The problem of algorithmic opacity, or "What the heck is the algorithm doing?" | Machine intelligence and AI - Diginomica

Opacity in AI used to be an academic problem - now it's everyone's problem. In this piece, I define the issues at stake, and how they tie into the ongoing discussion on AI ethics.

Neil Raden, active industry analyst, consultant and widely published author and speaker and also the founder of Hired Brains Research says, Opacity in AI is a formal, academic description of what is more commonly referred to as, "What the heck is the algorithm doing?" It's a problem that is at the root of many ethical issues with AI.

Man solving complex problem finds surreal keyhole to success
Photo: © frankie's - Shutterstock.com

It appears as a robust classification and ranking mechanisms, such as search engines, credit card fraud detection, market segmentation, spam filters, all used in insurance or loan qualification advertising or credit. These mechanisms of classification are calculated on computational algorithms, most often machine learning algorithms...

What's in a machine learning algorithm? Two parallel processes are driven by two different algorithms: or two distinct algorithms: learners and classifiers. Inputs (features) are processed by the classifiers, producing results referred to as a category.

Read more... 

Source: Diginomica

IISc offers online advanced certification in deep learning | Education - The Indian Express

Enrolments for the first cohort are open now and classes will commence in March 2021 at talentsprint.com. As part of the course, learners can bring a problem they or their origanisation is facing or can choose from a curated problem by Education Desk.

Applications open for the course.
Photo: Pexels/Representational

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore launched a postgraduate level advanced certification program in deep learning. This 10-month executive education program will be offered online in partnership with TalentSprint. Enrolments for the first cohort are open now and classes will commence in March 2021 at talentsprint.com.

A team of 10+ interdisciplinary faculty from IISc and TalentSprint will teach participants through live and interactive online classes and mentor them too, the latter informed. The course also includes the option of building their own projects. The program will enable participants to establish a portfolio that demonstrates their learnings.

The course includes a bridge course on programming and mathematical preliminaries, paradigms of machine learning, deep learning and its application, deploying AI systems, mathematical foundations, and data visualisation.

Read more... 

Source: The Indian Express

Artificial intelligence puts focus on the life of insects | Biology - EurekAlert

Scientists are combining artificial intelligence and advanced computer technology with biological know how to identify insects with supernatural speed by EurekAlert.

Photo: Insect monitoring cameras in a remote area in East Greenland.

Scientists are combining artificial intelligence and advanced computer technology with biological know how to identify insects with supernatural speed. This opens up new possibilities for describing unknown species and for tracking the life of insects across space and time

Insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth and only a small fraction of these have been found and formally described. In fact, there are so many species that discovering all of them in the near future is unlikely.

This enormous diversity among insects also means that they have very different life histories and roles in the ecosystems...

Deep Learning

"With the help of advanced camera technology, we can now collect millions of photos at our field sites. When we, at the same time, teach the computer to tell the different species apart, the computer can quickly identify the different species in the images and count how many it found of each of them. It is a game-changer compared to having a person with binoculars in the field or in front of the microscope in the lab who manually identifies and counts the animals", explains senior scientist Toke T. Høye from Department of Bioscience and Arctic Research Centre at Aarhus University, who headed the new study. The international team behind the study included biologists, statisticians, and mechanical, electrical and software engineers.

Read more... 

Additional resources


Source: EurekAlert

Deep learning doesn’t need to be a black box | Deep learning - TechTalks

This article is part of our reviews of AI research papers, a series of posts that explore the latest findings in artificial intelligence.

Ben Dickson, software engineer and the founder of TechTalks summarizes, Concept whitening is a technique that helps create interpretable deep learning models without incurring performance penalties.  

Deep learning concept whitening
Photo: TechTalks
Deep neural networks can perform wonderful feats thanks to their extremely large and complicated web of parameters. But their complexity is also their curse: The innerworkings of neural networks are often a mystery—even to their creators. This is a challenge that has been troubling the artificial intelligence community since deep learning started to become popular in the early 2010s.

In tandem with the expansion of deep learning in various domains and applications, there has been a growing interest in developing techniques that try to explain neural networks by examining their results and learned parameters. But these explanations are often erroneous and misleading, and they provide little guidance in fixing possible misconceptions embedded in deep learning models during training.

In a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Machine Intelligence, scientists at Duke University propose “concept whitening,” a technique that can help steer neural networks toward learning specific concepts without sacrificing performance...

