ML Trends

Newsletter #6 - May 12, 2019

AI for the greater good

For the greater good.

The best indicator of technology’s utility and acceptance is government implementation. The more critical the application, better the validation of the technology. In this regard, the past quarter belonged to AI, with defence and immigration departments implementing AI/ML across many functions.

But, there arises a question of regulating AI. Is AI the next platform, after nuclear weapons, for competition amongst countries?

Baywatch AI

Carnegie Mellon University has been working with the US coastguard to use AI in protecting the Staten Island Ferry against potential attacks. The ferry carries more than 60,000 passengers a day and is prone to terrorist attacks.

The Institute for Software Research at CMU has used game theory by providing suggestions on randomly changing patrol routes. This helps the coastguards eliminate creating patterns and improve protection.

Fei Fang, assistant professor at the Institute says: “We used a similar paradigm for tiger conservation in Southeast Asia, and to help rangers protect wildlife and reduce poaching in Uganda. The result in those was more snares being found."

The technology could be highly useful for border patrolling in future.

For more information, visit this link.

Big Brother at immigration

If you're looking to fly out of the United States within the next few years, there is a good chance the government will have a scan of your face.

According to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to dramatically expand its Biometric Exit program to cover 97 percent of outbound air passengers within four years.

The current imaging system only gives the ability to look up photos based on the flight manifests. With this new system, as passengers board the plane, the algorithm scans the faces on the cameras of those boarding international flights and immediately looks through millions of photos to make a match on file. The images on file are pulled from visa and passport applications. If the image is not recognised, it can be manually looked up.

This system is already active in 15 airports across the U.S. It has currently been tested on more than 15,000 flights and identified over 7,000 travellers who overstayed their visas. CBP calculates that 666,582 passengers who arrived by plane or boat overstayed visas in fiscal 2018. The main goal of the airport scans is to catch those who have overstayed their visas.

This is important because overstayers have represented a majority (over 62%) [1] of undocumented immigrants, larger than those who enter the country illegally.

However, not everyone is thrilled about this venture. Critics argue that this use of AI is an invasion of privacy and it could be of concern how this information could be used outside the airport. With access to facial recognition from many people, it could be used by hackers or given to law enforcement and used unlawfully.

Fire in the hole

Last month, on April 24th, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated a need to regulate the military use of Artificial Intelligence at the 8th Moscow Conference on International Security. Patrushev said, “Modern technologies make it possible to create attack instruments with the use of artificial intelligence, genetics and synthetic biological agents.”
“We believe that it is necessary to activate the powers of the global community, chiefly at the UN venue, as quickly as possible to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework that would prevent the use of the specified [new] technologies for undermining national and international security.”
This statement is not in line with Vladimir Putin’s vision of AI. In fall 2017, Putin asserted [2] that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence” and added that “whoever leads in AI will rule the world.”
 In the past, Russia has derailed UN-sponsored attempts to create globally-accepted guidelines on how Artificial Intelligence should be used in autonomous weapons systems.
Does this change of stance suggest a scenario of Russia lagging behind in the AI race?

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The ML Trends team
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