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Google Duplex arrives in Australia, Canada, and the UK

Google’s AI phone assistant Duplex is now available in Australia, Canada. Duplex was previously only available in the US and New Zealand. But VentureBeat spotted that a support page for the product now includes phone numbers for calls from Duplex in the three new countries. The system uses AI to mimic a human voice that calls businesses to make restaurant reservations, book appointments, and find out opening hours. Google first unveiled Duplex at the company’s annual I/O developer conference in ...
Tags: Google, Startups, UK, US, Artificial Intelligence, New Zealand, Voice, VentureBeat, Australia Canada, Neural, Google Duplex, Plugged, Australia Canada Duplex


These AIs think they can translate your dog’s barks

We’re all suffering under lockdown — even our dogs. Although most can still enjoy regular walkies, the pooches are picking up on the reduced social interaction outside. And many of them are missing their friends from puppy school and playdates. If you’re worried about what’s going on inside your dog‘s mind, a new AI system will tell you — just by listening to it bark. The feature will soon be added to Furbo, an “interactive smart dog camera” that lets you have a video chat with your mutt, toss i...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Furbo, Neural, Plugged


Will product designers survive the AI revolution?

Did you know TNW Conference has a track fully dedicated to exploring new design trends this year? Check out the full ‘Sprint’ program here. “Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.” ― Yann LeCun The human species has performed incredible feats of ingenuity. We have created beautiful sculptures from a single block of marble, written enchanting sonnets that have stood for centuries and landed a craft on the face of a distant rock orbiting our planet. It is ...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Design & Dev, Yann LeCun, Syndication, Neural


More reporting links Clearview AI to Trump-aligned racists, neo-Nazis, and alt-right trolls

A Huffington Post investigation out today lays out even more evidence of facial surveillance tech company Clearview AI's ties to the alt-right. Clearview AI has alarmed privacy experts, and has hired several far-right employees, a HuffPost investigation found. My latest investigation is about Clearview AI, a secretive facial recognition company. Lots of privacy concerns. Even scarier: Clearview has ties to the alt-right and even had far-right extremists working for it until I reached out t...
Tags: Security, Facebook, Post, Business, Politics, Texas, Technology, News, Privacy, Congress, Nazis, US, Walmart, Read, World, Surveillance


Someone trained an AI on BDSM literature so it could remix the King James Bible

Do robots go to hell? An AI developer recently created a remix of the Holy Bible (King James version) by training a text generator on BDSM stories. The results were decidedly not safe for work. The new tome, dubbed “The Orange Erotic Bible,” comes in at a whopping 64,167 words – enough to call itself a full-fledged novel, though paltry compared to the Bible’s nearly 800K. It’s developer – so far we haven’t been able to identify the person(s) responsible – generated the book as part of an AI nove...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, James Bible, Neural


This smart toilet offers advanced poop analysis and analprinting

An international team of researchers recently developed a fully automated sensor package that turns any regular toilet into the Tesla Model S of commodes. Designed to monitor your health, the system comes complete with nearly a dozen sensors that can do everything from perform an on-site specimen exam (it checks your poop and urine for things like consistency, color, and glucose and red blood cell count) to time your movements. And it even has built-in cameras and a fingerprint sensor for securi...
Tags: Startups, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Neural


AI can’t predict a child’s future success, no matter how much data we give it

A trio of Princeton social scientists recently conducted a mass experiment with 160 research teams to see if any of them could predict how children’s lives would turn out. The participants were given fifteen years of data and were allowed to use any technique they wanted, from good old fashioned statistical analysis to modern-day artificial intelligence.  Nobody even came close. That’s because artificial intelligence – much like psychics and headless chickens – cannot predict the future. Sure, i...
Tags: Startups, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Princeton, Neural


Why AI startups’ economics will likely improve over time

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. If you can recall February, we dug into the question of AI startup gross margins. Venture shop a16z had published an interesting blog on the subject, arguing that it may be the case that AI-focused startups will enjoy strong gross margins, but perhaps not as strong as those posted by SaaS companies. Modern software startups (SaaS companies) have some of the highest gross margins...
Tags: Startups, TC, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, United States, Venture Capital, Ai, Blumberg Capital, David Blumberg, A16z


R&D Roundup: Ultrasound/AI medical imaging, assistive exoskeletons and neural weather modeling

