Salesforce’s Kathy Baxter is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS to talk AI

As the use of AI has grown and developed over the last several years, companies like Salesforce have tried to tap into it to improve their software and help customers operate faster and more efficiently. Kathy Baxter, principal architect for the ethical AI practice at Salesforce, will be joining us at TechCrunch Sessions: SaaS on […]

YouTube’s recommender AI still a horror show, finds major crowdsourced study

For years YouTube’s video-recommending algorithm has stood accused of fuelling a grab bag of societal ills by feeding users an AI-amplified diet of hate speech, political extremism and/or conspiracy junk/disinformation for the profiteering motive of trying to keep billions of eyeballs stuck to its ad inventory. And while YouTube’s tech giant parent Google has, sporadically, […]

Google’s Gradient Ventures leads $8.2M Series A for Vault Platform’s misconduct reporting SaaS

Fixing workplace misconduct reporting is a mission that’s snagged London-based Vault Platform backing from Google’s AI focused fund, Gradient Ventures, which is the lead investor in an $8.2 million Series A that’s being announced today. Other investors joining the round are Illuminate Financial, along with existing investors including Kindred Capital and Angular Ventures. Its $4.2 […]

Google Cloud launches Vertex AI, a new managed machine learning platform

At Google I/O today Google Cloud announced Vertex AI, a new managed machine learning platform that is meant to make it easier for developers to deploy and maintain their AI models. It’s a bit of an odd announcement at I/O, which tends to focus on mobile and web developers and doesn’t traditionally feature a lot […]

Google’s LaMDA makes conversations with AIs more conversational

As far as AI systems have come in their ability to recognize what you’re saying and respond, they’re still very easily confused unless you speak carefully and literally. Google has been working on a new language model called LaMDA that’s much better at following conversations in a natural way, rather than as a series of […]

Longevity startup Gero AI has a mobile API for quantifying health changes

Sensor data from smartphones and wearables can meaningfully predict an individual’s ‘biological age’ and resilience to stress, according to Gero AI. The ‘longevity’ startup — which condenses its mission to the pithy goal of “hacking complex diseases and aging with Gero AI” — has developed an AI model to predict morbidity risk using ‘digital biomarkers’ […]

NLPCloud.io helps devs add language processing smarts to their apps

While visual ‘no code‘ tools are helping businesses get more out of computing without the need for armies of in-house techies to configure software on behalf of other staff, access to the most powerful tech tools — at the ‘deep tech’ AI coal face — still requires some expert help (and/or costly in-house expertise). This […]

Google fires top AI ethics researcher Margaret Mitchell

Google has fired Margaret Mitchell, the founder and former co-lead of the company’s ethical AI team. Mitchell announced the news via a tweet. Google confirmed Mitchell’s firing in a statement to TechCrunch; Google said: After conducting a review of this manager’s conduct, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as […]

Google has a new responsible AI lead

Google has appointed Dr. Marian Croak to lead its responsible artificial intelligence division within Google Research, Bloomberg reported earlier today. Croak was previously the vice president of engineering at the company. In her new role, Croak will oversee the teams working on accessibility, AI for social good, algorithmic fairness in health, brain fairness, ethical AI […]

Google reportedly tightens grip on research into ‘sensitive topics’

Google is currently under fire for apparently pushing out a researcher whose work warned of bias in AI, and now a report from Reuters says others doing such work at the company have been asked to “strike a positive tone” and undergo additional reviews for research touching on “sensitive topics.” Reuters, citing researchers at the […]

Sight Tech Global is live! Join top AI technologists and accessibility innovators to discuss the future of assistive tech

Today and tomorrow, from 8 a.m. PST to 12:30 p.m. PST the first annual, virtual event Sight Tech Global is streaming on TechCrunch. The event looks at how AI-based technologies are rapidly changing the field of accessibility, especially for blind people and those with low vision. Today’s programming includes AI giants Amnon Shashua and Kai-Fu […]

Alphabet’s DeepMind achieves historic new milestone in AI-based protein structure prediction

DeepMind, the AI technology company that’s part of Google parent Alphabet, has achieved a significant breakthrough in AI-based protein structure prediction. The company announced today that its AlphaFold system has officially solved a protein folding grand challenge that has flummoxed the scientific community for 50 years. The advance in DeepMind’s AlphaFold capabilities could lead to […]

Weather forecasts get an AI update with Atmo as businesses grapple with climate-related catastrophes

“Almost every business on earth is affected by weather,” says Alexander Levy, an investor serial entrepreneur whose latest company is the new weather prediction startup Atmo. The company, which graduated from Y Combinator earlier this year, has recently raised $2 million from Signia Venture Partners and Sound Ventures for its predictive software, because sometimes businesses […]

AI-tool maker Seldon raises £7.1M Series A from AlbionVC and Cambridge Innovation Capital

Seldon is a U.K. startup that specializes in the rarified world of development tools to optimize machine learning. What does this mean? Well, dear reader, it means that the “AI” that companies are so fond of trumpeting does actually end up working. It has now raised a £7.1 million Series A round co-led by AlbionVC […]

