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Most people worry robots will replace human jobs, just not their own

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Robots may be driving cars, appealing tickets, and working construction, but they don’t have a whole lot of popular support.

That’s according to a new Pew Research study Wednesday that found around twice as many people were worried rather than enthusiastic about the prospect of more automation and artificial intelligence. Around a third of people surveyed welcomed these potential job killers, while 72 percent had a dimmer view.

This makes sense; most people work jobs that could one day be displaced by robots, according to various studies. And while some experts argue that more technology could create more jobs than it kills, it’s understandable to be wary of any economic sea change. Read more…

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Where human intelligence outperforms AI

 With every new trend comes a counter-trend. And so despite the current excitement over the wonders of artificial intelligence, one company is betting that human intelligence can still deliver solutions for businesses that AI cannot hope to match. Article One Partners (AOP) is a crowdsourced network of over 42,000 researchers in 170 countries — 42% of whom have graduate degrees in a… Read More

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Adobe wants to make every online retailer more analytical

 In its most recent earnings report, Adobe reported record revenue, but CEO Shantanu Narayen admitted he was a bit disappointed with the Experience Cloud results. That’s the part of Adobe that includes the Analytics Cloud. Today, the company is announcing an update to the analytics product aimed specifically at the lucrative retail/ecommerce market. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence.… Read More

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Zoom brings a dash of augmented reality and artificial intelligence to meetings in latest release

 At Zoomtopia, Zoom’s very first user conference this week, the company announced a series of enhancements to its popular meeting software including the introduction of augmented reality meetings, automated intelligent transcripts and full integration with several partners including Slack and Workplace by Facebook. Let’s start with AR. While it’s a limited feature for now, it… Read More

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Microsoft launches new machine learning tools

 Microsoft, just like many of its competitors, has gone all in on machine learning. That emphasis is on full display at the company’s Ignite conference this where, where the company today announced a number of new tools for developers who want to build new A.I. models and users who simply want to make use of these pre-existing models — either from their own teams or from Microsoft.… Read More

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Facebook AI researchers are teaching bots to have human-like expressions

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Facebook doesn’t just want its AI-trained bots to know how humans speak—it wants them to understand our faces, too. 

In a newly published paper, the company’s AI researchers detail their efforts to train a bot to mimic human facial expressions during a conversation. 

The researchers trained the bots using a series of YouTube videos of people having Skype conversations where each participant’s face was clearly visible. They then used these videos as training data for their AI system.

Notably, the researchers didn’t teach the bot to recognize a particular type of expression, or the emotions associated with them, like “happy” or “sad.” Instead, they trained the system to recognize subtle patterns in users’ faces. These patterns, sometimes referred to as “micro expressions,” tend to be similar in everyone, even though our faces may look very different. Read more…

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Y Combinator takes machine intelligence startups to school and learns a thing or two

 Machine intelligence startups are the black sheep of the startup world. The new kids on the block are challenging investors to do their technical homework and differentiate themselves in intentional ways. Y Combinator joined a growing list of investors offering exclusive services to these companies in a specialized AI track for its latest S17 batch of startups.
In the competitive world of… Read More

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Robot performing Japanese funeral rites shows no one’s job is safe

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When the robot apocalypse comes, robots will be there to say a prayer over your frail human remains, thanks to Japan’s Softbank

That’s the message from this week’s Tokyo Int’l Funeral & Cemetery Show, where Softbank’s Pepper robot demonstrated its ability to perform Buddhist funeral rites. 

Draped in traditional Japanese funeral garb, Pepper not only presided over a faux death ceremony, it also chanted Buddhist sutras, taking over the usual role of a human monk during such ceremonies. 

So far, Pepper isn’t actually performing any real funeral rites, but Japan’s Nissei Eco developed the funeral software for Pepper as an alternative when a Buddhist monk isn’t available, or when the family can’t afford the more expensive human practitioner (the service will cost about $450 versus the thousands of dollars usually spent for a human, according to CNBC).  Read more…

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Tech

Google releases millions of bad drawings for you (and your AI) to paw through

 Back in November, Google showcased a few of its funky machine learning experiments, and among them was Quick, Draw! (their bang, not mine) — a game where you sketch something and an image recognition system guesses what it is. Now the company is releasing the millions upon millions of sketches players submitted as an open data set for AI developers to play with. Read More

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Microsoft Brainwave aims to accelerate deep learning with FPGAs

 This afternoon Microsoft announced Brainwave, an FPGA-based system for ultra-low latency deep learning in the cloud. Early benchmarking indicates that when using Intel Stratix 10 FPGAs, Brainwave can sustain 39.5 Teraflops on a large gated recurrent unit without any batching. Microsoft has been pouring resources into FPGAs for a while now, deploying large clusters of the field-programmable… Read More

Business

‘Dota 2’ pro destroyed by AI player from an Elon Musk start-up

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Elon Musk, noted artificial intelligence worrywart, backs the tech firm behind a robot brain that was smart enough to take down a Dota 2 pro this week.

The showdown took the form of an exhibition match staged on Friday at The International 2017, an annual esports tournament. OpenAI’s Dota 2 bot faced off in a series of 1v1 matches against Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, a member of the top-tier team Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) since 2015.

It wasn’t even close.

The AI raced its way to two dominant victories before the exhibition ended. It was supposed to be a best-of-five series, but Dendi didn’t wait that long to admit defeat. Read more…

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Google writes a $50 million check to prep the world’s workers for the rise of its robots

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Google’s philanthropic arm is launching a multimillion-dollar effort to aid workers impacted by some of the tech championed by its parent company.

Google.org said Wednesday that it’s set aside $50 million to fund nonprofits focused on teaching new job skills and supporting low-wage earners in preparation for advances in automation and artificial intelligence that could upend many of the world’s labor markets. 

“We want to make sure that as many people as possible can make the most of the new jobs, industries and opportunities that are emerging—some of which we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago,” Google.org president Jacquelline Fuller wrote in a blog post announcing the endeavor. Read more…

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