In the time of COVID-19, much of what transpires from the science world to the general public relates to the virus, and understandably so. But other domains, even within medical research, are still active — and as usual, there are tons of interesting (and heartening) stories out there that shouldn’t be lost in the furious activity of coronavirus coverage. This last week brought good news for several medical conditions as well as some innovations that could improve weather reporting and maybe sav...
Tags: Startups, TC, Gadgets, Science, Hardware, Stanford, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Cambodia, Columbia University, Satellite Imagery, Ultrasound, Deep Learning, Retina, Emerging-technologies, Ozone


Google research makes for an effortless robotic dog trot

As capable as robots are, the original animals after which they tend to be designed are always much, much better. That’s partly because it’s difficult to learn how to walk like a dog directly from a dog — but this research from Google’s AI labs make it considerably easier. The goal of this research, a collaboration with UC Berkeley, was to find a way to efficiently and automatically transfer “agile behaviors” like a light-footed trot or spin from their source (a good dog) to a quadrupedal robot....
Tags: Google, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Robotics, Berkeley, UC Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomimetic, Google AI, Biomimesis


Apple Acquires AI Startup Voysis to Improve Siri

Apple has purchased artificial intelligence startup Voysis with the aim of improving Siri, reports Bloomberg. Voysis offers a platform that allows digital voice assistants to better understand natural language. The company worked to improve voice assistants in online shopping apps, allowing software to better interpret requests from users. The website, which is now defunct, said that the technology used client databases with AI tools that deeply understand the specifics of products, services,...
Tags: Apple, Featured, Siri, Bloomberg, Artificial Intelligence, Apple acquisition, Siri Apple, Voysis, Siri zwnj, Apple Acquires AI Startup Voysis, Bloomberg Voysis, Turi VocalIQ Perceptio Emotient


OctoML raises $15M to make optimizing ML models easier

OctoML, a startup founded by the team behind the Apache TVM machine learning compiler stack project, today announced it has raised a $15 million Series A round led by Amplify, with participation from Madrone Ventures, which led its $3.9 million seed round. The core idea behind OctoML and TVM is to use machine learning to optimize machine learning models so they can more efficiently run on different types of hardware. “There’s been quite a bit of progress in creating machine learning models,” ...
Tags: Google, Startups, TC, Cloud, Facebook, Learning, Microsoft, Developer, Cloud Computing, Tech, Intel, Computer, Artificial Intelligence, Nvidia, Machine Learning, Aws


Using AI responsibly to fight the coronavirus pandemic

Mark Minevich Contributor Share on Twitter Mark Minevich is president of Going Global Ventures, an advisor at Boston Consulting Group, a digital fellow at IPsoft and a leading global AI expert and digital cognitive strategist and venture capitalist. More posts by this contributor The American AI Initiative: A good first step, of many Irakli Beridze Contributor ...
Tags: Security, Column, Hong Kong, Europe, Privacy, Government, China, Time, Tech, Spain, European Union, Artificial Intelligence, Policy, Pandora, Thailand, United States


You can now buy AWS’ $99 DeepComposer keyboard

AWS today announced that its DeepComposer keyboard is now available for purchase. And no, DeepComposer isn’t a mechanical keyboard for hackers but a small MIDI keyboard for working with the AWS DeepComposer service that uses AI to create songs based on your input. First announced at AWS re:Invent 2019, the keyboard created a bit of confusion, in part because Amazon’s announcement almost made it seem like a consumer product. DeepComposer, which also works without the actual hardware keyboard, ...
Tags: Amazon, TC, Gadgets, Cloud, Web Hosting, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Aws, Amazon Web Services, Midi, Cloud Infrastructure, Apple Keyboard, DeepLens, Midi Keyboard


Flagship Pioneering raises $1.1 billion to spend on sustainability and health-focused biotech

Flagship Pioneering, the Boston-based biotech company incubator and holding company, said it has raised $1.1 billion for its Flagship Labs unit. Flagship, which raised $1 billion back in 2019 for growth stage investment vehicles, develops and operates startups that leverage biotechnology innovation to provide goods and services that improve human health and promote sustainable industries. “We’re honored to have the strong support of our existing Limited Partners, as well as the interest from a s...
Tags: TC, Boston, Tech, Companies, Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare Industry, Biotechnology, Moderna Therapeutics, Limited Partners, Noubar Afeyan, Moderna, Kaleido Biosciences, Axcella Health, Flagship Labs, Integral Health Growth Companies, Ohana Biosciences Kintai Therapeutics


