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AIhub monthly digest: October 2021 – life on land, foundation models and Beethoven’s 10th

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27 October 2021



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Welcome to our October 2021 monthly digest where you can catch up with any AIhub stories you may have missed, get the low-down on recent events, and much more. In this edition we cover our latest focus issue, the concept of foundation models, 100 days of machine learning, Beethoven’s 10th symphony, and more.

Life on land

Our latest focus series life on land (as part of our wider series on the UN sustainable development goals) was launched this month.

We spoke to Lily Xu about her work in green security. Lily and her colleagues apply machine learning and game theory techniques to wildlife conservation. They focus in particular on illegal wildlife poaching and are working with rangers to help them conduct more effective patrols. Find out more about their models, their field tests in collaboration with rangers at Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia, and their future plans, in this interview.

Andres Perez-Uribe and Louis Reymondin wrote about their work developing a smart monitoring tool to support the certification of sustainable coffee plots in Vietnam. They use satellite imagery and machine learning techniques (such as convolutional neural networks) to identify coffee plots. This is overlaid with a history of deforestation to pinpoint coffee-driven deforestation. Read the article here.

Don’t forget to check out content from all of our other focus collections:
Good health and well-being
Climate action
Quality education
Life below water
Reduced inequalities
Affordable and clean energy
Life on land

AIhub Coffee Corner: foundation models

The release, on arXiv, of On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models received a lot of interest from the AI community. Foundation models are deep neural networks trained in an unsupervised fashion on huge collections of data. They can be adapted to a wide range of downstream tasks. The AIhub trustees discussed the concept of such models in this month’s Coffee Corner.

Cynthia Rudin wins the AAAI Squirrel AI award

Congratulations to Cynthia Rudin who has been awarded the 2022 AAAI Squirrel AI award for pioneering work in the area of interpretable and transparent AI systems. This award was established in 2019, with Regina Barzilay receiving the inaugural honour. Find out more from Cynthia about this award and what it means to her in this short video.

Call for Nominations: ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award 2022

Nominations are solicited for the 2022 ACM SIGAI Autonomous Agents Research Award. This award is made for excellence in research in the area of autonomous agents, and is intended to recognize researchers whose current work is an important influence on the field. The deadline for nominations is 15 November 2021. Find out more, and how to nominate, here.

AI100 report discussion sessions

As we reported last month, on 16 September, the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) 2021 report was released. The mission of AI100 is to launch a study every five years, over the course of a century, to better track and anticipate how artificial intelligence propagates through society, and how it shapes different aspects of our lives. Two discussion sessions were held with some of the people involved in producing the report. These were recorded and you can watch the first and second sessions on the Stanford HAI YouTube channel.

Stephen Hanson in conversation with Richard Sutton

Stephen José Hanson is chatting to AI researchers about their work, and the field in general. In this video he talks to Richard Sutton. Recently, Richard Sutton, along with co-authors David Silver, Satinder Singh and Doina Precup, published a paper entitled Reward is enough, in which they hypothesise that the maximisation of total reward may be enough to understand intelligence and its associated abilities. This discussion attempts to further clarify this position and answer the more general question, “what is AI?”

European parliament adopt resolution on AI in criminal law

A recent EU resolution addresses topics including respect for fundamental rights, discrimination, mandatory impact assessments, and surveillance and mass profiling. It calls for permanent prohibition of the use of automated analysis of human features, such as gait, fingerprints, DNA and voice. It also calls for a moratorium on the deployment of law enforcement facial recognition systems for identification purposes.

100 days of machine learning

Machine learning engineer Smitha Kolan is taking us on a machine learning journey over the course of 100 videos. In this introductory video, Smitha explains how the course will work. She plans to cover machine learning basics, linear algebra and multivariate calculus, machine learning in more depth, deep learning, and finally, projects to apply the newly learnt skills.

Conference deadlines

Struggling to keep track of conference deadline dates? AI Conference Deadline on Twitter provides daily updates for the closest five AI Conferences. AI Conference DL Countdown provides a similar countdown, but more specifically for machine learning and computer vision conferences.

Beethoven’s 10th imagined, with a little help from AI

Before his death, Beethoven started work on a 10th symphony, but only a few musical sketches exist. A team of musicians and computer scientists developed an AI model to help them produce a version of the 3rd and 4th movements. You can find out more about the team’s process in this article, and you can listen to the piece here. Further information about the project can be found on the Beethoven X project page.


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Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.
Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.




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