/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Friday, September 30, 2022

IBM builds the world's largest dilution refrigerator for quantum computers

Preparation for additional scaling. 

IBM builds the world's largest dilution refrigerator for quantum computers

The super-fridge is known as project Goldeneye.

By Loukia Papadopoulos, Created: Sep 11, 2022 9:56 AM


IBM's Goldeneye project.

IBM has built a super-fridge known as project Goldeneye that is capable of cooling future generations of quantum experiments and that surpasses the issues found in today’s dilution refrigerators, according to a blog published by the firm on Thursday.

The company's engineers said that the new device may not be slated for use with any of the current IBM Quantum processors but that building it taught them important lessons on how to overcome these challenges.

“Goldeneye is a testament to the fact that a small team of people armed with passion and dedication can move a seven-ton 'mountain' of steel and electronics," read the blog.

"The super-fridge contains 1.7 cubic meters’ worth of experimental volume, meaning it can cool a volume larger than three home kitchen refrigerators to temperatures colder than the outer space, versus previous fridges, which are in the range of 0.4-0.7 cubic meters."

The IBM team managed to successfully cool the fridge down to operating temperature (~25 mK) and wired a quantum processor inside. The device will now move to the IBM Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, where a new team of researchers will explore large-scale cryogenic systems to best develop the cooling needs of tomorrow’s quantum data centers.

“We hope that its innovative design, with an eye toward ease-of-use, will inspire the next generation of vacuum and low-temperature refrigeration technologies,” engineers said in the blog ... 

AI Reduces 100,000-Equation Quantum Physics Problem to Four Equations

The power of leveraging patterns in the right context


Uncovering Hidden Patterns: AI Reduces 100,000-Equation Quantum Physics Problem to Four Equations

By SciTechDaily, September 29, 2022

A daunting quantum problem that until now required 100,000 equations has been compressed into a bite-size task of as few as four equations by physicists using artificial intelligence. All of this was accomplished without sacrificing accuracy. The work could revolutionize how scientists investigate systems containing many interacting electrons. Furthermore, if scalable to other problems, the approach could potentially aid in the design of materials with extremely valuable properties such as superconductivity or utility for clean energy generation. .... 

From SciTechDaily    

Overloading the Grid with Car Charging

 Sufficient infrastructure ready?

Too Many Electric Cars Charging at Night May Overload Electrical Grid

By New Scientist, September 29, 2022

The computer models showed that having more drivers charging during the day could reduce the grid’s energy storage requirements by between $700 million and $1.5 billion.

Computer modeling by researchers at Stanford University determined that the western U.S. power grid should invest in daytime charging options for electric vehicles (EVs) because primarily charging EVs at home overnight could put a strain on the power grid.

The researchers developed computer models that calculate the impact of driver charging behaviors and available charging station infrastructure at home and in public places on peak net electricity.

The models showed a 25% increase in peak net electricity demand when states hit 50% EV ownership and drivers mainly charge their vehicles at home overnight.

However, the increase in peak net electricity demand dropped to 7.5% by increasing daytime charging options.

The researchers also found that an increase in daytime charging could result in a $700-million to $1.5-billion reduction in the grid's energy storage requirements.

From New Scientist

View Full Article - May Require Paid Subscription   

Deere Invests Billions in Self-Driving Tractors, Smart Crop Sprayers

Umpressive directions in agriculture automation ...

Deere Invests Billions in Self-Driving Tractors, Smart Crop Sprayers

One side of the John Deere See & Spray Ultimate’s 120-foot sprayer boom, which features 36 cameras.

The Wall Street Journal

Bob Tita; Jacob Bunge

September 11, 2022

Agricultural machinery manufacturer Deere is investing billions of dollars to launch self-driving tractors and intelligent crop sprayers this year. Deere CEO John May predicts software use fees will constitute 10% of the company’s annual revenue by 2030. The sprayers use computer vision to differentiate crops from weeds and to more precisely target herbicide sprays. By 2026, Deere aims to connect 1.5 million machines in operation and 500 million acres in use to its cloud-based John Deere Operations Center, which will collect and retain crop data. Last year, Deere bought the Bear Flag Robotics startup to provide software to make older tractors capable of autonomous use. The company is wagering it can alleviate farmers' anxiety of losing control over their equipment by offering software-as-a-service on an as-needed basis for specific tasks.

Why No Self Driving Car Yet?

Depends on the specific definition , But Same Answer ....


Why Don't You Have A Self-Driving Car Yet?

By Forbes, September 29, 2022

People often ask, "Where's my self-driving car?" "Why don't I have one and when will it come?" A lot of people feel they were promised a car by the late 20-teens and it's late, and perhaps isn't coming, like the flying cars talked about decades ago.

In this two-article series (with accompanying videos) let's look at the core reasons you probably aren't riding in a robocar today, and when it might happen. What are the core technological, legal and social issues standing in the way, and, and what issues actually aren't blockers?

For most of us, these cars can't get here soon enough. They have the promise of avoiding a decent fraction of today's car accidents which kill over a million each year around the world. They will make our lives easier and rewrite the principles of transportation. In doing that, they will rewrite where we live and the very nature of the city, as well as dozens of other industries from energy to retailing. Every day we delay getting these things out on the road in volume, thousands will die at the hands of people who shouldn't have been driving. Every day we delay.

In Forbes: 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

AI Lip Reading

Something I did not know. More privacy implications? 

AI is already better at lip reading that we are

People, on average, can only guess around one word out of five correctly.

By Andrew Tarantola, September 29, 2022 2:30 PM in engadget

In this article: hearing, Machine learning, NLP, feature, lip reading, hearing loss, tomorrow, ai

Looking ahead

They Shall Not Grow Old, a 2018 documentary about the lives and aspirations of British and New Zealand soldiers living through World War I from acclaimed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, had its hundred-plus-year-old silent footage modernized through both colorization and the recording of new audio for previously non-existent dialog. To get an idea of what the folks featured in the archival footage were saying, Jackson hired a team of forensic lip readers to guesstimate their recorded utterances. Reportedly, “the lip readers were so precise they were even able to determine the dialect and accent of the people speaking.”

“These blokes did not live in a black and white, silent world, and this film is not about the war; it’s about the soldier’s experience fighting the war,” Jackson told the Daily Sentinel in 2018. “I wanted the audience to see, as close as possible, what the soldiers saw, and how they saw it, and heard it.”

That is quite the linguistic feat given that a 2009 study found that most people can only read lips with around 20 percent accuracy and the CDC’s Hearing Loss in Children Parent’s Guide estimates that, “a good speech reader might be able to see only 4 to 5 words in a 12-word sentence.” Similarly, a 2011 study out of the University of Oklahoma saw only around 10 percent accuracy in its test subjects.

“Any individual who achieved a CUNY lip-reading score of 30 percent correct is considered an outlier, giving them a T-score of nearly 80 three times the standard deviation from the mean. A lip-reading recognition accuracy score of 45 percent correct places an individual 5 standard deviations above the mean,” the 2011 study concluded. “These results quantify the inherent difficulty in visual-only sentence recognition.”

For humans, lip reading is a lot like batting in the Major Leagues — consistently get it right even just three times out of ten and you’ll be among the best to ever play the game. For modern machine learning systems, lip reading is more like playing Go — just round after round of beating up on the meatsacks that created and enslaved you — with today’s state-of-the-art systems achieving well over 95 percent sentence-level word accuracy. And as they continue to improve, we could soon see a day where tasks from silent-movie processing and silent dictation in public to biometric identification are handled by AI systems. ....  '

Setchain Application Multiplies Blockchain Transaction

Thinking the implications of this. 

Setchain Application Multiplies Blockchain Transactions Per Block

IMDEA Software Institute News (Spain), September 26, 2022

Researchers at Spain's IMDEA project, Switzerland's Tezos Foundation, and French Tezos Protocol developer Nomadic Labs have unveiled Setchain, an application that allows a greater number of blockchain transactions per block. The IMDEA Networks Institute's Antonio Fernández Anta said adding millions of transactions is possible when conceptual visualizations of the boundary between blocks are required no more than once per second. "Setchain allows to store transactions permanently and reliably, introducing order between transactions when it is indispensable," explained Anta. Setchain can order blocks within the chain without requiring the ordering of transactions within the blocks, reducing costs for blockchain users. ... ' 

Securing the Enterprise When Employees are Remote

Saw a number of variants of this as I worked from home during COVID.  Good thoughts

Securing the Enterprise When Employees are Remote,  By Keith Kirkpatrick

Commissioned by CACM Staff, September 29, 2022

Permitting workers to split their time between their home and office can improve job satisfaction and, in some cases, productivity. However, hybrid work arrangements can introduce additional layers of complexity and risk to an organization's technology systems and data. As such, IT departments need to consider several security technologies, processes, and policies to guard against cybersecurity threats that can be more easily exploited by workers that are on the go, or are working in unsecure environments.

