Four Weekly Tech Newsletter – July 11

A round up of the latest tech stories, curated for you weekly, by Four.

Lead articles from July 11

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How did the UK media get the threat of Covid so wrong?

A cultural and sociological bias may have prevented some media, including BBC news online, from adequately exploring the West’s preparedness for Covid-19. Now that we face the uncertainty of further waves of Covid, what lessons can be learnt?

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AI designs quantum physics beyond what any human has conceived

Quantum physicist Mario Krenn remembers sitting in a café in Vienna in early 2016, poring over computer printouts, trying to make sense of what MELVIN had found. MELVIN was a machine-learning algorithm Krenn had built…

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China's business eco-systems are helping it win the global AI race

China’s “Sputnik Moment” is what Kai-Fu Lee, author of the famous book AI Superpowers, likes to call it. Five years ago, when AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence–based program developed by DeepMind, a startup that Google acquired in 2014, defeated two of the world’s best human exponents of the board game Go, it came as an eye-opener to China and its A.I. community.

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AI voice actors sound more human than ever

A new wave of startups are using deep learning to build synthetic voice actors for digital assistants, video-game characters, and corporate videos. The company blog post drips with the enthusiasm of a ’90s US infomercial. WellSaid Labs describes what clients can expect from its “eight new digital voice actors!” Tobin is “energetic and insightful.” Paige is “poised and expressive.” Ava is “polished, self-assured, and professional.”

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Artificial Intelligence used on Army operation for the first time

The British Army has used AI for the first time during Exercise Spring Storm, as part of Operation Cabrit in Estonia. Soldiers from the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade used an AI engine which provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain. Through significant automation and smart analytics, the engine is able to rapidly cut through masses of complex data.

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Face tracking ad tablets in the back of Ubers?

Last week, Alfi, a self-described “AI enterprise SaaS platform company powering computer vision with ML models”, announced a deal to give Uber and Lyft drivers 10,000 digital tablets equipped with cameras that will display ads, catalogue information about riders, and track their reactions to content.  As part of a larger program, Alfi is offering ride-hail drivers a free tablet that it claims will use computer vision to “recognize the demographics of the rider”…