Posted on May 30, 2018 by staff

The AI briefing: Robots could cause 50,000 to strike


Concerns over technology could see Las Vegas ground to a halt.

The membership of the Culinary Union, which represents workers in the city’s casinos, have voted to strike if a deal cannot be reached over the increasing use of technology in their workplaces as well as increases in wages and the strengthening of language around sexual harassment.

On June 1 the contracts of 50,000 union workers expire, raising the possibility of the first casino worker strike in Vegas since 1984. That one lasted 67 days and cost more than $1 million a day.

“We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs,” Culinary Union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said.

“Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch.”

Policing the Terminator

Fomer Google CEO Eric Schmidt says Elon Musk is “exactly wrong” on artificial intelligence.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss has been outspoken on AI, saying it could cause World War 3 and is “a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization”.

Speaking at the VivaTech conference in Paris, Schmidt said that Musk “doesn’t understand the benefits that this technology will provide to making every human being smarter… the fact of the matter is that AI and machine learning are so fundamentally good for humanity”.

When asked about ‘Terminator AI’, he said: “Would you not invent the telephone because of the possible misuse of the telephone by evil people? No, you would build the telephone and you would try to find a way to police the misuse of the telephone.”

Tech giant opens AI lab in UK

Samsung Electronics has announced the opening of a new AI research lab in Cambridge.

The tech giant said the base, which will be chaired by Professor Andrew Blake, former director of Microsoft’s Cambridge Laboratory, will strengthen its AI capabilities and explore the potential of ‘user-centric AI’.

The institute opens up new opportunities for fundamental research in AI and enables greater cooperation with the UK’s academic community on the development of advanced technologies.

Robots to get civil rights – and sooner than you think

A leading roboticist says androids will be given civil rights within 30 years.

Dr David Hanson, whose artificially intelligent Sophia robot once said it wanted to “destroy humans”, predicted that computers will be able to match the general intelligence of a one-year-old human by 2029 in a research paper.

Continuing along the timeline, he gauged that robots will require the same rights as humans by 2045.

Robot discovers ‘holy grail’ shipwreck worth $17bn

If a robot belonging to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution had civil rights, it could well be laying claim to billions of pounds this week.

The REMUS 6000 robotic submarine discovered the remains of the San José, a Spanish galleon that was sunk more than three hundred years ago off the coast of Colombia, killing 600. The discovery was made in 2015 but the WHOI was only authorised to release the details this week.

And what details: the San José was carrying gold, silver, and emeralds – intended to fund France’s war against England – worth $17 billion today.

The REMUS 6000 previously helped discover the wreckage of Air France 447 in 2011 and helped photograph the remains of the Titanic during a 2010 expedition.

Self-healing robots

Yes, the robots are definitely coming.

Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne has created tiny super-elastic fibres which can incorporate materials such as electrodes and nanocomposite polymers.

The design is perfect for smart clothing – but also paves the way for artificial nerves for the robots of the future.

In other developments, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have found a way to give robots ‘self-healing’ skin. Again incorporating polymers, researchers inserted liquid micro-droplets of a gallium-indium based metal alloy into a soft, elastomer shell.

‘Breakthrough partnership’ to reduce A&E waiting times

Two leading organisations in healthcare, data science and artificial intelligence have come together to ‘revolutionise’ some of the everyday challenges faced by the NHS.

The Alan Turing Institute and the Royal College Hospital London plan to harness the power of data science and AI to support clinical decision-making as part of a new three-year partnership.

One key area of focus will be how the A&E department runs, which is viewed as a barometer of how the rest of the hospital and the wider system is working.