For starters, security experts interviewed for this article highlight the importance of insisting that hybrid workers utilize virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow a direct, secure connection between their device and a corporate system, as well as virtual desktops (which ensures all activity and data remain within a corporate, secure environment) when accessing company inormation offsite.

IT leaders also must reinforce to hybrid workers that the most basic strategies used to mitigate security risks within a traditional enterprise environment are still relevant, no matter where a worker may be physically located, or what type of device is being used to access network resources.

"Before purchasing the newest endpoint protection software or cloud-based identity solution to help secure assets and connectivity, leadership should instead begin by authoring policy and standards that support the both the organization's remote work strategy and the overall business strategy," says Jon Anderson, manager of Schellman & Co., a global cybersecurity assessor. "The policy and standards should include language which clearly defines expectations regarding the physical security of the remote work environment, rules for the use of corporate equipment, security considerations for working from public locations, remote network access requirements, employee bring-your-own-device responsibilities, and incident reporting guidelines."

Steve Tcherchian, chief information security officer and chief product officer at cybersecurity solutions company XYPRO, says that if a worker is permitted to use their personal devices, such as laptops or smartphones to access any company resources or networks, children, spouses, or others in the household should not have any access to these devices, given the possibility that malware or viruses could've ben inadvertently downloaded. Says Tcherchian, "You don't want a game or app your kids downloaded three months ago to be the reason your company's network is now compromised."

For hybrid workers, providing them with ongoing training in short bursts may be the key to establishing good cybersecurity practices that become second nature, even when the user is not under the watchful eye of the onsite IT team, explains Rahul Mahna, managing director at EisnerAmper's Outsourced IT Services team. "We don't have a one- or two-hour cybersecurity training, like some firms do," Mahna says, noting that EisnerAmper will conduct phishing tests every quarter, and then if a worker fails a random phishing test, they're immediately prompted with a two-to five-minute video to teach them what they did wrong. "We found a really high [information] retention rate and level of understanding with those learning 'snacks,' versus making them sit down for a couple of hours of extended cybersecurity training."

Security experts say organizations need to take a risk-based approach to security, which can involve three key strategies: zero trust, validating users rather than devices, and monitoring data and nework access patterns for anomalies.

"Employees will be connecting from everywhere," says Murat Kantarcioglu, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Dallas and director of the Data Security and Privacy Lab at UT Dallas. "And this requires the use of a zero-trust architecture, where you don't trust anyone or anything."

A zero-trust security architecture requires all users, whether in or outside the organization's network, to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated before being granted or keeping access to applications and data. Many organizations have adopted the NIST 800-207 standard, which recommends specific authentication and authorization functions that must be performed before granting access to a specific resource, and was initiated in response to the growing use of distributed network assets, remote users, and bring-your-own-device policies which gained popularity during the pandemic.

Organizations have used some sort of multi-factor authentication to control access to a company resource. This authentication works on the principal of so-called trusted devices, which presumes that the recipient of the code is also the owner of the device it was sent to. A typical process involves a user entering a login credential, and then, a second verification code is sent either via an SMS message, or through an authentication app on a second device. The user must then enter that code to gain access to the requested asset or network.

However, criminals and scammers have tricked some users into sharing the access codes, often by calling users and pretending to be a legitimate organization such as the post office, bank or even an IT professional from a company, and asking for the code that was just delivered to your phone by text or email. That's why some companies are moving to a security concept known as identity access management, where individuals, rather than devices, are consistently verified and authenticated.

Through the ubiquity of cellphone cameras and facial recognition techniques, users can be authenticated and verified each time they need to access a sensitive application or system. One such system is offered by Nametag, which employs the use of AI to scan a user's government-issued identification to ensure its legitimacy, and establish a person's identity. Then, a user shares a photo of themselves so it can be matched to the photo on their government-issued credential using AI, which compares the specific, non-changing features on a person's face, such as the distance between their pupils, across the two images to ensure confidence in the match. ... ' 

NSF Announces $10-million Partnership with Intel

 Watching the building of semiconductor resources, will ultimately be crucial.

NSF Announces $10-million Partnership with Intel

By Mirage News, September 8, 2022

Today, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced a new program with Intel Corporation to educate and train the nation's semiconductor manufacturing workforce and advance opportunities for equitable science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Following the historic passage of the "CHIPS and Science Act," Intel and NSF will invest $10 million to provide funding to support the development of a high-quality manufacturing workforce at all levels of production and innovation as described in a new Dear Colleague Letter, or DCL.

A nationwide shortage in semiconductors, complicated by the global pandemic, has made it difficult for the chip industry to meet the increasing demand for chip-based products. And while that demand is high in the U.S., only about 10% of the global supply of chips is produced nationally. Awards made through this DCL will help tackle this problem by supporting the education and training of the semiconductor manufacturing workforce in the U.S.

"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Intel to support research and workforce development to advance semiconductor design and manufacturing," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "It's not just about chips – it's about unlocking investments in America's science and technology research, STEM education and workforce. This collaboration presents a remarkable opportunity for students entering this field."

From Mirage News

View Full Article    

Hints at Apple Mixed Reality Efforts

Apple has done innovation quite well,  Look forward to their Mixed Reality efforts. 

Apple Might Use ‘Reality’ Naming Convention for Its Mixed Reality Devices

By Josh Norem on August 30, 2022 at 12:15 pm  in ExtremeTech

It’s been previously reported that Apple has been working on a mixed reality device for over seven years now. Incredibly, we still have no firm launch plans or any definitive details about the mysterious device. However, recent trademark filings by law firms allegedly associated with Apple give us a clue about possible naming conventions.

Previously it had been reported Apple was working on an operating system for the clandestine headset named Reality OS (rOS). As it turns out, the rest of the device’s parts might have similar branding. Trademark applications have been filed in various countries for the names Reality One, Reality Pro, and Reality Processor, Bloomberg reports. This seems to indicate two models for Apple’s upcoming headset; the base model One and a Pro version. Whatever custom silicon it puts inside will inevitably be labeled a Reality processor. Because TSMC hasn’t spun up its 3nm fab just yet, it’ll likely be a 5nm part that’s based on the M2 design. It will reportedly include 16GB of memory and a second chip to handle graphics. .... ' 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Comment on Hands-Free Driving

 Received the below of interest, linking to Automotive hands-free, I will also link to Spiritcar, and pass along things I think are useful to my readers: 

  ... My name is Alexis Walker, and I’m working with Spiritcar.com. I noticed you shared an article about hands-free driving on this page: http://eponymouspickle.blogspot.com/2020/08/more-seeing-around-corner.html

We have published a more recent article presenting tips for getting the most out of Android Auto. Before presenting the 14 tips, our article notes that Android Auto features like the handsfree feature enhance safety and overall driving experience. 

Here's the article if you want to read more: https://spiritcar.com/14-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-android-auto/  .... ' 

Chula Chatbot Career Coach

Interesting, especially regards to how much a coach it can be. 

Chula Chatbot Serves As an Education and Career Coach

By Chulalongkorn University, September 26, 2022

A chatbot developed by lecturers at Chulalongkorn University is designed to serve as an education and career coach for learners and students.

The EmpowerMe chatbot "is like having a student counselor or personal coach who can offer advice on how to develop career skills in the digital age so that students can find the job for which they are well suited," says Professor Jintavee Khlaisang. It will also suggest lessons to help a user develop the types of skills needed in a particular career. It assesses a learner's performance and motivates them with rewards in the form of medals.  

The application received a gold medal award from the 2021 Seoul International Invention Fair. It has been patented for user-interface design.

From Chulalongkorn University    (Korea) 

View Full Article   

Neural Networks Predict Forces in Jammed Granular Solids

 Unexpected application for a neural network.

Neural Networks Predict Forces in Jammed Granular Solids  By Göttingen University (Germany), September 8, 2022

A team of researchers from Germany's Göttingen University and Belgium's Ghent University used machine learning and computer simulations to create a tool for predicting force chains within granular solids.

The researchers showed that graph neural networks can be trained in a supervised manner to anticipate the position of force chains that manifest while deforming a granular system, provided an undeformed static structure.

Said Göttingen's Peter Sollich, "The efficiency of this new method is surprisingly high for different scenarios with varying system size, particle density, and composition of different particles types. This means it will be useful in understanding force chains for many types of granular matter and systems."

From Göttingen University (Germany)

View Full Article   

On Weak IOT Security

 Considerable piece.  IOT has long been a susceptible ecosystems. 

