Scientists use artificial intelligence to eavesdrop on dolphins

Scientists, Artificial Intelligence, Dolphins
Image source: Getty Images

Scientists have developed an algorithm to monitor the underwater chatter of dolphins with the help of machine learning.

Using autonomous underwater sensors, researchers working in the Gulf of Mexico spent two years making recordings of dolphin echolocation clicks.

The result was a data set of 52 million click noises.

To sort through this vast amount of information, the scientists employed an “unsupervised” algorithm that automatically classified the noises into categories.

3D rendering of Risso’s dolphin echolocation click spectra recorded in the Gulf of Mexico, aggregated by an unsupervised learning algorithm. (Kaitlin Frasier)

Without being “taught” to recognise patterns that were already known, the algorithm was able to seek original patterns in the data and identify types of click.

This enabled the scientists to determine specific patterns of clicks among the millions of clicks being recorded, and could help them to identify dolphin species in the wild.

“It’s fun to think about how the machine learning algorithms used to suggest music or social media friends to people could be re-interpreted to help with ecological research challenges,” said Dr Kaitlin Frasier of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

“Innovations in sensor technologies have…Continue reading

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How AI Is Being Used To Prove Authenticity In The Art World

Art, Paintings, Forgeries, Artificial Intelligence, AI
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By MATT VITONE |Originally published 30 NOVEMBER 2017

Artificial intelligence is already able to imitate the work of great artists, so why shouldn’t it also be able to spot genuine works from forgeries? In a new paper, researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the Atelier for Restoration & Research of Paintings in the Netherlands examined how machine learning can be harnessed to more effectively spot fakes.

The researchers tested the AI using a data set of 300 digitized drawings consisting of over 80,000 strokes from artists including Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse and Egon Schiele, among others. Using a deep recurrent neural network (RNN), the AI was able to learn which strokes were typical of each artist, and then used that information to make educated guesses.

The results showed that the AI was able to identify the individual strokes with an accuracy of between 70 to 90%. The researchers also commissioned artists to create fake drawings similar to the originals in the AI’s data set, and in most test settings it was able to detect forgeries with 100% accuracy, simply by looking at a single brushstroke.

The use of artificial intelligence in art has…Continue reading

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AI and machine learning in sales: Everything you need to know for the future

AI, Artificial Intelligence, Sales, Business
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Originally posted November 29, 2017
Swati Sinha

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -Steve Jobs

Organizations are transforming their sales functions with artificial intelligence to stay ahead of the game. If you have not yet embraced the trend, you are missing a crucial competitive edge.

The emergence of vast amounts of data from multiple sources and platforms, generating new information every minute, has gifted companies with more consumer information than they’ve ever had before. Technology is getting smarter as it continues learning and optimizing recommendations. A study published in MIT Sloan Management Review reveals that “76% of early adopters are targeting higher sales growth with machine learning.”

AI and machine learning in sales: An explainer

Artificial intelligence is the broader concept of machines making decisions or performing process as a human would. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that enables computer models to recognize shapes, designs, and patterns in existing data, allowing the machines to then learn for themselves how to take next action or make business predictions.

Each new piece of data received allows the machine to learn even more, update information, look for new patterns and continuously optimize recommendations. For example, every time Alexa doesn’t get the right command, or Netflix misses the movie recommendation, the model learns from this new data and alters its recognition process to adapt and respond better, or provide better suggestions the next time around.

Intelligent sales: From prospect to client, AI will be sales best friend

We are seeing a paradigm shift in sales from being reactive to proactive, and from instinct-driven to insight and data-driven. AI can guide the sales journey from identification to customer retention. Sales applications can pick up each…Continue reading

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Four New AI Tools That Will Help You Be More Productive

Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Fast Company
Image source: littlehenrabi/iStock


Those worried that the rise of artificial intelligence means that robots will take their job might feel comforted by the fact that many AI tools are actually being designed not to replace humans, but to help them do their jobs better.

