The Most Important Skill In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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No doubt each of us has come in contact with Artificial Intelligence (AI) — whether it is by shopping online and seeing ‘suggested for you’ products, or ads popping up in your Facebook feed, or at the bank when we are making a check deposit at the ATM. Other industries, ranging from health to fitness to media to dating apps to finance have all adopted AI in some capacity to optimize and automate their processes. Although known in the academic world since the 1990s, AI is only coming to mainstream utilization in recent years. So what exactly is the power of AI and why is it becoming so popular now?

AI is what is known as a forward model in computer science, meaning it is a computer model that makes decisions based on the input into the model, such as data that can be in the form of pictures, numbers, and really anything that is mathematically quantifiable. Thus, this type of model is able to modify its prediction based on the dynamic flow of input. So, the read more

Neurotechnology, Elon Musk and the goal of human enhancement

At the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk said that people would need to become cyborgs to be relevant in an artificial intelligence age. He said that a “merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence” would be necessary to ensure we stay economically valuable.

Soon afterwards, the serial entrepreneur created Neuralink, with the intention of connecting computers directly to human brains. He wants to do this using “neural lace” technology – implanting tiny electrodes into the brain for direct computing capabilities.

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aren’t a new idea. Various forms of BCI are already available, from ones that sit on top of your head and measure brain signals to devices that are implanted into your brain tissue.

They are mainly one-directional, with the most common uses enabling motor control and communication tools for people with brain injuries. In March, a man who was paralysed from below the neck read more

Take it from the insiders: Silicon Valley is eating your soul

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Another sign of how much things have shifted is a volte-face by Silicon Valley’s most powerful man. Barely more than a year ago the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, seemed still to be rejoicing in his company’s imperial phase, blithely dismissing the idea that fabricated news carried by his platform had affected the outcome of the 2016 US election as a read more

WhatsApp rings in the new year with global outage

WhatsApp went down in several parts of the world today, including parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The crowdsourced website DownDetector found the largest concentration of outages in portions of England, Germany, and virtually all of the Netherlands, as well as parts of Italy, Spain, and Central Europe.

Outages were also reported in many major cities around the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Kuala Lumpur, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Mumbai, and Toronto.

Outages tracked by DownDetector began to spike around 9 a.m. Pacific, while a WhatsApp spokesperson said outages started around 10:30 a.m. Pacific.

“WhatsApp users around the world experienced a brief outage today that has now been resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. The spokesperson did not share the cause of the outage.

This isn’t the first New Year’s Eve outage for the chat app used by read more

‘Steve Jobs’ is an Italian company — and Apple can’t do anything about it

After years of legal battles, a pair of brothers — Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato — have successfully managed to win a legal battle against Apple, earning the right to call their company “Steve Jobs,” after Apple’s iconic founder, according to la Repubblica Napoli.

The fight began back in 2012, when the two brothers noticed that Apple had never trademarked Jobs’ name. The pair were already in the process of starting their own clothing and accessory company after spending years creating products for other brands, and decided that “Steve Jobs” would be the perfect name for their new brand.

Apple, as one can expect, filed a motion against the brothers over the trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. But according to La Repubblica Napoli, the tech giant may have lost by attacking the brothers specifically over their Steve Jobs logo — a stylized letter “J” with a bite taken out of the side and topped with read more

Digital residency pays off big for Estonia

Becoming a ‘digital resident’ of Estonia, Michael M. Richardson says, was “as easy as getting a fishing license in Minnesota” – upload a passport photo online, pay 100 euros at a registration office and wait approximately two weeks for the completion of a background check.

The 58-year-old American entrepreneur joined Estonia’s e-Residency program to help him get the company off the ground in Europe he had been contemplating for years. In January of 2015, immediately after he picked up his e-Residency card, Richardson launched E-Drive Retro, a startup that turns oldtimers into electric vehicles. It now has offices in Tallinn, Helsinki and Miami.

“I was able to begin operations seamlessly, despite the fact that I was living on Wall Street at the time and only spending a few days per month in Tallinn,” Richardson, who currently resides in Helsinki, told DW.

E-Drive Retro Start-Up Estonia (DWE/B. Bathke) E-Drive Retro: a decades-old British sports car (1972 Triumph roadster) with a spanking-new electric motor

The Republic of Estonia is the first country in the world to offer government-issued digital residency read more

Essential Phone review, four months later: The sun is setting on this experiment

Again, how long do we wait for Essential to figure this out?

With big money and big names involved, Essential was a deserved recipient of intrigue when it launched as a company with the promise of a great Android phone (and so much more). Weeks later, I wrote my original review of the Essential Phone in mid-August, and followed it up after a couple software updates with a definitive review on August 28. Even then, it clearly wasn’t a finished product; beta, at best. Dozens of reviews and weak sales numbers reflected that. Weeks later, I was already asking how much longer we would wait for Essential to “figure it out” with updates and accessories to make it a serious player without a series of caveats.

And now, at the end of December, over four months after my first review, some of the parameters have thankfully changed. Like a permanent $200 price drop to just $499, a couple dozen notable software upgrades, and the release of its 360-degree camera attachment. But even read more

What if I told you database indexes could be learned?

This paper is one that I unfortunately missed getting to see presented at NIPS, but which has been getting quite a lot of attention in ML circles in the last few days. The authors, who count among their number Jeff Dean, a very well-respected and early-days Google employee, have one core point, that they reiterate throughout the paper: at their heart, database indexes are models. They may not (typically) be statistically learned, but they are structures that provide a (hopefully quite fast) mapping between an input (the key upon which the index is built) and an output (a position in memory). A Binary Tree, which is a typical such structure used for ordered data, even takes the form of, well, a tree, which a core tool in the machine learning toolbox.

Building on this key intuition, the paper then asks: well, if these structures are just models, could statistical models that learn, and then leverage, the distribution of the data being read more

Researchers: Artificial Intelligence is dumber than a 5-year-old and no smarter than a rat

We’ve all heard or read about how robots are going to take away our jobs. Saudi Arabia even went as far as granting citizenship to “Sophia the robot” back in October (See the video below). With crytocurrency at the top of daily headlines, 2017 may be remembered as the year artificial intelligence (AI, pronounced AYE-EYE) goes mainstream with more organizations adopting AI than ever. Two weeks ago, we wrote about Professor Geoffrey Hinton, known worldwide as the Godfather of AI, and how his research work in the area of Neuro Net was used in speech recognition and Android voice search. More than ever before, there are more news headlines about warnings and threats of how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics is threatening to make all human workers redundant. Elon Musk even issued a stark warning about A.I. He calls it a bigger threat read more

Artificial intelligence is the key to unlocking fusion reactions

The idea of deploying artificial intelligence comes from scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. This is in relation to the safe operation of future fusion reactors. Matters of concern for physicists center on the timely prediction of disruptions such as the sudden loss of control of the hot, charged plasma that fuels the reactions. The process of nuclear fusion involves a reaction whereby two or more atomic nuclei come close enough to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons). The difference in mass between the reactants and products is manifested as the release of large amounts of energy. This is how the Sun and other stars use nuclear fusion to release energy. Recreating this process in a reactor and tapping read more