How robotics and automation could create new jobs in the new normal

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Depending on who you ask, AI and automation will either destroy jobs or create new ones. In reality, a greater push toward automation will probably both kill and create jobs — human workers will become redundant in certain spheres, sure, but many new roles will likely crop up. A report last year from PA Consulting, titled “People and machines: From hype to reality,” supports this assertion, predicting that AI and automation will lead to a net gain in job numbers. This is pretty much in line with findings from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a pan-governmental economic body spanning 36 member countries, which noted that “employment in total may continue to rise” even if automation disrupts specific industries.

Automation has gained increased attention amid the great social distancing experiment sparked by COVID-19. But it’s too early to say whether the pandemic will expedite automation across all industries. Recent LinkedIn data suggests AI hiring slowed during the crisis, but there are plenty of cases where automation could help people adhere to social distancing protocols — from robot baristas and cleaners to commercial drones.

Of course, any discussion about automation invariably raises the question of what it means for jobs.

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Helm.ai pioneers breakthrough…. “Deep Teaching” of neural networks

 

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Helm.ai today announced a breakthrough in unsupervised learning technology. This new methodology, called Deep Teaching, enables Helm.ai to train neural networks without human annotation or simulation for the purpose of advancing AI systems. Deep Teaching offers far-reaching implications for the future of computer vision and autonomous driving, as well as industries including aviation, robotics, manufacturing and even retail.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is commonly understood as the science of simulating human intelligence processed by machines. Supervised learning refers to the process of training neural networks to perform certain tasks using training examples, typically provided by a human annotator or synthetic simulator to machines to perform certain tasks, while unsupervised learning is the process of enabling AI systems to learn from unlabelled information, infer inputs and produce solutions without the assistance of pre-established input and output patterns.

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Samsung’s automatic dry cleaning wardrobe removes 99% bacteria and is finally on sale!

What is your most hated chore in quarantine? I think its a tie between doing the dishes and laundry. For me, it is definitely laundry just because it takes longer and is so much more tedious! And while folding my clothes I think about Samsung’s AirDresser – an innovative wardrobe designed to steam, deodorize and sanitize clothes without putting them through a washer-dryer cycle.

Traditional laundry machine cycles can potentially damage clothes (how many of us even know the right settings for our loads?) and ever since the pandemic took over our lives we are doing laundry more often to stay safe – this is bound to wear them out 5x faster than usual. The Samsung AirDresser is here to save the day! Its sleek build is similar to a tall, thin fridge and can seamlessly blend in any room. The AirDresser uses a combination of steaming and heat-pump powered drying, and you won’t even have to plumb it in says Samsung. “That’s because, rather than a water connection like a traditional washer would require, the AirDresser relies on a refillable water tank at the bottom of the cabinet. It means it can be installed pretty much anywhere with a regular 120V outlet,” explains the team.

The wardrobe has space for six hanging garments and includes a set of weighted hangers for helping pull the wrinkles out of pants. The AirDresser is safe to use for suits, woolen clothes, knits, down, fur, leather, and denim making it super versatile and functional. Samsung also mentions that it is good to be used to clean babywear (definitely a lot of cycles there!), toys, and even bedding. I think the bedding bit is so important because traditional washer-dryer ties my bedsheet into such knots and we all know ‘entanglements’ aren’t good (right, Smiths?). It also saves water and makes it easier for the elderly to do their laundry!

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Japanese robot to clock in at a convenience store in test of retail automation

TOKYO (Reuters) – In August, a robot vaguely resembling a kangaroo will begin stacking sandwiches, drinks and ready meals on shelves at a Japanese convenience store in a test its maker, Telexistence, hopes will help trigger a wave of retail automation.

Following that trial, store operator FamilyMart says it plans to use robot workers at 20 stores around Tokyo by 2022. At first, people will operate them remotely – until the machines’ artificial intelligence (AI) can learn to mimic human movements. Rival convenience store chain Lawson is deploying its first robot in September, according to Telexistence.

“It advances the scope and scale of human existence,” the robot maker’s chief executive, Jin Tomioka, said as he explained how its technology lets people sense and experience places other than where they are.