Security in the billions: Toward a multinational strategy to better secure the IoT ecosystem  From AtlanticCouncil

By Patrick Mitchell, Liv Rowley, and Justin Sherman with Nima Agah, Gabrielle Young, and Tianjiu Zuo

Executive summary

The explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services worldwide has contributed to an explosion in data processing and interconnectivity. Simultaneously, this interconnection and resulting interdependence have amplified a range of cybersecurity risks to individuals’ data, company networks, critical infrastructure, and the internet ecosystem writ large. Governments, companies, and civil society have proposed and implemented a range of IoT cybersecurity initiatives to meet this challenge, ranging from introducing voluntary standards and best practices to mandating the use of cybersecurity certifications and labels. However, issues like fragmentation among and between approaches, complex certification schemes, and placing the burden on buyers have left much to be desired in bolstering IoT cybersecurity. Ugly knock-on effects to states, the private sector, and users bring risks to individual privacy, physical safety, other parts of the internet ecosystem, and broader economic and national security.

In light of this systemic risk, this report offers a multinational strategy to enhance the security of the IoT ecosystem. It provides a framework for a clearer understanding of the IoT security landscape and its needs—one that focuses on the entire IoT product lifecycle, looks to reduce fragmentation between policy approaches, and seeks to better situate technical and process guidance into cybersecurity policy. Principally, it analyzes and uses as case studies the United States, United Kingdom (UK), Australia, and Singapore, due to combinations of their IoT security maturity, overall cybersecurity capacity, and general influence on the global IoT and internet security conversation. It additionally examines three industry verticals, smart homes, networking and telecommunications, and consumer healthcare, which cover different products and serve as a useful proxy for understanding the broader IoT market because of their market size, their consumer reach, and their varying levels of security maturity.  ... '

(Much more ....See also Schneier  on this report, with much additional comment) 

AI, GPS Technology Could Save Lives in Wildfires, Floods, Disaster

 Watching Hurricane activity in South Florida, getting further appreciation of linking many camera and sensor resources to make disaster, supply chain decisions. 

AI, GPS Technology Could Save Lives in Wildfires, Floods, Disaster

The Wall Street Journal

Jim Carlton, August 30, 2022

Artificial intelligence and global positioning system (GPS) technology could help save lives in wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters by getting emergency alerts out faster. Last month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completed a proof-of-concept test on a satellite-based alert sent to automobiles' GPS navigation systems. Meanwhile, Pascal Schuback from the nonprofit Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup said he has been working with companies and organizations on a service for Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant to process emergency alerts. Schuback envisions a scenario in which Alexa could instruct a garage to open and a self-driving car to back out following an imminent tremor alert. Recent applications designed to help people keep in touch on disaster alerts include the Federal Emergency Management Agency app, which transmits real-time emergency alerts from the National Weather Service and California fire monitor Watch Duty. ... 

Erasure Key to Practical Quantum Computing

Tips towards Quantum improvement.

Erasure Key to Practical Quantum Computing

Researchers at Princeton University, Yale University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a method for error correction in a quantum computer's calculations.   The researchers focused on physical causes of error; in their proposed system, the most common source of error eliminates damaged data instead of corrupting it.

They studied the electrons in ytterbium qubits, and when errors cause the electrons to fall to the ground state from their excited state, they visibly scatter light.  This means that when shining a light on ytterbium qubits, only the faulty ones light up and can be written off as errors.

Said Princeton's Jeff Thompson, "These erasure errors are vastly easier to correct because you know where they are." ... 

Said Princeton's Jeff Thompson, “We see this project as laying out a kind of architecture that could be applied in many different ways. We are already seeing a lot of interest in finding adaptations for this work.”  ... 

From Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science

View Full Article  

Security by Labeling

Security by Labeling

By Andreas Kuehn

Communications of the ACM, September 2022, Vol. 65 No. 9, Pages 23-25  10.1145/3548762

Empowering consumers to make risk-informed purchasing decisions when buying Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices or using digital services is a principal thrust to advance consumer cybersecurity. Simple yet effective labels convey relevant cybersecurity information to buyers at the point of sale and encourage IoT vendors to up their cybersecurity game as they now can recoup their security investments from risk-aware buyers. These dynamics benefit consumers and the industry alike, resulting in better, more resilient cybersecurity for all.

Consumers are insufficiently aware of risks emanating from IoT and are ill-equipped to manage them. For all the much-heralded benefits of consumer IoT to come true, the industry must ensure all the smart home appliances, connected thermostats, and digital services are secure and can be trusted. The industry has for long been criticized for not paying sufficient attention to the cybersecurity of its products. Concerns over security were pushed aside, yielding precedence to shorter time-to-market and higher corporate profits. Less time for testing translates into insecure products in residential homes.

The full cost of insecurity is on display when consumers, industry, and governments must respond to and clean up after cyber incidents. The toll of consumer cybercrime alone adds up to more than 100 billion USD per year globally.4 The industry, with support from government, must find ways to put IoT security front and center and make the necessary up-front investments that enhance consumer cyber-security and lower cost to everyone.

Lack of Information Drives Cyber Insecurity

Consumer cybersecurity is suffering from information asymmetry, the skewed appraisal of the quality of a property that Nobel Laureate economist George Akerlof described in his seminal writing "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism."1 In the secondhand car market, Akerlof observed, buyers of used cars could not tell good cars from bad ones and thus differentiated the product on price alone, rather than including the quality of the preowned vehicles in their purchase decision-making. Sellers had no incentive to sell higher-quality cars since they could not find buyers willing to pay a higher price. Thus, the information asymmetry between the seller, who knows the quality of the car, and the buyer, who cannot assess the quality of the car, led to a market of lemons, a degraded market of subquality cars, which frequently break down and are in constant need of expensive repairs.

The challenges on the way to consumer IoT cybersecurity labeling are considerable but not insurmountable.

The consumer IoT marketplace faces a similar conundrum. Buyers cannot discern a secure Internet-connected camera from its insecure, cheaper alternative. With no market demand, IoT manufacturers have no incentive to invest in cybersecurity. All that is left is to compete on price, further incenting the reduction of security to save on cost and hindering the much-needed consumer adoption of secure Internet-connected devices and services. Adding transparency by means of a recognized, trusted cybersecurity label can break this vicious cycle, empower buyers to make risk-informed purchases, and allow vendors to reap the rewards of their cybersecurity investments by marketing to security-aware customers. In fact, research shows that a sizable portion of consumers is willing to pay a 30% markup for secure IoT products. ... '

Amazon Introduces Encrypted Communication Service AWS Wickr

 Had not heard of this offering.

Amazon Introduces Encrypted Communication Service AWS Wickr   by  Renato Losio

A year after the acquisition of the company Wickr, Amazon recently announced the preview of the collaboration suite AWS Wickr. Built on a proprietary encryption protocol, the new managed service provides enterprises and government agencies with security and administrative controls to meet security and compliance requirements.

Wikcr uses a multilayered AES-256 end-to-end encryption and key handling protocols to allow users securely sharing mission-critical information. Every call, message, and file in AWS Wickr is encrypted with a new random encryption key and messages. According to the cloud provider, encryption keys are accessible only within Wickr applications and not disclosed to Wickr servers.

Among the suggested use cases, the new service can help secure sensitive communications and enable out-of-band communications for disaster recovery and incident response, facilitate data governance and enable internal and external collaboration through federation. After the acquisition of the company that builds end-to-end encryption-based collaboration solutions for public sector and enterprise customers, Amazon integrated Wickr as an AWS service and developed new features including a new SDK and updated crypto protocols.

Even if AWS claims they cannot access the communications, the choice of a proprietary protocol raised some concerns in the community. Christophe Tafani-Dereeper, cloud security researcher & advocate at Datadog, comments:

"AWS Wickr encrypts every message, call, and file with a proprietary, 256-bit end-to-end encryption protocol" This awfully reads "we're rolling our own encryption". ... ' 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Economic Development Administration Awards Georgia Tech

Impressed what I saw in long past visits  ... 

Economic Development Administration Awards Georgia Tech $65 Million for AI Manufacturing Project

Largest grant ever awarded to a Georgia Tech-led coalition of partners to drive Build Back Better initiatives

The Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded a $65 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support a statewide initiative that combines artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations with transformational workforce and outreach programs. The grant will increase job and wage opportunities in distressed and rural communities, as well as among historically underrepresented and underserved groups. ... '

Pre Bunking against Misinformation

Mostly,  always consider the source

Fighting Against Misinformation

By Associated Press, August 30, 2022

The researchers said short online videos that teach basic critical thinking skills can make people better able to resist misinformation online.

Researchers at the U.K.'s Cambridge University and University of Bristol, the University of Western Australia, and Google have found that "pre-bunking" is a simple and promising method to prevent misinformation.

