Have you heard about the latest developments in AI and bitcoin adoption? Huawei Invests $1m in AI Research; Fujitsu Slashes UK Headcount; Reactive Tech Completes ‘Smart Grid’ Trial; Dubai’s Government Adopts Blockchain Technology; Facebook Topic-Picking AI Found Wanting.
Huawei Invests $1m in AI Research
Noah’s Ark Laboratory, the research and development arm of Huawei, has announced a new partnership with the University of California at Berkeley which could provide $1 million in funding for projects relating to artificial intelligence.
Using the funds and other support from Huawei, the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) Lab aims to focus on deep-learning, reinforcement learning, machine learning, natural language processor and computer vision projects. All of these are considered key to the future of human-interfacing technologies, as well as fields from healthcare to autonomous vehicles.
Berkeley’s BAIR Lab already includes over two dozen faculty members and more than a hundred graduate students concentrating solely on AI projects.
Fujitsu Slashes UK Headcount
Fujitsu confirmed plans to lay off 13% of its UK workforce, equating to 1,800 jobs, in a move it claims is related to internal restructuring – not because of uncertainty surrounding the Pound Sterling’s as once assumed.
“The company today advised its employee representative forum of plans to restructure the organization,” a spokesperson confirmed in a brief statement to the press, “in order to provide better service and respond more quickly to customer needs.”
The job losses come despite the company’s 2015 financial year closing at £85.6 million in profit. The decision could be an opportunity for UK companies to pick up qualified and experienced technical staff around Fujitsu UK’s main sites including Belfast, Londonderry, Manchester, Wakefield, and Warrington.
The layoffs are not expected to take place until early 2017.
Reactive Tech Completes ‘Smart Grid’ Trial
Reactive Technologies announced the successful completion of a ‘smart grid’ trial in partnership with the National Grid and SSE.
Reactive’s Grid Data and Measurement System (GDMS) uses the grid to communicate with remote devices, including smart meters, with the promise of reduced cost and complexity for grid-based Internet of Things (IoT) project roll-outs.
“GDMS can dramatically reduce the cost of creating large-scale smart grid networks allowing wider participation in DSR [demand-side response] programs,” claimed Reactive’s Jens Madrian of the trial’s potential impact. Madrian continues, “For example by including domestic devices such as fridges, air conditioning systems and hot water tanks. Creating flexible demand is the lowest cost and carbon free way of balancing the electricity system. Otherwise is was managed by turning up or down thermal power plant like diesel generators or gas fired power stations.”
Dubai’s Government Adopts Blockchain Technology
The government of Dubai announced plans to transition to an entirely paperless governance model, backed by the same blockchain ledger technology that powers cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.
Under the auspice of Price Hamdan bin Mohammed, Dubai is looking to shift all government documentation and transactions to a digital, blockchain-based platform by 2020. In doing so, Prince Mohammed claims that around 25 million hours of economic productivity can be saved each year that would otherwise have gone towards document processing time – including the promise that citizens and corporations will only ever have to enter their details into the immutable blockchain record once.
Facebook Topic-Picking AI Found Wanting
An investigation by the Washington Post into Facebook’s in-house artificial intelligence system, which is responsible for picking the site’s trending topics for display to visitors, has raised concerns over the rapid pace of AI adoption and lack of human verification of output.
Since Facebook took human editors out of the loop and allowed a homegrown AI to pick trending topics, a number of hoax stories have been mistakenly publicized by the site. An investigation between the August 31 to September 22 found five entirely fake stories, three that were “profoundly inaccurate” and other inappropriate promoted content from press releases, blog posts and online stores.
The paper’s findings should come as a warning to those investing in AI as a replacement for human oversight as well as a wakeup call for Facebook to improve its AI’s algorithms.