Tuesday November 12, 2019
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JLF Panel Examine The Future Of AI

The panel also explored the impact of AI through the example of the popular debate on the use of driverless cars. 

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AI has the potential to increase India's annual growth.
AI has the potential to increase India's annual growth. pixabay

“In 50 years, we’ll probably have a robot conducting this session,” said author Anupama Raju in her opening comments on Monday at the session “The Future is Now” in the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), giving voice to an increasingly popular concern: will robots take over the world, our jobs and life as we know it?

A panel of eminent technologists Meredith Broussard and Toby Walsh was in conversation with Raju on the concluding day of the Festival.

“Scientists work within the envelope of the dreams that writers tell us,” said Walsh, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) professor, stating that the world is now waking up to the ideas that have been explored by science fictions writers such as Isaac Asimov for over 50 years.

Data journalism professor Broussard said that Hollywood has “coloured” our perception of AI with movies such as “The Terminator”, which portray robots as “evil machines that take over humanity”.

Having helped 1.7 million people around the world gain mobility with the famous Jaipur Foot, the organisation is now embarking on a mission to develop an affordable artificial hand, its founder D.R. Mehta has said.
Jaipur Foot and US are collaborating to develop an artificial hand. Pixabay

She called the fictional narratives “interesting but far from reality”, stating that there is “very little to fear” about AI.

Walsh argued that the real concern with AI is actually its “incompetence: We are giving decision making ability to machines that are not capable of making choices that are fair and meet the values of the society we’d like”.

Walsh, who has written “2062: The World that AI Made”, however, batted for the greater rationality of machines over humans.

“Humans are terribly irrational,” she said.

Broussard argued that computers, limited by their ability to merely executing what they are programmed to do, would “discriminate by default: The world is racist and sexist and has all kinds of social and economic inequality”.

Agreeing that AI doesn’t have an opinion and simply reflects the values of the people who build it, Walsh said that using computers to make a fairer world would certainly require immense prudence and hard-work.

“It’s the same as how chemistry makes the world a better place if we think carefully about not over-fertilising our soil or using nuclear bombs.”

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“A tectonic shift is happening in AI. Nearly 85 per cent of enterprises globally will use AI in some form or the other by 2020.

The panel also explored the impact of AI through the example of the popular debate on the use of driverless cars.

Walsh said that driverless cars would help save millions of lives, be economically beneficial by reducing transportation costs, prevent truck attacks by terrorists, and free people to do more productive tasks than driving.

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Broussard, author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World”, was admittedly “sceptical”.

Narrating an incident where she almost got killed by a driverless car, she explained, among other issues, how such cars’ “image-recognition algorithms could be easily defeated”, thereby resulting in accidents.

The JLF concludes later on Monday evening. (IANS)

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New Device Can Detect Unattended Kids Or Animals

The new device developed in University of Waterloo, Canada can detect unattended kids and animals

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This new device can help save kids and animals in vehicles. Pixabay

Researchers from University of Waterloo, Canada, have developed a new device which combines radar technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals with a 100 per cent accuracy.

Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand at just 3nm in diameter, the device is designed to be attached to a vehicle’s rear-view mirror or mounted on the ceiling.

According to the researchers, it sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. The built-in AI then analyses the reflected signals.

“Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy and it doesn’t have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats, for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car seat,” said study researcher George Shaker, a Professor at the University.

“This system is so affordable it could become standard equipment in all vehicles,” he added.

Development of the wireless, disc-shaped sensor was funded in part by a major automotive parts manufacturer that is aiming to bring it to market by the end of 2020.

Analysis by the device determines the number of occupants and their locations in a vehicle.

That information could be used to set rates for ride-sharing services and toll roads, or to qualify vehicles for car-pool lanes.

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According to the researchers, the device sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. Pixabay

Its primary purpose, however, is to detect when a child or pet has been accidentally or deliberately left behind, a scenario that can result in serious harm or death in extremely hot or cold weather, the study said.

In such cases, the system would prevent vehicle doors from locking and sound an alarm to alert the driver, passengers and other people in the area that there is a problem.

The low-power device, which runs on a vehicle’s battery, distinguishes between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle breathing movements.

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Researchers were now also exploring the use of that capability to monitor the vital signs of drivers for indications of fatigue, distraction, impairment, illness or other issues.

The study was presented at the IEEE Sensors 2019 conference in Canada. (IANS)