UNITED NATIONS: China and the United States are ahead of the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence (AI), according to a report from the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released Thursday.
Report said that the “upsurge” in patent applications for devices and machines powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the last five years, suggests that it could soon revolutionize all areas of daily life far beyond the tech world.
Fifty percent of all patents for AI – the replication of human intelligence by machines for use in industries such as transport and healthcare, for instance – have been published since 2013, adding up to more than 170,000 different patented ideas.
This followed on from an initial boom in AI scientific publications, which began in 2001.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists in Geneva the surge in patenting was “striking”, noting that AI research began in the 1950s. “But there has been a quantum leap since about 2013, so we’re dealing with what is happening right now in a very fast-moving field,” he insisted.
By number, patent applications for machine learning, indicate that this is currently the dominant application of AI; think of apps that include ride-sharing services to minimize detours.
The fastest-growing AI area is “deep learning”, however, which is used in speech recognition.
This saw a 175-per cent annual increase in patent applications from 2013 to 2016, far in excess of the 33 percent average for all patents in the same period.
The United States and China dominate the field of patent application, although only a fraction of China’s patents is filed abroad. US-based tech giant IBM leads by number of patent applications (8,290), followed by Microsoft (5,930).
Japan’s Toshiba has the next highest patent tally (5,223), ahead of South Korea’s Samsung (5,102) and Japan’s NEC Group (4,406).
China’s increasingly important role in the sector is also illustrated by the fact that Chinese organizations make up 17 of the top 20 academic players in AI patenting, as well as 10 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications.
In coming years, AI is set to grow with “major military and economic” uses, Gurry suggested, before highlighting the importance of proposed WIPO-led discussions between the Member States, on legal and ethical issues relating to intellectual property rights that have been raised by the technology.
“One would expect that the strategic focus of major geopolitical players will turn to their positioning in relation to AI,” he said.
Internet search giants have also been key to the AI revolution, the WIPO report shows, with Google (US) and Baidu (China) embracing the potential of the technology early on, just as Microsoft and Apple did before them.
“You did say that we see some of the internet giants there,” Mr. Gurry said to reporters. “Why? Because of data…because of the access they have to date.”
In addition to the US and China’s large populations, the WIPO head noted the importance of State-led support for innovation in both places, which included investing in technology hubs and even training specialized patent officers.
Faced with this backing, “it’s very difficult for other countries, even those with great education, to compete with the business, engineering and investing talent” of China and the US, AI expert and CEO of Landing AI and deep learning, Andrew Ng, notes in the WIPO publication, adding that the “biggest untapped opportunities” lie outside the software industry, in areas including agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing.
Echoing those comments, the WIPO Director-General noted that the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe “is not necessarily favoring the formation of major data pools. And we all know the more data, the better for machine learning, for example, the results, you are going to get”.
Asked whether the world was better off because of the technology, which industry experts credit with the potential to create massive economic value, the WIPO Director General underlined the fact that the science behind it is “neutral”.
“Is it (AI) good news or bad news?” he asked. “Well, I would tend to say that all technology is somewhat neutral, and it depends on what you do with it. So, insofar as you may use AI science and techniques for developing autonomous weapons systems that are going to kill us all, is not very good news, but insofar as it’s being used to improve health indicators for diagnostics, for other purposes, it’s great news.”
Tesla unveils ambitious full self-driving chip for next-generation vehicles
SAN FRANCISCO: U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla unveiled a new full self-driving (FSD) chip for its next-generation autonomous vehicles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors during the company’s Autonomy Day that FSD-powered computers will turn its electric cars into self-driving vehicles without human intervention.
He said all new models of Tesla cars including Model 3, X and S have been equipped with the chips featuring full self-driving capabilities, but the next-generation chip, which is currently under development, would be “three times better” than the existing system.
Musk said Tesla will probably have more than 1 million cars with full driving capabilities running on the road by 2020.
“Probably two years from now, we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” he said. He predicted the new powerful FSD chip will come out in two years.
Musk touted his company’s FSD technology while mocking the LIDAR technology by calling it a “fool’s errand.”
Facebook hires high-ranking US State Department lawyer
SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said Monday it has hired a high-ranking US State Department lawyer credited with helping craft the controversial Patriot Act as the social network’s new general counsel.
Jennifer Newstead will replace Colin Stretch, who announced in July that he planned to leave Facebook.
Newstead will oversee global legal functions at the California-based social network as it faces continued pressure from regulators regarding how well it safeguards user privacy and protects against the spread of misinformation or abuse on its platform.
“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.
“We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years.”
Newstead was the first woman to lead the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department, a post she took in January 2018.
Samsung delays launch of folding Galaxy smartphone
SAN FRANCISCO: Samsung said Monday it was delaying the launch of its folding smartphone after trouble with handsets sent to reviewers.
Some reviewers who got their hands on the Galaxy Fold early reported problems with screens breaking.
Samsung said it decided to put off this week’s planned release of the Fold after some reviews “showed us how the device needs further improvements.”
The South Korean consumer electronics giant planned to announce a new release date for the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks.
Initial analysis of reported problems with Galaxy Fold screens showed they could be “associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung said.
There was also an instance where unspecified “substances” were found inside a Galaxy Fold smartphone with a troubled display, according to the company.
“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” Samsung said.
“We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer.”
A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.
Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the leading smartphone maker’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.
The company essentially gave reviewers a “beta product” without enough information, such as not to peel off a protective coating meant to be permanent, according to independent technology analyst Rob Enderle.
“It was all avoidable for a company the size of Samsung,” Enderle said.
The failure of a “halo product” meant to showcase innovation and quality could tarnish the brand and send buyers to rivals.
“If a halo product fails, people don’t trust that you build quality stuff,” Enderle said.
“It can do incredible damage. And Huawei is moving up like a rocket, so this could be good for Huawei.”