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IJCAI 2019 in the Spotlight: WeBank AI Group Shared Remarkable Academic Innovation

Vlad Poptamas

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The 28th International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) was held from August 10th – 16th, in Macao, SAR, China. WeBank, the first private and digital bank in China, contributed to the event with multiple academic research findings, and demonstrated great engagement in IJCAI by organizing a heavy-weight workshop FML’19 (the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality).

100+ World-leading Scholars Discussed Academic Frontier at the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning

The idea of adopting FML in AI for data confidentiality and user privacy was coined by WeBank in China. In a bid to promote this emerging AI technology, WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019. 100+ leading scholars with insight in FML from home and abroad were invited to share cutting-edge academic findings and most advanced applications. President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google delivered keynote addresses. The moderator of panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in exchanging thoughts on the way ahead for FML.

Take Stock on 40 Years’ Achievement of AI in China  Panel Discussion Featuring Chinese Characteristics

Elements of previous conferences including Traditional AI Session, Industry Day focused on industrial application and Best Paper Awards Session were inherited in this year’s IJCAI. IJCAI-19 also opened panels and workshops under the new agenda with a focus on most-discussed topics e.g., data privacy and AI universality. Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang engaged in multiple agendas as the President of IJCAI-19 and chair of two panel discussions namely AI in China, AI and User Privacy.

Panelists of “AI in China” include Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences Bo Zhang, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering Wen Gao, Dean of School of AI of Nanjing University Professor Zhihua Zhou, Professor Pascale Fung of Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of HKUST, Professor Tong Zhang of HKUST, CEO of 4Paradigm Wenyuan Dai. These leading figures in China’s AI sector shared stories within the industry. This theme, with its unique historic significance, added weight to IJCAI-19.

IJCAI-19 also witnessed the founding of the GuangdongHong KongMacao Greater Bay Area on AI and Robotics Federation. Announced at “AI in China” Panel, the establishment of this new Federation requires the three academic societies to pool leading scholars and experts in AI and robotics within their localities. The merge was widely supported, acclaimed and recognized across the industrial sector and the government as it will further promote cohesion of talents, spawning of scientific innovation, R&D and application of key technologies in China.

“AI and User Privacy” Panel was joined by Director of IEEE Standards Association Victoria Wang, Professor Pedro Domingos of University of Washington, Director of Swiss Re Institute Jeffrey Bohn, Senior Research Scientist of WeBank AI Dr. Yang Liu and a host of experts and scholars to further discussions on how to promote technology development and legislation process simultaneously, which is helpful to addressing the user privacy issue in the current stage of AI development.

WeBank Shared New Insight on AI Safety Workshop

Besides user privacy as discussed in the panel discussions, data confidentiality also represents a common concern in the age of big data. At the AI Safety 2019 Workshop, Senior Research Scientist of WeBank AI Dr. Yang Liu delivered a speech themed Federated Machine Learning (FML), and shared in-depth insight on how to safeguard user privacy and AI safety as well as a number of technologies for privacy protection. She also elaborated on three categories of FML, namely Horizontal Federated Learning, Vertical Federated Learning, Federated Transfer Learning. According to Dr. Liu, data confidentiality and user privacy are the two major challenges in the age of big data, particularly challenging for financial, medical, legal and other data sensitive industries, whereas FML is a great solution to both challenges.

AI Enabling Contextualized Application in Finance  WeBank Shared Insight on Digital Innovative Transformation

While FML serves as the theoretical basis, the application of FML represents a common concern for all walks of life. Challenges before the highly digitalized financial sector manifest even greater complexity and risk. At Industry Day in IJCAI 2019, Deputy Managing Director of WeBank AI Tianjian Chen shared in-depth insight on digital banking business in the financial sector under the theme “AI in Digital Banking”, and elaborated on the important role that AI plays in digital banking. Given the challenges of AI application in the financial sector, he pointed the way ahead for the new generation of AI. “Safety, fairness, data protection are major challenges in the application of AI in the banking sector,” he said. “FML is potentially the new path to take for addressing these challenges.” So far, WeBank AI Group has developed a series of pioneering technologies including FML, which are proven to be contributive to joint modeling for credit risk control and anti-money laundering, etc.

Demonstration of FML Visualization  WeBank Introduced Best Practice

WeBank AI Group is dedicated to promoting widespread application of FML across the industry, sharing capabilities, enabling multi-win results. Videos submitted by WeBank AI Group, including Multi-Agent Visualization for Explaining Federated AI, Learning Federated Learning, were accepted by Demonstration Track and AI Video Competition of IJCAI-19, of which, the latter was awarded Most Educational Video. The videos provide straightforward illustration of cases to attendees on how FML and FedAI system works, all designed for more partners within the industry to enhance understanding of FML technologies and become promoters.

