Weekend update: "Fake news" AI, Huawei suspicions, Amazon tries to reduce its carbon footprint and Singapore's smart city status

A cross-section of the week's most gripping tech and business features penned by the Innovation Enterprise team


It's been another week rammed with disruptive moves from our favorite tech giants in the Innovation Enterprise office as it became apparent that, in our world filled with cyber risks, even government bodies aren't safe when a number of Australian political parties were hacked ahead of the election.

Nonetheless, it's been a promising few days for environment lovers. A Columbian University researcher developed a data visualization tool which is able to explore the carbon-emission levels of consumer products, named "Carbon Catalogue". Meanwhile, Amazon made strides to address its damaging carbon footprint when it announced it will be making half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030, leading to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas to predict the retail giant will lead the electric vehicle revolution.

The ongoing fears over Huawei's collusion in Chinese espionage have spilled over into this week too, as the UK government was confused by conflicting advice from different bodies over the Chinese telecommunications giant's role in setting up 5G in the country. First, the UK's National Cybersecurity Center claimed the risk Huawei presents can be mitigated, only to have its advice dismissed entirely by a UK defense and security think tank which told the government it would be "naïve" and "irresponsible" to go ahead with plans to involve Huawei.

Below, we highlight some of our other favorite stories, interviews and analysis from across our Channels.

Speedier, smoother, safer: Singapore's adoption of smart city solutions

We're just days away from our flagship festival in Singapore, and so every department has its eyes firmly fixed on the city state we begin our countdown to DATAx Singapore.

By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities. How can city authorities fund and build infrastructure and services to meet the needs of all these people? Smart cities applying smart, shared technology such as AI and machine learning to systems of local government could speed up decision-making times and limit waste. And Singapore is employing a number of these solutions to bring the city into the future.

"All smart city initiatives are a work in progress," says Tim Hill, research director at Eco-Business Research."However, one factor that I think Singapore probably excels at is the shared values and objectives of government agencies. Hence, initiatives that have been approved by the government can be rolled out rapidly without having to 'win over' different stakeholders."

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The evolving role of machine learning in email marketing

ML is changing the face of our world and the face of business as we know it, so email marketers must understand the role that it is playing and utilize it appropriately to maximize the ROI of their campaigns. We take a look at the ways ML is disrupting email marketing.

Significantly improving personalization: While personalization in email marketing predates many of the recent advances in ML, new AI technology has improved on it considerably. The first contact management systems to reach the market had limited features enabling personalization, such as allowing marketers to include the first and last names of their subscribers with dynamic tokens.

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Robotics and its rehabilitation role

The robotic rehabilitation market is set to soar, as Wise Guy Reports predicts it will be worth $6.4bn by 2025, reframing the way we think about rehabilitation completely. DATAx spoke with Bongsu Kim, founder of LinkDyn, a rehabilitation robotics startup, about how robotics are being used to aid patient rehabilitation.

"Today, collaborative and exoskeleton robots are used primarily in industrial and healthcare settings to train workers, prevent workplace injury and increase productivity, but we anticipate these recreational and at-home uses for the same devices," says Kim. "For example, exoskeletons will be rented by older individuals to navigate cities (like Lime or Bird electric scooters)."

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The UK ramps up its AI investments

This week, the UK demonstrated its seriousness in investing in AI as it attempts to become more competitive with the world's current incumbents: China and the US.

Firstly, Innovate UK awarded two A I companies more than £300,000 ($387,600) and said it would co-invest an additional £130,000 ($168,000). The money will be used by the companies to deliver a partnership project called: "Chemeia: A synergistic AI integrated architecture for augmenting high value dark-data".

The UK government then announced that it plans to provide a significant boost to students wanting to study AI by funding thousands of postgraduate students wanting to study a Master's or a PhD in AI.

"The UK is not only the birthplace to the father of AI, Alan Turing, but we are leading the way on work to ensure AI innovation has ethics at its core," said digital secretary Jeremy Wright.

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How wearables are leveling the healthcare playing field

With their particularly nuanced blend of sleek fashion statement and healthcare aide, wearables are everywhere these days. DATAx sat down with JumpStartCSR chief operating officer Wesley Ollson to discuss how wearables are disrupting the industry by leveling the playing field.

"Wearables, and the connected care opportunities they provide, will improve practitioner productivity and the quality of patient outcomes," explains Ollson. "We can use them to promote equitable care and to extend quality care to individuals who are challenged socially, economically, physically and or geographically."

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Blockchain is set to solve the fake food problem

Most people will remember – perhaps with disgust – the 2013 scandal when horse DNA was found in frozen beef patties in the UK. Despite the global uproar, food fraud is still a common problem throughout the global food industry, and existing traceability systems are ineffective in preventing food fraud due to the lack of a unified system. However, recent advancements in blockchain may offer a solution.

Distributed ledgers by nature are highly secure in that their data is shared by all members of the chain, and old data can only be altered with the majority of the chain arriving at a consensus. Due to this fact, data is stored digitally and shared with all members throughout the supply chain process. This allows for greater efficiency and a decrease in human error.

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"Fake news" AI is on the way

Last week, we reported that AI had been used to write candy love hearts in time for Valentine's day, making AI seem somewhat harmless and sweet, until this week it was revealed that AI has the frightening potential to start creating incredibly authentic "fake news".

These fears started early this week, when a new AI was used to generate an endless supply of incredibly convincing fake faces. Created by Uber software engineer Philip Wang, the technology, "StyleGAN", has sparked concerns it could be used to create supporting evidence for "fake news".

These fears were later compounded when it was revealed that scientists at OpenAI had created an AI that generates such incredibly authentic synthetic text based on writing prompts that they say is too dangerous to be released. While GPT2 is able to generate coherent, well-structured sentences, it is only able to understand language and cannot comprehend or explain facts, thereby meaning that any writing that is generated is simply well-written – and often elaborate – lies. (Read: "Fake news")

Check out this sinister snippet of the story it wrote:

"The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid's Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science."

Does all this mean we're hurtling toward a world where we have absolutely no way of distinguishing whether news is real or not? Unfortunately, that may just be the case…

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