Category: artificial intelligence

June 10, 2019 Off

To detect fake news, this AI first learned to write it

By Jill T Frey

One of the biggest problems in media today is so-called “fake news,” which is so highly pernicious in part because it superficially resembles the real thing. AI tools promise to help identify it, but in order for it to do so, researchers have found that the best way is for that AI to learn to create fake news itself — a double-edged sword, though perhaps not as dangerous as it sounds.

Grover is a new system created by the University of Washington and Allen Institute for AI (AI2) computer scientists that is extremely adept at writing convincing fake news on myriad topics and as many styles — and as a direct consequence is also no slouch at spotting it. The paper describing the model is available here.

The idea of a fake news generator isn’t new — in fact, OpenAI made a splash recently by announcing that its own … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Vuzix smart glasses get automatic facial recognition designed for law enforcement

By Jill T Frey

This is one of those “I’m not surprised but I am slightly terrified” moments in tech development: Enterprise smart glasses company Vuzix announced Monday that it has developed new “fully autonomous” face recognition software in partnership with software developer NNTC.

The new solution will work with Vuzix’s Blade smart glasses, which debuted at CES earlier this year and are positioned as both an enterprise and a consumer product. It’s called iFalcon Face Control Mobile, which is a mouthful, and it’s billed as an “AI-powered” solution that promises local matching against a database stored on-device on a wearable computer that pairs with a headset.

It’s intended to be used with set databases, and is ideal for “law enforcement and security guards on patrol,” according to a press release detailing the news. It can find up to 15 faces per frame in less than one second, according to the spec sheet, and … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Microsoft Power Platform update aims to put AI in reach of business users

By Jill T Frey

Low code and no code are the latest industry buzzwords, but if vendors can truly abstract away the complexity of difficult tasks like building machine learning models, it could help mainstream technologies that are currently out of reach of most business users. That’s precisely what Microsoft is aiming to do with its latest Power Platform announcements today.

The company tried to bring that low-code simplicity to building applications last year when it announced PowerApps. Now it believes by combining PowerApps with Microsoft Flow and its new AI Builder tool, it can allow folks building apps with PowerApps to add a layer of intelligence very quickly.

It starts with having access to data sources, and the Data Connector tool gives users access to more than 250 data connectors. That includes Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe, as well as, of course, Microsoft services like Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Richard Riley, senior director … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Salesforce is buying data visualization company Tableau for $15.7B in all-stock deal

By Jill T Frey

On the heels of Google buying analytics startup Looker last week for $2.6 billion, Salesforce today announced a huge piece of news in a bid to step up its own work in data visualization and (more generally) tools to help enterprises make sense of the sea of data that they use and amass: Salesforce is buying Tableau for $15.7 billion in an all-stock deal.

The latter is publicly traded and this deal will involve shares of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock getting exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, the company said, and so the $15.7 billion figure is the enterprise value of the transaction, based on the average price of Salesforce’s shares as of June 7, 2019.

This is a huge jump on Tableau’s last market cap: it was valued at $10.79 billion at close of trading Friday, according to figures on Google Finance. … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

On the road to self-driving trucks, Starsky Robotics built a traditional trucking business

By Jill T Frey

More than three years ago, self-driving trucks startup Starsky Robotics was founded to solve a fundamental issue with freight — a solution that CEO Stefan Seltz-Axmacher believes hinges on getting the human driver out from behind the wheel.

But a funny thing happened along the way. Starsky Robotics started a regular ol’ trucking company. Now, nearly half of the employees at this self-driving truck startup help run a business that uses the traditional model of employing human drivers to haul loads for customers, TechCrunch has learned.

Starsky’s trucking business, which has been operating in secret for nearly two years alongside the company’s more public pursuit of developing autonomous vehicle technology, has hauled 2,200 loads for customers. The company has 36 regular trucks that only use human drivers to haul freight. It has three autonomous trucks that are driven and supported by a handful of test drivers. Starsky also employs a … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Tackling ‘big tech’ issues through storytelling, with Jessica Powell

By Jill T Frey

Jessica Powell, Google’s former head of PR from 2012-2018 (years in which Google required a not-insignificant amount of PR leadership), is now a rock star writer whose 2018 debut book, The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional But Essentially True Silicon Valley Story, was the first novel published by Medium.