Pre-bunking involves using fictional examples to teach people how misinformation works and how to become resistant to it.

The researchers created short online videos akin to public service announcements, highlighting certain misinformation techniques, like emotionally charged language, personal attacks, and false comparisons of unrelated items.

After giving participants a series of claims, the researchers found that those who watched the videos were better able to distinguish between false and accurate information.

Google now will issue a series of pre-bunking videos on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok in Eastern Europe on scapegoating, which has been seen in misinformation campaigns about Ukrainian refugees. 


Monday, September 26, 2022

AI Directed Security Issues

 Also discussed in Schneier, with further comment, makes me think of 'dueling AI' scenarios.

You can’t solve AI security problems with more AI  From Simonwillison.net

One of the most common proposed solutions to prompt injection attacks (where an AI language model backed system is subverted by a user injecting malicious input—“ignore previous instructions and do this instead”) is to apply more AI to the problem.

I wrote about how I don’t know how to solve prompt injection the other day. I still don’t know how to solve it, but I’m very confident that adding more AI is not the right way to go.

These AI-driven proposals include:

Run a first pass classification of the incoming user text to see if it looks like it includes an injection attack. If it does, reject it.

Before delivering the output, run a classification to see if it looks like the output itself has been subverted. If yes, return an error instead.

Continue with single AI execution, but modify the prompt you generate to mitigate attacks. For example, append the hard-coded instruction at the end rather than the beginning, in an attempt to override the “ignore previous instructions and...” syntax.

Each of these solutions sound promising on the surface. It’s easy to come up with an example scenario where they work as intended.

But it’s often also easy to come up with a counter-attack that subverts that new layer of protection! ... ' 

On NeuroSymbolic AI

New to me, worth understanding in useful contexts ...

Neurosymbolic AI, By Don Monroe

Communications of the ACM, October 2022, Vol. 65 No. 10, Pages 11-13   10.1145/3554918

The ongoing revolution in artificial intelligence (AI)—in image recognition, natural language processing and translation, and much more—has been driven by neural networks, specifically many-layer versions known as deep learning. These systems have well-known weaknesses, but their capability continues to grow, even as they demand ever more data and energy. At the same time, other critical applications need much more than just powerful pattern recognition, and deep learning does not provide the sorts of performance guarantees that are customary in computer science.

To address these issues, some researchers favor combining neural networks with older tools for artificial intelligence. In particular, neurosymbolic AI incorporates the long-studied symbolic representation of objects and their relationships. A combination could be assembled in many different ways, but so far, no single vision is dominant.

The complementary capabilities of such systems are frequently likened to psychologist Daniel Kahneman's human "System 1" which, like neural networks, makes rapid, heuristic decisions, and the more rigorous and methodical "System 2." "The field is growing really quickly, and there's a lot of excitement," said Swarat Chaudhuri of the University of Texas at Austin. Even though "Neural networks are going to become ubiquitous, even more than they are today," he said, "not all of computer science is going to become replaced by deep learning."

A Long History

In the early years of artificial intelligence, researchers had high hopes for symbolic rules, such as simple if-then rules and higher-order logical statements. Although some experts, such as Doug Lenat at Cycorp, still hold hopes for this strategy to impart common sense to AI, the collection of rules needed is widely regarded as Unpractically large. "If you try to encode all human knowledge manually, we know that's not possible. That has been tried and failed," said Asim Munawar, a program director of neurosymbolic AI at IBM.

Neural networks also fell short of their aspirations in the 1980s and '90s, and artificial intelligence entered a long "winter" of reduced interest and funding. This situation changed a decade ago, however, largely due to the availability of enormous datasets for training, and massive computer power. Recent architectural innovations, notably attention and transformers, have driven further advances, such as the uncannily plausible text generation by OpenAI's large language model, GPT-3.

Deep learning does surprisingly well at generalizing, for reasons that are only partly understood. Despite impressive successes on average, however, these systems still make some odd errors when presented with novel examples that do not fit patterns they infer from the training data. Errors also can be created using maliciously altered data, sometimes in ways essentially imperceptible to people.

In addition, racial, gender, and other biases in the training data can be unintentionally enshrined by neural networks. Thus, for ethical and safety reasons, users often expect an explanation of how the networks came to a conclusion in medical, financial, legal, and military applications.

In spite of widespread concerns, these problems are not actually "limitations of deep learning systems," said Yann LeCun, chief AI scientist and a vice president at Meta, of the widely used supervised learning paradigm. LeCun, who shared the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award with fellow deep learning pioneers Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, believes that if users adopt "self-supervised learning, things that are not trained for a given task but are trained generically, a lot of those problems will essentially disappear." (LeCun regards explainability as a "non-issue.")  ... ' 

Kroger Seeking to Improve Customer Pickup

Semi automation of customer pickup interaction and satisfaction.

Will electronic carts help Kroger fulfill curbside pickup orders more quickly?  by Matthew Stern in Retailwire

Kroger is introducing a temperature-controlled electronic cart to speed up its curbside fulfillment.

The cart, called the BrightDrop Trace Grocery cart, was originally piloted in Kroger stores in Lexington and Versailles, KY, and is marked for a broader rollout since the pilot yielded a noticeable improvement in both customer and associate experience, according to the Detroit News.

The cart is fitted with nine secure, temperature controlled drawers in which employees can stock grocery orders before wheeling the cart to the curb. It is mechanized to allow an employee to easily pull 350 pounds of groceries at a comfortable walking pace. The next wave of the rollout will be limited, but the companies expect wide-scale availability of the cart by 2024.

Curbside pickup experienced an unprecedented spike in adoption at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic as government regulations limited in-store shopping and concerns about potentially contracting COVID-19 kept shoppers out of stores. ,,,  ' 

Make the Mask a Way to Detect Disease

Had seen something similar presented,  sanitizing more complex masks was mentioned as an issue.  ,

Smart Mask Could Be Early Warning System   By South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), September 22, 2022

A team of Chinese scientists have developed a wearable bioelectric mask that can detect respiratory diseases in the air, including Covid-19 and influenza, and report results in 10 minutes.

Once connected to a wireless network, the mask can transmit real-time data to a user's mobile device, including detection alerts, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Matter on Monday.

The mask is intended to be used as an early warning system to prevent future outbreaks of respiratory infectious diseases, researchers said.

These diseases are spread through the air by droplets or aerosols. But direct detection of viruses in the air can be difficult as the concentrations can be extremely low.

From South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

View Full Article   

X-rays, AI and 3D printing Bring lost Van Gogh Artwork to life

Worked previously with UCL

X-rays, AI and 3D printing bring lost Van Gogh Artwork to life

by University College London

Using X-rays, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, two UCL researchers reproduced a "lost" work of art by renowned Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, 135 years after he painted over it.

Ph.D. researchers Anthony Bourached (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) and George Cann (UCL Space and Climate Physics), working with artist Jesper Eriksson, used cutting edge technology to recreate a long-concealed Van Gogh painting.

It's the latest in their "NeoMasters" series of recreations, a project they've been working on since 2019 to bring lost works of art to life.

They developed a process to recreate lost works that uses X-ray imaging to see through every layer of paint, AI to extrapolate the artist's style, and 3D printing to fabricate the final piece.

This newest effort, dubbed "The Two Wrestlers," depicts two shirtless wrestlers grappling in front of an abstract background. It recreates a painting originally by Van Gogh who covered over the two figures when he reused the canvas for an unrelated painting of flowers.

Bourached, who is researching Machine Learning and Behavioral Neuroscience at UCL, says that "how much it is like the original painting is impossible to tell at this point because the information doesn't exist. I think it's very convincing—by far the best guess we can get with current technology."

The obscured image was first discovered in 2012 when art experts at the University of Antwerp investigated whether the work "Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses" was an authentic Van Gogh. The researchers examining the artwork used X-rays to peer through the layers of paint and discovered two ghostly figures that had been painted over.

The covered-over wrestlers displayed brush strokes and pigments that were consistent with Van Gogh, and the subject matter was also a common theme at the Antwerp Art Academy where Van Gogh was studying in 1886, authenticating the work. ... '

Sunday, September 25, 2022

AI Teaching Cursive Handwriting

Unusual application for these times, but I agree it can have useful side effects.

Applied AI Teaches Handwriting    By Esther Shein

Communications of the ACM, October 2022, Vol. 65 No. 10, Pages 19-20   10.1145/3554919

Researchers from Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and pen-maker Stabilo are collaborating on an artificial intelligence (AI)-based pen to teach schoolchildren what is becoming a lost art in an increasingly digital world: handwriting.

