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Category Archives: Ai
Posted: November 9, 2019 at 8:42 am
Artificial intelligence is a highly complex technology that, once implemented, requires ongoing oversight to make sure it is doing what is expected of it and ensure it is operating at optimal levels.
Healthcare provider organizations using AI technologies also need to make sure theyre getting the biggest bang for their buck. In other words, they need to optimize the AI so that the technologies are meeting the specific needs of their organizations.
We spoke with six artificial intelligence experts, each with extensive experience in healthcare deployments, who offered comprehensive advice on how CIOs and other health IT workers can optimize their AI systems and approaches to best work for their provider organizations.
Optimizing AI depends on the understanding of what AI is capable of and applying it to the right problem, said Joe Petro, chief technology officer at Nuance Communications, a vendor of AI technology for medical image interpretations.
There is a lot of hype out there, and, unfortunately, the claims are somewhat ridiculous, he said. To optimize AI, we all need to understand: the problem we are trying to solve; how AI can solve the problem; can an existing capability be augmented with AI; and, when AI is not helpful.
Joe Petro, Nuance Communications
For example, is traceability important? AI has a well-known black box limitation every fact or piece of evidence that contributed to a decision or conclusion made by the neural net is not always known.
It is sometimes impossible to trace back through the bread crumb trail leading to the conclusion made by the neural net, Petro explained. Therefore, if traceability is a requirement of the solution, you may need to retreat to a more traditional computational methodology, which is not always a bad thing.
Also, is the problem well-behaved and well-conditioned for AI? For example, he said, are there clear patterns in the solution to the problem that repeat, do not vary widely, and are essentially deterministic.
For example, if you give the problem to a series of experts, will they all arrive at the same answer, he posed. If humans are given the same inputs and disagree on the answer, then AI may not be able to make sense of the data, and the neural nets may deliver results that do not agree with the opinions of certain experts. Rest assured that AI will find a pattern the question is whether or not the pattern is repeatable and consistent.
So in todays world of AI, the problems being solved by AI, especially in healthcare, are deliberately narrowly defined, thereby increasing the accuracy and applicability of AI, Petro explained. Choosing the right problem to solve and narrowing the scope of that problem is key in delivering a great outcome, he advised.
Furthermore, training data needs to be readily available at the volume necessary to create dependable AI models that produce consistently verified results, he added. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no data available in the form that is required to train the neural nets. For example, in some cases, AI requires marked-up and annotated data. This kind of markup is sometimes not available.
When a radiologist reads an image, they may or may not indicate exactly where in the image the diagnosis was made. No data markup makes training sometimes impossible. When a CDI specialist or care coordinator reads through an entire case, they most likely will not indicate every piece of evidence that prompted a query back to a physician.
Again, no data markup makes training sometimes impossible, Petro stated. Therefore, someone needs to go back over the data and potentially add the markup and annotations to train the initial models. Markup is not always necessary, but we need to realize that the data we need is not always available and may need to be expensively curated. The fact is that data is essentially the new software. Without the right data, AI cannot produce the wanted results.
Ken Kleinberg, practice lead, innovative technologies, at consulting firm Point-of-Care Partners, cautioned that AI is being promoted as being able to solve just about any problem that involves a decision.
Many applications that were formerly addressed with proven rules-based or statistical approaches now are routinely being identified as AI targets, he explained. Given the many extra considerations for AI involving model selection, training, validation, the expertise required, etc., this may be overkill. In addition to ROI concerns, using AI may expose organizations to problems unique or common to AI that simpler or alternative approaches are less susceptible to.
Ken Kleinberg, Point-of-Care Partners
Even basic machine learning approaches that may do little more than try out a bunch of different statistical models require some degree of expertise to use, he added.
Considerations of which applications to pick for AI include how many possible variables are in play, known complexities and dependencies, data variability, historical knowledge, availability of content experts, transparency of decision requirements, liability concerns, and how often the system might need to be retrained and tested, Kleinberg advised.
Experience of the model builders and sophistication and investment with an AI platform also should be considered, but AI should not be an expensive hammer looking for a simple nail.
For example, it may be that only a handful of known variables are key to decision making to decide whether an intervention with a patient suffering from a specific condition is needed if the patient has these specific triggers, they are going to be brought in.
Why attempt to train a system on what is already known? he said. Sure, if the goal is to discover unknown nuances or dependencies, or deal with rare conditions, AI could be used with a broader set of variables. For most organizations, they will be safer to go with basic rules-based models where every aspect of the decision can be reviewed and modified as new knowledge is accumulated especially if there are a manageable number of rules, up to a few hundred. That could be a better initial step than going directly to an AI model.
In order to get the most out of an AI investment and optimize the technology for a specific healthcare provider organization, bring in members from across the organization not just the IT team or clinical leadership, said Sanjeev Kumar, vice president of artificial intelligence and data engineering at HMS (Healthcare Management Systems).
Its important to invest time to understand in detailed nuance the full workflow from patient scheduling to check-in to clinical workflow to discharge and billing, he said.
