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New report outlines SA’s biggest challenges to AI adoption

Take yourself back to February 2020. Life was relatively normal, kids were at school, we physically went into work, and everyone was more certain of the paths they were on. A year later, people of all ages are now a lot more tech savvy, having been forced to work-from-home, do online schooling or have online gatherings, just to keep in touch with loved ones. We have had to embrace the change, and step out of our comfort zones, learning how to use technology to navigate everyday life. While it’s true that South Africa is still behind in digitization, it’s catching up fast thanks to COVID-19, catalyzed by boardrooms across the country focusing on digitization like never before.

One such focus is the efficiency driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML). SafriCloud surveyed SA’s leading IT decision makers to assess the sentiment and adoption outlook for these technologies amongst business and IT professionals. The results have been published in an eye-opening report entitled, ‘AI: SA – The state of AI in South African businesses 2021’.

‘Keen to start but facing a few challenges’ was the pervasive theme across the survey respondents, but with the global Machine Learning market projected to grow from $7.3 billion in 2020 to $30.6 billion by 2024*, why do we still see resistance to adoption?

Nearly 60% of respondents said that their business supports them in their desire to implement AI/ML and yet only 25% believed that it is understood well at an executive level. While ‘fear of the unknown’ ranked in the top three adoption challenges both locally and internationally (Gartner, 2020), only 9.34% of respondents cited ‘lack of support from C-suite’ as a challenge.

There is a clear degree of pessimism to the level of skills and knowledge to be found in the South African market. This pessimism is more exaggerated at a senior management level where more than 60% rated ‘low internal skill levels’ as the top challenge facing AI/ML adoption. With nearly 60% of the respondents rating the need to implement AI/ML in the next two years as ‘important’ to ‘very important’ and only 35% of businesses saying they currently have internal resources focused on AI/ML, the skills gap will continue to grow.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning represent a new frontier in business. Like previous generations that faced new frontiers – such as personal computing and the industrial revolution – we can’t predict what these changes might lead to. All we can really say is that business will be different, jobs will be different and how we think will be different. Those open to being different will be the ones that succeed.

Get free and instant access to the full report, to discover whether your business is leading the way or falling behind: https://www.safricloud.com/ai-sa-the-state-of-ai-in-south-african-businesses/

Report highlights include:

  • The areas of AI/ML that are focused on the most.
  • The state of the AI job market and how to hire.
  • Practical steps to train and pilot AI/ML projects.
Categories
Artificial Intelligence

Email Threat Report

Despite organizations adopting ‘secure’ email gateways and extensive employee training, 94% of cyber-attacks still start in the inbox. It’s clear a more advanced approach to email security is needed. 

Able to spot the subtlest signals of attack, Darktrace Antigena Email recognizes malicious activity even in ‘clean emails’ – preventing threats from reaching the inbox.  

Read the 2020 Email Security Threat Report now to discover what today’s threat landscape looks like and how Darktrace AI autonomously neutralizes all email-borne threats, from malware in fake invoices to C-level impersonation attacks. 

Download now

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Categories
Artificial Intelligence

Ethiopian Airlines

Improves service delivery
and monetizes website window shoppers

Unrivaled in Africa for efficiency and operational success, Ethiopian Airlines serves 127 international and 22 domestic destinations. Like many airlines, the company is always looking to lower costs and improve margins. Growing direct sales by capturing every potential booking from callers and website visitors is vital to meeting those goals.

However, the airline’s contact center struggled with incompatible systems and information islands. Calls were routed to agents without taking into account language skills or competencies. That raised abandon rates, transfers and hand offs. Teams worked in silos using email and chat. There was no CRM system or workforce management; data resided on a central booking system or was buried elsewhere. The company lacked a full overview of the customer journey and real-time insight into conversations and preferences.

The first step in the transformation was to replace an externally hosted contact center solution with a strong omnichannel platform that the company could manage internally and use to drive improvements and business growth. Live after two months, the Genesys Cloud™ contact center allows up to 500 agents to work more productively in a blended fashion, effortlessly switching between calls, email and chat conversations — all managed from a single omnichannel desktop.

Introducing Genesys Workforce Management further improved the customer experience. As a result, Ethiopian Airlines has seen service levels soar from 70% to 95%, with higher first-call resolution and sizeable reductions in abandoned calls (from 20% to 3%). Call-answer times have dropped from 20 to 8 seconds.