The joint project—Kaligo-based Intelligent Handwriting Teacher (KIHT)—is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

German children are taught to write by redrawing the shape of letters, which requires them to think about writing, explains Tanja Harbaum, a researcher at KIT who is involved with the project. "We want them to be able to write without having to think about writing. That's what we as adults do."

The eyes of unskilled writers are not able to keep up with writing, and "that's really a problem because if you force a child to redraw shapes, they won't be able to practice fluent writing at the same time," according to Harbaum.

While teaching shapes should be the first step, children are "painting the letters, not writing them," says Peter Kämpf, head of special product development at Stabilo. "Painting means that pen movement is slow and deliberate, with close hand-eye coordination. Therefore, the next step must focus on the dynamics of writing," which is the wrist movement, he says, and not focus on shapes "until the writing movement has developed to the point where it is an overlearned motion that does not depend on optical control."

This not only speeds up the writing process but also frees up cognitive capacity, he says.

Styli have been shown to enhance the ability to write. "Writing with the finger is more suitable for performing large, but not very accurate motions, while writing with the stylus leads to a higher precision and more isotropic motion performance," according to a 2015 study published in the National Library of Medicine.

Regardless of whether a stylus or an old-fashioned pen or pencil is used, however, studies have found there is a significant connection between handwriting, cognitive development, and the ability to retain information.

In 2015, Finland became one of the first countries to phase out handwriting instruction altogether, to keep pace with technological progress. (Although U.S. schools are not required to teach cursive writing, schools in some states continue to do so.) Some researchers do not agree with Finland's decision.

University of Washington professor Virginia Berninger told the online news site Qcostarica that writing with a pen not only helps develop fingers, but also thinking skills, because the brain works harder to write.

Other studies support the fact that handwriting is a complex task that requires more brainpower to process a word than just reading or typing it. Handwriting is both physical and mental, and the brain has to apply motor skills and thought processing when applying pen to paper to create words. 

Even adults can benefit from continuing to use their handwriting skills. A 2021 study by Johns Hopkins University published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science posits practicing handwriting "refines fine-tuned motor skills and creates a perceptual-motor experience that appears to help adults learn generalized literacy-related skills surprisingly faster and significantly better than if they tried to learn the same material by typing on a keyboard or watching videos."

"Our results clearly show that handwriting compared with nonmotor practice produces faster learning and greater generalization to untrained tasks than previously reported," researchers Robert Wiley and Brenda Rapp told Psychology Today. "Furthermore, only handwriting practice leads to the learning of both motor and amodal symbolic letter representations."  ..... ' 

Ask Dumb Questions

Ask enough questions and you will notuce they are getting smarter.

When AI Asks Dumb Questions, It Gets Smart Fast   In Science, September 22, 2022

New research suggests patiently correcting artificial intelligence (AI) when it asks dumb questions may be key to helping the technology learn.

Stanford University scientists trained a machine learning AI to identify gaps in its knowledge, as well as to formulate often-stupid questions about images that strangers would answer.

When people responded, the system received feedback prompting it to adjust its inner mechanisms to behave similarly in the future; the researchers also "rewarded" the AI for writing smart questions to which humans responded.

The AI absorbed lessons in language and social norms over time, refining its ability to compose sensible and easily answerable queries.

The researchers said the system's accuracy at answering questions similar to those it had asked improved 118% over eight months and across more than 200,000 questions ...

Many AI systems become smarter by relying on a brute-force method called machine learning: they find patterns in data to, say, figure out what a chair looks like after analyzing thousands of pictures of furniture. ... 

From Science

Cognixion One, a Brain Interface with AR

Brought to my attention.    Updates to Cognixion.   More at the link. Let me know of your experience and I will report it here ....


The World's First Brain Computer Interface with Augmented Reality

Wearable Speech™ Generating Device   ©2020 Cognixion, Patents Pending

Say Hello to Cognixion ONE​  ...  (link above) 

For too long, the assistive technology industry has relied on repurposed consumer electronics, often years behind the cutting edge of what is possible.

At Cognixion, we believe that every individual deserves a solution as unique as they are – and that it’s possible to build one tool for communication, access, and everything else life brings their way.

Enter Cognixion ONE. No more dangling wires. No more PC monitor blocking your view of the person you’re speaking with. No more leaving your voice and your control at home, or in the classroom; Cognixion ONE is a wearable window to the world, offering both speech and an integrated AI assistant for home automation control and other enrichment. 

Whether you use Cognixion ONE’s AR environment via head pointing, Brain-Computer Interface, or switch, you’ll see how it’s built from the ground up to reduce the lag between intention and outcome.

Think it. Say it. Do it.

Cognixion ONE - The world's first wearable brain computer Interface with AR | Product Hunt

Extending Abilities to the Most Vulnerable

Designed by neurologists and biosignal engineers in concert with Speech-Language Pathologists and a large group of users and professionals, Cognixion ONE comes out of the gate with integrated home automation AI and multiple context-aware predictive keyboards. We’re prepared to meet the needs of anyone with complex communication disorders including CP, ALS, and hundreds of other conditions exhaustively researched and tested by our team.

Almost anyone who has been reliant on switch or eye control access is an immediate candidate for Cognixion ONE, as well as many other conditions for which there was previously no good access method such as Locked-In Syndrome or hyperkinetic conditions causing too much movement for reliable eye tracking. Our durable design and optional accessory straps mean you can use Cognixion ONE with confidence all throughout your daily life.

Your Window to the World

Cognixion ONE is an entirely wireless, mobile solution that doesn’t just give you freedom to move – it gives you freedom to move the world. 

Direct integration with a popular AI assistant (tba) provides access to home automation, music, games, and more; you don’t need to own a hub, because it is a hub. 

Our speech generating software also displays text on the mirrored lens, so you can be understood even in loud environments – or disable sound and use text only for private conversations. 

A 4G cellular connection ensures you always have a direct line to your AI assistant and our other cloud services, all of which are completely secure and compliant with all international privacy laws.  ... '

Optimizing Fluid Mixing with Machine Learning

 Interaction between RL and Markov decision method is interesting 

Optimizing Fluid Mixing with Machine Learning

Tokyo University of Science (Japan)

August 29, 2022

Researchers in Japan have proposed a machine learning-based approach for optimizing fluid mixing for laminar flows. The researchers used reinforcement learning (RL), in which intelligent agents perform actions in an environment to maximize the cumulative reward. The team addressed RL's inefficiencies in dealing with systems involving high-dimensional state spaces by describing fluid motion using only a single parameter. Researchers used the Markov decision process to formulate the RL algorithm, and the Tokyo University of Science's Masanobu Inubushi said the program "identified an effective flow control, which culminated in an exponentially fast mixing without any prior knowledge." The RL method also enabled effective transfer learning of the trained "mixer," significantly reducing its time and training cost.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Robotics Rolling in China

 Stats on Global and Chinese Robot use: 

China's Factories Accelerate Robotics Push as Workforce Shrinks

The Wall Street Journal

Jason Douglas, September 18, 2022

A report from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) revealed more than 243,000 industrial robots were shipped to China last year, up 45% from 2020. China, the top market worldwide for robot manufacturers, accounted for slightly less than half of all heavy-duty industrial-robot installations in 2021, which was nearly double the number installed in the Americas and Europe last year combined. However, the U.S., Japan, Germany, and South Korea still have more robots on production lines than China. The rapid growth of automation in China can be attributed to a rush to catch up to those countries, as well as adapting to a decline in its workforce as its population shrinks and more younger workers opt for service jobs over manufacturing. ... ' 

Building a Brain Atlas

New effort moves forward: 

NIH’s BRAIN Initiative puts $500 million into creating most detailed ever human brain atlas

Neuroscientists will build on census of mouse brain as massive program moves into new phase


The BRAIN Initiative, the 9-year-old, multibillion-dollar U.S. neuroscience effort, today announced its most ambitious challenge yet: compiling the world’s most comprehensive map of cells in the human brain. Scientists say the BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (BICAN), funded with $500 million over 5 years, will help them understand how the human brain works and how diseases affect it. BICAN “will transform the way we do neuroscience research for generations to come,” says BRAIN Initiative Director John Ngai of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

BRAIN, or Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, was launched by then-President Barack Obama in 2013. It began with a focus on tools, then developed a program called the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network, resulting in a raft of papers in 2021. The studies combined data on the genetic features, shapes, locations, and electrical activity of millions of cells to identify more than 100 cell types across the primary motor cortex—which coordinates movement—in mice, marmosets, and humans. Hundreds of researchers involved in the network are now completing a cell census for the rest of the mouse brain. It is expected to become a widely used, free resource for the neuroscience community.

