The debate on facial recognition, surveillance, and privacy continues with Canada the latest country to ban Clearview AI software. Clearview AI is under investigation in Canada for removing social media photos of people without their permission and experts caution this could erode privacy.

The contract between Clearview AI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been canceled in the latest attempts to protect individual privacy by the government of Canada. Similarly, investigations have started in Toronto and Quebec as pressure mounts on Clearview AI for their surveillance software.

Are we ready for practical applications of artificial intelligence?

Every industry is currently adopting AI solutions and marketing is one sector leveraging AI for optimization and revenue maximization. Machine learning and data analytics are supporting marketing efforts by driving data-driven decision-making.

Enterprise adoption of AI for marketing is revolutionizing operations, as companies understand metrics such as consumer demand, ROI, and expenditure control.

The growth of artificial intelligence in the enterprise and consumer space depends on the success of start-ups in commercializing operations. Cambricon Technologies’ recent IPO is an example of accelerating AI start-ups to support the growth of the AI industry. The chip company based in China is going public with the recent IPO announcement and this is good news for the AI field.

These and more insights on our weekly AI update

Canada bans Clearview AI

Clearview AI will no longer sell its facial recognition software in Canada, according to government privacy officials investigating the company. The end of Clearview AI⁹ operations in Canada¹ will also mean the end of the company’s contract with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Canadian privacy officials started investigating Clearview AI in February following media reports about the company’s practice of scraping billions of images from social media and the web without consent from the people in photos in order to create its facial recognition system. Critics say Clearview’s approach could mean the end of privacy.

Government officials from Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta provinces continue to investigate Clearview AI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police use of its facial recognition software despite Clearview’s exit. Police in major cities like Toronto have also used Clearview AI software.

Data-Driven approaches to Marketing

Artificial intelligence seems to be the current business hot topic, including in marketing. It seems nearly impossible for any kind of marketing industry event to not have at least one panel discussion on the subject.

The AI revolution in marketing² has been spurred by the influx of affordable and accessible advanced #dataanalytics tools, the availability of increasingly rich and extensive datasets, and a growing acceptance among marketers of the potential power of data-driven approaches to marketing decision making.

The winds have been blowing in this direction for some time, so this is not a new phenomenon. However, it seems that now we are at the point where almost everyone is talking about it and thinking hard about how AI can and will change how they do things.

AI-Generated Profile Pictures

A network of fictional journalists, analysts, and political consultants has been used to place opinion pieces favorable to certain Gulf states in a range of media outlets

At least 19 fake personas were used to author op-eds published in dozens of mainly conservative publications, with AI-generated headshots³ of would-be authors used to trick targets into believing the writers were real people.

It is not the first time AI has been used in this way, though it is unusual to see #machinelearning tech deployed for online misinformation in the wild. Last year, a report from The Associated Press found a fake profile on LinkedIn, part of a network of likely spies trying to make connections with professional targets, that also used an AI-generated headshot.

AI-generated profile pictures created by sites like ThisPersonDoesNotExist have some unique advantages when it comes to building fake online personas. The most important characteristic is that each image is uniquely generated, meaning they cannot be traced back to a source picture using a reverse image search.

However, the current generation of AI headshots is not flawless. They share a number of common tells, including odd-looking teeth, asymmetrical features, and indistinct background imagery

AI Start-ups going Public

Cambricon Technologies¹⁰, one of China’s most valuable artificial intelligence chip start-ups, said it will raise $367.7 million in its Shanghai initial public offering.

The company is offering 40.1 million new shares through its listing on Shanghai’s Star Market, according to its prospectus released on Tuesday. This will make up about 10 percent of its total shares after the IPO, the prospectus added.

Cambricon’s IPO values the company at 25.7 billion yuan, or 58.03 times its 2019 earnings, above the average price-to-sales ratio of 34.54 for five of its China-listed peers, according to the prospectus. The Beijing-based company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Founded by brothers Chen Yunji and Chen Tianshi in 2016, Cambricon’s chips have been used to power nearly 100 million smartphones and servers including those by Huawei Technologies and the Post’s parent company, Alibaba Group Holding, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said last year.

Simulated Conversations with Virtual Historical Figures

Have you ever wanted to pick the brains of Sir Isaac Newton, Mary Shelley, or Benjamin Franklin? Now you can, thanks to a new experiment by magician and novelist Andrew Mayne.

The project — called AI|Writer — uses OpenAI’s new text generator API to create simulated conversations⁴ with virtual historical figures. The system first works out the purpose of the message and the intended recipient by searching for patterns in the text. It then uses the API‘s internal knowledge of that person to guess how they would respond in their written voice.

The digitized characters can answer questions about their work, explain scientific theories, or offer their opinions. For example, Marie Curie gave a lesson on radiation, H.G. Wells revealed his inspiration for The Time Machine, while Alfred Hitchcock compared Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.