Activity-monitoring startup Zensors repurposes its tech to help coronavirus response

Computer vision techniques used for commercial purposes are turning out to be valuable tools for monitoring people’s behavior during the present pandemic. Zensors, a startup that uses machine learning to track things like restaurant occupancy, lines, and so on, is making its platform available for free to airports and other places desperate to take systematic measures against infection. The company, founded two years ago but covered by TechCrunch in 2016, was among the early adopters of computer...
Tags: Startups, TC, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Mellon, Jain, CMU, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Zensors, Anuraag Jain


Google's Art App Now Turns Your Selfies Into Famous Masterpieces

In what promises to be an excellent way to kill a solid 10 minutes, the Google Arts & Culture app has been updated with a new Art Transfer feature that will apply the look of countless famous paintings and artists to your own photos using machine learning techniques.Read more...
Tags: Google, Art, Apps, Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artists, Machine Learning, Ai, Neural Networks, Google Arts And Culture


NASA issues agency-wide crowdsourcing call for ideas around COVID-19 response

There’s crowdsourcing a problem, and then there’s crowdsourcing a problem within NASA, where some of the smartest, most creative and resourceful problem-solvers in the world solve real-world challenges daily as part of their job. That’s why it’s uplifting to hear that NASA has issued a call to its entire workforce to come up with potential ways the agency and its resources can contribute to the ongoing effort to fight the current coronavirus pandemic. NASA is using its crowdsourcing platform ...
Tags: TC, Crowdsourcing, Space, Science, White House, Tech, Nasa, Artificial Intelligence, Problem Solving, Aerospace, Coronavirus, COVID-19


DeepMind’s new AI can beat humans at 57 Atari games

Google subsidiary DeepMind has unveiled an AI called Agent57 that can beat the average human at 57 classic Atari games. The system achieved this feat using deep reinforcement learning, a machine learning technique that helps an AI improve its decisions by trying out different approaches and learning from its mistakes. DeepMind used the same technique to beat professional players of Chinese board game Go and video game Starcraft II. But this time, it managed to master every game in the Atari57 co...
Tags: Google, Startups, Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, Deepmind, Neural


We asked a computational poet if machines will ever replace human writers

TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  Yesterday, Nick Montfort, a computational poet and an award-winning author of interactive fiction, hosted a TNW Answers session. During the AMA, Montfort spoke about what computer-generated literature does better than humans, the future of computer-assisted journalism, and how computer-generated novels help enlarge cultural imag...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, TNW, Ama, Nick Montfort, TNW Answers


Pre-school EdTech startup Lingumi raises £4m, adds some free services during Covid-19

At these difficult times, parents are concerned for their children’s education, especially given so much of it has had to go online during the Covid-19 pandemic. But what about pre-schoolers who are missing out? Pre-school children are sponges for information but don’t get formal training on reading and writing until they enter the classroom when they are less sponge-like and surrounded by 30 other children. Things are tougher for non-English speaking children who’s parents want them to learn En...
Tags: TC, Europe, Education, France, China, Germany, Articles, Entrepreneur, Tech, Taiwan, Artificial Intelligence, United Kingdom, Italy, Alibaba, Teacher, General Partner


Africa Roundup: Africa’s tech ecosystem responds to COVID-19

In March, the virus gripping the world — COVID-19 — started to spread in Africa. In short order, actors across the continent’s tech ecosystem began to step up to stem the spread. Early in March Africa’s coronavirus cases by country were in the single digits, but by mid-month those numbers had spiked leading the World Health Organization to sound an alarm. “About 10 days ago we had 5 countries affected, now we’ve got 30,” WHO Regional Director  Dr Matshidiso Moeti said at a press conference on Ma...
Tags: TC, UK, Nigeria, Africa, Articles, Tech, E-commerce, Ceo, Economy, Artificial Intelligence, Broadband, Uganda, Canada, Telecommunications, United Kingdom, Morocco


Scientists use AI system to translate brain activity into text

A new AI system that converts brain activity into text could transform communication for people who can’t speak or type. The mind-reading machine uses brain implants to track what neurons do when someone speaks. An algorithm then converts the data into a string of numbers, which another system then translates into a sequence of words. For one participant, just 3% of sentences needed to be corrected. This made the AI more accurate than professional human transcribers, whose error rates have been ...
Tags: Startups, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Neural