Now, BICAN will characterize and map neural and nonneuronal cells across the entire human brain, which has 200 billion cells and is 1000 times larger than a mouse brain. “It’s using similar approaches but scaling up,” says Hongkui Zeng, director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which won one-third of the BICAN funding. Zeng says the results of the effort will serve as a reference—a kind of Human Genome Project for neuroscience.

Other groups will add data from human brains across a range of ancestries and ages, including fetal development. “We will try to cover the breadth of human development and aging,” says Joseph Ecker of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which leads BICAN studies of epigenetics, the study of heritable changes that are passed on without changes to the DNA. Ngai expects BICAN to study several hundred human brains overall, although investigators are just starting to work out details. “The sampling and coverage is going to be a big, big topic of discussion,” Ngai says. ... 

Denoising Images

 A New Method for Denoising Images

Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea)

September 13, 2022

Researchers from South Korea's Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Vietnam's VinAI Research, and Canada's University of Waterloo have developed a reference-free image denoising method. The new approach uses a post-correction network and a self-supervised machine learning framework to improve the quality of path-traced visuals. The model tripled the quality of rendered images relative to input images by preserving finer details, and could be trained on the fly to output final images in just 12 seconds. Said GIST's Bochang Moon, "Our approach is the first that does not rely on pre-training with an external dataset. This, in effect, will shorten the production time and improve the quality of offline rendering-based content such as animation and movies."  ... '

Future of Electric Planes

Good overview of efforts underway.

Electric planes take off   in Strategy-Business

The potential for short-haul electric flight is energizing aviation’s newest startups.

by Raymond Colitt

Two airports in Spain illustrate both the past and future of commercial aviation. In the country’s east, more than 100 jet aircraft, including giant A380s, glisten like a mirage under a scorching Iberian sun at Teruel Airport, a parking lot for technology past. Only a few of these gas guzzlers are likely to fly again. Around 250 miles to the south, the ATLAS Flight Test Centre in Villacarrillo is providing a runway for a new breed of much smaller aircraft: electric vertical takeoff and landing planes, or eVTOLs.

by Nochane Rousseau, Mario Longpré, and Paul Barbagallo

With more countries and companies agreeing to reduce emissions, the future for the bulky jets we fly in today and the companies that operate them is changing. “The biggest challenge to commercial aviation is the commitment that’s been made to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, told the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi in May. Flying accounts for only 2.5% of CO2 emissions. But those emissions are created by the relatively small proportion of humans who fly each year, and the industry is poised to expand. It will be very difficult to reduce flying-related emissions without grounding airplanes. “I imagine everybody in this room understands that the physics of powered flight render the achievement of that objective [net zero] extremely difficult anytime soon,” Douglas added.

Not surprisingly, engineers and scientists around the globe are in a race to crack the nut of zero-emissions flying. The challenge of replicating the electric vehicle (EV) revolution in the air is that, simply put, defying gravity requires more energy. Moving a heavy battery along a flat road in a car is easier than lifting it into the air on a plane or helicopter. (Clean airplane fuels, which are liquids or gases derived from sustainable sources, are still very expensive and, according to a PwC report, won’t be widely available or cost-effective for more than a decade. But they are still likely to be the fuel of the future for long-haul flying.) .... ' 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Will DART Save us?

  Closely following this, will be shown live on Monday. Earth will inevitably be hit by a serious space rock again, so its good to be ready now.     Lets learn as much as we can.

NASA’s DART Mission Aims to Save the World. Robotic probe sent to crash into asteroid in test of planetary defense By NED POTTER   in Spectrum IEEE

Armageddon ruined everything. Armageddon—the 1998 movie, not the mythical battlefield—told the story of an asteroid headed straight for Earth, and a bunch of swaggering roughnecks sent in space shuttles to blow it up with a nuclear weapon.

“Armageddon is big and noisy and stupid and shameless, and it's going to be huge at the box office,” wrote Jay Carr of the Boston Globe.

Carr was right—the film was the year’s second biggest hit (after Titanic)—and ever since, scientists have had to explain, patiently, that cluttering space with radioactive debris may not be the best way to protect ourselves. NASA is now trying a slightly less dramatic approach with a robotic mission called DART—short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. On Monday at 7:14 p.m. EDT, if all goes well, the little spacecraft will crash into an asteroid called Dimorphos, about 11 million kilometers from Earth. Dimorphos is about 160 meters across, and orbits a 780-meter asteroid, 65803 Didymos. NASA TV plans to cover it live.

DART’s end will be violent, but not blockbuster-movie-violent. Music won’t swell and girlfriends back on Earth won’t swoon. Mission managers hope the spacecraft, with a mass of about 600 kg, hitting at 22,000 km per hour, will nudge the asteroid slightly in its orbit, just enough to prove that it’s technologically possible in case a future asteroid has Earth in its crosshairs.

“Maybe once a century or so, there'll be an asteroid sizeable enough that we'd like to certainly know, ahead of time, if it was going to impact,” says Lindley Johnson, who has the title of Planetary Defense Officer at NASA.

“If you just take a hair off the orbital velocity, you’ve changed the orbit of the asteroid so that what would have been impact three or four years down the road is now a complete miss.”

So take that, Hollywood! If DART succeeds, it will show there are better fuels to protect Earth than testosterone.

The risk of a comet or asteroid that wipes out civilization is really very small, but large enough that policymakers take it seriously. NASA, ordered by the U.S. Congress in 2005 to scan the inner solar system for hazards, has found nearly 900 so-called NEOs—Near-Earth Objects—at least a kilometer across, more than 95 percent of all in that size range that probably exist. It has plotted their orbits far into the future, and none of them stand more than a fraction of a percent chance of hitting Earth in this millennium.

An infographic showing the orientation of Didymos,  Dimorphos, DART, and LICIACube.The DART spacecraft should crash into the asteroid Dimorphos and slow it in its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos. The LICIA Cube cubesat will fly in formation to image the impact.JOHNS HOPKINS APL/NASA

But there are smaller NEOs, perhaps 140 meters or more in diameter, too small to end civilization but large enough to cause mass destruction if they hit a populated area. There may be 25,000 that come within 50 million km of Earth’s orbit, and NASA estimates telescopes have only found about 40 percent of them. That’s why scientists want to expand the search for them and have good ways to deal with them if necessary. DART is the first test.

NASA takes pains to say this is a low-risk mission. Didymos and Dimorphos never cross Earth’s orbit, and computer simulations show that no matter where or how hard DART hits, it cannot possibly divert either one enough to put Earth in danger. Scientists want to see if DART can alter Dimorphos’ speed by perhaps a few centimeters per second. ... '

NVIDIA AI Generate Objects and Characters for Virtual Worlds

NVIDIA always impressive:

NVIDIA's new AI model quickly generates objects and characters for virtual worlds  in Engadget

GET3D could make it easier for developers to make games and VR experiences.

3D objects created by NVIDIA's GET3D AI model, including cars, chairs, animals, motorbikes and human characters.

NVIDIA is looking to take the sting out of creating virtual 3D worlds with a new artificial intelligence model. GET3D can generate characters, buildings, vehicles and other types of 3D objects, NVIDIA says. The model should be able to whip up shapes quickly too. The company notes that GET3D can generate around 20 objects per second using a single GPU.

Researchers trained the model using synthetic 2D images of 3D shapes taken from multiple angles. NVIDIA says it took just two days to feed around 1 million images into GET3D using A100 Tensor Core GPUs.

The model can create objects with "high-fidelity textures and complex geometric details," NVIDIA's Isha Salian wrote in a blog post. The shapes GET3D makes "are in the form of a triangle mesh, like a papier-mâché model, covered with a textured material," Salian added.

Users should be able to swiftly import the objects into game engines, 3D modelers and film renderers for editing, as GET3D will create them in compatible formats. That means it could be much easier for developers to create dense virtual worlds for games and the metaverse. NVIDIA cited robotics and architecture as other use cases.

The company said that, based on a training dataset of car images, GET3D was able to generate sedans, trucks, race cars and vans. It can also churn out foxes, rhinos, horses and bears after being trained on animal images. As you might expect, NVIDIA notes that the larger and more diverse the training set that's fed into GET3D, "the more varied and detailed the output."  ... ' 

European automobile industry is going quantum

Automobile Industry takes a number of leaps

The European automobile industry is going quantum  By Tristan Greene    in TheNextWeb

Spooky action at a distance goes vroom

September 19, 2022 - 7:40 pm

It’s a bold new world for automobile makers. After a century of development and fine-tuning, the combustion engine is going the way of the dodos as Europe shifts to clean energy.

But there’s more to the future of cars than just electric motors. The onset of fully autonomous vehicles may lie just beyond the technological horizon and the promise of a million-mile battery draws ever closer. In order to navigate the road to these technologies, European automakers are partnering with quantum computing companies at an increasing pace.