Cynthia Rudin, professor of computer science at Duke University and co-author of the concept whitening paper, had previously warned about the dangers of trusting black-box explanation techniques and had shown how such methods could provide erroneous interpretations of neural networks. In a previous paper, also published in Nature Machine Intelligence, Rudin had encouraged the use and development of AI models that are inherently interpretable. Rudin, who is also Zhi’s Ph.D. advisor, directs Duke University’s Prediction Analysis Lab, which focuses on interpretable machine learning.

Read more... 

Source: TechTalks

A robotic revolution set to change urban lifestyle | Robotics - THE WEEK

Autonomous systems can transform the world for people and wildlife by University of Leeds.

Photo: Josh Sorenson from Pexels

Drones, robots and autonomous systems could transform the natural world in and around cities for people and wildlife, says a new study led by Leeds University.

The study, involving over 170 experts, was conducted as part of Leeds' Self Repairing Cities project, which aims to enable robots and autonomous systems to maintain urban infrastructure without causing disruption to citizens.

Researchers assessed the opportunities and challenges that this cutting-edge technology could have for urban nature and green space

The researchers highlighted opportunities to improve how we monitor nature, such as identifying emerging pests and ensuring plants are cared for, and helping people engage with and appreciate the natural world around them...

The research, published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, is authored by a team of 77 academics and practitioners.

The researchers conducted an online survey of 170 experts from 35 countries, which they say provides a current best guess of what the future could hold.

Read more... 

Source: THE WEEK

Robots Ready to Grow in 2021 | Technology and IIoT - IndustryWeek

A look ahead at the growing role of robotics post pandemic, as Peter Fretty, Technology Editor at IndustryWeek reports.

Spot 8 Credit To Boston Dynamics
Photo: IndustryWeek

As IW’s 2020 Technology Survey showed robotics continue to serve as a primary area of interest for manufacturers. And for good reason – robotics and on a larger scale automation are a key avenue to recognizing the type of efficiencies organizations need to compete within today’s increasingly digital workplace.

And, fortunately, in its Tech Trends That Will Shape 2021 Report, ABI Research anticipates that COVID-19 will not significantly disrupt the robotics market.  According to Senior Analyst Rian Whitton, the robotics industry can anticipate a significant rebound in 2021 as the negative impact of COVID-19 will slowly dissipate. “As the crisis has unfolded, interest in robotics has skyrocketed, even as deployments have stalled due to installation challenges and companies withholding investments. There have been exceptions with the increased deployment of service robots and systems for certain applications, like ultra-violet disinfection for hospitals and airports,” writes Whitton.

Furthermore, ABI Research predicts the industrial and collaborative robot spaces will continue their strong trajectory in 2021...

Third parties will prove instrumental as robotics manufacturers look to scale, explains ABI’s Whitton. “Looking forward, other third parties like cloud service providers and computing vendors (such as AWS and NVIDIA) are building comprehensive robotics offerings for developers.

Read more... 

Source: IndustryWeek

10 Intro Books On AI To Bring You Up To Speed | Opinions - Analytics India Magazine

Ambika Choudhury, Technical Journalist at Analytics India Magazine notes, Here are 10 intro books on artificial intelligence to kickstart your AI journey.

Photo: Analytics India Magazine

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way over the past few years in simulating human intelligence. Today, AI is the lifeblood of almost every organisation cutting across sectors including, retail, financial, healthcare, among others.

Here’s an updated list of 10 best intro books on artificial intelligence geared towards  AI enthusiasts.

Read more... 

Source: Analytics India Magazine

Artificial Intelligence Has Yet To Break The Trust Barrier | Enterprise Tech - Forbes

Trust is the glue that holds enterprises and processes together, and lately, more of that trust has being relegated to artificial intelligence. How much decision-making can and should be entrusted to the machines? by Joe McKendrick, author and independent analyst. 

Two business persons in front of futuristic display. Graphical User Interface(GUI). Head up Display(HUD). Internet of things.
Photo: Getty

We often trust AI recommendations for books related to the ones we have purchased. We are learning to trust AI to help guide our trucks and cars, applying warnings and brakings in traffic situations. Our call-center staff trust AI-generated recommendations to upsell the customers they have on the line. We let AI move more valuable customers to the head in line of queues. But how trustworthy is AI? Maybe more, maybe less trustworthy than we perceive it to be — it depends on the situation.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Chiara Longoni and Luca Cian in a recent analysis posted in Harvard Business Review. Consumers, for example, “tend to believe AI is more competent at making recommendations when they are seeking functional or practical offerings.” But they prefer human judgement “when they are more interested in an offering’s experiential or sensory features.”...