I recently spoke with Powell for this series on the ethics of technology, because The Big Disruption, for all its manic energy and a playfulness at times bordering on sci-fi sitcom level-absurdity, should be viewed as a key work in the emerging field of tech ethics. In scenes like the one that begins below, her comic timing and characters help us see how “disruptive” technologies may not so much change humanity, as reveal it.

As a product manager, you are tasked with leading a team and bringing an idea to life. You are the visionary who must direct not

Read the rest
June 6, 2019 Off

Zoox co-founder Jesse Levinson is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility

By Jill T Frey

Autonomous vehicle startup Zoox has a history of keeping its progressive plans to itself. But that’s starting to change.

The venture-backed company that is creating ground-up fully autonomous electric vehicles is ready to share a bit more about its tech, strategy and plans. And who better to talk to than co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, the person who oversees the company’s software, artificial intelligence, computing and sensing platforms.

We’re excited to announce that Levinson will join us onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility on July 10 in San Jose. TechCrunch will discuss with Levinson the tech that is driving the company’s autonomous vehicles, recent changes at Zoox — including its new CEO Aicha Evans, challenges facing the company and its deployment plans.

Levinson is among a group of insiders who participated in early government-backed competitions aimed at pushing the development of autonomous vehicles. While completing a computer science PhD … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

Robust.AI launches to build an industrial-grade cognitive platform for robots

By Jill T Frey

Despite the seemingly fantastical demonstration of walking and jumping robots, today’s robots are often stupid, brittle and inflexible, only capable of working in carefully engineered environments, and unable to respond dynamically and sensibly in unexpected circumstances.

Deep learning has been spectacularly successful in certain problems (facial recognition, object recognition, etc.) but the “smart robots” that we have promised still haven’t arrived. The promised robotic future is still a long way off.

New Silicon Valley robotics startup Robust.AI aims, firstly, to build the world’s first industrial-grade cognitive platform for robots. Secondly, it will aim to help companies in a wide range of areas, from construction to eldercare and domestic robots, toward the goal of making robots that are smarter, safer, more robust, more context-aware and more collaborative.

Initially located in Palo Alto, Calif., Robust.AI has secured a “substantial” undisclosed seed round from Playground Global, among other undisclosed investors.

The market … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

This year’s Computex was a wild ride with dueling chip releases, new laptops and 467 startups

By Jill T Frey

After a relatively quiet show last year, Computex picked up the pace this year, with dueling chip launches by rivals AMD and Intel and a slew of laptop releases from Asus, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Lenovo and other companies.

Founded in 1981, the trade show, which took place last week from May 28 to June 1, is one of the ICT industry’s largest gatherings of OEMs and ODMs. In recent years, the show’s purview has widened, thanks to efforts by its organizers, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Taipei Computer Association, to attract two groups: high-end computer customers, such as hardcore gamers, and startups looking for investors and business partners. This makes for a larger, more diverse and livelier show. Computex’s organizers said this year’s event attracted 42,000 international visitors, a new record.

Though the worldwide PC market continues to see slow growth, demand for high-performance computers is still being Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Amazon will use AI to help you shop for clothes with StyleSnap

By Jill T Frey

On its face, Amazon’s first re:MARS conference is all about far-out, world-changing ideas, but the company is still very much a retailer at heart. Fitting then, that one of the first big announcements from this morning’s event is all about using artificial intelligence to help people better shop for clothes.

Amazon’s been talking about similar initiatives for a while, but StyleSnap looks to actually be coming soon via the Aamazon iOS and Android app (though the actual time frame is still TBD).

Amazon’s Consumer Worldwide CEO Jeff Wilke introduced the feature today, telling the crowd, “When a customer uploads an image, we use deep learning for object detection to identify the various apparel items in the image and categorize them into classes like dresses or shirts. We then find the most similar items that are available on Amazon.”

The feature will be accessible by clicking the camera icon in the … Read the rest