KW 48: Europol warns of criminal AI, Germans are open towards AI, When AI discriminates


Europol warns of criminal AI: A jointly developed report by Europol, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and Trend Micro looking into current and predicted criminal uses of artificial intelligence (AI) provides law enforcers, policymakers and other organizations with information on existing and potential attacks leveraging AI and recommendations on how to mitigate these risks. „At a time where the public is getting increasingly concerned about the possible misuse of AI, we have to be transparent about the threats, but also look into the potential benefits from AI technology,“ said Edvardas Sileris, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center. “This report will help us not only to anticipate possible malicious uses and abuses of AI, but also to prevent and mitigate those threats proactively. This is how we can unlock the potential AI holds and benefit from the positive use of AI systems.” The report concludes that cybercriminals will leverage AI both as an attack vector and an attack surface. Deep fakes are currently the best-known use of AI as an attack vector. However, the report warns that new screening technology will be needed in the future to mitigate the risk of disinformation campaigns and extortion, as well as threats that target AI data sets.

Humboldt Foundation funds two AI professors: Germany wants to finance a total of 100 AI professorships to catch up on research into artificial intelligence. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has recruited two researchers from Canada and the Netherlands, whose professorships are guaranteed for five years. Aimee van Wynsberghe is an AI and robot ethicist and is currently doing research at the TU in Delft, the Netherlands. Starting next semester, she will head the Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE) at the University of Bonn. The second researcher is German Angela Schöllig, who is currently still working as an assistant professor at the Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). In the future, she will work as an automation and robotics expert at the Technical University of Munich.

Germans are open towards AI: The majority of Germans are open-minded towards the use of artificial intelligence, according to a new study from Bosch. In industrial production in particular, a large number of those surveyed would trust artificial intelligence rather than humans. However, when it comes to topics such as care for the elderly and the sick, the study participants trust a person rather than an AI. The study also shows that the more people surveyed are familiar with the technology, the greater their confidence in AI. Of those people who consider themselves less tech-oriented and rather uninformed, only 27 percent rate the use of AI as positive.

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German Green party calls for use of AI apps to detect Covid-19: The Greens have asked the federal government to consider the use of an app that is supposed to detect Covid-19 based on coughing. The AI expert for the Green party, Anna Christmann, asked whether the government would consider using such an app. A corresponding algorithm was designed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is supposed to be able to recognize people with Covid-19 only from a recording of the cough – even if they have no symptoms. According to MIT, the algorithm has an accuracy of 98.5 percent. Christmann believes the technology could „be an important addition“.

Update for Google’s speech recognition: Google’s AI assistant will soon be able to identify individual speakers in a room. In contrast to the old version, the new voice recognition VoiceFilter-Lite will no longer run in the cloud but on the end device and therefore does not require an internet connection. The better speech recognition currently only works in English, but will also be tested for other languages.

Study: Every fourth Austrian company uses AI solutions
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The British government plans to invest 16.5 billion pounds in its military over the next few years to expand the use of artificial intelligence.


What future does AI have in the music industry? Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in music production. For example, the OpenAI research institute is testing the composition of songs in the style of popular music legends such as Frank Sinatra with the “JukeBox” program. While such projects are currently perceived with unease by the public, some startups are already using AI to generate advertising jingles. The streaming service Spotify also runs its own research program on AI. It can be assumed that copyright issues will become significantly more complicated in the future when algorithms design songs.

When AI discriminates: Studies show that algorithms discriminate against women and minorities in a wide variety of areas. For example, companies use artificial intelligence when granting loans, the decisions of which are often influenced by a so-called “algorithmic bias”. This arises, for example, when an algorithm uses training data to conclude that men take out higher loans more often than women. The American artist and activist Caroline Sinders criticizes such learned prejudices. She believes the reason for the poorly trained algorithms is the lack of representation of women on development teams. In fact, only 22 percent of the people who work in the AI ​​industry are female. A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2019 shows that discriminatory AI can sometimes be life-threatening. It came to the conclusion that dark-skinned people are less likely to be recognized by self-driving cars than light-skinned people. It is now evident that research and politics are becoming aware of the problem. In order to avoid discrimination through technology in the future, the German parliament set up the Enquete Commission “Artificial Intelligence – Social Responsibility and Economic, Social and Ecological Potential” in 2018.


Google’s Chimera Painter creates fantasy monsters: Google has created an AI tool that turns doodles into weird monsters. The tool is called Chimera Painter and uses machine learning to generate imagery based on users’ rough sketches. The team behind Chimera Painter explained their methods and motivations in a blog post, saying the idea was to create a paintbrush that acted less like a tool and more like an assistant. Chimera Painter is just a prototype, but if software like this becomes common it could reduce the amount of time necessary to create high-quality art, claim the team.,


„We want to promote and build a European research network from Germany so that we have the expertise in Europe to develop AI ourselves and apply it.“
The AI expert for Germany’s Green party, Anna Christmann, on the future of AI in Europe.


AI startup Augustus Intelligence must make job cuts: The New York AI startup Augustus Intelligence has to lay off almost half of its workforce due to financial difficulties. Although the company is said to have raised a total of 34.5 million dollars from investors, it was unable to come up with a strategy or a product. In Germany, the startup is best known for its involvement in the “Amthor Affair”. Politician Philipp Amthor was accused of lobbying for the company and benefiting from it personally.

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