Longoni and Cian explored consumer trust with AI in a series of experiments involving 3,000 consumers. Among their conclusions: “Simply offering AI assistance won’t necessarily lead to more successful transactions. In fact, there are cases when AI’s suggestions and recommendations are helpful and cases when they might be detrimental.” 

Read more... 

Source: Forbes

Learn To Be a Project Manager with Free LinkedIn Learning Courses | Career success tips - Learning Blog

Rachel Parnes, Senior Brand and Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn suggest, If you want to get into project management, the opportunity is yours for the taking—3.9 million million project manager jobs have been posted on LinkedIn in 2020. 

Woman working on a laptop in a cafe
Photo: Learning Blog

Based on LinkedIn’s Economic Graph data, project management is among the top 10 jobs that have the greatest number of openings, have shown steady growth over the past four years, pay a living wage, and—best of all, especially in our new world of remote work—require skills that you can learn online.

Whether you’re looking for your first job, your next job, or your dream job as a project manager, we want to help you land it.  

Project managers are catalysts for change...

Learn the skills you need for a career in project management with the below courses. They’re free until December 31, 2021.

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Source: Learning Blog

Michigan Technological University: Powering the next generation of electrical and computer engineers | Universities - Study International News

Giovana Azzi Lemke travelled from Brazil to the US with one goal: to be the best engineer she’s always aspired to be. 

Giovana Lemke
Photo: Michigan Technological University
She first went to the US in 2012, as an exchange student at Michigan Technological University. One year was not enough — there was something about Michigan Tech that kept drawing her back. “After one year at Michigan Tech, I loved it so much that I decided I wanted to come back for my graduate studies,” Lemke says.

After graduating from her undergraduate programme at a Brazilian university, Lemke set her sights on pursuing a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Michigan Tech seemed to have the biggest array of Power courses offered,” Lemke says.

Fast forward a few years later and Lemke is now an accomplished engineer. “The top three hard skills I believe I have gained at Michigan Tech are technical power systems knowledge, presentation skills, and project management skills due to all the deadlines we were expected to meet as a graduate student,” she says...

What’s behind this impressive track record? Start with the department’s deep links with industry and alumni.

Read more... 

Source: Study International News

ICE launches new online Data Science programme in collaboration with Flatiron School | University - Cambridge Network

The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is linking up with leading online learning provider Flatiron School to launch a new 10-week online Data Science programme by Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).

New online Data Science programme
Photo: Cambridge Network

Data Science is one of the most in-demand field sets across the fast-growing technology sector and the programme will seek to develop globally relevant employability skills.

The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is linking up with leading online learning provider Flatiron School to launch a new 10-week online Data Science programme. Data Science is one of the most in-demand field sets across the fast-growing technology sector and the programme will seek to develop globally relevant employability skills.

Designed for students with minimal technical background, the course aims to provide the practical skills, statistic fundamentals and work-relevant learning to allow them to make use of big data across their future career paths. The course’s six online modules help learners get to grips with the Python programming language before providing practical experience of working with and evaluating real data that’s relevant to genuine business problems...

To find our more and apply, visit the ICE website. The course starts on 27 April 2021. There is a fee reduction for bookings received by 28 February 2021.

Read more... 

Source: Cambridge Network

How a downtown Phoenix bookstore owner kept his business alive amid pandemic | Coronavirus - Phoenix Business Journal

Outside a tiny bookstore in downtown Phoenix, a tall man greeted guests at the door on a recent Thursday night and checked for their tickets before letting them in by Ethan Kispert – Contributing writer at Arizona PBS.

Aaron Hopkins-Johnson hosts a poetry slam at his downtown Phoenix bookstore, Lawn Gnome Publishing, every Thursday to draw potential customers into the store.

Inside, there were five rows of chairs evenly spaced apart, five to six foldable chairs per row. The smell of cologne and cigarette smoke hung around in the air as people chattered away with one another, waiting for the weekly poetry slam to start.