The idea, dubbed telexistence, was first proposed by the start up’s co-founder, University of Tokyo professor Susumu Tachi, four decades ago.

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The ‘android of self-driving cars’ built a 100,000x cheaper way to train AI for multiple trillion-dollar markets

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Level 5 self-driving means autonomous cars can drive themselves anywhere, at any time, in any conditions.

How do you beat Tesla, Google, Uber and the entire multi-trillion dollar automotive industry with massive brands like Toyota, General Motors, and Volkswagen to a full self-driving car? Just maybe, by finding a way to train your AI systems that is 100,000 times cheaper.

It’s called Deep Teaching.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it works by taking human effort out of the equation.

And Helm.ai says it’s the key to unlocking autonomous driving. Including cars driving themselves on roads they’ve never seen … using just one camera.

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Amazon is rolling out grocery carts that let shoppers skip checkout lines, bag their groceries and walk out

Amazon launching smart grocery carts that track shoppers’ items

Amazon is launching smart shopping carts at its Woodland Hills, California, grocery store in 2020.

Dash Carts are embedded with cameras, sensors and a smart display that automatically track a shopper’s order.

Similar to Amazon’s cashierless Go stores, Dash Carts allow shoppers to avoid checkout lines as they exit the store.

Amazon is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line.

The Dash Carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area grocery store, which is slated to open this year, the company announced Tuesday.

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Tesla (TSLA): Elon Musk says ‘very close’ to level 5 autonomy complete

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Tesla (TSLA): Basic functionality for level 5 autonomy is complete this year, says CEO Elon Musk.

Today, Musk virtually attended the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai and participated in a Q&A session.

Musk oversees several projects involving AI, but the most prominent one is Tesla’s effort to deliver a full self-driving level 5 system.

At the conference, Musk briefly discussed Tesla’s effort to reach full self-driving and showed great confidence in delivering such a system soon:

I am extremely confident that level or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think will happen very quickly. I think at Tesla, I feel like we are very close to level 5 autonomy.

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NEVS unveils autonomous electric shuttle for urban use

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NEVS Sango autonomous electric shuttle, image credit: NEVS

Way last century, Sweden had two global auto manufacturers — Volvo and Saab. Volvo built staid cars that were as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. Saab was the quirky cousin that insisted on mounting its ignition switch in the center console rather than on the dashboard. It also offered styling that was trés avant. If you wanted safety in your Swedish car, you bought a Volvo. If you wanted a little dash of excitement, you bought a Saab.

Both companies got caught up in a game of “mine’s bigger than yours” that played out between Ford and General Motors at the end of the last century. Ford started things off by buying Jaguar and Land Rover as it put together what it called its Premium Auto Group. Then it bought Volvo in 1999. Not to be outdone, General Motors then purchased Saab. Less than 10 years later, both once proud Swedish manufacturers were toast and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy as the Great White Fathers in Detroit bled both companies dry.

Volvo was rescued by Geely but Saab slowly sank between the waves. Its car manufacturing assets were purchased out of bankruptcy by a new corporation somewhat grandly known as National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which set about converting the last generation Saab 9-3 to electric power. In 2015, the company signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Panda New Energy Company of China to deliver 150,000 9-3 electric vehicles by the end of 2020.

Evergrande Group of China acquired 51% of the shares in NEVS in January 2019. Evergrande has since then increased its holdings to 68%. National Energy Holding, owned by Kai Johan Jiang, owns the remaining shares. The company is still peddling the converted 9-3 battery electric car to a largely uninterested audience.

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Didi Chuxing: Apple-backed firm aims for one million robotaxis

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Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing says it plans to operate more than a million self-driving vehicles by 2030.

The robotaxis are to be deployed in places where ride-hailing drivers are less available, according to Meng Xing, Didi’s chief operating officer.

Mr Meng was speaking at an online conference hosted by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper.

One analyst suggested it was a very ambitious aim.

“I’ll be surprised if we see a million by 2030,” a spokesman for market research firm Canalys said.

