News

AI-Powered Biotech to Deploy Vaccines in Record Time

Posted by Peter Rudin on 29. May 2020 in News No Comments

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will largely depend on how quickly safe and effective vaccines can be developed and tested. Some believe that it will take 12- to 18-months. The best bet to reduce that record-breaking timeline is by using artificial intelligence.

AI simulations have the potential to test all the trillions of possibilities with tens of thousands of (simulated) patients for a (simulated) period of many years and do all of this in a matter of hours or days.

Amplifying progress in creating new medications for diseases is among the most profound near-term objectives of AI, but it will also be enormously valuable when the next pandemic strikes. Deploying an effective cure in weeks could save millions of lives.

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DeepMind Compares the Way Children and AI Explore

Posted by Peter Rudin on 15. May 2020 in News No Comments

In a preprint paper, researchers at Alphabet’s DeepMind and the University of California, Berkeley propose a framework for comparing the ways children and AI learn about the world.

Exploration is a key feature of human behavior, and recent evidence suggests children explore their surroundings more often than adults. This is thought to translate to more learning that enables powerful, abstract task generalization — a type of generalization AI agents could tangibly benefit from.

The work could help close the gap between AI and humans when it comes to acquiring new abilities. For instance, it might lead to robots that can pick and pack millions of different kinds of products while avoiding various obstacles.

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Seeing each other in times of Covid-19

Posted by Peter Rudin on 1. May 2020 in News No Comments

Markus Gross, Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Computer Graphics Laboratory at ETH Zurich, is convinced that there are better technologies available than today’s video conference systems.

Many commercial products are already on the market. However, these are more an improved version of existing telepresence tools than a real technological breakthrough that would change our lives for the better.

The pandemic has made teleconferencing tools an irrevocable part of our professional and personal lives, and we need fast and usable solutions.

For a foretaste of what will come, look at Microsoft’s Room2Room project and its holoportation platform, or the digital avatars from Facebook Reality Labs.

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AI Experts Battle Over the Technology’s Future

Posted by Peter Rudin on 17. April 2020 in News No Comments

Since the 1950s, artificial intelligence has repeatedly overpromised and underdelivered. While recent years have seen incredible leaps, AI today is still narrow: it cannot generalize to adapt to changing environments and is riddled with bias. All these challenges make the technology difficult to trust and limit its potential to benefit society.

On March 26 at MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech Digital event, two prominent figures in AI took to the virtual stage to debate how the field might overcome these issues:

Gary Marcus, professor emeritus at NYU, a well-known critic of deep learning and Danny Lange, vice president of AI and machine learning at Unity, a strong proponent of deep learning.

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Device brings Silicon Computing Power to Brain Research

Posted by Peter Rudin on 3. April 2020 in News No Comments

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new device for connecting the brain directly to silicon-based technologies. While brain-machine interface devices already exist, this latest device can record more data while being less intrusive than existing options.

“Electrical activity is one of the highest-resolution ways of looking at brain activity,” said Nick Melosh, professor at Stanford and co-senior author of the paper. “With this microwire array, we can see what’s happening on the single-neuron level.”

If applied broadly, this technology will greatly excel our understanding of brain function in health and disease states.

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From Mad Cows to the Coronavirus in 30 Years

Posted by Peter Rudin on 20. March 2020 in News No Comments

The BSE Mad Cow disease marked, what one expert later called, “an unprecedented breakdown of communication between British citizens and their public institutions.”

About 30 years later a majority of Americans (53%) recently told a YouGov poll that they do not trust Trump to tell the truth about the Corona virus.

But the lack of trust in the government is only one side of the equation: As the Trump administration first stalled, then blamed, then lied, and then doubled back on itself when faced with the imminence of the pandemic, both institutions and activist networks at the grassroots of American society have now begun to engage their skills and resources to battle the crisis.

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AI as Tool to Fight the Coronavirus

Posted by Peter Rudin on 13. March 2020 in News No Comments

As governments and health organizations scramble to contain the spread of coronavirus, they need all the help they can get, including from artificial intelligence.

Though current AI technologies are far from replicating human intelligence, they are proving to be very helpful in tracking the outbreak, diagnosing patients, disinfecting areas, and speeding up the process of finding a cure for COVID-19.

DeepMind, the AI research lab, recently declared that it has used deep learning to find new information about the structure of proteins associated with COVID-19. Every day saved in finding the coronavirus vaccine can save hundreds—or thousands—of lives.

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IBI: A Global Partnership to Decode the Brain

Posted by Peter Rudin on 28. February 2020 in News No Comments

First envisioned through a series of discussions on the “grand challenges” in neuroscience, the International Brain Initiative (IBI) has now been established to coordinate efforts across existing and emerging national and regional brain initiatives.

Next to brain-health issues, the IBI seeks to promote understanding the human brain and its massive computational and information storage capacities with the goal of unlocking the mechanisms underlying cognition, emotion, and creativity.

The IBI provides a platform for exploring new models of international collaboration between scientists, private and public funding bodies, industry partners, and government-related agencies.

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Predict Depression Using Your Phone

Posted by Peter Rudin on 14. February 2020 in News No Comments

Although the first anti-depressants were developed more than 70 years ago based on brain chemistry, we still don’t really understand the disease. Some people get better; many don’t.

To Silicon Valley, the answer to solving depression is data. After all, most anti-depressant trials only recruit up to thousands of people. With digital health, anyone with a wrist wearable or smartphone could potentially contribute in the largest studies ever attempted by mankind.

Will the data one day be used in a dystopian-like society, where insurance companies track their customers’ mental health status or people receive unwanted ads tailored to mood downswings?

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Why startups are raising millions to build AI avatars!

Posted by Peter Rudin on 31. January 2020 in News No Comments

The race to build lifelike digital avatars has become serious business. Earlier this month, Soul Machines raised $40 million in a Series B round.

At stake is the ability to replace (or at least replicate) the work of actual people on a grand scale. If you believe this future is inevitable as many of these companies do, now’s the time to start showing off what it might look like, even if the results are far from perfect.

The human face, with all of its many complexities, remains the ideal surface on which to flex one’s AI animation muscle, which may explain why so many digital humans are now emerging.

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