The characters could also compare their own eras with the present day. When Jane Austen was asked how her characters would use social media in the 21st century.

Algorithm-Driven Artificial Intelligence

Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human activities. Code-driven systems have spread to more than half of the world’s inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats.

As emerging #algorithm-driven artificial intelligence continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today?

Some 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists answered this question in a canvassing of experts conducted in the summer of 2018.

The experts predicted networked artificial intelligence⁵ will amplify human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency and capabilities.

They spoke of the wide-ranging possibilities; that computers might match or even exceed #humanintelligence and capabilities on tasks such as complex decision-making, reasoning and learning, sophisticated analytics and pattern recognition, visual acuity, speech recognition and language translation.

The World AI Conference 2020

World AI Conference 2020 goes live on July 9–11. Organized by the Shanghai government, the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC)’s mission is to provide a global platform for current and future AI innovation startups⁶and corporates to exchange ideas and resources in pursuit of humankind’s greatest technological achievements.

Unlike the previous two conferences, which were held onsite in Shanghai, WAIC 2020 will be held online from July 9 to 11 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this will not change the conference’s core mission and objectives. This year’s conference will take advantage of its online component by offering a series of online interactive activities and virtual platforms.

With the theme “Intelligent Connectivity, Indivisible Community,” WAIC 2020 aims to gather prominent experts from all over the world to discuss AI technology — its development, its applications, its trends, and how AI can better serve humanity for good.

This year’s online conference consists of one exhibition platform that will showcase products and services from more than 100 exhibitors, an opening ceremony, two plenary sessions, 10 thematic side stages, many industrial side stages, including both live and recorded content.

Machine-Learning Predicting COVID-19 Infections

The task of controlling the #COVID19 pandemic nationwide and predicting where cases will spike next and which areas may have high mortality rates remains daunting for scientists and public officials.

A new machine learning tool developed by researchers at a startup company (Akai Kaeru LLC) affiliated with Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS)may help gauge areas most at risk for the virus and high death rates.

The software they use analyzes a massive data set from all 3,007 U.S. counties. They found that combinations of factors such as poverty, rural settings, low education, low poverty but housing debt, and sleep deprivation are associated with higher death rates in counties.

The researchers use an automatic pattern mining engine and software to analyze a data set with approximately 500 attributes, which cover details related to demographics, economics, race and ethnicity, and infrastructure in all U.S. counties. After analyzing and assessing the data within counties they created nearly 300 sets of counties at a “high risk” for COVID-19 and related death rates.

Enterprise Artificial Intelligence

Executive involvement in enterprise #artificialintelligence initiatives is growing rapidly and more emphasis is being placed on high-quality training data. Both C-suite ownership of AI and budgets over $500K nearly doubled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic serving as a catalyst for accelerated AI initiatives⁷.

A key lesson learned from the pandemic is that businesses need to be ready for anything that requires a high level of business agility. It’s Darwinism at its finest as businesses that can adapt to market trends faster than their competition can become market leaders and maintain that position. Those that can’t do this will fade into obscurity with many going away.

But how do business leaders even know what decisions to make? There is a massive amount of data to be analyzed and people can’t process the information fast enough to find those key insights that drive business change.

Machines can work at infinitely higher speed and the pressure on the C-suite has never been higher. Now the execs are turning to AI to help them make the best decisions in as short a time as possible.

Collective and Augmented Intelligence Against COVID-19

The Future Society, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, UNESCO, and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation today announced the launch of the Collective and Augmented Intelligence Against COVID-19 (CAIAC).

The alliance aims to build an AI-powered pandemic decisioning tool⁸for policymakers, health care leaders, and scientists. CAIAC, which will be advised by United Nations-affiliated organizations including UN Global Pulse, will attempt to structure the fast-expanding collection of health, social, and economic data on the pandemic through collaborations with companies like Stability, C3, Element AI, Axis, GLG, and Planet.

Research institutions, companies, and non-governmental organizations have rushed to apply analyses and models to data on the pandemic from countries around the world. Indeed, the number of studies about COVID-19 has risen steeply from the start of the crisis, from around 20,000 in early March to over 30,000 as of late June.

Some false information has been promoted on social media and in publication venues like journals. And almost as bad, many results about the virus from different labs and sources are redundant, complementary, or even conflicting.

Works Cited

¹Clearview AI operations in Canada, ²AI Revolution in Marketing, ³AI-generated headshots, ⁴Simulated Conversations, ⁵Artificial Intelligence, ⁶AI innovation startups, ⁷AI initiatives, ⁸AI-Powered Pandemic Decisioning Tool

Companies Cited

Clearview AI, ¹⁰Cambricon Technologies