Blog: Opex AI Roundup — April 2019
by Gabriella Runnels and Macon McLean
The Opex AI Roundup provides you with our take on the coolest and most interesting Artificial Intelligence (AI) news and developments each month. Stay tuned and feel free to comment with any stories you think we missed!
Always Low Wages
Stocking shelves, cleaning floors, and scanning boxes are just a few of the jobs that Walmart’s new robotic labor will soon perform. The retail giant announced earlier this month that thousands of robots will begin work in Walmart stores and warehouses across the country in the near future. While these robo-workers might lead to more efficient processes, not everyone is altogether pleased by the idea. However, with titans of retail filing for bankruptcy with alarming frequency, Walmart says this move is just another attempt to stave off rising operational costs with increased automation.
A new tech trend has emerged at the world’s largest retailer, as Walmart brings on board thousands of robots in nearly…www.forbes.com
We’ve seen algorithms create paintings worth nearly half a million dollars, so it might not come as a surprise that A.I. could produce hit music as well. Rolling Stone reports that the record company Warner Music Group is set to produce multiple musical albums created by an algorithm. The startup in question, Endel, “uses artificial intelligence to make personalized audio tracks aimed at boosting people’s mood or productivity.” Their algorithm is primarily designed to create custom music based on a variety of inputs, including a user’s environment and physiological state.
A bundle of code, engineered by audio startup Endel, is under contract with Warner Music Group to release 20 albums…www.rollingstone.com
A.I. That’s Out of This World
On April 10, 2019, the world saw the first-ever photograph of a black hole; a truly historic feat, considering that prior to this discovery, the only proof we had of their existence (if you can even call it that) was “…the gaps they left in our data.” To achieve this breakthrough, researchers had to gather five petabytes (i.e. five million gigabytes) of radio wave data using a system of interconnected telescopes, and then use sophisticated algorithms to assemble the resulting sparse dataset into clear images. The technological implications of this scientific breakthrough by Sheperd Doeleman and the whole Event Horizon Telescope team are significant, with potential impacts in autonomous vehicles and medical imaging.
Today, a black hole observed … tomorrow, a pothole avoided? On Wednesday, researchers with the Event Horizon…fivethirtyeight.com
Love old video games, but get bummed out by their Tetris-grade visual detail? Well, I’ve got good news: you can upgrade those graphics with cutting-edge machine learning techniques. Now details can be interpolated with generative adversarial networks and related technologies to create higher-resolution versions of the games we know and love. An online community dedicated to these upscaling projects has surfaced, training neural networks on countless pairs of low- and high-res images. While this process won’t turn Super Mario Bros. into Super Mario Odyssey, it can breathe some new life into revered classics.
AI upscaling improves the quality of low-resolution pictures, and video game modders are using it to update the…www.theverge.com
Satellite, Headlines Read
Africa’s population is exploding, with conservative projections showing that “more than one in three” people on Earth will live in Africa by the turn of the century. However, this enormous growth has not yielded an attendant rise in data on where the population of Africa is located; without this information, it’s difficult to make efficient public policy decisions, like infrastructure planning. Facebook has recently stepped in, making use of extensive satellite imagery and machine learning techniques to identify man-made structures. Using these buildings as a proxy for population density, they can then figure out, roughly speaking, where people live within Africa.
The population of Africa is growing rapidly. Today, one out of every six people on Earth live in Africa. In 2050, the…qz.com
That’s it for this month! In case you missed it, here’s last month’s roundup with even more cool AI news. Check back in May for more of the most interesting developments in the AI community (from our point of view, of course).