What is ‘AI washing’ and why is it a problem?

Amazon received critical headlines this year when reports questioned the “Just Walk Out” technology installed at many of its physical grocery stores.

The AI-powered system enables customers at many of its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go shops to simply pick their items, and then leave.

The AI uses lots of sensors to work out what you have chosen. You then get automatically billed.

However, back in April it was widely reported that rather than solely using AI, Just Walk Out needed around 1,000 workers in India to manually check almost three quarters of the transactions.

Amazon was quick to claim that the reports were “erroneous”, and that staff in India were not reviewing video footage from all the shops.

Instead it said that the Indian workers were simply reviewing the system. Amazon added that “this is no different than any other AI system that places a high value on accuracy, where human reviewers are common”.

Read the full article at: www.bbc.com

This AI Algorithm Can Detect Deepfake Videos with 98% Accuracy

Researchers have developed an AI algorithm that can spot a deepfake video with 98% accuracy.

In a paper presented earlier this month, researchers from Multimedia and Information Security Lab (MISL) in Drexel’s College of Engineering explained that they had created the “MISLnet algorithm” which can detect telltale signs of deepfake and manipulated pieces of media with incredible accuracy.

Read the full article at: petapixel.com

Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains


Scientists at UC Riverside have demonstrated a new, RNA-based vaccine strategy that is effective against any strain of a virus and can be used safely even by babies or the immunocompromised.


Every year, researchers try to predict the four influenza strains that are most likely to be prevalent during the upcoming flu season. And every year, people line up to get their updated vaccine, hoping the researchers formulated the shot correctly. The same is true of COVID vaccines, which have been reformulated to target sub-variants of the most prevalent strains circulating in the U.S.


This new strategy would eliminate the need to create all these different shots, because it targets a part of the viral genome that is common to all strains of a virus. The vaccine, how it works, and a demonstration of its efficacy in mice is described in a paper  published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 


Read the full article at: news.ucr.edu

Gemini, a family of multimodal models demonstrating strong capabilities across image, audio, video, and text domains


Google has introduced a family of multimodal models, called Gemini, that exhibit remarkable capabilities across image, audio, video, and text understanding. The Gemini family consists of Ultra, Pro, and Nano sizes, suitable for applications ranging from complex reasoning tasks to on-device memory-constrained use-cases. Evaluation on a broad range of benchmarks shows that the most-capable Gemini Ultra model advances the state of the art in 30 of 32 of these benchmarks – notably being the first model to achieve human-expert performance on the well-studied exam benchmark MMLU, and improving the state of the art in every one of the 20 multimodal benchmarks we examined. Thus, Google believes that the new capabilities of the Gemini family in cross-modal reasoning and language understanding will enable a wide variety of use cases. In this article the authors discuss their approach toward post-training and deploying Gemini models responsibly to users through services including Gemini, Gemini Advanced, Google AI Studio, and Cloud Vertex AI.



See more details in Google’s Gemini technical report.

Read the full article at: arxiv.org

5 Books On AI In Education And Why You Should Read Them

Discover five must-read books on AI and ChatGPT in education, recommended by educators. These books offer practical insights and strategies to enhance teaching with AI.

I’ve read far too many books on ChatGPT and artificial intelligence.

Almost all of them are a waste of time when it comes to applying them to education.

But, there are five books educators on LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook have recommended. And it’s these five books I recommend to every educator exploring AI.

Read the full article at: www.forbes.com

How generative AI could fix Siri, Alexa, and hopefully Google Assistant, too

By enabling abilities like context and natural conversation, generative AI technology could bring us actually useful digital assistants.

Voice assistants hold so much promise, but in the decade-plus since Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa first wormed their ways into our lives, their most compelling use is still setting timers. Competition from Google’s Assistant (and if we’re being charitable, Samsung’s Bixby) failed to light the spark of innovation in this space, and in many ways, voice control has regressed. These assistants regularly misunderstand, mishear, and sometimes just don’t listen at all. They’re a far cry from the proactive, actually smart digital assistants they were originally pitched as.

Read the full article at: www.theverge.com

COVID can cause new health problems even 3 years after infection, new study finds


A new report reinforces that the virus is not going away. Even as national institutions struggle to coordinate meaningful trials for possible long COVID treatments, researchers continue to tally the damage. New findings suggest that the disease’s reach isn’t merely long—it’s still growing. Three years after their initial bouts with COVID-19, patients who’d once been hospitalized with the virus remained at “significantly elevated” risk of death or worsening health from long COVID complications, according to a paper published May 30, 2024 in Nature Medicine. Even among those whose initial cases didn’t require a hospital stay, the threat of long COVID and several of its associated issues remained real, the researchers found. And cumulatively, at three years, long COVID results in 91 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) per 1,000 people—DALYs being a measure of years lost to poor health or premature death. That is a higher incidence than either heart disease or cancer.


Published in Nat. Medicine (May 30 2024):

Read the full article at: fortune.com

The Once-In-An-Eon Event That Gave Earth Plants Has Happened Again

The first-ever nitrogen-fixing organelle in a eukaryotic cell has been confirmed.

An event that is only known to have happened three times before in the history of life on Earth has just been documented again. A marine bacterium was subsumed into its algal host organism, co-evolving with it for long enough that it can now be considered an organelle, part of the alga’s cellular machinery. That means these algae are the first eukaryotes (organisms with their DNA in a membrane-bound nucleus) known to contain an organelle capable of fixing nitrogen.

“It’s very rare that organelles arise from these types of things,” said Tyler Coale, first author of one of two recent papers on the discovery, in a statement.

“Very rare” could actually be considered an understatement. The first time this happened – as far as we know – it gave rise to the very first complex life by birthing mitochondria. Since then, it’s happened twice more, including over a billion years ago, marking the dawn of plant life on Earth by giving us the chloroplast.

The groundwork for the latest finding was laid almost 30 years ago, when a team led by UC Santa Cruz Professor Jonathan Zehr discovered a new cyanobacterium in the Pacific Ocean with the ability to fix nitrogen. That’s the process by which microbes pull free nitrogen from the environment and combine it with other elements to form new nitrogen compounds, like the fertilizers that are essential for life to thrive.

Read the full article at: www.iflscience.com