Artificial intelligence makes blurry faces look more than 60 times sharper

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This AI turns blurry pixelated photos into hyperrealistic portraits that look like real people. The system automatically increases any image’s resolution up to 64x, ‘imagining’ features such as pores and eyelashes that weren’t there in the first place.

Duke University researchers have developed an AI tool that can turn blurry, unrecognizable pictures of people’s faces into eerily convincing computer-generated portraits, in finer detail than ever before.

Previous methods can scale an image of a face up to eight times its original resolution. But the Duke team has come up with a way to take a handful of pixels and create realistic-looking faces with up to 64 times the resolution, ‘imagining’ features such as fine lines, eyelashes and stubble that weren’t there in the first place.

“Never have super-resolution images been created at this resolution before with this much detail,” said Duke computer scientist Cynthia Rudin, who led the team.

The system cannot be used to identify people, the researchers say: It won’t turn an out-of-focus, unrecognizable photo from a security camera into a crystal clear image of a real person. Rather, it is capable of generating new faces that don’t exist, but look plausibly real.

While the researchers focused on faces as a proof of concept, the same technique could in theory take low-res shots of almost anything and create sharp, realistic-looking pictures, with applications ranging from medicine and microscopy to astronomy and satellite imagery, said co-author Sachit Menon ’20, who just graduated from Duke with a double-major in mathematics and computer science.

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Microsoft sacks journalists to replace them with robots

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Users of the homepages of the MSN website and Edge browser will now see news stories generated by AI

Dozens of journalists have been sacked after Microsoft decided to replace them with artificial intelligence software.

Staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser – used by millions of Britons every day – have been told that they will be no longer be required because robots can now do their jobs.

Around 27 individuals employed by PA Media – formerly the Press Association – were told on Thursday that they would lose their jobs in a month’s time after Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to select, edit and curate news articles on its homepages.

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Self-supervised learning is the future of AI

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Despite the huge contributions of deep learning to the field of artificial intelligence, there’s something very wrong with it: It requires huge amounts of data. This is one thing that both the pioneers and critics of deep learning agree on. In fact, deep learning didn’t emerge as the leading AI technique until a few years ago because of the limited availability of useful data and the shortage of computing power to process that data.

Reducing the data-dependency of deep learning is currently among the top priorities of AI researchers.

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Yale researchers say humans would like robots better if they were more vulnerable

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Three humans and a robot form a team and start playing a game together. No, this isn’t the beginning of a joke, it’s the premise of a fascinating new study just released by Yale University.

Researchers were interested to see how the robot’s actions and statements would influence the three humans’ interactions among one another. They discovered that when the robot wasn’t afraid to admit it had made a mistake, this outward showing of vulnerability led to more open communication between the people involved as well.

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The intelligence community is developing its own AI ethics

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While less public than the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the intelligence community has been developing its own set of principles for the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

The Pentagon made headlines last month when it adopted its five principles for using artificial intelligence, marking the end of a months-long effort over what guidelines the department should follow as it develops new AI tools and AI-enabled technologies.

Less well known is that the intelligence community is developing its own principles governing the use of AI.

“The intelligence community has been doing it’s own work in this space as well. We’ve been doing it for quite a bit of time,” Ben Huebner, chief of the Office of Director of National Intelligence’s Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency Office, said at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event March 4.

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Elon Musk says all advanced AI development should be regulated, including at Tesla

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Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is once again sounding a warning note regarding the development of artificial intelligence. The executive and founder tweeted on Monday evening that “all org[anizations] developing advance AI should be regulated, including Tesla.”

Musk was responding to a new MIT Technology Review profile of OpenAI, an organization founded in 2015 by Musk, along with Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, Greg Brockman, Wojciech Zaremba and John Schulman. At first, OpenAI was formed as a non-profit backed by $1 billion in funding from its pooled initial investors, with the aim of pursuing open research into advanced AI with a focus on ensuring it was pursued in the interest of benefiting society, rather than leaving its development in the hands of a small and narrowly-interested few (i.e., for-profit technology companies).

