Automation and AI

The big picture

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Automation isn't destroying warehouse work, but it is shaping it in challenging ways.

20 hours ago - Technology
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

All Automation and AI stories

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
16 hours ago - Economy & Business

E-commerce sales rose to more than $211 billion in Q2 of 2020

Retail Indicators Branch, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

As e-commerce sales spiked during the pandemic, backroom warehouse labor rose to meet the demand.

Why it matters: With more Americans employed in the warehouse sector, the quality of those jobs — and the effect automation will have on them — will be increasingly important.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 19, 2021 - Technology

Google fires another AI ethics leader

Photo: VCG / Getty Images

Margaret Mitchell, the co-lead of Google's Ethical AI team, says that the company has fired her following an investigation into her use of corporate email.

Why it matters: Google was already under fire for its ouster of Timnit Gebru, the other co-lead of the team. Mitchell has been locked out of the corporate email since last month after what a source says was her effort to search corporate correspondence for evidence to back up Gebru's claim of discrimination and harassment.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Feb 19, 2021 - Technology

Google tweaks diversity, research policies following inquiry

Jeff Dean. Photo: Google

Google told employees Friday it has wrapped up its investigation into the ouster of prominent AI researcher Timnit Gebru. The company declined to say what the internal inquiry found, but said it is making some changes to how it handles issues around research, diversity and employee exits.

Why it matters: The treatment of Gebru, both before and after she was forced out of the company, has outraged people within Google's Ethical AI team and others inside and outside of the company. Google's handling of the matter has also raised questions about the company's commitment to diversity and to employing ethicists who are free to question the company's actions.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 13, 2021 - Technology

Looking back at Watson's 2011 "Jeopardy!" win

Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of IBM's Watson AI system crushing its human competition on "Jeopardy!"

Why it matters: Watson's victory marked one of the first times Americans could witness an AI system using natural language processing. But, 10 years later, the field still has far to go.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 6, 2021 - Health

How AI could identify prescription mistakes before they happen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A startup has developed a way to use AI to detect when doctors may be prescribing the wrong drug — or overprescribing opioids.

Why it matters: A system that could identify prescription mistakes before they happen could help save the thousands of Americans who die each year because of preventable medication errors, and it could contribute to controlling the opioid epidemic.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 3, 2021 - Technology

Scientists are working with AI to measure chronic pain

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Scientists are working on a way to use AI to create quantitative measurements for chronic pain.

Why it matters: Chronic pain is an epidemic in the U.S., but doctors can't measure discomfort as they can other vital signs. Building methods that can objectively measure pain can help ensure that the millions in need of palliative care aren't left to suffer.

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.

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