The UK government will focus on supporting niche manufacturing and designs in its efforts to become a major player in computer chips, according to the country’s tech minister. Paul Scully admitted to the FT that his government won’t bother trying to compete with major international rivals. “We are not going to recreate Taiwan in south Wales,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.” The government’s planned >£1 billion in funding for the next decade will lean on the UK’s current strengths, which includes the chip designer and maker Arm.
“Every single one” of Amazon’s business units is currently working on AI initiatives, according to the company’s CEO, Andy Jassy. He emphasized the firm’s intense AI focus in a recent earnings call. Amazon has a lot of irons in the fire; in the identity industry, it’s best known for its Rekognition facial recognition solution, its Amazon One palm-scanning Point-of-Sale terminals, and its Amazon Web Services cloud business, the cloud platform upon which a range of other AI and biometric technologies operate.
Microsoft, meanwhile, revealed the costs of its AI expenditures in a business update of its own. Capital expenditures were up 23 percent year-over-year for Q2, reaching $10.7 billion — the highest quarterly capex in the tech giant’s history. And CFO Amy Hood said the expenditures would go even higher in each of the next four quarters.
Pre-seed startup Sweetspot is leveraging AI to enable smart searches of US government contract databases. “The government is trying to install a lot of facial recognition software of late,” a co-founder told Semafor. “The contracts on Sam.gov are titled with very obscure names. Sometimes people just say, ‘software needed to detect x and y.’ But with our software, if you just type in ‘facial recognition,’ it matches businesses with all those relevant contracts.”
Humans can only detect deepfake speech about three quarters of the time, suggests a new study from University College London. Researchers played text-to-speech samples along with genuine speech samples for 529 participants, in the languages of English and Mandarin. Deepfakes were detected 73 percent of the time, with a slight improvement after participants were given a bit of training in spoof detection.
Researchers at Guangdong Songshan Polytechnic have detailed a new technique to help facial recognition systems attain a better balance between speed and accuracy. The technique involves the use of a “particle swarm optimization algorithm”: Essentially, it iteratively explores different ways of configuring face images to get the clearest picture until it finds the best option in terms of accuracy and efficiency. Testing across the ORL, YALE, and MU_PIE datasets showed promising results.
Innovatrics has launched a ‘Lightweight Facial Identification Service‘, an API that enables the integration of the biometric technology onto smart devices without the need for powerful servers or resource-heavy on-device computing. The company says its solution needs just “kilobytes of data sent for post-processing and matching,” in the form of cropped or full-frame face images, which can be matched against large databases.
DocuSign has added selfie-based identity verification to its digital document signing platform, thanks to a partnership with Onfido. The latter’s biometric technology uses facial recognition to match a document signer, captured through live video, to their photo ID. Onfido’s ‘Liveness Detection for ID Verification’ solution scans for any signs of spoofing (including the use of deepfakes) and ensures that the document signer was not using a fake webcam or emulator, and was physically present during the transaction.
NEC Corporation has issued an update for the first quarter of its 2024 fiscal year, with the company’s launch of a generative AI service among the highlights. NEC says that it has received over a hundred inquiries since announcing the initiative earlier this month. The update also comes shortly after NEC’s announcement that it had won a contract to provide communications systems and an automated fare collection system for a major railway project in the Philippines.
The chatbot’s take: We asked Bing whether Amazon and Microsoft might be going a bit overboard with their AI spending.
August 4, 2023 – by Alex Perala