Sanjeev Kumar, HMS
Each member of the team will be able to communicate how AI technology will impact the patient experience from their perspective and how these new, rich insights will impact the everyday office workflow, Kumar said. Without this insight at the beginning of the implementation, you risk investing a significant amount of money in technology that is not used by the staff, that negatively impacts the patient experience or, worst of all, gives inappropriate insights.
Collectively, incorporating staff early on may cause additional investment in manpower, but will result in an output that can be used effectively throughout the organization, he added.
On another technology optimization front, healthcare provider organizations have to be very careful with their data.
Data is precious, and healthcare data is at the outer extreme of sensitive information, said Petro of Nuance Communications. In the process of optimizing AI technology, we need to make sure the AI vendor is a trusted partner that acts as a caretaker of the PHI. We have all heard the horror stories in the press about the misuse of data. This is unacceptable.
Partnering with AI vendors that are legitimate custodians of the data and only use the data within the limitations and constraints of the contract and HIPAA guidelines is a table stakes-governing dynamic, he added.
Make sure to ask the hard questions, he advised. Ask about the use of the data, what is the PHI data flow, how does it move, where does it come to rest, who has access to it, what is it used for, and how long does the vendor keep it. Healthcare AI companies need to be experts in the area of data usage and the limitations around data usage. If a vendor wobbles in these areas, move on.
Another very important consideration for providers optimizing AI technology is the amount of variability in the processes and data they are working with, said Michael Neff, vice president of professional services at Recondo Technology.
For example, clinical AI models created for a population of patients with similar ethnic backgrounds and a small range of ages is most likely simpler than the same model created for an ethnically diverse population, he explained. In the latter population, there will probably be a lot more edge cases, which will either require more training data or will need to be excluded from the model.
Michael Neff, Recondo Technology
If the decision is made to exclude those cases, or if a model is built from a more cohesive data set, it will be very important to limit the use of the AI model to the cases where its predictions are valid, he continued.
The same argument, he said, holds for business variability: A model trained with data sent from a specific payer may not be valid for other payers that a provider works with.
When using AI approaches and especially natural language processing it is key to provide an audit trail to justify recommendations and findings, advised Dr. Elizabeth Marshall, associate director of clinical analytics at Linguamatics IQVIA.
Any insights or features taken from clinical notes and used in AI algorithms need to be easily traced to the exact place in the document they came from, she cautioned. This enables clinical staff to validate the findings and build confidence in AI.
Dr. Elizabeth Marshall, Linguamatics IQVIA
For example, when ensuring a hospital is receiving the right repayment for chronic condition comorbidities such as hepatitis (chronic viral B and C) and HIV/AIDS. It is not only important to capture the data but also to ensure one is able to link the data back to the patients EHR encounter where the information was obtained, she said.
Further, its critical to consider how any insights will be made actionable and incorporated into clinical workflow; having a series of AI algorithms with no way to actually improve patient care is not impactful, Marshall said. For example, clinicians may want to improve the identification of patients who might be missed in a busy emergency department. Time is of the essence, and manually re- reviewing every radiology report, to look for missed opportunities of follow-up, wastes precious time.
Instead, they could use natural language processing to review unstructured sections for critical findings within the reports such as identifying patients with incidental pulmonary nodules, she advised.
When high-risk patients are identified, its critical to have a process in place for appropriate follow-up, she said. To actually improve care, the results need to be flagged in a risk register for follow-up by care coordinators after the patients are no longer in immediate danger.
On the AI spectrum, full replication of human thought is sometimes referred to as strong or full AI. This does not exist yet, certainly not in medicine.
In healthcare, we primarily are focused on narrow or weak AI, which could be described as the use of software or algorithms to complete specific problem-solving or reasoning tasks, at various levels of complexity, said Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, president and CEO of Pieces Technologies. These include specific focal tasks like reading a chest X-ray, interpreting the stage of a skin wound, reading a doctors note and understanding the concerns.
Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, Pieces Technologies
One optimization best practice is to understand how the proposed AI technology is being inserted into the workflow, whether the insertion truly decreases friction in the workflow from the perspective of the stakeholder (provider, patient and family) and effectively measuring and evaluating that value-add immediately after go-live, he said.
If the AI is not reducing stress and complexity of the workflow, it is either not working, not optimized or not worth it, he added.
AI models built by third parties may well serve the local needs of an organization at least as a starting point, but that could be a risk and be an opportunity for optimization, said Kleinberg of Point-of-Care Partners.
As the number of prebuilt models proliferate for example, sepsis, length-of-stay prediction, no-shows it becomes more important to understand the quality of the training and test sets used and attempt to recognize what assumptions and biases the prebuilt model may contain, he said. There has been a ton of recent research on how easily AI particularly deep learning models can be fooled, for example, not paying enough attention to whats in the background of an image. Are the models validated by any independent parties?