Provizio closes $6.2M seed round for its car safety platform using sensors and AI

Provizio, a combination hardware and software startup with technology to improve car safety, has closed a seed investment round of $6.2million. Investors include Bobby Hambrick (the founder of Autonomous Stuff); the founders of Movidius; the European Innovation Council (EIC); ACT Venture Capital. The startup has a “five-dimensional” sensory platform that — it says — perceives, […]

Duplex, Google’s conversational AI, has updated 3M+ business listings since pandemic

Google today offered an update on the status of Duplex, its A.I. technology that uses natural conversations to get things done — like making restaurant reservations, booking appointments, or updating a Google Business listing, for example. When the pandemic began, Google expanded its use of Duplex for business updates to eight countries, and has since […]

Google launches a suite of tech-powered tools for reporters, Journalist Studio

Google is putting AI and machine learning technologies into the hands of journalists. The company this morning announced a suite of new tools, Journalist Studio, that will allow reporters to do their work more easily. At launch, the suite includes a host of existing tools as well as two new products aimed at helping reporters […]

South Korea pushes for AI semiconductors as global demand grows

The South Korean government has made no secret of its ambition to be a key player in the global artificial intelligence industry, including making the semiconductors powering AI functionalities. This week, the country’s information and communications technology regulator announced plans to develop up to 50 types of AI-focused system semiconductors by 2030, Yonhap News Agency […]

Headroom, which uses AI to supercharge videoconferencing, raises $5M

Videoconferencing has become a cornerstone of how many of us work these days — so much so that one leading service, Zoom, has graduated into verb status because of how much it’s getting used. But does that mean videoconferencing works as well as it should? Today, a new startup called Headroom is coming out of […]

Here’s the curtain raise on the Sight Tech Global agenda

The goal of Sight Tech Global, a virtual, global event on December 2-3, 2020, is to gather the world’s top experts who are applying advanced technologies, notably AI, to the future of accessibility and assistive tech for people who are blind or visually impaired. Today we’re excited to roll out most of the agenda. There […]

Arm CEO Simon Segars discusses AI, data centers, getting acquired by Nvidia and more

Nvidia is in the process of acquiring chip designer Arm for $40 billion. Coincidentally, both companies are also holding their respective developer conferences this week. After he finished his keynote at the Arm DevSummit, I sat down with Arm CEO Simon Segars to talk about the acquisition and what it means for the company. Segars […]

As it closes in on Arm, Nvidia announces UK supercomputer dedicated to medical research

As Nvidia continues to work through its deal to acquire Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion, the computing giant is making another big move to lay out its commitment to investing in U.K. technology. Today the company announced plans to develop Cambridge-1, a new £40 million AI supercomputer that will be used for research in the […]

Adobe’s ‘Liquid Mode’ uses AI to automatically redesign PDFs for mobile devices

We’ve probably all been there: You’ve been poking around your phone for an hour, deep in some sort of Google research rabbit hole. You finally find a link that almost certainly has the info you’ve been looking for. You tap it… aaaand it’s a 50-page PDF. Now you get to pinch and zoom your way […]

Google launches new AI-powered meeting room hardware

Google today announced the Google Meet Series One, a new video conferencing hardware suite for meeting rooms. Built in collaboration with Lenovo, the Series One uses high-end cameras and microphones and then marries them with Google’s AI smarts thanks to using Google’s own Coral M.2 accelerator modules with the company’s Edge TPUs. Previous Google Meet […]

Kneron launches its new AI chip to challenge Google and others

Fresh off a $40 million Series A round, edge AI specialist Kneron today announced the launch of its newest custom chip, the Kneron KL 720 SoC. With funding from the likes of Alibaba, Sequoia, Horizons Ventures, Qualcomm and SparkLabs Taipei (as well as a few undisclosed backers), it’s worth taking the company’s efforts seriously, and […]

Microsoft researcher Dr. Cecily Morrison will discuss keeping AI ‘personal’ at Sight Tech Global

For Dr. Cecily Morrison, research into how AI can help people who are blind or visually disabled is deeply personal. It’s not only that the Microsoft Principal Researcher has a 7-year-old son who is blind, she also believes that the powerful AI-related technologies that will help people must themselves be personal, tailored to the circumstances […]

Google’s Lookout app for vision-impaired now scans food labels and long documents

Google has updated its Lookout app, an AI toolkit for people with impaired vision, with two helpful new capabilities: scanning long documents and reading out food labels. Paper forms and similarly shaped products at the store present a challenge for blind folks and this ought to make things easier. Food labels, if you think about […]

Google Cloud earns defense contract win for Anthos multi-cloud management tool

Google dropped out of the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud contract battle fairly early in the game, citing it was in conflict with its “AI principals.” However, today the company announced a new seven-figure contract with DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a big win for the cloud unit and CEO Thomas Kurian. While the company would not […]