The European automobile industry has a long, rich history of technological innovation. From its onset with the Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau in 1898 to the masterpiece that is the 2023 McLaren Artura, Europe’s place at the cutting edge of the industry has never been questioned. With that in mind, let’s contemplate the future.

Greetings, humanoids

The next steps for the industry involve taking a quantum leap forward. Despite the fact that quantum computing and other quantum-based technologies are still in their infancy, there are myriad ways in which they can aid the automotive industry.

Right up front, the low hanging fruit is autonomous driving. Despite the early hype, researchers and automobile makers have yet to crack the self-driving car nut. For every step companies such as BMW, Tesla, and Waymo take forward, it seems like hundreds of edge cases pop up that the AI is unable to deal with.

We’re probably still a long way off from building a quantum computer that can fit into a car where, presumably, it would act as its brain. But quantum speedup — the ability for quantum processors to perform calculations and/or run algorithms that a classical system couldn’t do in a useful amount of time — could offer advances in several foundational areas for autonomous vehicle systems.

Scientists at Terra Quantum AG, recently partnered with Volkswagen to find novel methods for using hybrid quantum neural networks to improve image recognition. This particular experiment demonstrated the potential for quantum technologies to improve the quality assurance process drastically.

Essentially, the researchers used quantum-powered AI to increase the accuracy of its image detection abilities in order to improve the quality of the car manufacturing process. The techniques they’re working to develop could easily spill over into other industries, but they could also be used to give self-driving cars better “eyes” by increasing the speed and accuracy at which neural networks can process images.

Pasqal, a Paris-based quantum startup also partnered up with BMW in another quantum-based endeavor. Together with the German-owned automobile maker, the company hopes to find new, lighter, more durable materials to build cars out of. The team hopes to eventually reach the point where the design process is fast, accurate, and involves zero-prototyping in order to ensure a clean energy approach to every facet of the car-making process.

BMW and Volkswagen are early adopters out in front of the impending quantum computing hardware explosion, but you can be sure that every other major automobile maker also has a plan to get in on the action — experts predict the quantum technologies market will hit nearly $500B by 2030. And the shift towards autonomous vehicles (and away from ownership) will require an entirely different view on supply and logistics, something the quantum industry is heavily invested in improving.  ... ' 

Training Neural Nets on Small Devices

 Good direction.

We Can Train Big Neural Networks on Small Devices

IEEE Spectrum

Matthew Hutson, September 20, 2022

A new training method expands small devices' capabilities to train large neural networks, while potentially helping to protect privacy. The University of California, Berkeley's Shishir Patil and colleagues integrated offloading and rematerialization techniques using suboptimal heuristics to reduce memory requirements for training via the private optimal energy training (POET) system. Users feed POET a device's technical details and data on the architecture of a neural network they want to train, specifying memory and time budgets; the system generates a training process that minimizes energy usage. Defining the problem as a mixed integer linear programming challenge was critical to POET's effectiveness. Testing showed the system could slash memory usage by about 80% without significantly increasing energy consumption.  ...

Thinking Industrial Policy

 Brought to my attention for comment,  somewhat dense, but scannable:

FIRST: A Note on "Industrial Policy”…

Stephen S. Cohen & J. Bradford DeLong

September, 2022

The not-quite-surprise passage of the CHIPS Act and the surprise passage of the IRA have brought the idea that the United States should consciously pursue  “industrial policy” back to the front burner of politics, and of political economy.

In some ways, however, “industrial policy” is a poisonous term in the discourse of U.S. politics. In the 1980s Democratic economic-policy stalwart Charles Schultze engaged in a full-throated campaign against the idea that the U.S. could run a successful “industrial policy”—“picking winners” in the rhetorical dismissive. Follower nations like Japan attempting to catch up to the U.S. that had succeeded in insulating economic bureaucracies from interest-group rent-seeking might be able to, he argued. But the United States would, to the extent that it embarked on industrial policy, further entrench dissipative rent-seeking interests. Allowing “industrial policy” into the rhetorical room would provide them with yet another set of plausible excuses that the legislators they influence could use for channeling resources in directions that had neither a valid social-welfare nor a valid economic-growth rationale for government protection and assistance.

So let us not call it “industrial policy”. Let us call it “pragmatism” instead. For it is a fact that, from Hamilton through Eisenhower and a bit longer, the American government’s attitude toward the use of public power and public funds for economic development was highly, highly pragmatic—and successful.

Looking back at the economic history of the United States, there is a pattern by which again and again the U.S. economy has been redesigned. The shifts of the economy toward new growth directions have sometimes been the emergent outcomes of innumerable individual actions guided by local price signals. But at other times, and perhaps at more times, they have not. New directions have, instead, been the results of purposeful decisions, taken by government backed by powerful and often broad political forces, guided by their vision of how the economy ought to change. And once the public sector and its allies have launched a new economic space, it has then been expanded and transformed in unimaginable ways by entrepreneurial activity and energy surging into those new directions.

CPG Brands and Direct to Consumer

 After Covid influence involved?

Should CPG brands cast their DTC (Direct to Consumer) businesses in a supporting role to stores?

Sep 22, 2022    by Melissa Minkow  in Retailwire

It appears there’s been a significant tide turn for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands in the direct to consumer (DTC) selling versus retailer distribution debate as marked by a consensus among presenters this week at Groceryshop in Las Vegas.

A year ago, the repeated objective mentioned among CPG executives focused on shifting consumers towards buying from their DTC sites in order to capture the most first-party data possible. This year, regardless of the session, the universal takeaway from the CPG success stories was to instead leverage DTC sites in a way that complements their presence on grocery store shelves and websites.

Charisse Hughes, chief brand and advanced analytics officer of The Kellogg Company, said on day one of the conference that DTC is useful for unearthing consumer insights and for experimenting.

Ms. Hughes said, however, that while DTC is where Kellogg’s innovates and tests, it does present challenges with respect to the last mile. Kellogg’s has determined that DTC sites are best for “swag and new products” so that there’s a differentiated value to the owned channel.

A similar strategy was echoed on day two by Francesca Hahn, VP of digital commerce at Mondelez, who highlighted the engaging ways shoppers can interact with the Oreo and Sour Patch Kids sites.  ... ' 

Using AI to Improve Agricultural Yields

Impressive outlines, Podcast: 

Big Data in Agriculture

August 30, 2022 / The farm-to-fork cooperative uses artificial intelligence to improve agricultural yields.

You might have seen Land O’Lakes’ dairy products on store shelves without giving much thought to how they got there, but that’s something CTO Teddy Bekele thinks about every day. While the farmers and agricultural retailers of Land O’Lakes work to produce the cooperative’s products, starting from the seeds used to grow animal feed, Teddy Bekele is focused on supporting agriculture’s “fourth revolution” — one that’s embracing technologies like artificial intelligence. On this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Teddy explains how Land O’Lakes uses predictive analytics and AI to help farmers and other agricultural producers be more productive and make better decisions about the business of farming.

Teddy Bekele, Land O’Lakes

Teddy Bekele is the CTO of Land O’Lakes, leading the organization’s digital transformation by leveraging existing and emerging technologies to discover, implement, and deliver solutions and ecosystems. Previously, Bekele served as vice president of ag technology for WinField United. Bekele holds an MBA from Indiana University and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University. His community leadership includes serving as chair of the Minnesota Broadband Task Force and the Federal Task Force on Precision Ag Connectivity, and as a board member for Stella Health, Genesys Works Twin Cities, and the Minnesota Technology Association.

AI for Leaders on LinkedIn

If you’re enjoying the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, continue the conversation with us on LinkedIn. Join the AI for Leaders group today.

Read more about our show and follow along with the series at https://sloanreview.mit.edu/aipodcast.

Subscribe to Me, Myself, and AI on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Give your feedback in this two-question survey.


Sam Ransbotham: You may have used the phrase “bet the farm,” but if you don’t work in agriculture, you might not fully appreciate what that means. On today’s episode, find out how technology can support successful farm production.

Teddy Bekele: I’m Teddy Bekele from Land O’Lakes, and you’re listening to Me, Myself, and AI.

Sam Ransbotham: Welcome to Me, Myself, and AI, a podcast on artificial intelligence in business. Each episode, we introduce you to someone innovating with AI. I’m Sam Ransbotham, professor of analytics at Boston College. I’m also the AI and business strategy guest editor at MIT Sloan Management Review.

Shervin Khodabandeh: And I’m Shervin Khodabandeh, senior partner with BCG, and I colead BCG’s AI practice in North America. Together, MIT SMR and BCG have been researching and publishing on AI for six years, interviewing hundreds of practitioners and surveying thousands of companies on what it takes to build and to deploy and scale AI capabilities and really transform the way organizations operate.