As an endeavor to explore “AI + Art” fusion, the man-computer car racing game demo developed by WeBank AI Group based on FML technology will be displayed under the invitation of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and is expected to be showcased in the Shenzhen and Shanghai Art Exhibition scheduled in late October and early November respectively.

Among 35 papers submitted in Demonstration Track, the research paper on AI empowering flexible staffing by WeBank, HKUST, NTU and BBK Group, titled Fair and Explainable Dynamic Engagement of Crowd Workers, won the Innovation Award.

WeBank “AI+X” Innovation Debut  Exploration of Future AI Ecosystem

In addition to academic research findings, WeBank AI Group also exhibited industry-leading innovations in four main areas namely “AI + Service”, “AI + Marketing”, “AI + Big Data”, “AI + Asset Management”, which drew the attention of government officials from Macao SAR, professors and scholars of universities and research institutions in China and abroad.

In the area of “AI + Big Data”, WeBank established FedAI ecosystem for cooperation, the world’s first industrial-grade framework for Federated Learning (FATE), AI scenario-based rapid modeling platform (QML). In “AI + Service”, WeBank explored new approaches and scenarios for human-computer interaction, developed ubiquitous robots focused on financial services, integrated core technologies such as NLP, TTS, OCR with scenarios, and expanded to a series of business contextualized applications. The robot developed independently by WeBank became a spotlight in the exhibition. In “AI + Marketing”, WeBank AI Group played a leading role in trust marketing development, aimed to promote long-link and long-term effective marketing conversion of high-value products. In “AI + Asset Management”, WeBank used new alternative big data and machine learning technology helped forge a new generation of AI-driven intelligent asset management system.

China’s scientific research capability is among the top in the world thanks to advances in big data, AI and other frontier technologies. As an internet bank dedicated to innovation in fintech, WeBank AI Group demonstrates its commitment in global collaboration for scientific research and sparks technological advances by coupling theory and application. Looking ahead, WeBank will further leverage its strength in AI technology and platform, integrate top-notch resource worldwide, forge high-level network for knowledge and research, and lead the way for global tech innovation.

 

SOURCE WeBank

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Artificial Intelligence

MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: forbes.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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Artificial Intelligence

AI Operations Leader, ThroughPut.AI, chosen to present at the esteemed Plug and Play Japan Summit for IOT and Mobility in Tokyo on September 19th, 2019

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: arcserve.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

ThroughPut Inc., the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain pioneer that enables operations to increase output, quality, throughput, profitability and safety through automated bottleneck elimination, today announced their presentation and participation of their COO and CTO at the Plug and Play Japan IoT and Mobility Summit and EXPO in Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2019. As a Plug and Play portfolio company, ThroughPut has been one of the most active global members of the Plug and Play ecosystem, being awarded to participate in multiple cohorts and events at Plug and Play Sunnyvale, BerlinMilanFrankfurtClevelandJapan, and elsewhere, spanning diverse topics including application of AI, Data and Analytics to Industrial Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, Mobility, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas, Food and Agriculture, and more.

“As the leading AI platform for Operations using existing data systems, ThroughPut is honored to be an active contributor to the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Batch 3 cohort,” noted Ali Raza, CEO of ThroughPut. “Our executive team is excited to present to over 1,500 Japanese corporate executives, resellers and partnership leaders at the IoT and Mobility Summit next week in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as consequent meetings that week.”

Plug and Play runs 15 industry themes across more than 50 accelerator programs a year in cities across the world. Plug and Play’s Japanese arm has accelerated four leading-edge industry programs,  and awarded participation to 69 pioneering technology start-ups and 31 corporate leaders, including MUFG, Tokyu Land, Sompo, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujikura, DENSO, NipponLife, Dentsu, ADK, Nittsu, Norinchukin Bank, Orix, Macnica, Sumitomo, J-Power, Suzuki, SMFG, NEC Solution Innovators, Aflac, Asahi HD, Coca Cola Japan, AISIN, Kyocera MKI, Tanabe, Toshiba Tec, JXTG Energy and Shimadzu. This year’s Summer / Fall Summit is expected to receive an even greater response from startups and corporations across JapanAsia and even further overseas.

