The Briefing on Artificial Intelligence

The latest news, trends and data in AI and automation

In Data:

AI News in Numbers


The percentage of banks that have now deployed artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, according to research by Squirro. The financial services industry has seen considerable upheaval from AI, particularly in retail banking where automation has been rife.


The amount of public funding France is putting into artificial intelligence in order to compete with the US and China as part of wider AI strategy. The plans were announced by President Emmanuel Macron at the end of March.


The percentage of people who would entrust the management of their private data to a bot, according to a survey by HERE Technologies. The survey, which saw the input of 8,000 people across eight countries, also found that just 20% of people feel they currently have full control over their personal location data.


The year there will be more robots than humans on earth, according to research by Futurizon’s Dr Ian Pearson. He also found that the production of robots would increase by 20% each year.



The amount pharmaceutical company BenevolentAI has been valued at as part of a funding round that has seen the company raise $115m. The company, which uses AI to identify new drug candidates, has over 20 drugs currently in development.


The amount raised by Sinovation Ventures to invest in Chinese AI startups. The venture capital firm, which was co-founded by former Google China head Kai-Fu Lee, has also attracted a $50m investment from Spanish bank BBVA.

Top Stories

The Key Moments in Artificial Intelligence This Month

World Bank Recommends End to Minimum Wage

A draft report by the World Bank has suggested that employers be given the option to opt out of minimum wage laws in order to maintain competition with AI and robots. The bank suggests that this would allow more flexible employment, making humans a more competitive option, but has drawn sharp criticism from unions.

Source: Business Insider

Scientists Outline Plans for European AI Hub

Leading scientists have called for the establishment of a multinational institute in Europe dedicated to world-class AI research. The hub, which has been likened to the particle physics lab Cern, would combat the brain drain currently experienced by the continent, with many of the best AI researchers being attracted to the US.

Source: The Guardian

Apple Appoints Former Google Exec as AI Chief

Apple has hired John Giannandrea, the former top executive in artificial intelligence at Google, to lead its artificial intelligence efforts. The appointment is widely being seen as a bid to correct the company’s lagging AI efforts, with many seeing it fall behind despite the success and early launch of voice assistant Siri.

Source: Reuters

Major Chinese Retailer Predicts 100% Automation in Sector

Human workers will eventually be completely replaced within retail, according to the chief executive of leading Chinese e-commerce company During a talk at the World Retail Congress in Madrid, Richard Liu predicted that AI and robotics would eventually see humans  eliminated from the industry.

Source: The Economic Times

Automation in Action

The latest companies to use AI to streamline their workforce

UK’s Shop Direct to Automate Warehouse Roles

Shop Direct, the retailer behind brands including Littlewoods and, has announced that it will be closing three warehouses ahead of the establishment of an automated warehouse, which is set to open in 2020. The closures will see around 2,000 jobs being eliminated, while the new warehouse will create approximately 500 jobs.

Source: The Independent

Cognizant Set to Lay Off 6,000 Indian Workers

IT services company Cognizant is reportedly set to lay off around 6,000 workers in India, particularly across entry-level roles, as a result of automation. The firm is just the latest in a long line of companies to make similar moves in the country, with 94,000 Indian jobs set to be lost to technology by 2021.

Source: Firstpost

Tesla Suspends Assembly Line After Bungled Automation

Carmaker Tesla was forced to suspend its Model 3 assembly line after an aggressive plan to automate production went awry. Following layoffs, the company ceased hiring at the plant, but has reportedly been forced to rethink its approach after automating more than critics say is practical within the industry.

Source: Thinknum

Snapchat Announces Multiple Layoff Rounds

Snap Inc, the company behind social media app Snapchat, announced multiple rounds of layoffs in March, first in engineering and then in advertising and sales. The layoffs follow the introduction of an automated ad sales system last year, which reduced the number of workers needed to build high-value ads.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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