Though the field is still in its infancy, many young startups came to Europe’s largest tech conference, Web Summit, last week to showcase how their AI tools are working to make people more efficient and productive, in both their personal and professional lives. Here are a few that stood out.


Does it feel like you’ve never got enough time for the things you really want to do in life? Paris-based AI startup Smarter Time is helping its 80,000 users find the time that always seems to be missing by tracking their habits and providing feedback.

[Photo: courtesy of SmarterTime]

The concept is that even if one were to try and track every moment of their day in order to manually analyze and optimize their time, few would bother putting in the really small things, but that’s where much of our time gets lost.“You will think it’s so small, I don’t need to input it, but that’s one way of cheating with your own schedule, because these small bits of time add up,” said Smarter Time’s cofounder and CMO, Anna Winterstein. “If you spend five minutes on Facebook 10 times a day that’s 50 minutes, that’s a huge amount of time, and you get distracted, and studies say you need at least 15 minutes to get focused again.”

Using a plugin that tracks desktop browsing, along with an app that tracks phone usage patterns, Smarter Time seeks to “give its users back time for what really matters,” said Winterstein, adding that the company is building features that will eventually encourage healthy lifestyle habits as well.

“By using the latest scientific research we’re trying to give people advice, like maybe you haven’t been sleeping enough or should be doing more fitness,” she said.

The app is currently available as a free download on Android devices, with additional features available for purchase, and an iOS version coming soon.


Founded in 2016 and officially launched last week at Web Summit, French startup AiZimov seeks to take the guesswork out of cold emails and solicitations, gathering data and information in order to autonomously craft emails that are more likely to receive a positive response.

[Photo: courtesy of Aizimov]

“All you have to put in are four things; first name, last name, email, and company,” said AiZimov’s CEO, Jérôme Devosse. With that information Devosse says the tool crawls the internet for every mention of the person and their organization, and crafts a message tailored to them. That could include references to their latest position paper, their company’s latest press release, their personal Twitter feed, or the hobbies listed on their LinkedIn profile.“If the guy, for example, has done a marathon, I may finish the email by saying ‘by the way, I also did a marathon in Rome, here is my time, how do we compare?’ to get their attention,” said Devosse.

Over time the tool collects information on the sorts of emails that get the best responses among specific target audiences and adjusts various factors–such as tone, length, content, and the time it’s sent–accordingly. While the program optimizes a first draft, the sender still has the opportunity to tweak the email according to their preferences and style, which AiZimov gradually learns to replicate.

“The tool will learn how people in that industry and that country react to different propositions; do they like humor? Do they like a formal tone? Do they like if we talk about their expertise?” explains Devosse.

Though a limited number of users can still get a free trial, Devosse says that it will eventually come with a price tag. As a result the company is targeting B2B companies to be used by their sales departments.


Those who manage their own website typically have three options for improving and optimizing its effectiveness: relying on free tools that require an understanding of website analytics, hiring a firm to help with website optimization, or doing nothing. With little time or resources to dedicate, many freelancers and startups must opt for the latter. 

Based at the Technical University of Copenhagen, Canecto hopes to spread website optimization to the masses, providing everyone with the ability to affordably improve the performance of their online presence. “We remove the analytical process and just tell them exactly what to do to improve their website,” said Canecto’s CEO, Per Damgaard Husted, explaining that it doesn’t require significant resources or technological proficiency.

[Photo: courtesy of Canecto]

The tool, which officially launched to the public at Web Summit, seeks to help its users increase their visitors’ time onsite, and will eventually be able to optimize for other metrics as well. “What we’re working on is to enable you to put in your business goals, and get recommendations,” he said. “So in a couple of months you can put in say conversion goals, signups to the newsletter, downloading a PDF file, whatever generates value for you.”By downloading the Canecto script for their content management platform, users are not only able to get detailed information about how visitors interact with their website, but recommendations on how to improve. Such recommendations can range from color scheme to the prominence of photos to the length, tone, and content of text to the optimal number of links, videos, and images.

