Here’s how AI has affected some of the most common online marketing practices and why entrepreneurs must leverage from them.

Improving relevancy and quality of content

With the latest AI integrations, search engines have become just as responsive in understanding user queries as identifying publisher’s intent when they upload content.

AI integrated search engines are now doing a far better job in serving that searcher intent, using deep learning algorithms to grade relevancy, reader-friendliness, and authenticity before displaying content.

This means publishers will have to generate higher quality content since its rankings predominantly depend on how well it addresses its intent to the target audience.

AI integrated search engines respond to user intent signals more authoritatively against predefined algorithms. At the same time, machine learning capabilities of search engines allow them to gather information and predict, anticipate and influence trends in content marketing. This enables content marketers to use this element and shape their content accordingly to drive desired outcomes.

Giving personalized experience to users

By utilizing AI interventions, online marketers are now able to improve engagement, extend retention, personalize user experience and boost sales. One of the most successful yet underrated techniques is search engine optimization (SEO).

Surprisingly, AI integration does not affect SEO from the traffic perspective but instead helps enhance its application on everyday online searchers simply by personalizing their experience when interacting with the brand.

AI in SEO also yields an interesting work impact by efficiently responding to the brand’s key performance indicators (KPIs) while at the same time building it a robust digital footprint in the market.

When practising SEO, data makes the most important ingredient of the AI model, helping it harness the power of user individuality and build persona-based intelligence. Since every customer demands unique treatment, AI utilizes these personas to embody their preferences and design the most fitting solutions for them.

More importantly, SEO practices come with a sound appeal, costing significantly less for longer-lasting impact against traditionally high-dollar practices.

Generating responses through deep learning

With Google’s recent updates this year, paid advertising has undergone significant changes in terms of how well an advertisement is created, optimized and displayed.

AdWords campaigns no longer require humanized optimization and are managed through Google’s own machine learning algorithms. Not only does Google modify the appearance of the campaigns precisely according to geographical, demographical and socioeconomic components, but also integrates the millions of search signals they already have.

Apart from modifying campaign appearance, AI will also serve an imperative role in improving the advertiser-customer relationship by facilitating interaction through deep learning. It works by capturing essential patterns to filter out the most predominant characteristics, which are then used in differentiating users into segments.

For example, when a customer from a particular segment interacts through the landing page, the chatbot will examine the data to generate a response precisely according to his or her preferences. This not only strengthens the advertiser-customer relationship but also grades the quality of the lead.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324586

10 Dec 2018
Manahel Thabet

MSPs Must Prepare For These Three Most-Disruptive Technologies

The world’s three most-disruptive technologies are changing the game and creating a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for solution providers that can help customers embrace that change, says futurist Ian Kahn.

The world’s three most-disruptive technologies will “drive the future” and create unprecedented opportunities for managed service providers willing to explore new practices and vendor alliances, said Ian Kahn, a well-known futurist, speaking to attendees of the of the NexGen 2018 Conference & Expo.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things—all technologies powered by the cloud—are evolving at a mind-bogglingly rapid pace, disrupting not only industries and markets, but dinner table conversations, Kahn said Sunday at the event hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company in Anaheim, Calif.

“I suggest that you think about the future based on these three technologies,” Khan told the cloud-focused partners in the audience.

The never-before-seen pace of innovation has humanity on a trajectory where, within a few decades, computers will surpass the “thinking power” of all human beings, changing the world in more ways than most of us can imagine.

“As technologists, we have to accept this and help our customers understand that change is happening really, really fast,” he said.

That process might be as basic as convincing those customers it’s time to adopt cloud computing, he said.

“We have to be ready for this era … we are the ones responsible for this era,” he said.

Artificial intelligence, both in augmenting and automating human tasks, is gaining attention for use cases such as self-driving cars and natural-language comprehension.

For MSPs, that technology, still in its early days, can deliver faster customer service, conflict resolution, Service Level Agreement management and other business-enabling capabilities.

But so far, only about 1 to 2 percent of the industry has embraced AI to power its own operations, Khan said.

“All here should be first to raise hands and say ‘we’re experimenting with it,'” he told NexGen attendees. “Before we sell it to our clients, we take the plunge.”

Blockchain, another technology disrupting the world, should allow everyone “to take a deep breath,” Khan said.

“Blockchain is about creating peace of mind,” he said of the technology poised to revolutionize shipping and logistics, infrastructure management, financial services, and food chain safety and reliability.

Blockchain, as opposed to traditional databases, replicates information across its network, enabling trust. The technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin delivers a “central thread of truth that binds all different data points together,” he said, “and that was missing in the past.”

Most MSPs, however, aren’t doing anything with blockchain just yet, and rightfully so.

It’s “too new, too disruptive, too complex,” Khan said.

They should be prepared for that to change, however, with many different things happening relevant to services providers, including large vendors introducing blockchain-as-a-service solutions.

“You might see a lot more happening in that space,” Khan told NexGen attendees. “There are still many unknowns that we need to figure out.”

The Internet of Things is another disruptor that poses a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for the channel.