Consider an application that recommends the most appropriate type of medical therapy management program for a patient with a goal of increasing medication adherence, Kleinberg advised. To what degree might the test set have been chosen for individuals affected by certain environmental factors (warm versus cold climate), fitness levels, ethnic/economic background, number of medications taken, etc., and how does that compare to the local population to be analyzed, he added.
Retraining and testing the model with a more tuned-to-local demographic data set will be a key practice to achieve more optimized results, he advised.
Amarasingham of Pieces Technologies offered another AI optimization best practice: Health systems should set up governance systems for their AI technology.
I am excited to see the development of AI committees at health systems similar to the development of evidence-based medicine, data governance or clinical order set committees in the recent past, he said. These groups should be involved with evaluating the performance of their AI systems in the healthcare workplace and not rely solely on vendors to oversee their products or services.
They also could be tasked with developing the AI roadmap for their institution over time and as new AI technologies emerge, he added. These committees could be a mix of clinicians, administrators, informaticists and information system team members, he suggested.
Implementing any artificial intelligence technology can require a little more investment than originally anticipated, but if a healthcare organization starts small and plans properly, it will see true returns on that capital and manpower, advised Kumar of HMS.
All healthcare organizations provider, payer and employer will attest that AI has the ability to help transform healthcare operations, he stated. However, AI by itself is not a silver bullet to revolutionizing the system it requires people, process and technology planning, workflow transformation, and time to make sure that it is successful.
This means that to correctly optimize the technology, one needs to go slowly and make sure that one considers all factors that will impact the output from the data going in to how the insights are reported back to providers for action, he said.
In order to ensure that you get the most out of your investment, he concluded, know that you will need to invest more and take longer to see the results.
Twitter:@SiwickiHealthITEmail the writer:email@example.comHealthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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Farmers are using AI to spot pests and catch diseases and many believe its the future of agriculture – INSIDER
Posted: at 8:42 am
In Leones, Argentina,a drone with a special camera flies low over 150 acres of wheat. It's able to check each stalk, one-by-one, spottingthe beginnings of a fungal infection that could potentially threaten this year's crop.
The flying robot is powered by computer vision: a kind of artificial intelligence being developed by start-ups around the world, and deployed by farmers looking for solutions that will help them grow food on an increasingly unpredictable planet.
Many food producers are struggling to manage threats to their crop like disease and pests, made worse by climate change, monocropping, and widespread pesticide use.
Catching things early is key.
Taranis, a company that works with farms on four continents, flies high-definition cameras above fields to provides "the eyes."
Machine learning a kind of artificial intelligence that's trained on huge data sets and then learns on its own is the "brains."
"I think that today, to increase yields in our lots, it's essential to have a technology that allows us to take decisions immediately," said Ernesto Agero, the producer on San Francisco Farm in Argentina.
The algorithm teaches itself to flag something as small as an individual insect, long before humans would usually identify the problem.
Similar technology is at work in Norway's fisheries, where stereoscopic cameras are a new weapon in the battle against sea lice, a pest that plagues farmers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Norwegian government is considering making this technology, developed by a start-up called Aquabyte, a standard tool for farms across the country.
Farmers annotated images to create the initial data set. Over time, the algorithm has continued to sharpen its skills with the goal of finding every individual louse.
But deploying computer vision is expensive, and for many it's still out of reach.
Bigger industrial farms tried using computer vision to identify and remove sick pigs at the outset of an African swine fever epidemic that is sweeping China, according The New York Times.
But half of China's farms are small-scale operations like this one, where that wasn't an option.
Chinese pig farmer Fan Chengyou lost everything.
"When the fever came, 398 pigs were buried alive," Chengyou said. "I really don't want to raise pigs anymore."
China the world's biggest pork producing country is expected to lose half its herd this year.
For many farmers in the world's major growing regions, 2019 was devastating.
Record flooding all along the Mississippi River Valley the breadbasket of the United States meant that many farmers couldn't plant anything at all this season.
And while computer vision can't stop extreme weather, it isat the heart of a growing trend that may eventually offer an alternative, sheltered from the elements.
Root AI enlists computer vision to teach its robots to pick fruit. Root AI
"Indoor growing powered by artificial intelligence is the future," said Josh Lessing, co-founder and CEO of Root AI, a research company that develops robots to assist in-door farmers.
Computer vision has taught a fruit-picking robot named Virgo to figure out which tomatoes are ripe, and how to pick them gently, so that a hot house can harvest just the tomatoes that are ready, and let the rest keep growing.
The Boston-based start-up is installing them at a handful commercial greenhouses in Canada starting in 2020.
80 Acres Farms, another pioneer in indoor growing, opened what it says is the world's first fully-automated indoor growing facility just last year.
The company, based in Cincinnati, currently has seven facilities in the United States, and plans to expand internationally over the next six months. Artificial intelligence monitors every step of the growing process.
"We can tell when a leaf is developing and if there are any nutrient deficiencies, necrosis, whatever might be happening to the leaf," said 80 Acres Farms, CEO, Mike Zelkind. "We can identify pest issues, we can identify a whole variety of things with vision systems today that we can also process."
