KW 30: AI helps with search for Covid drug, Autonomously controlled drone faster than any human, AI robot keeps beaches in the Netherlands clean


AI helps with search for Covid drug: Together with scientists from the UK, the research group of Friedemann Weber from the Institute of Virology at the University of Giessen was able to use artificial intelligence to collect all the information about cellular proteins and signaling pathways used by the coronavirus for its replication, and used it to form a network of relevant SARS-CoV-2 interactions. A comparison with a drug database and literature, also computerized, revealed 40 agents already in clinical trials and 160 new candidates. „Of the agents known to be particularly well tolerated, two were ultimately confirmed to be highly effective against SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory experiments,“ Weber said.

Autonomously controlled drone faster than any human: Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a new algorithm that allows drones to not only fly autonomously but faster than those controlled by human racing pilots. This will herald a new future, where drones can simply be given the drop destination and they will handle the rest. Under the guidance of Davide Scaramuzza, the head of the Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich, researchers Phillipp Foehn and Angel Romero used a novel method that allows drones to autonomously determine their flight path. So far, drones have been given a full description of their flight path that has been previously determined by human users. This is not a time-efficient method. Instead, the researchers simply directed the drones to pass through the waypoints in the flight path. The algorithm helps the drone calculate a time-efficient path which also takes into account the limitations of the drone’s capabilities, a quadcopter in this instance.

AI robot keeps beaches in the Netherlands clean: Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos, two Dutch engineers who started TechTics, built a robot called BeachBot, or BB for short. With help from Microsoft’s artificial intelligence systems, BB is on a mission to rid beaches of cigarette butts and eventually hopes to clean up all other sorts of waste. The robot needs humans to help it learn at first, so TechTics enlisted the public to send photos to the AI system. From there, the team feeds this knowledge to BB, which understands what to look for better with each and every image. Commenting on it, Christian Liensberger, lead principal program manager of Trove, a Microsoft Garage project, said, “The system learns how to see pictures like a child recognizing an object for the first time. With this transparency, a lot of (Trove contributors) feel like they’re part of a team, that they’re doing it together, that they’re actually helping. It’s important for people to contribute to something lasting.”,

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German companies want to create giant language AI: Artificial intelligences from America and China are impressing experts everywhere with their ability to understand and use language for a wide range of tasks-and at a level that sometimes matches that of humans. Economically, it’s a billion-dollar business, technologically, it’s presumably a breakthrough toward AI systems that no longer just excel in a highly specialized skill, but actually have more general competencies. Researchers and entrepreneurs in Germany want to counter this with something comparable with the OpenGPT-X project, in which competitive AI systems are to be constructed and made more accessible to smaller companies.

Using AI to create new drugs based on nature’s model: Artificial intelligence can specifically recognize the biological activity of natural substances, as researchers at ETH Zurich have shown. In addition, AI helps find molecules that have the same effect as a natural substance but are easier to produce. This opens up enormous opportunities for pharmaceutical research and has the potential to redefine the rules of the game. AI methods can also be used to find alternatives to natural substances that have the same effect but are much simpler and thus cheaper to produce.

Facial recognition company Clearview AI raises millions of dollars: New York-based startup Clearview AI has raised $30 million in its latest round of funding, while Israel-based AnyVision has raised as much as $235 million. Clearview says it has built a biometrics database of more than three billion facial photos by copying unsolicited images from publicly available social media profiles, company websites and other sites on the internet. An EU Commission draft on the future handling of artificial intelligence says facial recognition like Clearview’s may remain permissible. At the end of June, the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) explicitly called for a ban on European police forces using the company’s services. The plenum will vote on this resolution in mid-September.

Machine learning: Cloning voices with the help of AI
Artificial intelligence: Test phase in Denmark to show possible applications of AI in teaching
AlphaFold: AI of the British company DeepMind can precisely predict structures of molecules
Regulation: European Commission plans DSGVO-like regulation to regulate AI systems
Digitalization: Artificial intelligence in job boards to help with job placement

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The German Academic Exchange Service is using 25 million euros to fund special study and doctoral programs on artificial intelligence.


Artificial intelligence to track fossil-fuel power plants from space: A team of researchers from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland wants to use satellite imagery to locate all fossil-fuel power plants worldwide and measure CO2 emissions. Artificial intelligence could also be used to investigate whether sustainability reports from industrial companies correspond to reality. The computer constantly learns from the researchers‘ input and refines the analysis of the satellite data until it is possible to determine exactly when which power plant emits how much CO2 into the atmosphere and where. In a further step, the researchers plan to apply this method to heavy industry and measure CO2 emissions here as well, explains Damian Borth, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the University of St. Gallen. The evaluated data could then be linked to sustainability reports. This would make it possible to check whether the information provided by emitters corresponds to the CO2 emissions actually measured.

Weather forecasting using artificial intelligence: Markus Reichstein is director at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and conducts research on weather forecasting using artificial intelligence. „Our goal is to predict the high-resolution consequences of climate extremes from a lot of remote sensing, meteorological and ecosystem data. We’re not trying to do that with pure physical modeling, but we’re trying to extract that from the data with methods of AI, machine learning, how certain patterns are learned, for example, how certain ecosystems or rivers behave when certain weather phenomena occur,“ he explains. To do this, scientific data can be represented in or as maps, such as temperature maps or precipitation maps. Current weather forecasts refer to spaces that are kilometers in size. But the consequences of heavy rain, for example, affect a region very locally. With AI, you can scale that down to 20 meters, Reichstein says.


US military is testing VR goggles for dogs: Special goggles are to be used to project signals or objects into the dogs‘ field of vision. The US military hopes to be able to „remotely control“ the dogs in this way – but private applications are also conceivable. A small camera integrated into the goggles records what the dog sees. The handler sees on his smartphone or tablet exactly what the dog is perceiving at that moment. The human can now artificially change this environment. This process has decisive advantages, which is why the US military has taken notice of this technology, according to Stephen Lee, who works as a scientist at the Army Research Office in the town of Research Triangle Park in the US state of North Carolina.


„This is a big historical question: are we now participating as Europeans in the AI arms race? The European Parliament has made it clear that Europe doesn’t want that, but the draft law quite succinctly left out the issue.“
Professor Thomas Metzinger from the University of Mainz on autonomous weapons systems and EU legislation.


„Talk Dirty“ – erotic texts written by artificial intelligence: The startup Content Villain wants to show how sexy artificial intelligence can be. The „Talk Dirty“ service can finish writing erotic texts. The tool is supposed to be able to enrich erotic texts and also finish them if necessary, for example when the „natural“ intelligence runs out of ideas. „Talk Dirty“ is based on the Open AI Project’s GPT-3 language model. Among other things, the startup removed the filter that is supposed to prevent the software from using sexual terms or swear words. In addition, the company added its own plug-ins and created an online platform to make the tool publicly available.

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