Out front, there was a small wooden stage where Aaron Hopkins-Johnson, the owner of the bookstore, was busy shuffling papers around while giving the occasional nervous glance to see if everyone who had signed up was already there. 

Hopkins-Johnson has been conducting poetry slams — since he graduated from Northern Arizona University 20 years ago — in the two bookstores he has owned, businesses that, he said, were inspired by his world travels. This one in downtown Phoenix, called Lawn Gnome Publishing, is his most recent venture and the one he has had to fight the hardest to keep alive...

Lawn Gnome Publishing has been open continuously since August. For Hopkins-Johnson, everyday feels like a fight as he adapts and adjusts to stay compliant with local health codes while continuing to foster a warm and welcoming environment for his customers through events such as his poetry slams.

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Source: Phoenix Business Journal

My money: 'It is very difficult to make a living as a writer in Ireland.' | Personal Finance - Independent.ie

Children's writer Judi Curtin is author of the well known Alice and Megan and Eva series - as well as a number of other books. She has also written some books for adults by Independent.

Children's writer Judi Curtin
Photo: Independent.ie

Born in London, she moved to Cork with her family when she was eight - and she now lives in Limerick with her husband and children. Her latest children's book, Lily Steps Up - A Lissadell Story, is available from bookshops and from obrien.ie.

Read more... 

Source: Independent.ie

Five Inspiring Non-Fiction Books To Start Your New Year | Books - The Nerd Daily

The year 2020 was rough for many of us, so let’s start 2021 with a positive attitude by The Nerd Daily.

Five Inspiring Non-Fiction Books To Start Your New Year
Photo: The Nerd Daily

What better way to do it than to read some inspiring and motivational books from people who not only had hit rock bottom, survived it, and came out victorious! May their words and wisdom get you all prepared and pumped up for your new year. Ready? Set? Dive!

Read more... 

Source: The Nerd Daily

Maths can help you thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic | Mathematics - OUPblog

When Isaac Newton practiced social distancing during the Great Plague that hit London in 1665, he was not expected to transition from face-to-face work with scientist colleagues to a patchwork of conference calls and email by Susan D'Agostino, writer and mathematician.  

Photo: Pixabay.With no children underfoot who needed care at home, he concentrated on developing early calculus ideas. With no exposure to a 24-7 news cycle of the escalating crisis, he had the mental space to develop a theory of optics. He even found a quiet moment in which to note an apple falling from a tree, which helped him unlock a fundamental law of physics.

Your efforts to focus on work while social distancing to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic may present more challenges. As you adjust, consider the following mathematical metaphors for thriving with your personal and professional goals...

Mathematics is more than a tool for computation. The field offers an invitation for deep, delightful thinking, along with metaphors for fostering courage in challenging times. 

Read more... 

Recommended Reading

How to Free Your Inner Mathematician:
Notes on Mathematics and Life

Source: OUPblog 

Science’s Demons, from Descartes to Darwin and Beyond | Science - The New Yorker

Casey Cep, staff writer at The New Yorker argues, How supernatural conceptions have advanced our understanding of the natural universe. 

Illustrated science beaker with smoky demon coming out
Photo: The New Yorker

It is difficult to count demons. In the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus meets a man on the far side of the Sea of Galilee who is possessed, he asks the demon to identify itself. It replies: “My name is Legion, for we are many.” But how many? The thirteenth-century German abbot Richalmus suspected the number of demons was incalculable, as numerous as grains of sand in the sea. Three centuries later, when the Dutch physician Johann Weyer composed his demonology, he identified some sixty-nine demons by name, who commanded millions of others: at least eleven hundred and eleven distinct legions, each with six thousand six hundred and sixty-six demons. Around the same time, the German theologian Martin Borrhaus reached a very different estimate: two trillion six hundred and sixty-five billion eight hundred and sixty-six million seven hundred and forty-six thousand six hundred and forty-four demons.

Others scholars avoided a head count, choosing instead to organize demons into typologies and hierarchies, as Dante Alighieri did in the Inferno and King James did in his “Daemonologie,” published nearly a decade before he commissioned a new translation of the Bible. According to such taxonomies, demons were a busy bunch, tasked with everything from promoting quarrels, discord, and war (the work of a demon called Bufas) to inserting errors into the manuscripts of scribes and keeping tabs on the mispronunciations of preachers during worship (the work of Titivillus).