Because the lettuce and vine crops are grown under colored LED lights, technicians can even manage photosynthesis
Thanks to the benefits of indoor-farming practices, Zelkind says 80 Acres Farms' crops grow faster and have the potential to be more nutrient-dense.
Humans need more than salad to survive, though. Experts say indoor farms will need to expand to a more diverse range to provide a comprehensive option for growing food, but the advances being made in this space are significant.
AI-powered indoor agriculture is attracting a whole new breed of farmer.
New techie farmers are ambitious, but they are also realistic about what it takes to make AI work.
Ryan Pierce comes from a cloud computing background, but decided to jump into indoor growing, despite little to no experience in agriculture. Now, Pierce works for Fresh Impact Farms, an indoor farm in Arlington, VA.
"It's really sexy to talk about AI and machine learning, but a lot of people don't realize is the sheer amount of data points that you actually need for it to be worthwhile," Pierce said.
There is a ways to go before artificial intelligence can truly solve the issues facing agriculture today and in the future.
Many AI projects are still in beta, and some have proven too good to be true.
Still, the appetite is high for finding solutions at the intersection of data, dirt and the robots that are learning to help us grow food.
AI for agriculture is valued at $600 million, and expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2025.
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Posted: at 8:42 am
The research lab OpenAI has released the full version of a text-generating AI system that experts warned could be used for malicious purposes.
The institute originally announced the system, GPT-2, in February this year, but withheld the full version of the program out of fear it would be used to spread fake news, spam, and disinformation. Since then its released smaller, less complex versions of GPT-2 and studied their reception. Others also replicated the work. In a blog post this week, OpenAI now says its seen no strong evidence of misuse and has released the model in full.
GPT-2 is part of a new breed of text-generation systems that have impressed experts with their ability to generate coherent text from minimal prompts. The system was trained on eight million text documents scraped from the web and responds to text snippets supplied by users. Feed it a fake headline, for example, and it will write a news story; give it the first line of a poem and itll supply a whole verse.
Its tricky to convey exactly how good GPT-2s output is, but the model frequently produces eerily cogent writing that can often give the appearance of intelligence (though thats not to say what GPT-2 is doing involves anything wed recognize as cognition). Play around with the system long enough, though, and its limitations become clear. It particularly suffers with the challenge of long-term coherence; for example, using the names and attributes of characters consistently in a story, or sticking to a single subject in a news article.
The best way to get a feel for GPT-2s abilities is to try it out yourself. You can access a web version at TalkToTransformer.com and enter your own prompts. (A transformer is a component of machine learning architecture used to create GPT-2 and its fellows.)
Apart from the raw capabilities of GPT-2, the models release is notable as part of an ongoing debate about the responsibility of AI researchers to mitigate harm caused by their work. Experts have pointed out that easy access to cutting-edge AI tools can enable malicious actors; a dynamic weve seen with the use of deepfakes to generate revenge porn, for example. OpenAI limited the release of its model because of this concern.
However, not everyone applauded the labs approach. Many experts criticized the decision, saying it limited the amount of research others could do to mitigate the models harms, and that it created unnecessary hype about the dangers of artificial intelligence.
The words too dangerous were casually thrown out here without a lot of thought or experimentation, researcher Delip Rao told The Verge back in February. I dont think [OpenAI] spent enough time proving it was actually dangerous.
In its announcement of the full model this week, OpenAI noted that GPT-2 could be misused, citing third-party research stating the system could help generate synthetic propaganda for extreme ideological positions. But it also admitted that its fears that the system would be used to pump out a high-volume of coherent spam, overwhelming online information systems like social media, have not yet come to pass.
The lab also noted that its own researchers had created automatic systems that could spot GPT-2s output with ~95% accuracy, but that this figure was not high enough for standalone detection and means any system used to automatically spot fake text would need to be paired with human judges. This, though, is not particularly unusual for such moderation tasks, which often rely on humans in the loop to spot fake images and videos.
OpenAI says it will continue to watch how GPT-2 is used by the community and public, and will further develop its policies on the responsible publication of AI research.
Posted: at 8:42 am
Water can flow, or it can crash. Water is formless, shapeless. It becomes the form of whatever container you put it in. This famous idea from actor and philosopher Bruce Lee is a part of the mission behind H2O.ai (H2O). At H2O World New York on October 22nd, H2O.ai celebrated its vision to make every company an AI company with its growing community of makers and builders.
H2O.ai has developed enterprise AI and machine learning platforms to give companies the ability to easily access and leverage data throughout their organizations. Its open source platform, H2O, allows the entire open source ecosystem to contribute to the development of AI, and contributed to the development of newer platforms such as H2O Driverless AI, an automated machine learning tool that takes some of the most difficult workflows and achieve the highest predictive accuracy by making them easier to interpret, and H2O Q, its newest platform, which helps business users and aspiring AI companies make AI apps.
