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Last Week in AI #29

Composing an entire album with AI, Jordan Peterson comments on deepfakes, and more!

Last Week in AI #29

Image credit: Grad CAM method on ‘deer’ ImageNet class (Original photo by Asa Rodger on Unsplash)

Mini Briefs

Desperate Venezuelans are making money by training AI for self-driving cars

After a crisis in which the Venezuelan economy collapsed, hundreds of thousands of workers from Venezuela have signed up to work at companies such as Mighty AI that cater to the autonomous vehicle industry.

These crowdwork competitions “are the result of the growing competition to develop self-driving cars” and have brought some attention to the debate over AI being powered by underpaid workers annotating data. For the Venezuelans in such dire straits, however, this gig work represents an improvement for them and allows them to bring a steady income to their homes.

This is another reminder that progress in AI is driven in part by a lot of often overlooked human labor, as also highlighted in a recent NY Times article on the subject:

“A.I., most people in the tech industry would tell you, is the future of their industry, and it is improving fast thanks to something called machine learning. But tech executives rarely discuss the labor-intensive process that goes into its creation. A.I. is learning from humans. Lots and lots of humans.

Before an A.I. system can learn, someone has to label the data supplied to it. Humans, for example, must pinpoint the polyps. The work is vital to the creation of artificial intelligence like self-driving cars, surveillance systems and automated health care.”

Amazon, Microsoft ‘putting the world at risk of killer AI’

Despite a silly seeming title, this is a good overview of the very real efforts of tech companies to win military contracts for their AI services:

“Dutch NGO Pax ranked 50 companies by three criteria: whether they were developing technology that could be relevant to deadly AI, whether they were working on related military projects, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future. … Twenty-two companies were of “medium concern,” while 21 fell into a “high concern” category, notably Amazon and Microsoft who are both bidding for a $10 billion Pentagon contract to provide the cloud infrastructure for the U.S. military.”

The results are detailed in a post by Pax titled Major Tech Companies may be putting world at risk from Killer Robots, which also includes examples of good practices for tech companies to follow. Leveraging AI advances for lethal military technology is a very real concern already, and organizations such as The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots are advocating to stop this from happening.

Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy


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