Category: Artificial Intelligence

How to detect unwanted bias in machine learning models


In 2016, the World Economic Forum claimed we are experiencing the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution: automation using cyber-physical systems. Key elements of this wave include machine intelligence, blockchain-based decentralized governance, and genome editing. As has been the case with previous waves, these technologies reduce the need for human labor but pose new ethical challenges, especially for artificial intelligence development companies and their clients. The purpose of this article is to review recent ideas on detecting and mitigating unwanted bias in machine learning models. We will discuss recently created guidelines around trustworthy AI, review examples of AI bias arising…

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Autonomous cars won’t prevent as many accidents as we’ve been told, study says


Some 94% of vehicle crashes are caused by humans. This figure is often touted by autonomous vehicle developers when they try to promote the potential value in their tech. It sounds logical: remove humans and road safety will improve dramatically. However, the improvements might not be as dramatic as we’d hope for. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only one third of vehicle accidents will be avoided if we pivot to autonomous cars or “robotaxis,” AP reports. The main benefits of autonomous vehicles are that they can’t get drunk or sleepy and can…

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Scientists built an AI to discover new stars in the quest to explain our galaxy’s origin


An AI system has spotted thousands of new stars that could hold clues about the formation of the Milky Way. Researchers from Leeds University made the discovery by analyzing images collected by the Gaia satellite, which the European Space Agency launched in 2013 to create a 3D map of our galaxy. After applying machine learning techniques to the data, they found more than 2,000 new protostars — infant stars that form in clouds of gas and dust in space. Scientists had previously cataloged only 100 of these stars, which have already provided enormous insights into how celestial objects form. The newly-identified stars will deepen their understanding [Read: AI…

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California blocks bill that could’ve led to a facial recognition police-state


As images of police brutality flashed across our screens this week, Californian lawmakers were considering a bill that would have expanded facial recognition surveillance across the state. Yesterday, following a prolonged campaign by a civil rights coalition, the legislators blocked the bill. The Microsoft-backed bill had been introduced by Assemblyman Ed Chau, who argued it would regulate the use of the tech by commercial and public entities. But the ACLU warned that it was an “endorsement of invasive surveillance” that would allow law enforcement agencies and tech firms to self-regulate their use of the tech. [Read: Masks won’t protect you from facial recognition] Chau claimed that the bill would help…

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AI conference NeurIPS extends paper submission deadline amid BLM protests


The deadline for AI mega-conference NeurIPS has been extended by 48 hours, to give people affected by the ongoing protests in the US more time to finish off their papers.  The new deadline for submissions to the conference, which starts December 5, is 1pm PDT on Friday, June 5. In its announcement of the extension, the NeurIPS board said: Today, NeurIPS grieves for its Black community members devastated by the cycle of police and vigilante violence.Today, NeurIPS mourns for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and thousands of Black people who have lost their lives to this violence.Today, NeurIPS stands…

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The BBC has launched a digital assistant to take on Alexa — but Amazon won’t be worried


The BBC has launched an early version of a voice assistant called Beeb, which it’s given a male voice to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes. Beeb can access the broadcaster’s radio, music, podcasts, news, and weather services. It was built with Microsoft’s AI tech and is being tested on PCs by members of the Windows Insider Program ahead of a wider roll-out. Notably, the BBC has eschewed the trend for giving digital assistants female voices — another example of how tech amplifies social prejudices. It also speaks in a northern English accent, a refreshing departure from the cut-glass accent of “educated south-eastern England” that’s so…

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How certification can promote responsible innovation in the algorithmic age


In an age of more and more powerful autonomous and intelligent systems (A/IS), how does industry retain trust with its customers? Hardly any means has been available to organizations for credibly communicating to their customers—and maybe even their own employees—the trustworthiness of their operations and use of A/IS. In the absence of such a method, often uninformed fear, uncertainty, and doubt of A/IS has festered. Moving forward, concerns about the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence and A/IS and lack of trust could hold back the advancement of revolutionary technologies with tremendous, far-reaching potential for benefiting humanity—across application areas such as improving disease…

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Under duress


Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here. These are dark days for democracy. It hardly feels like the time to address anything other than the brutal murder of George Floyd and the ongoing horrors occurring in the US, but the COVID-19 pandemic is no less dangerous today than it was a week ago. In fact, the selfish actions of impeached US President Donald Trump have surely exacerbated the pandemic and arrested the science and technology world’s ability to address the…

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Can a robot decide my medical treatment?


In an attempt to manage soaring health care costs, some government officials and health care companies are turning to algorithms to determine how to allocate limited benefits, who to provide care to first, or whether a person should receive care at all. The intent behind those tools might be reasonable, but critics of the automated decision-making systems say they can amplify the damage of errors, and entrench bias, with sometimes severe consequences. What could go wrong?  Here’s one example: In 2016, Arkansas turned to an algorithmic tool to manage health benefits for people on a state disability program that provided…

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All you need to know about symbolic artificial intelligence


Today, artificial intelligence is mostly about artificial neural networks and deep learning. But this is not how it always was. In fact, for most of its six-decade history, the field was dominated by symbolic artificial intelligence, also known as “classical AI,” “rule-based AI,” and “good old-fashioned AI.” Symbolic AI involves the explicit embedding of human knowledge and behavior rules into computer programs. The practice showed a lot of promise in the early decades of AI research. But in recent years, as neural networks, also known as connectionist AI, gained traction, symbolic AI has fallen by the wayside. The role of symbols in artificial…

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