While many companies attempt to embrace AI, they often lack the resources, especially when recruiting top data scientists from tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, whose compensation packages can exceed $1M.
Aakriti Srikanth, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and Co-founder at Ahura AI
I see a lot of potential in H2O.ai to accelerate machine learning and to improve the workforce, said Aakriti Srikanth, Co-founder at Ahura AI and a Forbes 30 Under 30.
There is a huge talent shortage for data scientists in many companies, said Sri Ambati, CEO and Founder in his opening keynote. H2O.ai solves this problem by giving teams easier, simpler and cheaper AI platforms that implement machine learning algorithms."
H2O World New York featured sessions from many of the H2O.ai employees (or makers), as well as representatives from some of the top companies in financials services, insurance, and more, including Goldman Sachs, Nationwide Insurance, Disney, and Discover Financial Services, among others, all of whom have adopted the companys technology, including open source H2O and Driverless AI, to further their AI journey.
A core requirement of any company focused on AI is putting together a strong team.
Wieyan Zhao, Director of Data Science at Nationwide Insurance said, What matters is the skills that you have, and are you good at, for the things we want you to do...we have people coming from more than ten countries, speaking more than fifteen types of languages; the diversity gives you perspective when you come into the room and try to solve the problem.
During his H2O World session, A Decade of Data Science: The Nationwide Journey, Zhao explained how Nationwides core modeling team has a 10-to-1 ratio of data scientists to operations, with a diverse background and skill gives that helps them bring unique perspectives during peer and model reviews for each project.
Part of building a strong team, comes from having technology that lends itself to collaboration and brings technical expertise where an organization may be lacking it internally. To that end, H2O.ai boasts of attracting a large cohort of Kaggle Grandmasters, the data science equivalent of a Chess Grandmaster, to lead the way in building algorithms and new capabilities that data scientists can use in their day to day work. H2O.ai currently employs 13 Kaggle Grandmasters, roughly about 10 percent of those that exist globally. This gives H2O.ai customers the expertise necessary in the platform.
One of the things were doing in addition to building Driverless AI itself is building a platform that allows data scientists and engineers to collaborate and to store and share models and then deploy them, said Tom Kraljevic, VP of Engineering at H2O.ai.
"H2O.ai just makes modeling so much faster. Not only to produce data products, but we also created a platform for our customers, said ADP Principal Data Scientist, Xiaojing Wang.
The H2O.ai team onstage at H2O World New York
Customer love was a constant theme throughout H2O World, and Ambati compared the AI ecosystem to a team sport. At H2O.ai, this means uniting internal team members and external partners with a shared mission that challenges the status quo and creates a strong community that will build incredible things with AI. In fact, H2O.ai takes customer love very seriously, turning two of their largest customers, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo into investors in their recent funding rounds. When customers become investors, that is the true test of advocacy, said Ambati.
Goldman Sachs Managing Director, Charles Elkan, gave a keynote at H2O World where he spoke about The Promise and the Perils of deploying machine learning in the realm of finance. He gave the example of a healthcare company that was able to utilize machine learning to analyze patient responses and follow up with a database of clarifying questions, allowing a physician to review these answers and apply his or her experience and understanding on a deeper level, greatly increasing the physicians productivity.
"In order to be able to create something awesome like a great data science team, we need to be able to take those chances organizationally with people so as to produce those great outcomes we have been looking for, said Krish Swamy, Senior VP of Data and Enterprise Analytics at Wells Fargo.
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Posted: at 8:42 am
Its easy to throw in a buzz word like AI these days to get some attention. But thats not my only intention with this piece. My aim is to offer some valuable insights into how AI can make a real difference in the world of radio access networks (RANs), looking at the way it works as well as the multiple benefits it brings.
Let me elaborate
From a technology perspective, AI in the RAN is about letting the hardware adjust its decision-making capability and allowing it to learn from patterns. Learning can improve the baseband functionality, which otherwise acts based on hard-coded settings. Of course, the pattern observations and execution of AI and machine learning (ML) require a certain amount of computing capacity. They also depend on software algorithms for decision making, as well as one or several data sources to use for pattern analysis.
While device types vary to some extent, 70 percent of all those used today are smartphones*. Their ability to differentiate depends on the relative level of their capabilities. Smartphones range from feature phones that support voice and text only, to full-on high-end 5G-capable devices.
Within the high-end smartphone segment, traffic behavior patterns for data services mostly shift between bursty and continuous. But on the networks side, the necessary capacity should always be available, regardless of what kind of app you are using at any given moment whether its chat, video streaming or gaming, for instance.
Smartphones perform measurements all the time, without most users being aware of it. These measurements are necessary to manage the radio link and the mobility, and to control how much output power each device needs to use. The network collects the measurement data in order to decide on the best connection for the device. Smartphones also carry key information about their network capabilities, which they conveniently report to the network. For instance, not all smartphones have 5G, but for those that do, the node can prepare a tailored network connection for each particular user.
