Friday, January 25, 2019

Konnichiwa from Tokyo where Steven Cherry, Joy Boston, and Nancy Kleinrock are hosting a regional meeting Living with Robots.
 
The new tragedy of the commons: Tech companies are overgrazing AI professors, thinning their ranks. Who will educate the next generation of computer scientists, data scientists, and programmers? (Erin Dolan, Austin, Feb 2016; Anant Agarwal, Jersey City, Oct 2013)
www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-07/tech-giants-gorging-on-ai-professors-is-bad-for-you
 
Sure, your robot does fine walking around and even opening doors in the lab. But how would it fare in the Zurich sewer system? (C. Karen Liu, Boston, Apr 2017; Scott Niekum, Austin, Feb 2016; Erik Nieves, Detroit, May 2015)
www.futurity.org/anymal-robot-navigation-1950912/
 
Judy Estrin (Phoenix, Dec 2008) is proposing the equivalent of an industrial-scale, fully integrated city-wide sewer system for the Internet. She says we’re increasing levels of “digital pollution” are causing “increased anxiety and fear, polarization, fragmentation of a shared context, and loss of trust.”
www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january-february-march-2019/the-world-is-choking-on-digital-pollution/
 
Judy will share her anxieties and potential solutions at “IoT, Data and the New Last Mile” (registrationagenda)
 
Researchers have found that drawing something aids our memory better than taking written notes. (Pam Mueller, Brooklyn, Jul 2016)
www.fastcompany.com/90278940/need-to-remember-something-draw-it
 
Quick Hits

 
Remember Spotify’s controversial but ultimately successful decision to list itself directly on a stock exchange instead of the typical investment-bank-backed IPO process? Slack (Bill Macaitis, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015) will go the same route later this year.
www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-11/slack-is-said-to-plan-for-direct-share-listing-instead-of-ipo
 
Microsoft has an innovative solution to the affordable-housing crisis that tech companies are partially responsible for (e.g., Salesforce in San Francisco, Amazon in Seattle, and now New York and the D.C. area, Google and Facebook in the Bay Area)—it’s building affordable housing, $500 million worth, not just in a housing enclave for workers, but throughout Seattle.
www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/technology/microsoft-affordable-housing-seattle.html
 
The LHC (field trip, Geneva, Sep 2005) has been running for barely a decade, but scientists are already designing its successor. The proposed Future Circular Collider would be 4x longer and 10x more powerful.  
www.reuters.com/article/us-science-collider-idUSKCN1PA1UM
 
Is there anything lower-tech than thrift-store chain Goodwill? Except that now it’s adopting a machine learning-based computer-vision system to detect fake Gucci bags and other counterfeit brand-name merchandise. (Dror Sharon, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Sara Yun, Beijing, Jul 2006)
 
HyperScience (Peter Brodsky, San Francisco, Feb 2017), a machine-learning startup that automates data entry, just got a $30 million vote of confidence from investors.
www.techcrunch.com/2019/01/16/hyperscience-the-machine-learning-startup-tackling-data-entry-raises-30-million-series-b/
 
Walmart plans to hire 2,000 technology workers in 2019 for a variety of projects, from floor-scrubbing robots to algorithms that map optimal routes through the aisles for online order fulfillment. Of course, that means less work for human employees. The trend of partial automation is hitting the hotel industry particularly hard, with “robots that take over bartending and salad-making duties on cruise ships and in airports, and that deliver food to hotel guests’ rooms. More hotels are offering automated check-in via app or even—in China—via facial recognition” according to an article in The Atlantic. (Maja Matarić, Los Angeles, Mar 2018; Sonia Chernova, Brooklyn, Jul 2016; Steve Cousins, San Francisco, Dec 2015; Manuela Veloso, Boston, Apr 2014)
 
It might be the medical equivalent of Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov: A new AI developed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute does better than a Pap smear at detecting cervical cancer. (Noam Brown, Brooklyn, Jun 2018; Ed Feigenbaum, San Francisco, Dec 2013)
www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-01-10/ai-beats-humans-at-detecting-cervical-precancers
 
Until next week, sayonara.
 

"Tokyo would probably be the foreign city if I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo, and I think the majority of chefs you ask that question would answer the same way."
Anthony Bourdain

Author: Bryan Fox

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