“We are very excited to continue building upon our strong client and partner relationships in Japan“, responded Seth Page, COO of ThroughPut and eight-time entrepreneur, while adding, “Plug and Play has opened up unique opportunities for collaboration with corporate partners, clients and investors around the world, bringing together the brightest minds in the industry on a single business platform. In Japan, we are showcasing our unique capabilities to a host of reputed industrial and global corporate titans, while also acquiring valuable insights from other fellow global thought leaders through participation in the Japense Mobility program and event. We look forward to continuing business discussions with market leaders in Japan next week and especially at the IOT and Mobility Summit in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as the Smart EXPO in Nagoya on September 18th.”

Bhaskar Ballapragada, CTO of ThroughPut, commented as well, “The time is ripe for industries to leverage the value of Artificial Intelligence on top of the decades of disaggregated data they’ve been collecting in-house. ThroughPut’s ELI Kaizen-AI product gives unprecedented power to a firm’s own operations managers. AI-enabled, data-driven analysis and executable insights to eliminate bottlenecks in real-time now enable the management of seamless operations across their end-to-end supply chains. In our mission to eliminate the $10 Trillion dollars of annual global industrial waste, we are reaching out to as many industries and companies to test for themselves our ELI product and enable them to experience firsthand the power of their own data with AI, and realize the quick ROI that comes with freeing-up working capital from operations by investing in ThroughPut’s ELI.”

 

SOURCE ThroughPut Inc.

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Artificial Intelligence

CAIR ‘Appalled’ by Appointment of Trump’s New Acting National Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Vlad Poptamas

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it is “appalled” by the appointment of Charles M. Kupperman as acting national security adviser following the resignation of John Bolton.

SEE: NSC official criticized by civil rights groups named acting national security adviser
https://tinyurl.com/CAIRKupperman
 
Trump fires national security adviser John Bolton
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-09-10/trump-fires-john-bolton-twitter

From 2001 to 2010, Kupperman served on the board of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an organization headed by notorious Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified Gaffney as an anti-Muslim extremist and designated the CSP as a hate group, calling the latter “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

CSP is famous for promoting the conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated all levels of the U.S. government and that Sharia law is on the rise in America.

SEE: Backgrounder on CSP
http://www.islamophobia.org/islamophobic-organizations/57-center-for-security-policy-csp.html 
SEE: SPLC Designated Hate Groups: Center for Security Policy
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-muslim

“While we welcome the resignation of John Bolton, who has a long track record of promoting anti-Muslim policies and associating with hate groups, we cannot simply replace one Islamophobe with another,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is — at the very least — complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest ranking security roles in the United States.”

In January, CAIR opposed Kupperman’s appointment as Deputy National Security Adviser, citing the same concerns.

SEE: CAIR Calls on Trump Administration to Drop Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group
https://www.cair.com/cair_calls_on_trump_administration_to_drop_security_adviser_who_served_on_board_of_anti_muslim_hate_group

Backgrounder on Frank Gaffney:

Gaffney is a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

He is a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaffney has questioned “whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States,” claimed the Missile Defense Agency logo is part of a “worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam,” claimed an aide to Hillary Clinton was a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative, was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit seeking to block construction of a Tennessee mosque, promoted the debunked claim that Dearborn, Mich., is a “ghetto enclave in which it’s Muslim-only,” and hosted “white supremacist” Jared Taylor on his “Secure Freedom” radio program.

He has in the past:

  • Suggested that Saddam Hussein was behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Claimed Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was submitting to Islamic law when he condemned the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor.
  • Objected to Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) serving on the House Intelligence Committee because they are Muslim.
  • Accused Pope Francis of having “rabidly anti-American” views after the pope said it is “not Christian” to urge the deportation of undocumented immigrants and to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Gaffney was banned from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 after accusing fellow Republicans of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, cited Gaffney in his anti-Muslim manifesto.
Gaffney’s staff attorney, David Yerushalmi, has advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America and is the key promoter of anti-Islam bills in state legislatures nationwide.
White supremacist and White House senior adviser Steve Bannon hosted Gaffney on his Sirius XM radio show “Breitbart News Daily” 29 times.

On November 9, CAIR will hold its 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.

SEE: CAIR’S 25th Annual Gala
https://www.cair.com/25th_anniversary_banquet

NOTE: Use #CAIRSnapshots on Twitter to view all the short videos highlighting CAIR’s important work over the past quarter century. The #CAIRSnapshots campaign is just one of many activities and initiatives leading up to CAIR’s 25th anniversary gala.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

 

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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