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.
“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
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.
(HONESTLY) TRACKING YOUR TIME
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.
CRAFTING THE PERFECT COLD EMAIL
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.
MANAGING AND IMPROVING YOUR WEBSITE
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.
YOUR OWN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
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.
A new report from App Annie predicts that time spent doing mobile shopping via apps will grow 45 percent in the U.S. during the week of Black Friday, compared to the same time two years ago. The firm also expects revenue generated through apps to break new records this season, and says consumers will spend over 6 million hours shopping in the top 5 digital-first apps on Black Friday alone.
App Annie’s forecast is based on data from Android devices in the U.S., as it doesn’t have visibility into iOS in the same way.
According to App Annie, the 6 million-plus hours spent on Black Friday in the top five digital-first apps (e.g. apps from companies like Amazon, Wish, Etsy and Zulily that only exist online) represents a 40 percent increase over just last year.
That also means that on Black Friday – November 24, 2017 – these top five apps will account for 15 percent of the total time spent in shopping apps during the entire Black Friday week (Nov. 19-25).
Meanwhile, other top shopping apps that App Annie dubs the “bricks-and-clicks” apps – meaning those where the retailer has both an online and brick-and-mortar presence – will also see some growth, though not as strong. Top bricks-and-clicks apps include those from retailers, like Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, and Kohl’s, for example.
The firm predicts the top five apps in this group will see 30 percent growth in time spent on Black Friday 2017, compared to Black Friday 2016.
Combined with the expected increases in mobile shopping revenues generated in the apps, App Annie believes Black Friday 2017 will be the biggest mobile shopping day ever in the U.S.
Black Friday may also lead to a ripple effect in mobile e-commerce around the world, the report points out.
As with the traffic increases seen on Amazon’s Prime Day, the total time spent in shopping apps outside the U.S will also increase this year. In Japan, the time spent in shopping apps on Android will be up 65 percent from 2 years ago to over 15 million hours; the U.K. will see a 45 percent increase to over 6 million hours.
This year, AliExpress may also see significant usage during Black Friday week. The app already snagged the number one spot for shopping apps across iOS and Google Play ahead of Singles’ Day (Nov. 11) in the U.K., France, and Germany.
Separately, the firm Sensor Tower noted AliExpress has just achieved a milestone here in the U.S. as well – it hit the top of the U.S. iPhone chart for the first time on November 12, 2017. (Its previous peak had been #51 back on March 23.)
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.
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
In a world in which people are increasingly willing to trade privacy for convenience, facial recognition seems to be a new frontier. And the foremost pioneers on that frontier now appear to be the folks at Dubai International Airport.
Airport officials plan to install a virtual tunnel-shaped aquarium equipped with 80 supposedly invisible cameras that will identify passengers as they walk through, in lieu of customs agents looking from your passport to your face and back. The first aquarium will be up and running by the end of next summer, according to The National. Emirates customers will be the first to experience the tunnel, but the airport plans to install more until 2020.
Facial recognition is popping up at more and more airports as a way to streamline the process of identifying passengers ahead of boarding, and it has its conveniences. You don’t have to remember your passport or driver’s license or other forms of ID, and the lines will theoretically move more quickly because people don’t have to stop and wait for an official to check those IDs.
Dubai’s aquariums seem to be taking the relaxation idea to a level no one else has thought of, but the aquariums serve a purpose other than to calm passengers as they head to their planes.
“The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveler but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travelers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print,” Obaid Al Hameeri, the deputy director general of Dubai residency and foreign affairs, told The National.
The National reports that travelers will be able to register their faces at kiosks, and those scans will presumably be matched up with what the aquarium-tunnel cameras pick up as you pass through.
If the cameras determine you are who you say you are, you’ll get a green light at the end of the aquari-tunnel. If not, you’ll get a red light, and an official will likely conduct extra screening of some kind.
It’s not clear what Dubai airport officials will do with these face scans after they have them. Do they keep them on file, assuming you’ll return? Do they share this information with government officials in the United Arab Emirates? How about with officials in other countries?
And face scans are just part one of a two-part plan. Soon, these aquariums may also have cameras that scan your irises. Just remember that when you’re looking at all the pretty fish.