All Automation and AI stories

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

Building a true AI assistant starts with processing language

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Natural Language Processing is one of AI's hottest fields, yielding both practical products in the marketplace and bleeding-edge research.

The big picture: A virtual assistant that you can truly converse with — which depends on highly accurate speech and text recognition — is still beyond the horizon, but the field is making real progress.

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

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Mar 2, 2021 - Technology

China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more, commission warns

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few years' lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 27, 2021 - 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.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 27, 2021 - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

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.