The latest news from the artificial intelligence industry

6 October 2017

Automation may be a good thing for gender equality in the workplace

According to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), called The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle, “Automation is more likely to replace less skilled jobs, giving women an advantage since they now outperform men on most measures of educational attainment.”

The OECD expect that despite women being paid roughly 15% less than men, and being more likely to work part time, they typically spend longer in education and skilled workers are at less risk of automation.

About 5% of workers with a degree are at a high risk of losing their job due to automation, on average, compared to 40% of workers with a high-school education.

An analysis of jobs gained and lost over the last 15 years shows the majority of job growth has been on the high-skill end, and women have benefited from this more than men.

According to the report, the risk of automation has commonly been associated with male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing.

Other female-dominated sectors, such as education, social work, and health care, have a lower risk of job automation, though there are still expected to be extensive job losses.

4 October 2017

Academics agree to collaborate to ensure artificial intelligence serves the public interest

A new artificial intelligence organisation has been announced that is aiming to ensure that it is the public who benefits from AI technology.

ADA-AI has been formed by the all-female technology and science strategy team InspiredMinds to evaluate, develop and lobby policy and regulation concepts in AI.

“Our mission is to harness the positive potential outcomes of AI in society, the economy and everyday life in order to protect the interests of the public at large, particularly the groups who are underrepresented or at-risk,” said Sarah Porter, CEO of InspiredMinds.

“Nearly every day there is a new story on AI or advancements in the sector and this can sometimes be conflicting. The public need to be represented in an efficient way by the  same individuals who are working and understand the AI space, which is why we’ve decided to found ADA-AI.”

ADA-AI is to be comprised of 25 of the world’s most prolific AI advisers, most of whom will be announced at World Summit AI in Amsterdam.

The group’s first meeting will be chaired by Gary Marcus who is a professor at New York University, as well as the founder of Geometric Intelligence, which is the AI company recently acquired by Uber.

4 October 2017

Microsoft’s director of financial services: the future of fintech lies in AI

As he was gearing up to make at speech at Lendit Europe 2017, Richard Peers, Microsoft’s director of financial services, spoke to Verdict about the rise and future of fintech, and gave his thoughts on artificial intelligence.

“If I was coming into fintech now, I’d go into AI. We have these huge volumes of data being put through the system that no human being with a spreadsheet can read over it, infer the outcome, and respond to it quickly enough,” said Peers.

“One of the many applications [is when] people can utilise those capabilities of AI and turn that into services which create a whole new sense of value, new revenue pools, and new jobs.

“I know everyone focuses on the negative side of it – but when I started there was no tech industry. Now it’s enormous, and I think we will see new jobs around AI over the next few years that nobody has even thought of.”

7 September 2017

IBM and MIT plot 10 year, $240m partnership to advance artificial intelligence

Two pioneers of artificial intelligence research, IBM and MIT, have announced that they will combine forces and create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab.

IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment in the new lab, which will aim to advance AI hardware, software, and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas; increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity; and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.

“I am delighted by this new collaboration,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

“True breakthroughs are often the result of fresh thinking inspired by new kinds of research teams. The combined MIT and IBM talent dedicated to this new effort will bring formidable power to a field with staggering potential to advance knowledge and help solve important challenges.”

The new lab will utilise the talent of more than 100 AI scientists, professors, and students to pursue joint research at IBM’s Research Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts and on the neighbouring MIT campus.

In addition to research, a distinct objective of the new lab will be to encourage MIT faculty and students to launch companies that will focus on commercialising AI inventions and technologies that are developed at the lab. The lab’s scientists will though publish their work, contribute to the release of open source material, and foster an adherence to the ethical application of AI.

21 August 2017​​​​​​​

Amid fears over AI weaponry, experts are calling for a ban on killer robots

According to an open letter posted by the Future of Life Institute, artificial intelligence poses a huge threat to humanity.

Backed by 116 leaders in the AI industry, including Tesla creator Elon Musk and the co-founder of DeepMind Mustafa Suleyman, the letter calls for the United Nations to ban the development and use of AI weaponry, insisting that the technology is a “Pandora’s box” that will be hard to close once open.

“Once developed, they will permit armed conflicts to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” reads the letter.

Many fear that these technologies would care less about human issues, such as loss of life or damage to infrastructure, resulting in a greater number of wars and casualties.

Experts believe that AI weapons could be deployed within the next decade if permitted.

10 August 2017

Starbucks wants to predict your coffee buying habits with artificial intelligence

Starbucks is going to start using artificial intelligence and will roll out a new cloud-based program called Digital Flywheel to its mobile app in the Autumn.

The program will analyse what Starbucks’ loyalty members buy to predict what they’re likely to buy in the future.

It will then make suggestions based on history of mobile ordering, weather conditions, time of the day and week, and if it’s your birthday.

Starbucks also hopes it will mean people make more impulse purchases.

The increase in people using their phone to order online has triggered a trend of using AI and customer data and will grow as businesses automate how people order coffee.

Starbucks’ AI program heavily relies on calculating probability of choices based on order history as well as occasions and temperature.

For example, people are more likely to choose coffee on a Monday morning, and hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day.