artificial intelligence

‘The next frontier in tech policy:’ IBM pushes business to help government develop A.I. anti-bias rules

IBM called for rules aimed at eliminating bias in artificial intelligence to ease concerns that the technology relies on data that bakes in past discriminatory practices and could harm women, minorities, the disabled, older Americans and others. As it seeks to define a growing debate in the U.S. and Europe over how to regulate the burgeoning industry, IBM urged industry and governments to jointly develop standards to measure and combat potential discrimination. The Armonk, New York-based company issued policy proposals Tuesday ahead of a Wednesday panel on AI to be led by Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The initiative is designed to find a consensus on rules that may be stricter than what industry alone might produce, but that ar...

‘A.I. needs to be regulated:’ Google CEO calls for coordinated U.S.-EU rules

Alphabet Inc.’s chief executive officer urged the U.S. and European Union to coordinate regulatory approaches on artificial intelligence, calling their alignment “critical.” In a rare public speech in Brussels at an event hosted by European economic think tank Bruegel on Monday, Sundar Pichai, who is also CEO of Google, said “there is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated,” but that “we don’t have to start from scratch” with entirely new rules in some cases. The comments come weeks before the EU is set to unveil its plans to legislate the technology, which could include new legally binding requirements for AI developers in “high-risk sectors,” such as healthcare and transport, according to an early draft obtained by Bloomberg. The new...

A.I. breakthroughs in natural-language processing are big for business

This article is part of a Fortune Special Report on Artificial Intelligence. In October, Google announced the biggest change to the way its search engine works in five years. Given its centrality to Google’s business, the tech giant doesn’t tinker with its search algorithm lightly. But the new algorithm added capabilities Google had been trying to achieve for years without success. Thanks to the overhaul, the algorithm finally understands how prepositions, such as “for” and “to,” alter meaning. A search for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa” no longer returns, as it did previously, irrelevant results about Brazilian visa requirements for U.S. visitors. Searching “Can you get medicine for someone at the pharmacy” now returns results specifically related to picking up another person’s...

A.I. in China: TikTok is just the beginning

This article is part of a Fortune Special Report on Artificial Intelligence. Andy Warhol was wrong. The pop artist famously asserted that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. But what Warhol failed to imagine back in the 1960s was TikTok, the dangerously addictive video-sharing app that today doles out global renown in 15-second increments.  With some 1.5 billion downloads worldwide—including 124 million in the U.S. as of November—TikTok is racing ahead in the battle for eyeballs, where its short clips compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In the world of TikTok, a group of tweens doing a choreographed dance routine can go viral overnight; a dancing ferret can garner millions of likes; or a clip of a man shaking his groov...

Europe is mulling tough new limits on the use of facial recognition and A.I.

The European Union is considering new legally binding requirements for developers of artificial intelligence in an effort to ensure modern technology is developed and used in an ethical way. The EU’s executive arm is set to propose the new rules apply to “high-risk sectors,” such as healthcare and transport, and suggest the bloc updates safety and liability laws, according to a draft of a so-called “white paper” on artificial intelligence obtained by Bloomberg. The European Commission is due to unveil the paper in mid-February and the final version is likely to change. The paper is part of the EU’s broader effort to catch up to the U.S. and China on advancements in AI, but in a way that promotes European values such as user privacy. While some critics have long argued t...

Critics Say Facebook’s Measures to Limit Manipulated Videos Are Insufficient

Facebook (courtesy of www.thoughtcatalog.com/Stock Catalog Flickrstream) In a blog post on Monday, Facebook described its first measures to combat the spread of “deepfakes,” videos that have been manipulated using artificial intelligence or machine learning to depict situations that never happened. The company announced it will remove any content that has been edited or synthesized in misleading ways, beyond adjustments for audio quality and clarity, where an average user would not be able to discern alterations. The post also said Facebook will take steps to investigate and expose the videos’ creators. Critics of the measures, however, are concerned that Facebook’s policy does not ban AI-manipulated media in its totality and allows for significant loopholes; for ex...

