Automation and AI

The big picture

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

But without changes to tax regulations and training, human workers will lose ground over time

Oct 31, 2020 - Technology
The next wave of job automation will be virtual

Virtual agents could augment human workers in online services at a time of mass unemployment

May 2, 2020 - Technology
Automation is 2020's least understood issue

It deserves more attention than it's getting in the 2020 presidential race.

Dec 8, 2019 - Economy & Business
AI is coming for white-collar workers

New research shows that no one is immune.

Nov 20, 2019 - Technology
Looking to AI to understand how we learn

Two parallel quests to understand learning — in machines and in our own heads — are converging.

Aug 8, 2019 - Technology
Deep Dive: How the robot revolution is changing our lives

We're entering a new, robot-fueled tech boom .

Jun 2, 2018 - Economy & Business

All Automation and AI stories

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 20, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 14, 2021 - Technology

An "emergency alert system" for PPE 3D printing

A 3D printer used for manufacturing personal protective equipment. Photo: International Engineering & Technologies, Inc.

A 3D-printer platform is sending out machines to hundreds of manufacturers in Michigan as part of an effort to create a network that can print out personal protective equipment on demand.

Why it matters: Networked 3D printers can serve as a rapidly scalable backup system for PPE — and showcase the potential of a new method of manufacturing.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 5, 2021 - Technology

A new AI model draws images from text

An image generated by OpenAI's DALL-E model, from the prompt "an illustration of a baby daikon radish in a tutu walking a dog." Credit: OpenAI

The machine learning company OpenAI is developing models that improve computer vision and can produce original images from a text prompt.

Why it matters: The new models are the latest steps in ongoing efforts to create machine learning systems that exhibit elements of general intelligence, while performing tasks that are actually useful in the real world — without breaking the bank on computing power.

Facial recognition tech under spotlight after 3rd false arrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Law enforcement's use of facial recognition faces a new wave of scrutiny because of a wrongful arrest lawsuit by Nijeer Parks, a 33-year-old Black man in New Jersey.

Why it matters: While advocates of the tech say it's a valuable tool in solving crime, facial recognition programs repeatedly show they are less accurate on people of color.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 27, 2020 - Technology

The coming tech-driven productivity leap

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic hit the global economy hard in 2020, but the economy may be close to consolidating years of technological advances — and ready to take off in a burst of productivity growth.

Why it matters: Productivity is the engine that makes the economy grow for everyone. If long-gestating technologies like AI and automation really are ready to fulfill their potential, we'll have the chance to escape the great stagnation that has choked our economy and poisoned our politics.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 24, 2020 - Technology

Introducing an AI that can plan

DeepMind's MuZero can master games without being told the rules. Credit: DeepMind

An AI company published research Wednesday that details a machine-learning agent that can figure out how to play and win multiple games with no prior instruction.

Why it matters: The new research shows that an AI can learn by observation, much as humans do, which will have real-world ramifications that go well beyond the chessboard.

Dec 23, 2020 - Technology

Nuro gets green light for self-driving delivery service in California

Nuro now has permission to launch a commercial service using its self-driving vehicles. Photo: Nuro

Self-driving tech company Nuro says it will begin charging customers for robot delivery services early next year after obtaining a critical permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Why it matters: While many companies are allowed to test autonomous vehicles in California, Nuro is the first company to receive a permit to commercially deploy them on public streets.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 19, 2020 - Technology

Workers need help to maximize new machine colleagues

Illustration of a robotic hand reaching out for a person's hand. Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new report adds more evidence to the case that AI can augment human workers, not merely replace them.

Why it matters: We may still be decades or more away from the development of AI that can do everything humans can do, but as the technology continues to advance, workers will need help to get the most out of their new machine colleagues.

Dec 18, 2020 - Technology

How team Biden could tackle tech's civil rights failings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration should evaluate new technologies like artificial intelligence and facial recognition through "a civil rights lens," argues a new paper shared exclusively with Axios. One of its authors is a volunteer on the Biden-Harris transition team.

The big picture: The paper from The Day One Project, a group of mostly former government staffers, advocates Biden establish a task force within the White House Office of Science Technology Policy to push federal agencies to share information about issues like facial recognition and targeted advertising.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 12, 2020 - Technology

Helping industrial robots learn to see

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A startup is bringing improved vision to industrial robots.

Why it matters: As important as the manual abilities of robots are, they need the ability to properly see their environments before they can take a bigger role in industrial workplaces.

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