Zumo Labs presents The Juice, a weekly newsletter focused on computer vision problems (and sometimes just regular problems). Get it while it’s fresh.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and things are pretty bad. It’s tempting to think of tomorrow as a fresh start. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that our problems — especially the ones we created — aren’t going to fix themselves overnight. Nothing will change without us putting in the work. It’s a line of reasoning well argued by the team behind a recent paper studying how current dataset development practices help perpetuate prejudice and bias against marginalized communities. Their work is further evidenced by a news story this week about the third known Black man to be wrongfully arrested based on facial recognition technology.
Creating a kinder, fairer, and more equitable world is possible. But it’s about time we acknowledge that “don’t be evil” has never been a high enough bar for tech. Perhaps instead we should embrace the wisdom of Astronaut Gus Grissom, who when asked to give a speech to the builders of the Atlas rocket said simply, “Do good work.”
Do good work. We will too. Happy New Year.
To start tackling the biggest problems in tech, we need to understand them. The documentary Coded Bias, which premiered at Sundance this year, follows MIT’s Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, and other researchers as they explore the biases baked into our decision-making algorithms. The film has received a lot of early praise, and the trailer, available here, might leave you rightfully unsettled.
The 18 Best Documentaries of 2020, via Glamour.
While some advances in agtech have brought drones or robots out into the fields, Plenty, a startup out of San Francisco, has flipped the script by bringing the field indoors. Their vertical farming operation can reportedly produce 400x yields (per acre) while using significantly less water. And while they’ve only got one operational farm and one under construction, investors are wild for the idea — which uses AI to monitor and optimize inputs like heat, light, and water.
The FAA has finally issued some new guidelines around the operations of drones. The new rules divide the devices into four classes, require remote identification technology, and permit operation of the devices above people and at night. While this is being perceived as a win for industry (Amazon, UPS, etc.), it has received a cooler response from drone hobbyists — as well as anyone who enjoyed not having drones buzzing overhead.
Invasive insects are no joke, and the Spotted Lantern Fly — first ID’d in Pennsylvania in 2014 — has been doing a number on the tree fruit, wine, and lumber industries. Now a team from Drexel University is developing a computer vision model to spot the clutches, with the intent of deploying scanning devices in high-risk areas such as rail and shipping yards. They’re currently asking for folks to submit their photos of the egg masses in the wild to train the model.
How You Can Help Stop Invasive Spotted Lantern Flies, via Scientific American.
If you’ve been on the internet a while, you probably remember Chatroulette. Maybe you even used it to video chat with random internet strangers, before the once-charming platform was deserted due to the sheer volume of nude dudes. Well, in June of this year Chatroulette brought in the AI solutions team at Hive to help clean up their act. They’ve reportedly helped to “reduce the number of conversations with inappropriate content by 75 percent.” But you know, chat at your own risk.
📄 Paper of the Week
Need inspiration to spice up your 2021 pizza nights? This team from Rutgers has an answer for you: the MPG (multi-ingredient pizza generator), a conditional GAN for synthesizing multilabel images. They tested it on Pizza10, a carefully annotated multi-ingredient pizza image dataset. Buon appetito!
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