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AI: Friend Or Foe?

This week our Associate Director Emma head over the the How To Academy to listen to MIT professor Max Tegmark talk about his new AI book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence… From emerging technologies to space travel to the importance of safety engineering, he covered a whole host of important topics around the current AI debate (read a good overview in this guardian article).

It’s certainly got us talking at our new HQ over in East London; is the potential of AI and computer super intelligence a friend or foe? Our news feeds are clearly eavesdropping as we’ve been bombarded with news of AI breakthroughs this week and we wanted to share them with you lovely lot as it’s got us pretty excited.

Friend or Foe? BAE Systems’s Taranis unmanned stealth aircraft prototype, described as ‘the first autonomous drone’. Photograph: BAE Systems

So this week’s Nonsensical brings us bowel cancer detection, suicide prevention and more. We can’t help agree with Max. AI is clearly here to stay and undoubtedly provides humanity with almost unlimited potential for the future… but the cost of this potential is currently on a tipping point. Let’s forget national borders and self-interest. Let’s collaborate across disciplines to ensure we are the founders of a future we wanted to create, not one that was created without us.

Artificial intelligence has learned to spot suicidal tendencies from brain scans

An MRI brain scan.

The first up in our AI news is that researchers have found a way to help identify those that suffer from suicidal tendencies. Given suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15-30 year olds in the US, this could potentially have profound effects on helping healthcare professionals identify those at risk.

Google’s AI Wizard Unveils a New Twist on Neural Networks

This AI veteran from Google has just released two new papers on his new approach to neural network; Capsule Networks. 69 year old Geoff Hinton has spent the last 40 years exploring the way computer vision works, i.e. how computers see.

It turns out computers aren’t very good sight. Whether it’s recognising a cat from every angle, to working out what different handwriting says, his published work goes into improvements made in this visual recognition space. Who knows what the implications are, but it’s clear there are leaps and bounds to be made in this space and these are steps in the right direction.

Can China Win the Artificial Intelligence Race By Serving The Elderly?

An elderly woman looks at a robot as she visits the China International High-Tech Expo in Beijing on May 23, 2013. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

China have a problem. Their population is ageing and their elderly are at risk from not have young family members around to care for them. This article explores how AI can offset the rising costs of retirement homes and serve some of the basic needs of older Chinese population…

Japanese researchers say AI can detect bowel cancer in less than a second

bowel canc

In other medical breakthrough news, Japanese researchers have found that AI can help detect bowel cancer. In less than a second!

Reports are that, when studying colorectal adenomas, the AI system can assess endoscopic images in less than 60 seconds to determine the malignancy of the tumours with 94% accuracy. That’s pretty impressive stuff.

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