AI Digest

AI Digest: Edition XII

TBT: Arcade Games Offer Opportunity for Companies to Show Off AI

A true test of artificial intelligence (AI) has been by beating humans at our own games.Back in the ’90s that game was chess but gradually, as AI has gotten smarter, the games of strategy have progressed. We recently highlighted how Google’s AlphaGo beat the world champion Go player, but now companies are competing for our nostalgia.

The AI company Vicarious has created an AI that plays arcade classics, such as “Breakout” and “Space Invaders.” While this is not a new phenomenon (Google’s Deepmind published research in 2013 regarding seven different Atari games played by its AI), Vicarious hopes to do it better.

Microsoft’s recent acquisition, Maluuba, has also been developing arcade-playing AI,except this one excels at the 1982 classic “Ms. Pac-Man.” The employees of the startup sought to discover what happened when you scored a million points in Ms. Pac-Man, but according to Wired it was a bit of a let down. “The moment proved somewhat anticlimactic. ‘It just reset to zero, it was kind of disappointing,’ says Rahul Mehrotra.” As a terrible Ms. Pac-Man player, I’m impressed nonetheless.

VCs Love AI

Element AI, an AI platform that allows businesses to build AI applications, raised $102 illion in Series A funding this week in hopes to compete with the behemoths, like Facebook and Google, for high-quality AI talent.

According to TechCrunch, “The round was led by the prolific investor Data Collective, with participation from a wide range of key financial and strategic backers. They include Fidelity Investments Canada, Korea’s Hanwha, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, NVIDIA, Real Ventures, and “several of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.” With such big names backing the company, expectations will be high that Element will make a statement in the AI platforms space.

It’s not just AI-centric companies VCs are showing love to either. This week included four examples of VCs backing companies that are infusing AI into their applications. The ex-Cylance team raised $9.5 million dollars for a new cybersecurity startup called Obsidian Security that will “apply AI and machine learning at broad-based level” to cybersecurity. The virtual claims operator for the car insurance industry Snapsheet raised $12 million and plans to focus on “improving their machine learning capabilities.” Conviva, the video analytics platform for audiences watching on apps and online, raised $40 million to enhance its machine-learning audience measuring algorithms. The sales enablement toolHighspot raised a $15 million round on its offering of “deliver(ing) the value of AI and machine learning to the sales enablement software market.”

The lesson here is this: if you’re searching for funding, you best be investing in AI and machine learning.

Podcast of the Week

FORBES – Ethics And Artificial Intelligence With IBM Watson’s Rob High

Video of the Week

BBC NEWS – Deep Blue vs. Kasparov: How A Computer Beat Best Chess Player In The World

Twitter Follow of the Week

According to NetworkWorld, “Mallick is an entrepreneur who loves computer vision and machine learning. He co-founded a computer vision company, TAAZ Inc., that applies vision technology to problems in beauty and fashion. TAAZ proved scalability of its computer vision and machine learning algorithms tested by more than 100 million users. His most personally satisfying work in collaboration with the Scripps Research Institute solved a problem in Cryo-Electron Microscopy that is part of the 3D reconstruction pipeline. Mallick holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.”

Quick Hits

  • How Can We Optimize AI For The Greatest Good, Instead Of Profit? (MIT Technology Review)
  • Why Amazon’s Alexa Could Be the Death of Meetings (Fortune)
  • Elon Musk Says Deep AI, Not Automation, Poses the Real Risk for Humanity (Futurism)
  • Draw a Doodle of a Face, and Watch This AI Image Generator Make It Look More “Human” (Futurism)
  • A Breakthrough AI Can Now Predict Which Babies Will Develop Autism (Futurism)
  • Woebot Labs Launches a Fully Functioning AI Facebook Bot to Deal With Mental Health (Futurism)
  • The Tech World Is Being Disrupted in Some of the Most Unlikely Places (Futurism)
  • Tim Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on an Autonomous Car System (Bloomberg)
  • Artificial Intelligence may Discover the Next Blockbuster Drug (MIT Technology Review)
  • The Future Of Growth And Economic Development Powered By Human And Artificial Intelligence (Seeking Alpha)
  • Emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) Leaders: Rana el Kaliouby, Affectiva (Forbes)
  • The Limits of Artificial Intelligence (Bloomberg)
  • When Artificial Intelligence is Bad News for the Boss (Financial Times)
  • AI on Your Lock Screen (TechCrunch)
  • Facebook’s AI Crosses Language Barrier to Assist in Spanish (TechCrunch)
  • This Backflipping Noodle has a lot to Teach us About AI Safety (The Verge)
  • Outfoxed by a Bot? Facebook is Teaching AI to Negotiate (CNET)
  • Wozniak: Google, not Apple, will win in AI (CIO Dive)
  • Can Computers Artificially Compose Quality Music? (Forbes)
  • Microsoft Bought Another Cybersecurity Firm for $100 Million (Fortune)
  • Researchers have found a way to root out identity thieves by analyzing their mouse movements with AI (Quartz)
  • Considering an AI-powered marketing tool? Here are 5 myths to overcome first (TechRepublic)
  • How AI Is Streamlining Marketing and Sales (Harvard Business Review)
  • Artificial Intelligence Is Learning Slang (WeForum)