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Artificial intelligence

Meet the MIT Technology Review AI team in London

We’re gathering some of the brightest minds in AI in Europe for EmTech Digital on April 16 and 17.

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This story originally appeared in The Algorithm, our weekly newsletter on AI. To get stories like this in your inbox first, sign up here.

The UK is home to AI powerhouse Google DeepMind, a slew of exciting AI startups, and some of the world’s best universities. It’s also where I live, along with quite a few of my MIT Technology Review colleagues, including our senior AI editor Will Douglas Heaven. 

That’s why I’m super stoked to tell you that we’re gathering some of the brightest minds in AI in Europe for our flagship AI conference, EmTech Digital, in London on April 16 and 17. 

Our speakers include top figures like Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google DeepMind; Maja Pantic, AI scientific research lead at Meta; Dragoș Tudorache, a member of the European Parliament and one of the key politicians behind the newly passed EU AI Act; and Victor Riparbelli, CEO of AI avatar company Synthesia. 

We’ll also hear from executives at NVIDIA, Roblox, Faculty, and ElevenLabs, and researchers from the UK’s top universities and AI research institutes. 

They will share their wisdom on how to harness AI and what businesses need to know right now about this transformative technology. 

Here are some sessions I am particularly excited about.

Generating AI’s Path Forward
Where is AI going next? Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google DeepMind, will map out realistic timelines for new innovation, and he will discuss the need for an overall strategy for a safe and productive AI future for Europe and beyond.

Digital Assistants for AI Automation
You’ve perhaps heard of AI assistants. But in this session, David Barber, director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at University College London, will argue that a major transformation will come with the rise of AI agents, which can complete complex sets of actions such as booking travel, answering messages, and performing data entry. 

AI’s Impact on Democracy
A senior official from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre will walk us through some of the threats posed by AI that keep him up at night. Based on our speaker prep call, I can tell you that real life really is stranger than fiction. 

The AI Act’s Impacts on Policy and Regulations
The AI Act is here, and companies in the US and the UK will have to comply with it if they want to do business in the EU. I will be sitting down with Dragoș Tudorache, one of the key politicians behind the law, to walk you through what companies need to take into account right now. 

Venturing into AI Opportunity
The European startup scene has long played second fiddle to the US. But with the rise of open-source AI unicorn Mistral and others, hopes are rising that European startups could become more competitive in the global AI marketplace. Paul Murphy, a partner at venture capital firm Lightspeed, one of the first funds to invest in Mistral, will tell us all about his predictions. 

The Business of Solving Big Challenges with AI
Colin Murdoch, Google DeepMind’s chief business officer, will show us why AI is so much more than generative AI and how it can help solve society’s greatest challenges, from gene editing to sustainable energy and computing. 

And the best bit of all: the post-conference drinks! A conference in London would not be nearly as fun without some good old-fashioned networking in a pub afterward. So join us April 16–17 in London, and get the inside scoop on how AI is transforming the world. Get your tickets here

Before you go… We have a freebie to give you a taster of the event. Join me and MIT Technology Review’s editors Niall Firth and David Rotman for a free half-hour LinkedIn Live session today, March 26. We’ll discuss how AI is changing the way we work. Bring your questions and tune in here  at 4pm GMT/12pm EDT/9am EDT.

Now read the rest of The Algorithm

Deeper Learning

The tech industry can’t agree on what open-source AI means. That’s a problem.

Suddenly, “open source” is the latest buzzword in AI circles. Meta has pledged to create open-source artificial general intelligence. And Elon Musk is suing OpenAI over its lack of open-source AI models. Meanwhile, a growing number of tech leaders and companies are setting themselves up as open-source champions. But there’s a fundamental problem—no one can agree on what “open-source AI” means. 

Definitions wanted: Open-source AI promises a future where anyone can take part in the technology’s development. That could accelerate innovation, boost transparency, and give users greater control over systems that could soon reshape many aspects of our lives. But what even is it? What makes an AI model open source, and what disqualifies it? The answers could have significant ramifications for the future of the technology. Read more from Edd Gent.

Bits and Bytes

Apple researchers are exploring dropping “Hey Siri” and listening with AI instead
So maybe our phones will be listening to us all the time after all? New research aims to see if AI models can determine when you’re speaking to your phone without needing a trigger phrase. They also show how Apple, considered a laggard in AI, is determined to catch up. (MIT Technology Review)

An AI-driven “factory of drugs” claims to have hit a big milestone
Insilico is part of a wave of companies betting on AI as the “next amazing revolution” in biology. The company claims to have created the first “true AI drug” that’s advanced to a test of whether it can cure a fatal lung condition in humans. (MIT Technology Review

Chinese platforms are cracking down on influencers selling AI lessons
Over the last year, a few Chinese influencers have made millions of dollars peddling short video lessons on AI, profiting off people’s fears about the as-yet-unclear impact of the new technology on their livelihoods. Now the platforms they thrived on have started to turn against them. (MIT Technology Review

Google DeepMind’s new AI assistant helps elite soccer coaches get even better
The system can predict the outcome of corner kicks and provide realistic and accurate tactical suggestions in matches. The system, called TacticAI, works by analyzing a dataset of 7,176 corner kicks taken by players for Liverpool FC, one of the world’s biggest soccer clubs. (MIT Technology Review)

How AI taught Cassie the two-legged robot to run and jump
Researchers used an AI technique called reinforcement learning to help a two-legged robot nicknamed Cassie run 400 meters, over varying terrains, and execute standing long jumps and high jumps, without being trained explicitly on each movement. (MIT Technology Review)

France fined Google €250 million over copyright infringements 
The country’s competition watchdog says the tech company failed to broker fair agreements with media outlets for publishing links to their content and plundered press articles to train its AI technology without informing the publishers. This sets an interesting precedent for AI and copyright in Europe, and potentially beyond. (Bloomberg

China is educating the next generation of top AI talent
New research suggests that China has eclipsed the United States as the biggest producer of AI talent. (New York Times

DeepMind’s cofounder has ditched his startup to lead Microsoft’s AI initiative
Mustafa Suleyman  has now left his conversational AI startup Inflection to lead Microsoft AI, a new organization focused on advancing Microsoft’s Copilot and other consumer AI products. (Microsoft)

Deep Dive

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The next big thing is AI tools that can do more complex tasks. Here’s how they will work.

What is AI?

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AI tools can be useful for everything from booking flights to translating menus.

Why Google’s AI Overviews gets things wrong

Google’s new AI search feature is a mess. So why is it telling us to eat rocks and gluey pizza, and can it be fixed?

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