The tool even tracks social media to help provide additional recommendations based on real-time trends and interests amongst the target audience.

“It will tell you what are the interests of the people who have downloaded that PDF file or signed up for the newsletter, and you can see the reverse, the people who didn’t, and see the difference,” said Damgaard Husted.

Damgaard Husted adds that Canecto’s basic features, which are targeted toward individual freelancers and small business owners, are now available for free, while its more advanced tools, which can help optimize media spending, are available for a cost.


The decline in executive assistant roles following the Great Recession has always confused Roy Pereira. Though originally considered a cost-saving measure, the extra time now spent by executives on organizing schedules, preparing meeting notes, and planning travel logistics often proves more expensive. “I wanted to have my own EA, so I decided to build it,” said the Toronto-based entrepreneur.

The resulting product, Zoom.AI, can learn your habits and preferences, make recommendations, schedule meetings automatically and order a car to take you there.

[Photo: courtesy of ZoomAI]

“One of our most important tasks is to get you prepared for the meeting,” said Pereira. “So when you’re in the Uber you’ll pull up two pages of information on the person you’re meeting with, based on public information.”That information can include work history, common connections and friends on social media, recent media appearances, research papers, blog posts, common interests, and an analysis of personality traits.

“There’s also informational discovery inside the office,” said Pereira, who explains that the application can pull information from public documents, internal customer relations management systems, digital files, and other support systems. “With a couple of requests you can just ask, ‘where is the N.D.A. for Coca-Cola that we did last month?’ and it will find it,” he adds.

Asking Zoom.AI for the location of a file or to schedule a meeting is as simple as sending a message via text, Slack, Facebook, Skype, or any of the 16 compatible chat platforms. “It’s like talking to a person in a direct message,” said Pereira.

For example, if Pereira sends a message to his Zoom.AI assistant asking to schedule a coffee with a friend, the program will find time in both schedules near the time of day and for the duration that he typically takes a coffee break, at the coffee shop he frequents that is most geographically convenient for both participants, and send a meeting request.

According to Pereira this technology gives users an average productivity boost of 14%, or 25 hours a week.

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Mars earbuds are equipped with space-age translation tech

artificial intelligence, digital, Digital Trends, Earbuds
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Over the past year or so, earbuds with translation tech have been popping up everywhere, signaling the evolution of an industry. Headphones are now capable of being more than just a means to deliver music — if the tech is good enough, they can act as a bridge between disparate cultures, bringing people together to foster mutual understandings.

The new Bluetooth-enabled Mars wireless earbuds, a collaborative project from Line Corporation and Naver Corporation (a leading internet provider in Korea and Line’s parent company), aim to do just that. Boasting real-time ear-to-ear translation of 10 different languages, Mars is unique in that it is designed for each person to wear one earbud (as opposed to needing two pairs). The earbuds were named a CES 2018 Best of Innovation Honoree at CES Unveiled New York on Thursday, November 9.

Scheduled for release in early 2018, Mars support Line’s Clova artificial intelligence, a virtual assistant which takes cues from Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Aside from translation, Clova can help users stream music from several sources, check the weather forecast, and control Internet of Things (IoT) devices, all via voice commands. Line touts Clova as the first A.I. platform developed specifically with Asian markets in mind; Clova integration will be available at launch in Korea and roll out to other markets over time, though we don’t have any sort of timetable.

Microphones inside the Mars — Line doesn’t specify but we assume they’re bone-conduction mics — feature automatic ambient noise blocking, ensuring that users can take phone calls comfortably, even in loud, busy environments. For translation purposes, supported languages (for now) include: English, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian. We don’t yet know how much the Mars will cost or where they will be available.

In addition to Mars, Line launched a smart speaker in Japan in 2017 called the Clova Wave. Line also announced a series of kid-targeted speakers called the Champ, featuring anthropomorphized Line characters Brown (a bear) and Sally (a baby chicken), but we haven’t heard anything about them since. Line is perhaps best known for its messenger app and social media platform, which is popular in South Korea.