Neighbor cells also report to each other on the status of capabilities, connected users and current load. This information can also be taken into consideration.
Ultimately, the scale of the benefits that AI can provide is determined by the hardware in place and the location of the boards. The hardware components of a mobile network today have to meet huge requirements in terms of managing the mobility of thousands of users in each cell. Not only that: they must also make sure that no connections are dropped and that the service is responding at all times.
Of course, routing and more central functions are rather executed from the core network components. So the node base stations do not have to carry full responsibility for the effectiveness of the entire network on their shoulders. But real-time mobility functions are located at the edge of the network, on the node.
Todays node often houses GSM, WCDMA, LTE and NR on a single site not always on one baseband, but such installations are soon to become commonplace as well.
Applying ML to software functionalities boosts the strength of the network significantly, since many network functions can benefit from the same algorithms. But the advantage of this comes at a cost, with some computing power being seized by the AI technology.
An Ericsson baseband will however run ML in parallel with regular node traffic without reducing the capacity of the baseband. Thats because our AI engineers have optimized the algorithms so that they can analyze huge amounts of data in real time, enabling instant traffic prediction. All this is facilitated by Ericssons many-core architecture, which is the software platform design of choice that all RAN Compute products are based on.
The reality is, service providers expect full-steam performance from their legacy products, even when new network capabilities are added and Ericsson is aware of this. Service providers also like to minimize opex and they incur significant operational costs when site visits need to be carried out. Ericsson is aware of this as well, which is why our ML features are integrated with our software releases, which can be applied on a remote basis without the need for any site visits at all.
We have reaped the benefits of AI in many areas of our lives from movie offerings being handed to us on a plate, to the voice and face recognition apps in our smartphones to the optical scanning features of our credit cards. You can look at your phone with your eyes wide open and unlock it, you can register your credit card details using the camera in your device In all such cases, AI simplifies the use of our devices, automating the steps that would otherwise have to be carried out in a repetitive, manual fashion. Imagine the hassle!
On the mobile network side, the use of AI is similar but not quite the same. While the initial use cases have been about automation, they are also about improving network coverage and the user experience by anticipating the needs of devices.
One practical example of this is that the measurements that smartphones carry out which were mentioned previously can be reduced significantly. By shortlisting the top neighbor cells at every node, the device will get an equally shortened to-do list of frequencies to listen to. This means that instead of numerous background measurements being performed by the device, battery power is conserved to do other fun stuff with.
For the service provider, one main benefit of implementing AI will be the reduction in opex, as fewer node configurations need to be added manually. But even more importantly, their spectrum assets can be used more efficiency, and spectrum is a valuable resource that they tend to have to pay for dearly.
All in all, AI for radio access networks is a sound investment. Ericssons software will improve coverage and spectrum use, and boost throughput. Then service providers can sit back, relax and let the machines do the work.
Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2019
Learn more about Ericssons AI-powered radio access networks
Join the webinar on December 3 at 15.00 CET
Learn more about artificial intelligence in the October 31 episode of the Voice of 5Gpodcast
Posted: at 8:42 am
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate HireVue, an AI tool that helps companies figure out which workers to hire.
Whats HireVue? HireVue is one of a growing number of artificial intelligence tools that companies use to assess job applicants. The algorithm analyzes video interviews, using everything from word choice to facial movements to figure out an employability score that is compared against that of other applicants. More than 100 companies have already used it on over a million applicants, according to the Washington Post.
Whats the problem? Its hard to predict which workers will be successful from things like facial expressions. Worse, critics worry that the algorithm is trained on limited data and so will be more likely to mark traditional applicants (white, male) as more employable. As a result, applicants who deviate from the traditionalincluding people dont speak English as a native language or who are disabledare likely to get lower scores, experts say. Plus, it encourages applicants to game the system by interviewing in a way that they know HireVue will like.
Whats next? AI hiring tools are not well regulated, and addressing the problem will be hard for a few reasons.
Most companies wont release their data or explain how the algorithms work, so its very difficult to prove any bias. Thats part of the reason there have been no major lawsuits so far. The EPIC complaint, which suggests that HireVues promise violates the FTCs rules against unfair and deceptive practices, is a start. But its not clear if anything will happen. The FTC has received the complaint but has not said whether it will pursue it.
Other attempts to prevent bias are well-meaning but limited. Earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers passed a law that requires employers to at least tell job seekers that theyll be using these algorithms, and to get their consent. But thats not very useful. Many people are likely to consent simply because they dont want to lose the opportunity.
Finally, just like AI in health or AI in the courtroom, artificial intelligence in hiring will re-create societys biases, which is a complicated problem. Regulators will need to figure out how much responsibility companies should be expected to shoulder in avoiding the mistakes of a prejudiced society.
Posted: at 8:42 am
Artificial intelligence has become a crucial part of our technological infrastructure and the brain underlying many consumer devices. In less than a decade, machine learning algorithms based on deep neural networks evolved from recognizing cats in videos to enabling your smartphone to perform real-time translation between 27 different languages. This progress has sparked the use of AI in drug discovery and development.