“I hope that happens but there’s a lot to take place in meantime.”

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MIT-designed robot can disinfect a warehouse floor in 30 minutes — and could one day be employed in grocery stores and schools

This coronavirus-killing MIT robot could end up in your local supermarket

(CNN)MIT has designed a robot that is capable of disinfecting the floor of a 4,000-square foot warehouse in only half an hour, and it could one day be used to clean your local grocery store or school.

The university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) worked with Ava Robotics — a company that focuses on creating telepresence robots — and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) to develop a robot that uses a custom UV-C light to disinfect surfaces and neutralize aerosolized forms of the coronavirus.

Development on this project began in early April, and one of the researchers said that it came in direct response to the pandemic. The results have been encouraging enough that the researchers say that autonomous UV disinfection could be done in other environments such as supermarkets, factories and restaurants.

Covid-19 mainly spreads via airborne transmission, and it is capable of remaining on surfaces for several days. With states across the US reporting a surge in cases and no concrete timetable for a possible vaccine, there is currently no near-term end to the pandemic. That leaves schools and supermarkets looking for solutions to effectively disinfect areas.

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Tiny weed-killing robots could make pesticides obsolete

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This swarm of robots may herald a chemical-free food revolution

The fleet of Greenfield Robotics weedbots ready and waiting for beta test trials. Photos courtesy of Greenfield Robotics.

Clint Brauer’s farm outside of Cheney, Kansas, could be described as Old MacDonald’s Farm plus robots. Along with 5,500 square feet of vegetable-growing greenhouses, classes teaching local families to grow their food, a herd of 105 sheep, and Warren G—a banana-eating llama named after the rapper—is a fleet of ten, 140-pound, battery-operated robots.

Brauer, the co-founder of Greenfield Robotics, grew up a farm kid. He left for the big city tech and digital world, but eventually made his way back to the family farm. Now, it’s the R&D headquarters for the Greenfield Robotics team, plus a working farm.

When Brauer returned to his agricultural roots, he did so with a purpose: to prove that food could be grown without harmful chemicals and by embracing soil- and planet-friendly practices. He did just that, becoming one of the premier farmers growing vegetables in Kansas without pesticides, selling to local markets, grocery store chains, and chefs.

But it wasn’t enough to make the difference Brauer was hoping for. Sure, he was growing a lot of environmentally friendly, pesticide-free vegetables. But a few acres in chemical-free vegetable production was nothing compared to miles and miles of broadacre, arable farmland that make up the majority of America’s agricultural lands.

Brauer was especially intrigued by no-till solutions for soil health. No-till is exactly what it sounds like: farming without using techniques like plowing and cultivation, which “disturb” the soil to kill weeds. Many U.S. farmers, especially those in America’s heartland of corn, soy, and wheat production, have already switched to or are looking to embrace no-till practices. Over 104 million acres were farmed no-till in 2017, an increase of 8% since 2012. Just over 900 million acres, including no-till land, were farmed in the United States in 2017, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

But parking machinery to improve soil health often comes with a trade that didn’t sit well with Brauer: dependence on chemical weed control. No-till works to improve soil health, but the trade-off in chemical use is not much better for the environment than conventional farming. Regardless of the type of farming, the problem is the same.

“You got to start with weeds. It’s the number one thing that farmers are fighting,” Brauer says.

That’s where the robots come in.

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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launches pilot self-driving robotaxi service in Shanghai

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Didi has raised US$500 million from Japan’s SoftBank for its autonomous driving subsidiary.

 Didi’s launch of robotaxis in Shanghai comes just days after it announced plans to deploy more than one million self-driving vehicles through its platform by 2030

Globally, the market is projected to be worth US$65.3 billion by 2027, according to a report from Market Research Future

Commuters in Shanghai can now book self-driving taxis through Didi Chuxing after the Chinese ride-hailing giant launched its on-demand robotaxi service on the weekend.

Using the new app, passengers can take free rides in autonomous vehicles within designated open-traffic areas in Shanghai’s Jiading District as part of the pilot phase of the project.

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