With two weeks of implementing Genesys Predictive Engagement, the airline not only gained insights about website journeys, it also leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to uncover behaviors and interests of visitors. This allowed the company to offer tailored deals through webchat. Ethiopian Airlines also can engage customers through the website with attractive travel packages that were created as a result of tracking real-time statistics and data.

Benefits

  • 25% increase in service levels
  • 60% faster call response
  • 17% fewer abandoned calls
  • 49% increase in website sales conversions
  • 72% reduction in website dwell time
  • Effective pandemic response without adding headcount
  • Future roadmap for mobile and AI integration

“Genesys Predictive Engagement is enabling us to capture significantly more window shoppers on our website. Conversion rates rose by 14% in the first two weeks and by 49% at the six-week stage. And, we’ve only really scratched the surface of what the tool can do.”

Getinet Tadesse, CIO, Ethiopian Airlines

Download AI success stories ebook

https://www.genesys.com/resources/improve-customer-satisfaction-sales-and-workforce-engagement-with-genesys-blended-ai

Categories
Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for robust Cyber Security

Machine Learning Africa recently partnered with Darktrace to present a webinar on Leveraging AI & Machine Learning for robust Cybersecurity.

Topic: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in building robust Cyber security solutions.

The adoption of emerging technologies comes with increasing cybersecurity risks. AI and ML can be used to detect and analyze cyber-security threats effectively at an early stage.

Warren Mayer, Alliances Director for Africa at Darktrace, provided invaluable insight on the importance of self-learning and self-defending networks in mitigating cyber security risks.

WATCH THE WEBINAR ON DEMAND

Categories
Machine Learning

How is Coding Used in Data Science & Analytics

What is Data Science?

In recent years the phrase “data science” has become a buzzword in the tech industry. The demand for data scientists has surged since the late 1990s, presenting new job opportunities and research areas for computer scientists. Before we delve into the computer science aspect of data science, it’s useful to know exactly what data science is and to explore the skills required to become a successful data scientist.

Data science is a field of study that involves the processing of large sets of data with statistical methods to extract trends, patterns, or other relevant information. In short, data science encapsulates anything related to obtaining insights, trends, or any other valuable information from data. The foundations of these tasks originate from the fields of statistics, programming, and visualization. In short, a successful data scientist has in-depth knowledge in these four pillars:

  1. Math and Statistics: From modeling to experimental design, encountering something math-related is inevitable, as data almost always requires quantitative analysis.
  2. Programming and Database: Knowing how to navigate program data hierarchies, or big data, and query certain datasets alongside knowing how to code algorithms and develop models is invaluable to a data scientist (more on this below).
  3. Domain Knowledge and Soft Skills: A successful and effective data scientist is knowledgeable about the company or firm at which they are working and proactive at strategizing and/or creating innovative solutions to data issues.
  4. Communication and Visualization: To make their work viable for all audiences, data scientists must be able to weave a coherent and impactful story through visuals and facts to convey the importance of their work. This is usually completed with certain programming languages or data visualization software, such as Tableau or Excel.

Does Data Science Require Coding?

Short answer: yes. As described in points 2 and 4, coding plays a significant role in data science, making appearances in almost every step of the process. Though, how is coding utilized in every step of solving a data science problem? Below, you’ll find the different stages of a typical data science experiment and a detailed account of how coding is integrated within the process. It’s important to remember that this process is not always linear; data scientists tend to ping-pong back and forth between different steps depending on the nature of the problem at hand.

Preplanning and Experimental Design

Before coding anything, it’s necessary for data scientists to understand the problem that is being solved and the desired objective. This step also requires data scientists to figure out which tools, software, and data be used throughout the process. Although coding is not involved in this phase, it can’t be skipped, as it allows a data scientist to keep his or her focus on their objective and not let white noise or unrelated data or results to distract.

Obtaining Data

The world has a massive amount of data that is growing constantly. In fact, Forbes reports that humans create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. From such vast amounts of data arise vast amounts of data quality issues. These issues can be anything, ranging from duplicate or missing datasets and values, inconsistent data, misentered data, or even outdated data. Obtaining relevant and comprehensive datasets is tedious and difficult. Oftentimes, data scientists use multiple datasets, pulling the data they need from each one. This step requires coding with querying languages, such as SQL and NoSQL.