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Meet Ella: New Zealand Police unveil first artificial intelligence officer

The police have unveiled their first AI officer, with hopes she’ll soon be smiling and blinking out of screens in stations all around New Zealand.

Ella, the artificial intelligence cop at the centre of the police’s new digital services, was revealed at the police national headquarters in Wellington this morning.

Ella, which stands for Electronic Lifelike Assistant, is part of two new digital kiosks police have designed to help reduce queues in stations and to provide a modern way to connect with the public.

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8 powerful examples of AI for good

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Amid the cacophony of concern over artificial intelligence (AI) taking over jobs (and the world) and cheers for what it can do to increase productivity and profits, the potential for AI to do good can be overlooked. Technology leaders such as Microsoft, IBM, Huawei and Google have entire sections of their business focused on the topic and dedicate resources to build AI solutions for good and to support developers who do. In the fight to solve extraordinarily difficult challenges, humans can use all the help we can get. Here are 8 powerful examples of artificial intelligence for good as it is applied to some of the toughest challenges facing society today.

There are more than 1 billion people living with a disability around the world. Artificial intelligence can be used to amplify these people’s abilities to improve their accessibility. It can facilitate employment, improve daily life and help people living with disabilities communicate. From opening up the world of books to deaf children to narrating what it “sees” to those with visual impairments, apps and tools powered by artificial intelligence are improving accessibility.

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How AI is helping reinvent the world of manufacturing

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Throughout each industrial era, the companies best able to embrace change have become the most likely to succeed. This dates back to the development of steam and combustion engines through to electricity, microprocessors and now artificial intelligence.

In The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing, Microsoft Senior Director Greg Shaw explores how AI, automation and the internet of things (IoT) present new challenges and opportunities.

Here are some of the manufacturers already demonstrating how the latest tech advances are changing the way they work.

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AI can help find illegal opioid sellers online. And wildlife traffickers. And counterfeits.

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Tablets suspected by the Drug Enforcement Administration to be fentanyl. Don Emmert/Getty Images

The government is investing in an AI-based tool that could help catch illegal opioid sales on the internet. But the same approach could find lots of other illicit transactions.

An estimated 130 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses each day in the United States, and 2 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2018. This public health crisis has left officials scrambling for ways to cut down on illegal sales of these controlled substances, including online sales.

Now the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is investing in an artificial intelligence-based tool to track how “digital drug dealers” and illegal internet pharmacies market and sell opioids (though online transactions are likely not a large share of overall illegal sales).

New AI-based approaches to clamping down on illegal opioid sales demonstrate how publicly available social media and internet data — even the stuff you post — can be used to find illegal transactions initiated online. It could also be used to track just about anything else, too: The researcher commissioned by NIDA to build this tool, UC San Diego professor Timothy Mackey, told Recode the same approach could be used to find online transactions associated with illegal wildlife traffickers, vaping products, counterfeit luxury products, and gun sales.

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Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says there is ‘no question’ that AI needs to be regulated

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Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

‘The only question is how to approach it.’

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has called for new regulations in the world of AI, highlighting the dangers posed by technology like facial recognition and deepfakes, while stressing that any legislation must balance “potential harms … with social opportunities.”

“[T]here is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. It is too important not to,” writes Pichai in an editorial for The Financial Times. “The only question is how to approach it.”

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Whoever leads in artificial intelligence in 2030 will rule the world until 2100

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A couple of years ago, Vladimir Putin warned Russians that the country that led in technologies using artificial intelligence will dominate the globe. He was right to be worried. Russia is now a minor player, and the race seems now to be mainly between the United States and China. But don’t count out the European Union just yet; the EU is still a fifth of the world economy, and it has underappreciated strengths. Technological leadership will require big digital investments, rapid business process innovation, and efficient tax and transfer systems. China appears to have the edge in the first, the U.S. in the second, and Western Europe in the third. One out of three won’t do, and even two out three will not be enough; whoever does all three best will dominate the rest.

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