Adobe CTO says AI will ‘democratize’ creative tools

Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis sees a shift happening. A shift in how people share content and who wants to use creative tools. A shift in how users expect these tools to work — especially how much time they take to learn and how quickly they get things done. I spoke with Parasnis in December to learn more about where Adobe’s products are going and how they’ll get there — even if it means rethinking how it all works today. “What could we build that makes today’s Photoshop, or today’s Premiere, or today’s Illustrator look irrelevant five years from now?” he asked. In many cases, that means a lot more artificial intelligence; AI to flatten the learning curve, allowing the user to command apps like Photoshop not only by digging through menus, but by literal...

Oceans of opportunity: surveying 2020’s seafaring startup potential

Space attracts a lot of attention as an area of frontier tech investment and entrepreneurship, but there’s another vast expanse that could actually be more addressable by the innovation economy — Earth’s oceans. Seafaring startups aren’t attracting quite as much attention as their spacefaring cousins, but 2019 still saw a flurry of activity in this sector and 2020 could be an even big year for everything aquatic. Sounding the depths of data collection One big similarity between space tech and seafaring opportunities is that data collection represents a significant percent of the potential market. Data collection in and around Earth’s oceans has increased dramatically in recent years thanks to the availability, efficacy and cost of sensor technologies — in 2017, it w...

Snapchat quietly acquired AI Factory, the company behind its new Cameos feature, for $166M

After acquiring Ukraine startup Looksery in 2015 to supercharge animated selfie lenses in Snapchat — arguably changing the filters game for all social video and photo apps — Snap has made another acquisition with roots in the country, co-founded by one of Looksery’s founders, to give a big boost to its video capabilities. The company has acquired AI Factory, a computer vision startup that Snap had worked with to create Snapchat’s new Cameos animated selfie-based video feature, for a price believed to be in the region of $166 million. The news was first reported by a Ukrainian publication AIN, and while I’m still waiting for a direct reply from Snap about the acquisition, I’ve had the news confirmed by another source close to the deal. Snap also confirmed the news to...

Exhibit your startup at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020

Mobility mavericks, get ready to strut your stuff at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 on May 14. Don’t miss our second annual day-long conference devoted to technologies that move people and parcels around the world in new, exciting ways. More than 1,000 of the industry’s mightiest minds, makers, innovators and investors will converge in San Jose for a mobile mind meld. That spells opportunity for early-stage mobility startup founders. Buy an Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package and plant your company in front of the influencers who can drive your mobility dreams to the next level. Whether you’re racing to perfect autonomous vehicles or flying cars, developing AI-based applications, focused on improving battery technology — or you want to recruit a few brilliant engineers — exhibiting at TC Ses...

Ex-Google policy chief dumps on the tech giant for dodging human rights

Google’s ex-head of international relations, Ross LaJeunesse — who clocked up more than a decade working government and policy-related roles for the tech giant before departing last year — has become the latest (former) Googler to lay into the company for falling short of its erstwhile “don’t be evil” corporate motto. Worth noting right off the bat: LaJeunesse is making his own pitch to be elected as a U.S. senator for the Democrats in Maine, where he’s pitting himself against the sitting Republican, Susan Collins. So this lengthy blog post, in which he sets out reasons for joining (“making the world better and more equal”) and — at long last — exiting Google does look like an exercise in New Year reputation “exfoliati...

InsightFinder gets a $2M seed to automate outage prevention

InsightFinder, a startup from North Carolina based on 15 years of academic research, wants to bring machine learning to system monitoring to automatically identify and fix common issues. Today, the company announced a $2 million seed round. ​IDEA Fund Partners, a VC out of Durham, N.C.,​ led the round, with participation from ​Eight Roads Ventures​ and Acadia Woods Partners. The company was founded by North Carolina State University professor Helen Gu, who spent 15 years researching this problem before launching the startup in 2015. Gu also announced that she had brought on former Distil Networks co-founder and CEO Rami Essaid to be chief operating officer. Essaid, who sold his company earlier this year, says his new company focuses on taking a proactive approach to application and infrast...