Artificial intelligence can improve efficiency and outcomes in drug development across therapeutic areas. For example, companies are developing AI technologies that hold the promise of preventing serious adverse events in clinical trials by identifying high-risk individuals before they enroll. Clinical trials could be made more efficient by using artificial intelligence to incorporate other data sources, such as historical control arms or real-world data. AI technologies could also be used to magnify therapeutic responses by identifying biomarkers that enable precise targeting of patient subpopulations in complex indications.
Innovation in each of these areas would provide substantial benefits to those who volunteer to take part in trials, not to mention downstream benefits to the ultimate users of new medicines.
Misapplication of these technologies, however, can have unintended harmful consequences. To see how a good idea can turn bad, just look at whats happened with social media since the rise of algorithms. Misinformation spreads faster than the truth, and our leaders are scrambling to protect our political systems.
Could artificial intelligence and machine learning similarly disrupt our ability to identify safe and effective therapies?
Even well-intentioned researchers can develop machine learning algorithms that exacerbate bias. For example, many datasets used in medicine are derived from mostly white, North American and European populations. If a researcher applies machine learning to one of these datasets and discovers a biomarker to predict response to a therapy, there is no guarantee the biomarker will work well, if at all, in a more diverse population. If such a biomarker was used to define the approved indication for a drug, that drug could end up having very different effects in different racial groups simply because it is filtered through the biased lens of a poorly constructed algorithm.
Concerns about bias and generalizability apply to most data-driven decisions, including those obtained using more traditional statistical methods. But the machine learning algorithms that enable innovations in drug development are more complex than traditional statistical models. They need larger datasets, more sophisticated software, and more powerful computers. All of that makes it more difficult, and more important, to thoroughly evaluate the performance of machine learning algorithms.
Companies operating at the intersection of drug development and technology need standards to ensure that artificial intelligence tools function as intended.
The FDA has already issued several proposals around the regulation of AI products, and it now has an opportunity to build on these efforts. The Center for Devices and Radiological Health has reviewed and cleared a number of devices that use AI. The center has also released a proposed framework, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Software as a Medical Device. These proposals, though, dont necessarily apply to AI-based tools used as part of the drug development process. As a result, biopharmaceutical and technology companies arent sure how these tools fit into current regulatory frameworks.
Im the founder and CEO of a company that uses artificial intelligence to streamline clinical trials and make them more efficient. You might expect me to counsel the FDA to back off on creating hurdles for companies that want to apply artificial intelligence to drug development. Not so. In a presentation to the FDA on Thursday, Ill argue that the agency should play an important role in ensuring that AI-based drug development tools meet appropriate standards.
The FDA has an opportunity to ease regulatory uncertainty by proposing a framework that guides how sponsors can use AI tools within drug development programs. By engaging with industry to develop a workable regulatory framework, the FDA can balance the opportunity for artificial intelligence to provide significant public health benefits with its mission to protect public health by ensuring that these new technologies are reliable. At the same time, the FDA could create a pathway for formal qualification of AI-based drug-development tools to ensure that these tools are sufficiently vetted.
In addition, it could encourage the exploratory use of AI-based technologies in drug development that would allow sponsors and regulators to better understand their advantages and disadvantages through use of new regulatory pathways, such as the Complex Innovative Trial Designs Pilot Program.
These concrete actions would open the door to innovative approaches to clinical trials that will make drug development more efficient and so help deliver new treatments to patients who need them as quickly as possible.
Charles K. Fisher, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Unlearn.AI, Inc.
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Posted: at 8:42 am
Americas national security depends on the government getting access to the artificial intelligence breakthroughs made by the technology industry.
So says a report submitted to Congress on Monday by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The group, which includes executives from Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon, says the Pentagon and intelligence agencies need a better relationship with Silicon Valley to stay ahead of China.
AI adoption for national security is imperative, said Eric Schmidt, chair of the commission and formerly CEO of Google, at a news briefing Monday. The private sector and government officials need to build a shared sense of responsibility.
Mondays report says the US leads the world in both military might and AI technology. It predicts that AI can enhance US national security in numerous ways, for example by making cybersecurity systems, aerial surveillance, and submarine warfare less constrained by human labor and reaction times.
But the commission also unspools a litany of reasons that US dominance on the world stage and in AI may not last, noting that China is projected to overtake the US in R&D spending within 10 years, while US federal research spending as a percentage of GDP has returned to pre-Sputnik levels and should be increased significantly.
Robert Work, vice chair of the commission and previously deputy secretary of defense under Obama and Trump, continued the Cold War comparisons in Mondays news briefing. We've never faced a high-tech authoritarian competitor before, he said. The Soviet Union could compete with us in niche capabilities like nuclear weapons and space, but in the broad sense they were a technological inferior.
