AI News, Possible Minds: 25 Ways of Looking at AI artificial intelligence

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He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed.

These are places where people gather, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community.

He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed.

These are places where people gather, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community.

Can AI Be a Fair Judge in Court? Estonia Thinks So

Government usually isn't the place to look for innovation in IT or new technologies like artificial intelligence.

As Estonia's chief data officer, the 28-year-old graduate student is overseeing the tiny Baltic nation's push to insert artificial intelligence and machine learning into services provided to its 1.3 million citizens.

Two weeks before the mowing deadline, the automated system notifies farmers via text or email that includes a link to the satellite image of their field.

About 72 percent of workers who gain a new job through the system are still on the job after six months, up from 58 percent before the computer-matching system was deployed.

In a third case, children born in Estonia are automatically enrolled in local schools at birth, so parents don't have to sign up on waiting lists or call school administrators.

In the most ambitious project to date, the Estonian Ministry of Justice has asked Velsberg and his team to design a “robot judge” that could adjudicate small claims disputes of less than €7,000 (about $8,000).

A Tallinn-based law firm, Eesti Oigusbüroo, provides free legal aid through a chatbot and generates simple legal documents to send to collection agencies.

The idea of a robot judge might work in Estonia partly because its 1.3 million residents already use a national ID card and are used to an online menu of services such as e-voting and digital tax filing.

But government officials say the country hasn't had a major data breach or theft since it began its digital drive in the early 2000s.

Stanford University’s David Engstrom, an expert in digital governance, says Estonian citizens might trust the government's use of their digital data today, but things might change if one of the new AI-based decision-making systems goes awry.

But a coordinated AI effort across the federal government has gone slowly, Engstrom says, mainly because federal databases in each agency are different and aren’t easily shared with other agencies.

“Even with a human appeal, there could be a constraint.” Still, Engstrom foresees a time when AI-driven legal assistants might be presenting judges with case law, precedents, and the background needed to make a decision.

For now, though, Estonian officials like the idea of an AI robot solving simple disputes, leaving more time for human judges and lawyers to solve tougher problems.

Corrected, 3-26-19, 1:50 pm: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the subject of Ott Velsberg's PhD thesis and the amount of money saved in the first year of using satellite images to monitor the cutting of hayfields.

AI Week Recap: Nonprofits Using Artificial Intelligence

There’s a lot of hype around AI in the news today, and while you may have heard bad news or science fiction, there is some good news, too: Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are tools you can use to advance your nonprofit’s mission.

Their work empowers women, creates jobs, and reduces carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, with their work offsetting 1.4 million tons of carbon, saving 7 million trees, and changing the lives of 800,000 people.

Now, using an AI vision tool implemented by Mogli Technologies, Proyecto Mirador technicians can get near-instant quality control feedback on their chimney installations via Mogli SMS for text messaging.

Einstein Vision helps Proyecto Mirador train more cookstove technicians in order to reduce training time and implement efficient quality control to manage 2,000 stove installations a month.

College Forward is powered by CoPilot, a student information system custom built on the Salesforce platform that uses predictive analytics to empower the college success industry to create sophisticated, proactive coaching services to first-generation college attendees.

After a simple four-step process — using clicks, not code — the AI tool sifted through the nonprofit’s rich six-year trove of student data and generated a valuable new data point for College Forward counselors: a risk score assessing each student’s likelihood of dropping out of college.

“For the first time ever,” said Austin Buchan, their CEO, “our coaches could rapidly identify on a day-to-day basis which students were in most need of their support.” By using the latest predictive analytics technology, College Forward is accelerating their work to build and share effective solutions for practitioners across the nation and to shed light on the importance of leveling the academic playing field for millions of first-generation, low-income students.

AIs are better gamers than us, but that’s OK

It was another defining moment in computing, then, when AlphaGo -- a Go-playing AI developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind -- beat professional player Fan Hui in late 2015, followed by world champion Lee Sedol the subsequent spring.

While a research paper may be nigh on impossible to understand to anyone outside the field, the use of wholly unconventional moves in match play is a clear indicator AlphaGo has outgrown human tuition.

Understandably so, as they offer not a rigid board game with clear rules but a complex virtual environment and safe space for AIs to develop through reinforcement learning -- trial and error (but more nuanced).

What's particularly impressive about AIs playing video games is that they are seeing the screen like you or I (as opposed to reading lines of code for information on game state), and trying to make sense of the mess of pixels to figure out mechanics and win conditions.

There are many stories of AIs finding previously undiscovered bugs, glitches and skips in games when provoked with a simple reward trigger like a high score or fastest average speed in a racing game.

A DeepMind researcher continues to compile a list of these (and other AI phenomena), and just one example is an AI discovering how to clip through walls in a Sonic game in an effort to finish levels as fast as possible to maximize its score.

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