Automation and AI

The big picture

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
Here's where jobs will be lost when robots drive trucks

The impact of self-driving trucks would be felt in communities around the country — especially Trump country.

Updated Jun 2, 2018 - Economy & Business

All Automation and AI stories

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Technology

Inequality grows in AI research

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new working paper finds that as high-level AI research began to require huge amounts of computing resources, large tech firms and elite universities increasingly dominated the field's most important conferences.

Why it matters: If only the most well-funded researchers are able to drive the direction of AI, the diversity of voices will narrow at the very moment when AI is poised to transform how we live and work.

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

A new AI aims to be a ghostwriter in the machine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new machine-learning-based writing companion called Wordtune aims to help users edit and improve written text as it's being composed.

Why it matters: Natural language processing is one of the most active areas in AI today. If tools like Wordtune work well, it would demonstrate AI is getting closer to really understanding what we're saying.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 21, 2020 - Technology

Why we confide in robots

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New forms of "empathetic computing" are helping human users feel more comfortable in opening up to a program.

Why it matters: Our mental health has taken a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, while social distancing means it's harder to meet in person with therapists. That has opened a space for emotionally attuned machines to help us.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Oct 20, 2020 - Technology

When robots are recruiters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One of the fastest-growing workplace applications of artificial intelligence is in hiring, but imperfect algorithms leave qualified women and candidates of color out — and can ultimately build weaker teams.

Why it matters: Algorithms are most often used to make the initial applicant screening process — the resume review — more efficient. But their role cannot be underestimated, as around 95% of all job applicants are rejected based on resumes.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 16, 2020 - Technology

Google taps AI for new search tricks

Courtesy: Google

Google on Thursday outlined a number of new features for its core search product, including the ability to search for that song stuck in your head by humming or whistling.

Why it matters: While humming may be a cute use case, it shows Google’s recognition that there are plenty of ways to search beyond typing terms into a box. The company has been investing heavily in voice search as well as AI capabilities to help people use their smartphone camera to look up plants or get help with translation.

Oct 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

Waymo's driverless taxis open to the public in Phoenix suburbs

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After two years of tightly controlled operation in Chandler, Ariz., Waymo is opening up its driverless taxi service to the public.

Why it matters: This is a big deal — a real driverless taxi service, with no one in the driver's seat — that is open to anyone who downloads the Waymo One app.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 6, 2020 - Science

Scientists spot new craters on Mars with AI

Scientists have used artificial intelligence to spot small, newly formed craters on Mars for the first time.

Why it matters: This use of AI could cut down on the time scientists spend combing through images of the Red Planet's surface taken by orbiters to find interesting features worthy of study.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 5, 2020 - Technology

Big companies widen lead in AI research

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The cripplingly high computational costs of top-notch AI research increasingly means that only a handful of big companies are able to do top-flight AI research.

Why it matters: AI will do more than any other technology to shape our future. If only the Googles and the Microsofts of the world have the resources needed to move the field forward, it will solidify their power — and possibly strangle innovation.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 3, 2020 - Technology

The growing inequality of doing AI research

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new report shows that cripplingly high computational costs mean just a handful of big companies are able to do top-flight AI research.

Why it matters: AI will do more than any other technology to shape our future. If only the Googles and the Microsofts of the world have the resources needed to move the field forward, it will solidify their power — and possibly strangle innovation.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 2, 2020 - Technology

Get ready for a flood of deepfakes, experts warn

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If social media platforms don't start dealing much more aggressively with altered audio and video, they risk seeing their platforms devolve into a sea of faked content, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: The platforms are already struggling to deal with manipulated media, and the technology to create "deepfakes," which are fabricated media generated by machine-learning-based software, is improving rapidly.

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