Created by Congress in August 2018 to offer recommendations on how the US should use AI in national security and defense, the NSCAI has strong tech industry representation. In addition to Schmidt, the 15-member commission includes Safra Katz, CEO of Oracle, Andy Jassy, the head of Amazons cloud business, and top AI executives from Microsoft and Google. Other members are from NASA, academia, the US Army, and the CIA's tech investment fund.
Mondays report says staying ahead of China depends in part on the US government getting more access to AI advances taking place inside tech companieslike those several of the commissioners work for. The document describes the Pentagon as struggling to access the best AI technology on the commercial market.
The Department of Defense has in recent years set up a series of programs aimed at forging closer relationships with Silicon Valley companies large and small. Mondays report suggests that pressure to find new ways to deepen relations will continue to grow, says William Carter, deputy director of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The report clearly articulates that DOD continuing to do business the way it always has and expecting the world to go along with it is not going to work, he says.
The commission wont send its final recommendations to Congress until late next year, but Monday's interim report says the US government should invest more in AI research and training, curtail inappropriate Chinese access to US exports and university research, and mull the ethical implications of AI-enhanced national security apparatus.
So far, attempts to draw tech companies into more national security contracts have had mixed results.
Employee protests forced Google to promise not to renew its piece of a Pentagon program, Project Maven, created to show how tech companies could help military AI projects. Microsoft has also faced internal protests over contracts with the Army and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Yet Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his Amazon counterpart Jeff Bezos have issued full-throated statements in support of the idea of taking national security contracts. Last month, Microsoft won a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract motivated in part by a desire to improve the departments AI capabilities. Deals like that could become more common if the commission proves to be influential.
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Posted: at 8:42 am
The Terminator movie franchise is back, and the idea that robots and artificial intelligence are coming for us specifically, our jobs is a big part of the present. But the majority of the working population remains unafraid of a T-800 stealing their employment.
Only a little over one-quarter (27%) of all workers say they are worried that the job they have now will be eliminated within the next five years as a result of new technology, robots or artificial intelligence, according to the quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness survey.
Nevertheless, the survey results show it may be only a matter of time: Fears about automation and jobs run higher among the youngest workers.
The survey found that 37% of workers between the ages of 18 and 24 are worried about new technology eliminating their jobs. That's nearly 10% higher than any other demographic.
Dan Schawbel, research director of Future Workplace and author of "Back to Human," said one reason for the age-based fear gap is because technology, like AI, is becoming normalized.
"They are starting to see the value of [AI] and how it's impacting their personal and professional lives," Schawbel said. "We're using AI without even thinking about it. It's a part of our lives. If you are talking to Siri or Alexa, that's AI."
Laura Wronski, senior research scientist at SurveyMonkey, said, "As digital natives, [18- to 24-year-old workers] understand the potential of technology to have a positive impact. But with 30 or 40 years left in the workforce, they likely envision vast potential changes in the nature of work over the course of their lifetime."
The survey also revealed a link between income and fear, with 34% of workers making $50,000 or under afraid of losing their jobs due to technology; that goes down to 16% among workers making between $100,000 and $150,000, and 13% for workers making $150,000 or more.
In some industries where technology already has played a highly disruptive role, worker fears of automation also run higher than the average: Workers in automotives, business support and logistics, advertising and marketing, and retail are proportionately more worried about new technology replacing their jobs than those in other industries.
Forty-two percent of workers in the business support and logistics industry have above-average concerns about new technology eliminating their jobs. Schawbel said that fear stems from the fact that the industry is already seeing it happen. Self-driving trucks already are threatening the jobs of truck drivers, and it is causing massive panic in the profession, he said.
"There is a fear, with some research to back it up, that it's going to be hard to retrain and retool truck drivers to take on other jobs," Schawbel said. "You know with a truck driver you can just eliminate the truck driver, whereas with professionals doing finance or accounting, certain tasks that they do can be automated, but they have a little more flexibility to do other tasks that could be more valuable."
Elmer Guardado, a 22-year-old account coordinator at Buie & Co. Public Relations, fits two demographics that are more likely to worry about new technology replacing them: he is young, and he is in the advertising and marketing industry. But he remains convinced that human skills will set him apart from the automated competition.
"It's not something I'm actively worried about," Guardado said. "Because I know there are so many parts of my job that require a level of nuance that technology won't be able to replace anytime soon."
Guardado says that his communication skills are a valuable asset that he brings to the workplace that a computer can't compete with quite yet. But he also understands why his peers may be more afraid than other age groups.
"I think older generations maybe process this potential fear in a more abstract way," Guardado said. "Whereas 18- 24-year-olds see it firsthand, right? We actively dealt with it growing up and saw technology consistently skyrocket throughout our entire lifetime."
The survey found a fairly optimistic view on the future of AI, with nearly half of workers (48%) saying the quest to advance the field of artificial intelligence is "important." Only 23% called it "dangerous."
They remain more worried about their own kind: 60% of workers said that human intelligence is a greater threat to humanity than artificial intelligence. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said computer programs will always reflect the biases of the people who designed them.
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