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No One Knows What It Is, But In-House Counsel Desperately Need It

Artificial Intelligence, Attorney, Lawyer, Litigation, Law
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Above The Law

There are two deep and abiding truths in the legal industry: no one knows what AI even means, and, yes, you need it. Or at least, you need solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence to resolve discrete problems you face. But that sounds less exciting.

Here at the Association of Corporate Counsel annual meeting, a packed conference room watched Rise of the Machines: Can Compliance and Litigation Keep Up?, a panel moderated by Mark Huller, Senior Counsel from The Cincinnati Insurance Company, and featuring Khalid Al-Kofahi, R&D Vice President at Thomson Reuters; Cynthia Boeh, General Counsel at Other World Computing; and Martin Tully from Akerman LLP. And once again we learned that no one knows what AI really is.

Indeed, Martin Tully kicked off the discussion by invoking the ineffable Linda Richman, “I’ll give you a topic, artificial intelligence, neither artificial nor intelligent, discuss.”

And that’s where we seem to sit in 2017. With 50 percent the AI evangelists describing it as liquid magic and the other 50 percent willing to admit it’s just a tool, while 100 percent of its customers are just confused about the whole concept. Even the panel couldn’t come up with a consistent definition of artificial intelligence, though — like all good dystopian machines — they were self-aware.

Tully spoke of three categories: assisted intelligence (tools that do what lawyers are already doing), augmented intelligence (tools doing what lawyers are incapable of doing on their own), and autonomous intelligence (tools doing what lawyers aren’t even doing). Meanwhile Huller walked the audience through “strong vs. weak AI,” with strong AI being a machine with cognitive abilities developed to approximate a human being, while weak AI merely mimics human behavior. Personally I thought strong AI was the first 136 minutes and weak AI was the 10 minutes Steven Spielberg tacked on to answer every meaningful question in an entirely trite and conclusory manner. But no matter how you slice it, everyone has a different rubric for understanding AI.

Rubric creep is just part of the AI narrative. Should programs as basic as Dragon Natural Language or Siri count as AI? In a sense, sure. They are smart programs that learn how you talk and convert that into text. In another sense, no. It’s not like Google Home is going to close the pod bay doors on you. We hope.

Regardless, people seem unwilling to recognize these “weak” AI programs as true artificial intelligence. Around 29 percent of the audience said they don’t use artificial intelligence on a routine basis, meaning either 29 percent of the in-house lawyers in America are proud luddites or they don’t respect weak AI. Maybe if we fully expunged the people peddling unicorn AI we’d get better numbers.

Still, it’s hard to let go of the idea that we’re dealing with magic on some level. The sobering statistic to remember was raised by Thomson Reuters’s Kahlid Al-Kofahi: by 2023 a basic laptop will do 63 trillion operations/second, a magic number because that’s the speed of human pattern recognition. And on that same trajectory, by 2050, a basic laptop will perform the human pattern recognition power of ALL HUMANS COMBINED every second. On the other hand, most humans are stupid and think CBS makes good sitcoms so maybe that’s not as impressive as it sounds.

Whatever people think of it, folks seem to understand that artificial intelligence is the way of the future. Most everyone — in a room that probably carried some self-selection bias — knew that they needed AI-based solutions. And when they polled the audience about what applications they were considering meeting with artificial intelligence solutions, by far the most popular were contracts and discovery with M&A due diligence lagging behind (which is odd, because products like KIRA seem so perfectly suited for those tasks).

Perhaps discovery and contracts have just crossed the acceptability threshold first. Compliance was the big “other” application. Al-Kofahi said he couldn’t get into details, but that being an expert in multiple legal environments is simply tough and compliance is a target Thomson Reuters is working on. Could we see a new research product soon?