Cleaning Data

After all the necessary data is compiled in one location, the data needs to be cleaned. For example, data which is inconsistently labeled “doctor” or “Dr.” can cause problems when it is analyzed. Labeling errors, minor spelling mistakes, and other minutiae can cause major problems along the road. Data scientists can use languages like Python and R to clean data. They can also use applications, such as OpenRefine or Trifecta Wrangler, which are specifically made to clean data and transform it into different formats.

Analyzing Data

Once a dataset is clean and uniformly formatted, it is ready to be analyzed. Data analytics is a broad term with definitions that differ from application to application. When it comes to data analysis, Python is ubiquitous in the data science community. R and MATLAB are popular as well, as they were created to be used in data analysis. Though these languages have a steeper learning curve than Python, they are useful for an aspiring data scientist, as they are so widely used. Beyond these languages, there are a plethora of tools available online to help expedite and streamline data analysis.

Visualizing Data

Visualizing the results of data analysis helps data scientists convey the importance of their work as well as their findings. This can be done done using graphs, charts, and other easy-to-read visuals, which can allow broader audiences to understand a data scientist’s work. Python is a commonly used language for this step; packages such as seaborn and prettyplotlib can help data scientists make visuals. Other software, such as Tableau and Excel, are also readily available and are widely used to create graphics.

Programming Languages used in Data Science

Python is a household name in data science. It can be used to obtain, clean, analyze, and visualize data, and is often considered the programming language that serves as the foundation of data science. In fact, 40% of data scientists who responded to an O’Reilly survey claimed they used Python as their main coding language. The language has contributors that have created libraries solely dedicated to data science operations and extensions into artificial intelligence/machine learning, making it an ideal choice.

Common packages, such as numpy and pandas, can compute complex calculations with matrices of data, making it easier for data scientists to focus on solutions instead of mathematical formulas and algorithms. Even though these packages (along with others, such as sklearn) already take care of the mathematical formulas and calculations, it’s still important to have a solid understanding of said concepts in order to implement the correct procedure through code. Beyond these foundational packages, Python also has many specialized packages that can help with specific tasks.

R and MATLAB are also popular tools used in data science. They are often used for data analysis and can allow for hypothesis testing to validate statistical models. Though these languages have different setups and syntaxes than Python, the basic logic of the former two languages is based off of the latter, further affirming that Python is a keystone language in data science.

Other popular programming languages, such as Java, can be useful for the aspiring data scientist to learn as well. Java is used in a vast number of workplaces, and plenty of tools in the big data realm are written in Java. For example, TensorFlow is a software library that is available for Java. The list of coding languages that are relevant or being used directly in the field of data science goes on and on, just as the benefits of learning a new computing language are endless.

Case Study: Python, MATLAB, and R

  • At ForecastWatch, Python was used to write a parser to harvest forecasts from other websites.
  • Financial industries leveraged time-series data in MATLAB to backtest statistical models that are used to engineer fund portfolios.
  • In 2014, Facebook transitioned to using mostly Python for data analysis since it was already used widely throughout the firm.
  • R is widely used in healthcare industries, ranging from drug discovery, pre-clinical trial testing, and drug safety data analysis.
  • Sports analysts use R to analyze time-series sports data on certain players in predicting future performances.

Database and Querying

Beyond data analysis, it is imperative to be knowledgeable in querying languages. When obtaining data, data scientists oftentimes navigate multiple databases within different data hierarchies. Languages, such as SQL and its successors, as well as firm-specific cloud navigation systems are key in expediting the data wrangling process. Beyond this, querying languages can also compute basic formulas and operations based on the programmer’s preference.

Case Study: Querying in Data Science

  • The U.S. Congress Database is an open source database that can be queried using pSQL, and can answer questions about the demographics of our legislative branch.
  • When companies acquire smaller firms or startups, they often run into the issue of navigating multiple databases. To ease the process, SQL is a popular language used to navigate data.