Sam Ransbotham: Shervin and I are talking today with Teddy Bekele, chief technology officer at Land O’Lakes. Teddy, thanks for joining us. Welcome.

Teddy Bekele: Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here.

Sam Ransbotham: I think we first met back in 2018, when you were at WinField United and we did a webinar together about data and analytics. Now you’re at the parent company, Land O’Lakes. Can you tell us about your current role?  .... 

Robots Built from Magnetic Fluid

A robot made from magnetic fluid can be made smaller, thinner, or directed to break up with special magnets, which could be useful for delivering drugs into the body

PHYSICS 16 September 2022  in New Scientist

By Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

Researchers Bring Underwater Messaging App to Smartphones

Quite Unusual Direction here, but could empower such teams.

 Researchers Bring Underwater Messaging App to Smartphones

Allen School News (University of Washington)

Kristin Osborne,  August 29, 2022

The AquaApp mobile interface developed by University of Washington (UW) researchers facilitates underwater messaging using acoustic signals. "With AquaApp, we demonstrate underwater messaging using the speaker and microphone widely available on smartphones and watches," said UW's Tuochao Chen. AquaApp users can choose among 240 preset messages corresponding to hand signals employed by divers, with the 20 most-used signals displayed for easy access; they also can screen messages through categories such as directional indicators, environmental factors, and equipment status. AquaApp features an algorithm that optimizes the bitrate and acoustic frequencies of each transmission based on certain parameters in real time, while a networking protocol shares access to an underwater network.  ... ' 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Microfluidic Lab on a Chip

New to me.  


Bring the Laboratory With You

By R. Colin Johnson

For decades, laboratory procedures have been a popular target for automation; sequencing the human genome, for instance, would not have been feasible without it. Now the scale of automation is being reduced to individual laboratories on a chip by virtue of micron-level manipulation of fluid droplets (microfluidics)—not for complete genome sequencing (yet), but for the myriad of simpler medical procedures today performed by human technicians in full-sized laboratories worldwide.

The main contribution of the lab on a chip, so far, has been the development of medical point-of-care devices that can diagnose specific maladies in minutes, rather than requiring the capture of a blood (or other bodily fluid) sample and its transportation to a lab for analysis.

"Point-of-care diagnostic devices have proved incredibly useful in the last 20 years, in particular delivering much-needed rapid HIV and tuberculosis diagnosis to the developing world [where traditional labs are often not available]," said Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerh, a professor in Heriot-Watt University's School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and in Scotland's Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering, as well as an Honorary Lecturer in the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences of Scotland's University of Edinburgh.

A microfluidic lab on a chip consists of pipe-like micron-sized channels and reservoirs to hold droplet samples—usually blood or other body fluids—to be processed by mixing them with reagents and other chemicals needed to identify a malady. Such a lab on a chip also requires closely integraed electronics to control the processing steps.

A subset of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), these microfluidic implementations perform precisely the same steps as in a conventional lab, but using individual droplets of samples instead of test tubes. As a result, they use less reagents and less energy, cost less, and are faster in execution than traditional lab procedures, providing in-house results in minutes, rather than overnight (at best).

Just last month, hepatitis-C diagnoses were added to the list of applications provided by labs on chips. It was demonstrated with a working lab-on-a-chip prototype developed at Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science. According to FAU associate professor Waseem Asghar, about 80% of the 354 million people infected with Hepatitis-C worldwide will develop cancer, cirrhosis, or complete liver failure if not treated. Unfortunately, only about 20% have been identified in developed countries, and only 1% in developing countries.

Asghar said the new "disposable microfluidic lab-on-a-chip device is fully automated and offers reliable diagnoses—by changing a dye color from orange to green—in about 45 minutes and costs only about $2."

Many more medical diagnostic labs on a chip are under development. Many of those are destined not only for point-of-care and in-the-field usage, but for over-the-counter pharmacy shelves as well. This burgeoning development effort has attracted green-minded researchers to analyze the environmental impact of these one-use devices. In hospitals and clinics, for instance, the risk of infection from the body fluids inside require the devices to be incinerated after use. Since many use polymers and other fossil-derived materials, their incineration means a larger carbon footprint for the medical institutions (as burning them releases CO2). If even they are used in the home, the devices will end up in landfills, where cyanide and other toxic chemicals they contain will be released into the environment, according to Kersaudy-Kerh

"The medical waste issue is problematic, with the production of massive amount of plastics, as well as toxic chemical by-products. Now is the time to develop sustainable solutions. Researchers, manufacturers, and practitioners need to come together to design novel solutions using safer, less-polluting, and more easily degradable materials, form-factor reduction and recycling solutions," said Kersaudy-Kerh. "In our lab, we are reviewing existing and possible solutions to make diagnostic development more sustainable, in the hope to inspire and empower researchers to find alternative solutions, as well as reviewing their current practices."

One viable solution is to replace the polymers used in labs on chips with paper-based devices. Off-the-shelf pregnancy tests, for instance, already use paper-based innards within a plastic shell ... '

Linguistics and the Development of NLP

Home/Opinion/Interviews/Linguistics and the Development of NLP/Full Text


Linguistics and the Development of NLP   By The Gradient

September 9, 2022

Christopher Manning is the director of the Stanford University AI Lab and an associate director of the Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute.

In this podcast, Chris Manning, an ACM Fellow, AAAI Fellow, and past president of ACL, discusses a number of topics, including tree recursive neural networks, GloVe, neural machine translation, computational linguistic approaches to parsing, and his current work, which is focused on applying deep learning to natural language processing.

Full article

Amazon Builds a Visual Conversation

 Conversation flow with a No-code environment

Amazon Is Adding Visual Conversation Builder for Amazon Lex

SEP 19, 2022   in Infoq.com

by  Daniel Dominguez

Amazon is introducing the Visual Conversation Builder for Amazon Lex, a drag and drop interface to visualize and build conversation flows in a no-code environment. The Visual Conversation Builder greatly simplifies bot design.

Amazon Lex is a fully managed artificial intelligence service with advanced natural language models to design, build, test, and deploy conversational interfaces in applications. Amazon Lex provides high-quality speech recognition and language understanding capabilities. The visual builder, allows to build and manage complex conversations with dynamic paths. By adding conditions directly to Lex bot, and managing the conversation path dynamically based on user input and business knowledge, all within a no-code environment.

According to Amazon, no machine learning expertise is necessary to use Amazon Lex. Developers can declaratively specify the conversation flow and Amazon Lex will take care of the speech recognition and natural language understanding functionality. Developers provide some sample utterances in plain English and the different parameters that they would like to collect from their user with the corresponding prompts. The language model gets built automatically.

To create a bot, you will first define the actions performed by the bot. These actions are the intents that need to be fulfilled by the bot. For each intent, you will add sample utterances and slots. Utterances are phrases that invoke the intent. Slots are input data required to fulfill the intent. Lastly, you will provide the business logic necessary to execute the action. An Amazon Lex bot can be created both via Console and REST APIs.

Chatbots are majorly incorporated into messaging applications, websites, mobile applications and other digital devices for interacting as digital assistants through text or text-to-speech functionalities. They offer various benefits, such as improved efficiency of business operations, customer engagement, branding and advertisement, data privacy and compliance, payment processing and automatic lead generation and qualification. Other visual chatbot builder alternatives are IBM Watson Chatbot Builder, Microsoft Bot Framework, Meta Bots for Workplace, among others.   ... '

A Look at AI

From the Gartner Blog:

When AI is Really AGF (Artificial Gut Feel)     By Anthony J. Bradley | September 20, 2022

Human Interviewer: “Do you prefer dogs or cats?”

Randy the Robot, “Yes, I’m very familiar with their pixel patterns.”

In the words of former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, “There are known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.” He positioned unknown-unknowns as the most challenging situation. For AI, it is an impossible situation. AI operates best in the known-known situation. In other words, it is best to know exactly what you are looking to find. 

Known-Knowns is Where AI Accuracy is Most Accurate

AI is taking the field of radiology by storm. In 2018, Stanford created the AI CheXNeXt algorithm trained with over 100,000 chest X-rays to identify 14 pathologies. For 10 of the diseases CheXNeXt performed on par with radiologists. On one it outperformed radiologists. With three maladies the radiologists outperformed CheXNeXt. This success is only possible because we know what normal and abnormal chest X-rays look like for these pathologies. Actually, the known-known scenario applies to a large number of AI computer vision detection scenarios from recognizing defects on a manufacturing line to identifying products in a shoppers grocery cart and even diagnosing illnesses by analyzing facial features. Computer vision is one of the fastest growing sectors of AI because we know what we are looking for and deep learning is getting better and better at image recognition.   ... (more at link)