Both quantitative and qualitative demonologies have largely fallen out of favor these days, but the historian of science Jimena Canales has just published one. “Bedeviled: A Shadow History of Demons in Science” (Princeton University Press) is not a survey of Baal, Stolas, Volac, and their kin. Instead, Canales has gathered together in one book demons with very different origins and responsibilities—among them the scientist James Clerk Maxwell’s demon, the physicist David Bohm’s demon, the philosopher John Searle’s demon, and the naturalist Charles Darwin’s demon. These demons came into being at some of the world’s leading universities and were promulgated in the pages of Science and Nature. They are not supernatural creatures; rather, they are particular kinds of thought experiments, placeholders of sorts for laws or theories or concepts not yet understood. Like the demon Jesus met, though, these are legion; at the very same time that science was said to be demystifying the world, Canales shows us, scientists were populating it all over again with the demonic...

That sort of slippage still happens today, as when an inventor such as Elon Musk warns that we are “summoning the demon” with artificial intelligence. Such invocations are not necessarily theological, although a devout scientist may well make such appeals, and they are not scientific, as the thought experiments are; they are simply metaphorical. As with those who made the atomic bomb, some scientists, confronting the implications of their work, turn to religious language to express existential dread. 

Read more... 

Recommended Reading

A Shadow History of Demons in Science

Source: The New Yorker

Is the Schrödinger Equation True? | Math - Scientific American

Just because a mathematical formula works does not mean it eflects reality, explains John Horgan, science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Photo: Bill Burris via Flickr

I take inspiration where I can get it. My girlfriend recently alerted me to a viral video in which a teenage girl complains about mathematics. “I was just doing my makeup for work,” Gracie Cunningham says while dabbing makeup on her face, “and I just wanted to tell you guys how I don’t think math is real.”

Some of the math she’s learning in school, Cunningham suggests, has little to do with the world in which she lives. “I get addition, like, if I take two apples and add three it’s five. But how would you come up with the concept of algebra?” While some geeks mocked Cunningham, others came to her defense, pointing out that she is raising questions that have troubled scientific heavyweights.

Gracie’s complaints struck a chord in me. Since last May, as part of my ongoing effort to learn quantum mechanics, I’ve been struggling to grasp eigenvectors, complex conjugates and other esoterica. Wolfgang Pauli dismissed some ideas as so off base that they’re “not even wrong.” I’m so confused that I’m not even confused. I keep wondering, as Cunningham put it, “Who came up with this concept?”...

Maybe we should look at the Schrödinger equation not as a discovery but as an invention, an arbitrary, contingent, historical accident, as much so as the Greek and Arabic symbols with which we represent functions and numbers. After all, physicists arrived at the Schrödinger equation and other canonical quantum formulas only haltingly, after many false steps.

Read more... 

Source: Scientific American

Top 5 Digital Nomad Leaders To Learn From In 2021 | ED Times - Yahoo India

While traveling the world and working remotely as a digital nomad was a popular trend before the global pandemic, the lockdowns happening around the world means the ability for influencers to travel has been drastically impacted. 

Top 5 Digital Nomad Leaders To Learn From In 202

Despite this there are a handful of leaders in the online space who have exemplified resilience and gone on to create thriving businesses.

According to MBO Partners, 7.3 million Americans identify as digital nomads which is an increase of 2.3 million from the previous year – proving that this movement is certainly not only a trend. It is a way of life that many in the world will soon experience as well, which gives reason as to why it is paramount to take note from those who have world-class experience and expertise.

5 digital nomad leaders who are advocates of this lifestyle are showing the world what is possible by sharing their top tips on how to thrive as remote business owners during 2021. 

Read more... 

Source: Yahoo India

Tallinn named best city for remote workers | Remote working - The Independent

Helen Coffey, deputy head of travel for The Independent says, Its digital nomad visa helped Estonian capital top the list.

These are the best cities for remote workers
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tallinn has been named the best city for remote workers in a new ranking.

The Estonian capital topped the list thanks in part to its new “digital nomad” visa, which allows workers to move there for a year provided they meet certain criteria.

Big 7 Travel, which came up with the top 50 list, also cited Tallinn’s “booming” digital economy and its low cost of living, with rent in the city centre costing around $500 (£370) a month...

Big 7 Travel said it compiled the list based on affordability, internet access, coworking spaces, expat-friendly communities and took into account destinations that had specific digital nomad visas.  


Source: The Independent


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