Data Science is Growing

In almost every step of the data science process, programming is used to achieve different goals. As the field intensifies and becomes more complex, data scientists will rely more and more heavily on coding to ensure that they can successfully solve more complex problems. For these reasons, it is integral that aspiring data scientists learn to utilize coding to ensure that they are prepared for any role. Because of the rapid amounts of innovation, the field is constantly expanding and data scientist positions are constantly opening at companies of all sizes and fields. In short, data science and its future are nothing short of exciting!

This article originally appeared on junilearning.com

Categories
Machine Learning

Python vs. Java: Uses, Performance, Learning

In the world of computer science, there are many programming languages, and no single language is superior to another. In other words, each language is best suited to solve certain problems, and in fact there is often no one best language to choose for a given programming project. For this reason, it is important for students who wish to develop software or to solve interesting problems through code to have strong computer science fundamentals that will apply across any programming language.

Programming languages tend to share certain characteristics in how they function, for example in the way they deal with memory usage or how heavily they use objects. Students will start seeing these patterns as they are exposed to more languages. This article will focus primarily on Python versus Java, which are two of the most widely used programming languages in the world. While it is hard to measure exactly the rate at which each programming language is growing, these are two of the most popular programming languages used in industry today.

One major difference between Python and Java is that Python is dynamically typed, while Java is statically typed. Loosely, this means that Java is much more strict about how variables are defined and used in code. As a result, Java tends to be more verbose in its syntax, which is one of the reasons we recommend learning Python before Java for beginners. For example, here is how you would create a variable named numbers that holds the numbers 0 through 9 in Python:

numbers = []

for i in range(10):

numbers.append(i)

Here’s how you would do the same thing in Java:

ArrayList numbers = new ArrayList();

for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {

numbers.add(i);

}

Another major difference is that Java generally runs programs more quickly than Python, as it is a compiled language. This means that before a program is actually run, the compiler translates the Java code into machine-level code. By contrast, Python is an interpreted language, meaning there is no compile step.

Usage and Practicality

Historically, Java has been the more popular language in part due to its lengthy legacy. However, Python is rapidly gaining ground. According to Github’s State of the Octoberst Report, it has recently surpassed Java as the most widely used programming language. As per the 2018 developer survey, Python is now the fastest-growing computer programing language.

Both Python and Java have large communities of developers to answer questions on websites like Stack Overflow. As you can see from Stack Overflow trends, Python surpassed Java in terms the percentage of questions asked about it on Stack Overflow in 2017. At the time of writing, about 13% of the questions on Stack Overflow are tagged with Python, while about 8% are tagged with Java!

Web Development

Python and Java can both be used for backend web development. Typically developers will use the Django and Flask frameworks for Python and Spring for Java. Python is known for its code readability, meaning Python code is clean, readable, and concise. Python also has a large, comprehensive set of modules, packages, and libraries that exist beyond its standard library, developed by the community of Python enthusiasts. Java has a similar ecosystem, although perhaps to a lesser extent.

Mobile App Development

In terms of mobile app development, Java dominates the field, as it is the primary langauge used for building Android apps and games. Thanks to the aforementioned tailored libraries, developers have the option to write Android apps by leveraging robust frameworks and development tools built specifically for the operating system. Currently, Python is not used commonly for mobile development, although there are tools like Kivy and BeeWare that allow you to write code once and deploy apps across Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android.

Machine Learning and Big Data

Conversely, in the world of machine learning and data science, Python is the most popular language. Python is often used for big data, scientific computing, and artificial intelligence (A.I.) projects. The vast majority of data scientists and machine learning programmers opt for Python over Java while working on projects that involve sentiment analysis. At the same time, it is important to note that many machine learning programmers may choose to use Java while they work on projects related to network security, cyber attack prevention, and fraud detection.

Where to Start

When it comes to learning the foundations of programming, many studies have concluded that it is easier to learn Python over Java, due to Python’s simple and intuitive syntax, as seen in the earlier example. Java programs often have more boilerplate code – sections of code that have to be included in many places with little or no alteration – than Python. That being said, there are some notable advantages to Java, in particular its speed as a compiled language. Learning both Python and Java will give students exposure to two languages that lay their foundation on similar computer science concepts, yet differ in educational ways.

Overall, it is clear that both Python and Java are powerful programming languages in practice, and it would be advisable for any aspiring software developer to learn both languages proficiently. Programmers should compare Python and Java based on the specific needs of each software development project, as opposed to simply learning the one language that they prefer. In short, neither language is superior to another, and programmers should aim to have both in their coding experience.

