1 – Goldman Sachs: We’re investing deeply in artificial intelligence

Goldman Sachs and other major financial players are making heavy investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning in 2016 and the foreseeable future. In an interview with Goldman Sachs’ Head of Communications, Cohead of the bank’s technology division Don Duet said,
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“It’s a very important both technological strategy for the firm as well as business strategy and helping us move to a better degree of data-driven businesses as well as really deriving expertise, content, and knowledge of information.”

JPMorgan’s CEO Daniel Pinto made similar statements in December 2015, describing its investment plans in big-data apps and robotics (with a planned announcement on  updates to these plans in the coming month).

(Read the full article on Business Insider)

2 – Baidu Looks to Artificial Intelligence to Reduce Insurance Risks

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday brought together researchers and business leaders to discuss the state and future of artificial intelligence. There was general consensus around the fact that AI is developing more rapidly, which brings opportunities to improve human lives in the next decade, but also harbors risks that we may not foresee. Baidu’s President, Ya-Qin Zhang, stated that his company is already using AI to assess insurance and loan underwriting. Zhang also said that he worries that an onset of more intelligent machines could make people less smart and more dependent on their devices. Zhang’s views were a spotlight of a myriad of positives and concerns expressed at the meeting.

(Read the full article on Bloomberg Business)

3 – New ‘Moonshot’ Effort to Understand the Brain Brings Artificial Intelligence Closer to Reality

Harvard has been awarded $28 million to develop advanced machine learning algorithms by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Harvard researchers will work with collaborators from MIT, Notre Dame, New York University, University of Chicago, and Rockefeller University to pursue the ambitious task of designing computer systems that can meet or beat humans. The team will start by recording activity in the visual cortex in more detail than ever before, map connections at an unmatched scale, and then reverse engineer data to catalyze state-of-the-art computer algorithms for learning.

(Read the full article on Harvard News)

4 – IBM Watson Head Mike Rhodin On The Future Of Artificial Intelligence

In an interview with Forbes contributor Peter High, IBM’s Senior Vice President Michael Rhodin, who leads the IBM Watson Group, discussed the future of Watson in the AI industry. The business of diagnostics in the medical industry launched Watson back onto the scene, with its strengths in analyzing big data. Rodin notes that in 2015, about 700,000 new reference documents were produced in medicine; Watson has the capability to enter this, and any other industry, where there is more information than humans can consume in a lifetime. The group is currently working on an open ecosystem, in which hundreds of companies are building on the platform to generate commercial solutions. The Watson Analytics product line also continues to evolve and provide value for IBM, commercial users, and consumers.

(Read the full article on Forbes)

5 – Bridging the Bio-Electronic Divide

A new DARPA project called Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) aims to develop an implantable neural interface that bridges the data connection between the human brain and digital devices, acting as a translator between neurons and binary code. NESD, part of President Obama’s brain initiative, has the potential to boost neurotechnology research for new therapies. The program will require integrated, interdisciplinary breakthroughs in areas that include neuroscience, low-power electronics, systems engineering, medical device packaging, and more. NESD is hosting a Proposers Day for potential industry stakeholders on February 2 and 3 in Arlington, Virginia.

(Read the full article on DARPA News)

Image credit: CNet