What about dispute resolution? Al-Kofahi phrased it as an access to justice issue when three times more issues are resolved on eBay than in US adversarial proceedings. Tully mused that the contracts of the future will be filled with clauses agreeing that all disputes will be resolved by Watson. He was only half-kidding. Could people get behind a decision maker without human judgment? Boeh argued that we’ll be there in the transactional world soon enough and we’ll be the better for it, observing that removing the natural human bias of both sides wanting to make a given deal go through, no matter the obstacles will make the deal better for both sides. And that’s a substantive legal decision that’s already here.

For anyone still skeptical, Tully put the future to the assembled in-house lawyers this way: would you feel comfortable today knowing that your lawyer did research without consulting Lexis or Westlaw? No. As AI tools get out there, clients have to start thinking about AI in this way — how can you trust a lawyer who reviewed documents without, say, Everlaw?

But it’s not going to be painless. Fears of robot lawyers may be cute, but it’s not going to end up like that. The AI narrative is coalescing around the idea that AI is going to kill off the boring work and leave every attorney pondering big ticket brain tasks every day. Tully cited Richard Susskind saying that “90 percent fewer lawyers and only specialists will remain.” In Tully’s words, AI is more like Jarvis — helping Tony Stark process information and make better decisions — than it’s Skynet out to kill us. Al-Kofahi used the mantra “what business are we in?” noting that if lawyers are in the advice business then they should embrace this. Boeh simply called AI “miraculous” for taking the menial tasks out of the law.

But one counsel raised the 64 million dollar question that some of us have been harping on: what if menial tasks are good? Perhaps digging through documents for 20 hours a day makes you a better lawyer later and there’s no effective substitute that allows a lawyer to “skip to the smart part.” If we scoffed at the “practice-ready” law school model before, we should choke of laughter over the idea that law school grads are going to roll out able to manipulate a factual record without ever digging through the context to learn the hard lessons of what is and isn’t a hot document. Who are going to be the next generation of “specialists” in Susskind’s world? Because if we gut the groundwork that junior lawyers have done for a century or more, it’s hard to imagine who earns those stripes.

Yet it was an odd question in a room full of clients. This is the room that constantly pressures outside counsel to write-off junior billables. This is the room that’s “done paying for on-the-job training.” When the AI revolution begins — as all Jacques Mallet du Pan observed of all revolutions — to eat its children and leave the cupboard bare for the next generation, will the clients recognize that they created this world? Or will ROSS just replace those lawyers too. Maybe. If we hold out until 2050 when computers are as powerful as Al-Kofahi predicts, maybe we won’t need to worry. Still, this is the dark underbelly of AI’s rosy narrative of giving lawyers “more time to do the smart stuff.”

Not to add more rubrics to this discussion, but Tully encapsulated the AI conversation when he said there are three ways everyone reacts to AI: disbelief, fear, or irrational exuberance and all of them are wrong. Artificial intelligence, warts and all, is coming. There will be straightforward applications that will ease a lawyer’s pain and complex applications that will overturn the nature of the profession.

It’s time to pony up to the table because this is getting sorted out with or without you and you may as well have a seat.

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Brain game: the freaky factor of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Lifestyle
Face facts: what it means to be human. Photograph: Getty Images

The Guardian

The release of Blade Runner 2049 has once again inspired us to imagine what it would be like if the distinction between artificial life and humans all but disappeared. Once something else is almost as ‘real’ as us, the idea of what it means to be human is challenged.

Neuroscientists know already that such a scenario is disturbing to us – thanks to a phenomenon known as Uncanny Valley. In the experiment, when people were faced with robots that looked very robotic (think flashing lights and metal), their response was fine. But the more human the robot became, the stronger their antipathy, discomfort and even revulsion – and the spookier it seemed.

In studies we measure the degree to which anything is human in terms of how it looks, how it moves and how it responds. In all cases the more artificial anything seems, the more easily we cope. Of course, once the difference between us and artificial life is undetectable, our response is exactly the same. At which point, the tables will turn – an enduring theme in Blade Runner – and it will be the robots who struggle with the idea of who they are and what it means to be human.

Dr. Daniel Glaser is director of Science Gallery at King’s College London

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