PythonJava
Runtime PerformanceWinner
Ease of LearningWinner
Practical AgilityTieTie
Mobile App DevelopmentWinner
Big DataWinner

This article originally appeared on junilearning.com

Categories
Artificial Intelligence

5 Key Challenges In Today’s Era of Big Data

Digital transformation will create trillions of dollars of value. While estimates vary, the World Economic Forum in 2016 estimated an increase in $100 trillion in global business and social value by 2030. Due to AI, PwC has estimated an increase of $15.7 trillion and McKinsey has estimated an increase of $13 trillion in annual global GDP by 2030. We are currently in the middle of an AI renaissance, driven by big data and breakthroughs in machine learning and deep learning. These breakthroughs offer opportunities and challenges to companies depending on the speed at which they adapt to these changes.

Modern enterprises face 5 key challenges in today’s era of big data

1. Handling a multiplicity of enterprise source systems

The average Fortune 500 enterprise has a few hundred enterprise IT systems, all with their different data formats, mismatched references across data sources, and duplication

2. Incorporating and contextualising high frequency data

The challenge gets significantly harder with increase in sensoring, resulting inflows of real time data. For example, readings of the gas exhaust temperature for an offshore low-pressure compressor are only of limited value in of itself. But combined with ambient temperature, wind speed, compressor pump speed, history of previous maintenance actions, and maintenance logs, this real-time data can create a valuable alarm system for offshore rig operators.

3. Working with data lakes

Today, storing large amounts of disparate data by putting it all in one infrastructure location does not reduce data complexity any more than letting data sit in siloed enterprise systems. 

4. Ensuring data consistency, referential integrity, and continuous downstream use

A fourth big data challenge is representing all existing data as a unified image, keeping this image updated in real-time and updating all downstream analytics that use these data. Data arrival rates vary by system, data formats from source systems change, and data arrive out of order due to networking delays.

5. Enabling new tools and skills for new needs

Enterprise IT and analytics teams need to provide tools that enable employees with different levels of data science proficiency to work with large data sets and perform predictive analytics using a unified data image.

Let’s look at what’s involved in developing and deploying AI applications at scale

Data assembly and preparation

The first step is to identify the required and relevant data sets and assemble them. There are often issues with data duplication, gaps in data, unavailable data and data out of sequence.

Feature engineering

This involves going through the data and crafting individual signals that the data scientists and domain experts think will be relevant to the problem being solved. In the case of AI-based predictive maintenance, signals could include the count of specific fault alarms over the trailing 7 days,14 days and 21 days, the sum of the specific alarms over the same trailing periods; and the maximum value of certain sensor signals over those trailing periods. 

Labelling the outcomes

This step involves labeling the outcomes the model tries to predict. For example, in AI-based predictive maintenance applications, source data sets rarely identify actual failure labels, and practitioners have to infer failure points based on a  combination of factors such as fault codes and technician work orders.

Setting up the training data

For classification tasks, data scientists need to ensure that labels are appropriately balanced with positive and negative examples to provide the classifier algorithm enough balanced data. Data scientists also need to ensure the classifier is not biased with artificial patterns in the data.

Choosing and training the algorithm

Numerous algorithm libraries are available to data scientists today, created by companies, universities, research organizations, government agencies and individual contributors.

Deploying the algorithm into production

Machine learning algorithms, once deployed, need to receive new data, generate outputs, and have some actions or decisions be made based on those outputs. This may mean embedding the algorithm within an enterprise application used by humans to make decisions – for example, a predictive maintenance application that identifies and prioritizes equipment requiring maintenance to provide guidance for maintenance crews. This is where the real value is created – by reducing equipment downtime and servicing costs through more accurate failure prediction that enables proactive maintenance before the equipment actually fails. In order for the machine learning algorithms to operate in production, the underlying compute infrastructure needs to be set up and managed. 

Close-loop continuous improvement

Algorithms typically require frequent retraining by data science teams. As market conditions change, business objects and processes evolve, and new data sources are identified. Organizations need to rapidly develop, retrain, and deploy new models as circumstances change.

