AI21 Labs raises $64M to help it compete against OpenAI

AI21 Labs has raised $64 million in a funding round to help it compete against OpenAI and other NLP leaders.

Competition in NLP (Natural Language Processing) is heating up. OpenAI is currently seen as the industry leader with its GPT-3 model but rivals are gaining traction.

Investors see AI21 Labs as one of the most promising contenders.

"We completed this round during a period of market uncertainty, which highlights the confidence our investors have in AI21's...

IRS expands voice bot options for faster service

A close up of a microphone.

The US Internal Revenue Service has unveiled expanded voice bot options to help eligible taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding long wait times.

"This is part of a wider effort at the IRS to help improve the experience of taxpayers," said IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We continue to look for ways to better assist taxpayers, and that includes helping people avoid waiting on hold or having to make a second phone call to get what...

Zoom receives backlash for emotion-detecting AI

Zoom has caused a stir following reports that it’s developing an AI system for detecting emotions.

The system, first reported by Protocol, claims to scan users’ faces and their speech to determine their emotions.

Zoom detailed the system more in a blog post last month. The company says ‘Zoom IQ’ will be particularly useful for helping salespeople improve their pitches based on the emotions of call participants.

Naturally, the system is seen as rather...

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman launches new AI venture

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman has joined two other high-profile industry figures in launching a new venture called Inflection AI.

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is joining Suleyman on the venture.

“Reid and I are excited to announce that we are co-founding a new company, Inflection AI,” wrote Suleyman in a statement.

“Inflection will be an AI-first consumer products company, incubated at Greylock, with all the advantages and expertise that come...

Microsoft acquires Nuance to usher in ‘new era of outcomes-based AI’

Microsoft has completed its acquisition of Siri backend creator Nuance in a bumper deal that it says will usher in a “new era of outcomes-based AI”.

“Completion of this significant and strategic acquisition brings together Nuance’s best-in-class conversational AI and ambient intelligence with Microsoft’s secure and trusted industry cloud offerings,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud + AI Group at Microsoft. 

“This powerful...

The EU’s AI rules will likely take over a year to be agreed

Rules governing the use of artificial intelligence across the EU will likely take over a year to be agreed upon.

Last year, the European Commission drafted AI laws. While the US and China are set to dominate AI development with their vast resources, economic might, and light-touch regulation, European rivals – including the UK and EU members – believe they can lead in ethical standards.

In the draft of the EU regulations, companies that are found guilty of AI misuse...

Editorial: Our predictions for the AI industry in 2022

The AI industry continued to thrive this year as companies sought ways to support business continuity through rapidly-changing situations. For those already invested, many are now doubling-down after reaping the benefits.

As we wrap up the year, it’s time to look ahead at what to expect from the AI industry in 2022.

Tackling bias

Our ‘Ethics & Society’ category got more use than most others this year, and with good reason. AI cannot thrive when it’s...

EU clears $19.7B Microsoft-Nuance deal without any small print

The EU has concluded Microsoft’s $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance doesn’t pose competition concerns.

Nuance gained renown for originally creating the backend of that little old virtual assistant called Siri (you might have heard of it?)

The company has since continued to focus on building its speech recognition capabilities and has a number of solutions which span particular industries such as healthcare to general omni-channel customer experience...

IBM enhances Watson Discovery’s natural language processing capabilities

IBM has announced enhancements to the natural language processing (NLP) capabilities of Watson Discovery.

Watson Discovery is an AI-powered intelligent search and text-analytics platform that can retrieve critical information buried in enterprise data.

In one case study, Woodside Energy had no way to retrieve the 30 years’ worth of valuable engineering and drilling knowledge that was buried in unstructured documentation. Using the existing NLP capabilities of Watson...

Rishabh Mehrotra, research lead, Spotify: Multi-stakeholder thinking with AI

AI & Big Data Expo Speaker

Streaming behemoth Spotify hosts more than seventy million songs and close to three million podcast titles on its platform.

Delivering this without artificial intelligence (AI) is comparable to traversing the Amazon rainforest armed with nothing but a spoon.

To cut - or scoop - through this jungle of music, Spotify's research team deploy hundreds of machine learning models that improve the user experience, all the while trying to balance the needs of users and...