Bits & Bytes

Wats-on, wats-off.

  • IBM has been making waves this week with the news that they’ve committed $240 million to establish a joint AI lab with MIT. IBM Watson has taken a number of PR hits recently, and unfortunately for IBM the  MIT announcement comes just days after a story chronicling Watson’s failure to live up to its promise in the oncology space.

AI world war of words.

  • A couple of weeks ago I highlighted a few articles mentioning the intensifying AI “arms race” between the US and China. Well, not to be left out, Russian President Vladimir Putin has joined the war of words, noting that “Whoever becomes the leader in [AI] will become the ruler of the world.”

AI’s not a game, except when it is.

  • Games have had a long history as a proving ground for AI. Recently deep learning researchers have continued this tradition, focusing on the use of video games for training, testing and demonstrating their models. The survey of research presented in the new paper Deep Learning for Video Game Playing is great way to learn more about what’s happening in this field.

Pristine platform.

  • A great complement to this week’s podcast is the recent post on Uber’s engineering blog on their Michelangelo platform. In it they describe the environment they’ve created to host and manage their production machine learning models.

AI + bitcoin for good.

  • Interesting use case by a Berkeley PhD student explores the use of machine learning to help map cybercriminal markets and thwart human trafficking [PDF].

Blue river runs green.

  • John Deere announced the $305 million acquisition of Blue River Technology, a company perhaps best known for its LettuceBot system which uses cameras mounted on a tractor rig and deep learning to identify and target weeds in a bed of lettuce for extermination via precision doses of robotically-applied herbicide.

Funding the drone army.

  • Autonomous drone maker Airobotics announced the close of a $33 million series C round to fund its expansion into the defense industry. Where’s that UN resolution when you need it?

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