Therefore, problems that have to be addressed to solve AI computing problems are nontrivial. Massively parallel elastic computing and storage capacity are prerequisites. In addition to the cloud, there is a multiplicity of data services necessary to develop, provision, and operate applications of this nature. However, the price of missing a transformational strategic shift is steep. The corporate graveyard is littered with once-great companies that failed to change.

This article originally appeared on Makeen Technologies.

Categories
Machine Learning

Predicting people’s driving personalities

Self-driving cars are coming. But for all their fancy sensors and intricate data-crunching abilities, even the most cutting-edge cars lack something that (almost) every 16-year-old with a learner’s permit has: social awareness.

While autonomous technologies have improved substantially, they still ultimately view the drivers around them as obstacles made up of ones and zeros, rather than human beings with specific intentions, motivations, and personalities.

But recently a team led by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has been exploring whether self-driving cars can be programmed to classify the social personalities of other drivers, so that they can better predict what different cars will do — and, therefore, be able to drive more safely among them.

In a new paper, the scientists integrated tools from social psychology to classify driving behavior with respect to how selfish or selfless a particular driver is.

Specifically, they used something called social value orientation (SVO), which represents the degree to which someone is selfish (“egoistic”) versus altruistic or cooperative (“prosocial”). The system then estimates drivers’ SVOs to create real-time driving trajectories for self-driving cars.

Testing their algorithm on the tasks of merging lanes and making unprotected left turns, the team showed that they could better predict the behavior of other cars by a factor of 25 percent. For example, in the left-turn simulations their car knew to wait when the approaching car had a more egoistic driver, and to then make the turn when the other car was more prosocial.

While not yet robust enough to be implemented on real roads, the system could have some intriguing use cases, and not just for the cars that drive themselves. Say you’re a human driving along and a car suddenly enters your blind spot — the system could give you a warning in the rear-view mirror that the car has an aggressive driver, allowing you to adjust accordingly. It could also allow self-driving cars to actually learn to exhibit more human-like behavior that will be easier for human drivers to understand.

“Working with and around humans means figuring out their intentions to better understand their behavior,” says graduate student Wilko Schwarting, who was lead author on the new paper that will be published this week in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “People’s tendencies to be collaborative or competitive often spills over into how they behave as drivers. In this paper, we sought to understand if this was something we could actually quantify.”

Schwarting’s co-authors include MIT professors Sertac Karaman and Daniela Rus, as well as research scientist Alyssa Pierson and former CSAIL postdoc Javier Alonso-Mora.

A central issue with today’s self-driving cars is that they’re programmed to assume that all humans act the same way. This means that, among other things, they’re quite conservative in their decision-making at four-way stops and other intersections.

While this caution reduces the chance of fatal accidents, it also creates bottlenecks that can be frustrating for other drivers, not to mention hard for them to understand. (This may be why the majority of traffic incidents have involved getting rear-ended by impatient drivers.)

“Creating more human-like behavior in autonomous vehicles (AVs) is fundamental for the safety of passengers and surrounding vehicles, since behaving in a predictable manner enables humans to understand and appropriately respond to the AV’s actions,” says Schwarting.

To try to expand the car’s social awareness, the CSAIL team combined methods from social psychology with game theory, a theoretical framework for conceiving social situations among competing players.

The team modeled road scenarios where each driver tried to maximize their own utility and analyzed their “best responses” given the decisions of all other agents. Based on that small snippet of motion from other cars, the team’s algorithm could then predict the surrounding cars’ behavior as cooperative, altruistic, or egoistic — grouping the first two as “prosocial.” People’s scores for these qualities rest on a continuum with respect to how much a person demonstrates care for themselves versus care for others.

In the merging and left-turn scenarios, the two outcome options were to either let somebody merge into your lane (“prosocial”) or not (“egoistic”). The team’s results showed that, not surprisingly, merging cars are deemed more competitive than non-merging cars.

The system was trained to try to better understand when it’s appropriate to exhibit different behaviors. For example, even the most deferential of human drivers knows that certain types of actions — like making a lane change in heavy traffic — require a moment of being more assertive and decisive.

For the next phase of the research, the team plans to work to apply their model to pedestrians, bicycles, and other agents in driving environments. In addition, they will be investigating other robotic systems acting among humans, such as household robots, and integrating SVO into their prediction and decision-making algorithms. Pierson says that the ability to estimate SVO distributions directly from observed motion, instead of in laboratory conditions, will be important for fields far beyond autonomous driving.

