Today’s AI News 


  • 'It drives writers mad': why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi?
    by Sarah Ditum on April 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

    This week, Ian McEwan said his new AI novel was not science fiction – and the world went mad. Sarah Ditum looks at why the genre retains its outsider statusIan McEwan’s latest novel, Machines Like Me, is a fiction about science – specifically, artificial intelligence. It is set in an alternative reality where Alan Turing does not kill himself but invents the internet instead; where JFK is never assassinated and Margaret Thatcher’s premiership ends with the beginning of the Falklands war. The near future of the real world becomes the present of the novel, giving McEwan the space to explore prescient what-ifs: what if a robot could think like a human, or human intelligence could not tell the difference between itself and AI?Machines Like Me is not, however, science fiction, at least according to its author. “There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future,” McEwan said in a recent interview, “not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas.” There is, as many readers noticed, a whiff of genre snobbery here, with McEwan drawing an impermeable boundary between literary fiction and science fiction, and placing himself firmly on the respectable side of the line.In 1968, Vladimir Nabokov told the BBC: 'I loathe science fiction with its gals and goons, suspense and suspensories'Science fiction retains a rather juvenile set of associations that can make readers embarrassed to enjoy it. Some decide, if they like a book, it’s too good to be SF Continue reading... […]

  • Amazon Polly adds Arabic language support
    by Marta Smolarek on April 17, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    On April 17th, 2019 Amazon Polly launched an Arabic female text-to-speech (TTS) voice called Zeina. This voice is clear and natural-sounding. The voice masters tongue twisters, and it can whisper, just like all other Amazon Polly products. Let’s hear Zeina introduce herself: Listen now Voiced by Amazon Polly Hello, my name is Zeina, I am the […]

  • FCA must adapt to changing technology to regulate City, says chief
    by Phillip Inman on April 17, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Andrew Bailey says more resources needed to upgrade regulations for AI and blockchain The main City regulator fears being left behind by a new wave of technological innovation that could increase the risk of financial firms making bad decisions and going bust, according to its latest business plan.The Financial Conduct Authority said that developments, which include artificial intelligence and blockchain technology for financial transactions, could race ahead without adequate regulations in place, potentially undermining the strength of London as a financial centre. Related: 'One of the biggest financial scandals around': FCA criticised over LC&F Continue reading... […]

  • 'Disastrous' lack of diversity in AI industry perpetuates bias, study finds
    by Kari Paul in San Francisco on April 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Report says an overwhelmingly white and male field has reached ‘a moment of reckoning’ over discriminatory systemsLack of diversity in the artificial intelligence field has reached “a moment of reckoning”, according to new findings published by a New York University research center. A “diversity disaster” has contributed to flawed systems that perpetuate gender and racial biases found the survey, published by the AI Now Institute, of more than 150 studies and reports.The AI field, which is overwhelmingly white and male, is at risk of replicating or perpetuating historical biases and power imbalances, the report said. Examples cited include image recognition services making offensive classifications of minorities, chatbots adopting hate speech, and Amazon technology failing to recognize users with darker skin colors. The biases of systems built by the AI industry can be largely attributed to the lack of diversity within the field itself, the report said. Related: 'Bias deep inside the code': the problem with AI 'ethics' in Silicon Valley The use of AI systems for the classification, detection, and prediction of race and gender is in urgent need of re-evaluation Continue reading... […]

  • Your guide to Amazon re:MARS: Jeff Bezos, Andrew Ng, Robert Downey Jr. and more…  
    by Cynthya Peranandam on April 16, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    The inaugural Amazon re:MARS event pairs the best of what’s possible today with perspectives on the future of machine learning, automation, robotics, and space travel. Based on the exclusive MARS event founded by Jeff Bezos, Amazon re:MARS brings together the world of business and technology in a premier thought-leadership event. With more than 100 sessions, […]

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