Oct 12, 2019

Artificial intelligence helps track sharks in the ocean

A computer vision system identifies a great white shark. Video courtesy Salesforce.

Turn AI cameras on your employees and you can measure their productivity. Fly them over the Pacific Ocean and you've got yourself an automated shark-warning system.

What's happening: UC Santa Barbara, with the help of a few AI experts from Salesforce, is using drones to monitor sharks near California beaches in real time.

  • UCSB pilots fly the drones over coastal waters, and the downward-facing cameras feed into software that can recognize sharks in the water.
  • The system — trained, of course, on a large number of aerial shark photos — can differentiate species, and even between sharks of the same type, so that it doesn't double-count Jaws.
  • The shark census is accessible by app, so lifeguards and surf instructors know what's in the water on any given day.

Go deeper: Read more from Salesforce

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Where the drone jobs will land

Data: ZipRecruiter; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A predicted wave of new jobs in the drone industry may spread beyond the usual tech hotbeds, attached not just to research universities in wealthy areas but to delivery and logistics hubs, construction sites and big industrial installations.

Why it matters: It's not yet clear how much new work drones will create, but where new jobs are — and who will be equipped to do them — will help determine who will benefit from the Drone Age.

Go deeperArrowNov 9, 2019

The water crisis cities don't see coming

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes.

Why it matters: There's arguably nothing more important to human survival than access to clean drinking water.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Training real AI with fake data

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

AI systems have an endless appetite for data. For an autonomous car's camera to identify pedestrians every time — not just nearly every time — its software needs to have studied countless examples of people standing, walking and running near roads.

Yes, but: Gathering and labeling those images is expensive and time consuming, and in some cases impossible. (Imagine staging a huge car crash.) So companies are teaching AI systems with fake photos and videos, sometimes also generated by AI, that stand in for the real thing.

Go deeperArrowOct 12, 2019