“By modeling driving personalities and incorporating the models mathematically using the SVO in the decision-making module of a robot car, this work opens the door to safer and more seamless road-sharing between human-driven and robot-driven cars,” says Rus.

The research was supported by the Toyota Research Institute for the MIT team. The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research provided support for the specific participation of Mora.

Categories
Machine Learning

ML Africa successfully hosted the inaugural AI & The Future of Healthcare Summit

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the most trending and dominating technologies of our times. These are shaping the future and impacting on our daily lives. For businesses and government, adoption and agile adoption of these technologies is imperative.


Machine learning Africa celebrates its successful hosting of the inaugural AI & The Future of Healthcare Summit at Hilton Sandton on the 30th of October 2019. It was a wonderful event where technology enthusiasts were sharing insights into the development of AI driven healthcare solutions that improve patient outcomes.

The discussions focused on the future of healthcare, patient engagement, the public and private sector collaboration, digital health strategy, AI in Radiology, precision medicine, the future of robots in healthcare, diagnostic technologies and upskilling healthcare workforce.

Key note speakers included: Prof. Nelishia Pillay, Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pretoria, Johan Steyn, AI Enthusiast, Portfolio Lead: DevOps & Software at IQBusiness South Africa, Joel Ugborogho, Founder of CenHealth, Dr. Jonathan Louw, MB.ChB, MBA, CEO of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), Basia Nasiorowska, CEO at NEOVRAR, Josh Lasker, Co-Founder, Abby Health Stations, Dr. Jaishree Naidoo, Paediatric Radiologist and CEO of Envisionit Deep AI, Prof. Antonie van Rensburg, PrEng, Chief Digital Officer IoTDot4, Dr. Darlington Mapiye (PhD) Technical Lead for the data driven healthcare team at IBM Research Africa, Dr. Boitumelo Semete, Executive Cluster Manager, CSIR, and  Yusuf Mahomedy, Chief Executive of the Association Executive Network of Southern Africa (AENSA)

The event was made possible through partnership with Envisionit Deep AI, a medical technology company that utilizes artificial intelligence to streamline and improve medical imaging diagnosis for radiologists. Their AI model RADIFY will augment and improve the radiology reading and thereby relieve the bottlenecks we face in medical imaging. Other event partners present were Evolutio, SANBS, IQBusiness, IoTDot4 and ICITP.

 If you would like to increase your proficiency further in emerging technologies and deploy the most effective strategies within your organization, the Digital Health workshop would be another exciting and relevant event to consider. Entitled ‘Accelerating Digital Health Services’, the workshop is brought in partnership with Cenhealth, on the 5th of December 2019. In preparation for the upcoming changes in the healthcare industry, it is imperative for all healthcare institutions not be left behind in their digital transformation journey.

Categories
Machine Learning

Novartis and Microsoft Team Up to Advance Medicine with AI

Novartis(SWX: NOVN), a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, is launching an AI innovation lab to enable its associates to use AI across the business.

The company selected Microsoft Corp. as its strategic AI and data-science partner. The new lab aims to bolster Novartis AI capabilities from research through commercialization and accelerate the discovery and development of transformative medicines for patients worldwide.

As part of the strategic collaboration, Novartis and Microsoft have committed to a multi-year research and development effort. The lab will bring AI to Novartis associates. By bringing together vast amounts of Novartis datasets with Microsoft’s advanced AI solutions, it will create new AI models and applications that can augment associates’ capabilities to take on the next wave of challenges in medicine.
The lab will use AI to tackle hard computational challenges within the life sciences, starting with generative chemistry, image segmentation & analysis for smart and personalized delivery of therapies, and optimization of cell and gene therapies at scale.

Microsoft and Novartis will also collaborate to develop and apply next-generation AI platforms and processes that support future programs across these two focus areas. The overall investment will include project funding, subject-matter experts, technology, and tools.

Joint research activities will include co-working environments on Novartis Campus (Switzerland), at Novartis Global Service Center in Dublin, and at Microsoft Research Lab (UK) – starting with tackling personalized therapies for macular degeneration; cell & gene therapy; and drug design Basel, and Redmond.