The technology driving a massive flow of data from connected devices is growing to a combined market of $520 billion by 2021—and that involves a $79 billion managed services play.

“That’s a good amount of business that you can be part of,” Khan said.

As all those changes are happening, MSPs must pick their targets.

“You can’t be on top of all of them,” Khan said, “It’s impossible.”

Instead, the channel must work collaboratively and collectively, Khan said.

“With peers and competition and industry, we have to work together in a way we’ve never done before,” he told NexGen attendees.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, told CRN that Kahn’s presentation highlighted how “trust is moving from people and organizations to technologies.”

“This creates opportunities but also risk,” Falcon told.

And adoption of those three disruptive technologies has a broader impact than simply business, Falcon said.

“It is societal and will require a renewed focus on ethics,” Falcon said.

Mark Fielding, partners and sales, at Vation Ventures, a Denver-based channel strategy firm that advises enterprise tech vendors and solution providers, said he sees the need for MSPs to find sufficient time to invest in exploring emerging technologies.

MSPs and VARs need to “find ways to take pragmatic steps to innovate for their clients,” he said.

“It’s not an overnight process,” Fielding said. “They need to understand how emerging tech relates to their clients specifically, how it addresses their clients’ needs,” Fielding said.

Nevertheless, with technology evolving so fast, solution providers have to move as quickly as possible, Khan said.

“If you’re doing that, you will be highly successful,” Khan said.

Source: https://www.crn.com/news/running-your-business/msps-must-prepare-for-these-three-most-disruptive-technologies

09 Dec 2018
The Five Most Worrying Trends in Artificial Intelligence RigThe Five Most Worrying Trends in Artificial Intelligence Right Nowht Now

The Five Most Worrying Trends in Artificial Intelligence Right Now

Artificial intelligence is already beginning to spiral out of our control, a new report from top researchers warns. Not so much in a Skynet kind of sense, but more in a ‘technology companies and governments are already using AI in ways that amp up surveillance and further marginalize vulnerable populations’ kind of way.

On Thursday, the AI Now Institute, which is affiliated with New York University and is home to top AI researchers with Google and Microsoft, released a report detailing, essentially, the state of AI in 2018, and the raft of disconcerting trends unfolding in the field. What we broadly define as AI—machine learning, automated systems, etc.—is currently being developed faster than our regulatory system is prepared to handle, the report says. And it threatens to consolidate power in the tech companies and oppressive governments that deploy AI while rendering just about everyone else more vulnerable to its biases, capacities for surveillance, and myriad dysfunctions.

The report contains 10 recommendations for policymakers, all of which seem sound, as well as a diagnosis of the most potentially destructive trends. “Governments need to regulate AI,” the first recommendation exhorts, “by expanding the powers of sector-specific agencies to oversee, audit, and monitor these technologies by domain.” One massive Department of AI or such that attempts to regulate the field writ large won’t cut it, researchers warn—the report suggests regulators follow examples like the one set by the Federal Aviation Administration and tackle AI as it manifests field by field.

But it also conveys a the succinct assessment of the key problem areas in AI as they stand in 2018. As detailed by AI Now, they are:

  1. The accountability gap between those who build the AI systems (and profit off of them) and those who stand to be impacted by the systems (you and me) is growing. Don’t like the idea of being subjected to artificially intelligent systems that harvest your personal data or determine various outcomes for you? Too bad! The report finds that the recourse most public citizens have to address the very artificially intelligent systems that may impact them is shrinking, not growing.
  2. AI is being used to amplify surveillance, often in horrifying ways. If you think the surveillance capacities of facial recognition technology are disturbing, wait till you see its even less scrupulous cousin, affect recognition. The Intercept’s Sam Biddle has a good write-up of the report’s treatment of affect recognition, which is basically modernized phrenology, practiced in real time.
  3. The government is embracing autonomous decision software in the name of cost-savings, but these systems are often a disaster for the disadvantaged. From systems that purport to streamline benefits application processes online to those that claim to be able to determine who’s eligible for housing, so-called ADS systems are capable of uploading bias and erroneously rejecting applicants on baseless grounds. As Virginia Eubanks details in her book Automating Inequality, the people these systems fail are those who are least able to muster the time and resources necessary to address them.
  4. AI testing “in the wild” is rampant already. “Silicon Valley is known for its ‘move fast and break things’ mentality,” the report notes, and that is leading to companies testing AI systems in the public sector—or releasing them into the consumer space outright—without substantial oversight. The recent track record of Facebook—the original move fast, break thingser and AI evangelist—alone is example enough of why this strategy can prove disastrous.
  5. Technological fixes to biased or problematic AI systems are proving inadequate. Google made waves when it announced it was tackling the ethics of machine learning, but efforts like these are already proving too narrow and technically oriented. Engineers tend to think they can fix engineering problems with, well, more engineering. But what is really required, the report argues, is a much deeper understanding of the history and social contexts of the datasets AI systems are trained on.

Read more: https://gizmodo.com/the-five-most-worrying-trends-in-artificial-intelligenc-1830945466