Anorak’s Greg Castle on early-stage investing during a crisis

As the venture landscape adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic and seismic shifts in public markets, early-stage VCs are reassessing which bets they’re making, along with questions they’re asking of founders who are exploring bleeding-edge technology. Anorak’s Greg Castle Anorak Ventures is a small seed-investment firm that bets on emerging tech like AR/VR, machine learning and robotics. I recently hopped on a Zoom call with founder Greg Castle to talk about what he’s seen recently in seed investin...
Tags: Startups, TC, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Fundraising, Venture Capital, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Robotics, Emerging-technologies, Greg Castle, Greg Castle Anorak Ventures, Extra Crunch, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Microsoft brings Teams to consumers and launches Microsoft 365 personal and family plans

Microsoft today announced a slew of new products, but at the core of the release is a major change to how the company is marketing its tools and services to consumers. Office 365, which has long been the brand for the company’s subscription service for its productivity tools like Word, Excel and Outlook, is going away. On April 21, it’ll be replaced by new Microsoft 365 plans, including new personal and family plans (for up to six people) at $6.99 and $9.99 respectively. That’s the same price...
Tags: Google, Android, TC, Adobe, Microsoft, Office, Office 365, Tech, Designer, Getty-Images, Artificial Intelligence, Software, United States, Editor, Windows 10, Bank


AI-powered smart glasses are finding people with coronavirus in China

Security officers in China are wearing AI-powered smart glasses to find people with a fever, one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus. The specs use a thermal imaging camera to measure someone’s temperature from up to 1 metre away. The glasses were developed by AI startup Rokid, which claims each set can check the temperature of several hundred people in just two minutes, the South China Morning Post reports. When the devices identify someone with a fever, they send an automatic alert to staf...
Tags: Google, Security, Startups, China, Artificial Intelligence, South China Morning Post, Neural, Coronavirus


AI and big data won’t work miracles in the fight against coronavirus

To someone with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail — and as expected, the tech sector is hard at work hammering every nail it can find. But the analytical prowess of the modern data ecosystem is especially limited when attempting to tackle the problem of potential coronavirus treatments. It’s only to be expected — and of course lauded — that companies with immense computing resources would attempt to dedicate those resources in some way to the global effort to combat the virus. In some wa...
Tags: Health, TC, Opinion, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Astrazeneca, Drug Discovery, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Zindi taps 12,000 African data scientists for solutions to COVID-19

Since its inception, Cape Town based crowdsolving startup Zindi has been building a database of data scientists across Africa. It now has 12,000 registered on its its platform that uses AI and machine learning to tackle complex problems and will offer them cash-prizes to find solutions to curb COVID-19. Zindi has an open challenge focused on stemming the spread and havoc of coronavirus and will introduce a hackathon in April. The current competition, sponsored by AI4D, tasks scientists to cre...
Tags: Food, TC, New York, Microsoft, Nigeria, Africa, San Francisco, Tech, E-commerce, Ceo, Artificial Intelligence, South Africa, Cape Town, Machine Learning, Kenya, World Health Organization


Helm.ai raises $13M on its unsupervised learning approach to driverless car AI

Four years ago, mathematician Vlad Voroninski saw an opportunity to remove some of the bottlenecks in the development of autonomous vehicle technology thanks to breakthroughs in deep learning. Now, Helm.ai, the startup he co-founded in 2016 with Tudor Achim, is coming out of stealth with an announcement that it has raised $13 million in a seed round that includes investment from A.Capital Ventures, Amplo, Binnacle Partners, Sound Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and SV Angel. More than a doze...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Tech, Mit, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Automation, Quora, Nba, Private Equity, Simulation, Uc-berkeley, Robinhood


Facial recognition and AI will invade public privacy — but it can be done ethically

We live in an age where we have unprecedented access to almost any information we need. With the emergence of new technology like artificial intelligence (AI), facial recognition, big data, and more, the human experience is being changed forever. Almost anything you need is just a tap away; but this access comes at a price—data for data. A simple online search may seem harmless, but before you know it, you’re being bombarded with ads offering you exactly what you were looking for. How exactly do...
Tags: Startups, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Syndication



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