New cyber security research could protect data, even when attackers break in

A UC researcher in the US, recently named in MIT’s Top 35 Innovators under 35, found a breakthrough in cyber security mechanisms, to enable our insatiable appetite for data to be better protected than traditional perimeter techniques. This is a huge field and rightly so. – we need better mechanisms to help protect data and data custodians, and by doing so we enable greater & wider data sharing and collaboration. Raluca Ada Popa’s recent research showed that her encryption methods work with a range of applications and provide a level of protection that firewalls cannot: even if attackers break in, they have no way to decipher the data. A recent use case sees this new approach applicable to hospitals, to help share and aggregate patient records. It can accelerate innovation if considered during the ideation/ design phase! https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/innovators-under-35/2019/visionary/raluca-ada-popa/ research: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334534372_Helen_Maliciously_Secure_Coopetitive_Learning_for_Linear_Models  

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How to stress test AI algorithms & build trust – a melbourne platform

As society becomes increasingly dependent on algorithms for advice and decision-making, the question of how we can trust them is reaching critical mass. Among the various initiatives (ethical frameworks, transparency research, bias reducing methods etc), a Melbourne University research team has taken a different approach. What if we could stress-test algorithms, visualise them and their possible scenarios? After more than a decade of research, the new online algorithm analysis tool – MATILDA: Melbourne Algorithm Test Instance Library with Data Analytics – has been launched. Check it out. Maybe if Google had used it earlier on some of their Maps algorithms, it could have prevented the last mile error that got 100 drivers stuck on a private muddy road! https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/analysis/algorithms-stress-test/ MATILDA: https://matilda.unimelb.edu.au/matilda/ Google Maps – the algorithm error: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/26/us/google-maps-detour-colorado-trnd

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China experiments with AI to create its ‘intelligent’ nation

It should be of no surprise to learn that AI is considered a national priority for China – various policy statements and plans point to their strong investment & focus (2017: the AIDP, 2015: Made in China 2025). China plans to build a domestic AI industry worth nearly USD$150bn in the next few years and become a leading AI power. To build greater wealth, economic and social power requires knowledge, creativity and capability in your population. So China’s experiment with AI in education is a natural strategic priority. Enter Squirrel AI – a personalised tutoring startup using AI algorithms. Early experiments with Squirrel AI point to a significant confidence boost in students and their test scores. One student, struggling in high-school level mathematics, was able to increase his test scores from 50% to 62.5% from one semester tutoring. Two years later, the same student scored 85% in his final exams. Squirrel AI is one of many learning & development focused AI startups. How this will change education and learning remains to be seen. Will it create a generation of rote learners or will it help with creating greater opportunity equality? Will China truly lead the world in AI driven innovation? https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614057/china-squirrel-has-started-a-grand-experiment-in-ai-education-it-could-reshape-how-the/

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Sustainability: wine self serve in Italy saving the planet

On a recent trip to Manduria (in the southern Italian provence of Taranto), my parents were pleasantly surprised by the innovation they found in a family run winery. Rather than encourage the production of more bottles & packaging, the family have self serve capabilities for locals to ‘fill & pay’ as they need from some of their finest drops. Sustainability doesn’t have to be difficult. Check it out next time you head to Italy: https://www.produttorivinimanduria.it

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AI & Cyber – the latest in a long line of much needed collaborations

With the cyber security skills shortage we hear so much about, the case for AI-approaches to a big data opportunity is a no-brainer.. Everything is now becoming an endpoint (we humans (biotech), mobile, autonomous cars/ transport etc), so expect to see more cyber security innovations (more preventative than detective cybersec) at the edge and silicon level over time.  https://www.ideaspies.com/ai-and-cyber-the-latest-in-a-long-line-of-much-needed-collaborations  

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Object detection capability in retail – helping reduce fraud and theft

As expected, crime can move at a faster pace than digital innovations. In-store crime is costing Australian retailers upwards of $3.3bn pa, and self-service checkouts are partially the point of exposure . That’s just a little less than what US behmoth Walmart sees as annual shrink (loss) rates (ie when inventory disappears without being paid). In the US, Walmart recently deployed object detection technology (core tech for autonomous systems and smart city use cases), coupled with their existing CCTV investments and a dash of AI to identify these cases and inform the Assistant of potential issues. The human-in-the loop will be much needed in future despite the love affair with AI – but humans will be performing higher order tasks. Just like the Assistants @ Walmart! Lots of other applications of similar technology are possible – watch this space (Amazon’s payless supermarkets are the tip of the iceberg) https://www.businessinsider.com.au/walmart-tracks-theft-with-computer-vision-1000-stores-2019-6  

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Complexity of AI and data-driven races – are we extending surveillance or is Privacy a trade-off we’re not willing to make?

With applications of Artificial Intelligence gaining momentum and each nation racing to build capability and solutions at scale (the next space race?), will it put us on a collision course with privacy? Do we even care about our privacy? Or is privacy a basic human right that we should protect and be mindful of the decisions we make (or are made for us). Shouldn’t we be given the choice on how to share our data; who with and for what purpose? Or are we just the robot product? This NY Times project highlights the careful considerations that innovators and policy makers should consider, so we don’t inadvertently create a future we don’t want. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/opinion/privacy-project-nytimes.html

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