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What an American artificial intelligence initiative really needs – TechCrunch

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At a high level, the American AI Initiative seems to be headed in the right direction. We absolutely need a holistic approach that considers all the various areas that are critical to building innovative AI solutions. This seems to be an underlying concept of the Initiative, as the executive order places priority on making data available across government agencies, allocating cloud computing resources to support AI R&D and training the workforce. Commitment to AI innovation is critical to maintaining our leadership position in technology with the increasing level of global AI competition.

We know that China, France and the U.K. have invested and committed billions already to their own AI initiatives. The American AI Initiative as it stands does little to blunt the fears that America will fall behind in its technological edge. In fact, its lack of particulars sends exactly the opposite message.

If the government wants to demonstrate its support for AI, it needs to commit significant funding and investment in education to retain, attract and grow the talent necessary to support such a critical industry that has the potential to define our future and truly increase American competitiveness.

We have started to see momentum from some institutions that have already announced funding initiatives for AI research and advanced computer science education, such as MIT’s $1 billion commitment to AI, but we need government agencies and other private institutions to follow suit in order to effectively change the landscape. Such investments and focus on advanced technology development must become the baseline expectation for competition in our country.

We also need continuous and robust investments from VCs for AI startups across industries and markets, as there exists ample opportunity for backing transformative AI startups. Now is the time for the government and private capital to come together and jointly put our monies where our mouths are.

Beyond funding, the government must take a hard look at the global AI talent pool and accelerate the incoming flow of talent to our country, whether through academia or industry. According to NVCA (National Venture Capital Association), an estimated 51 percent of domestic private companies valued at $1 billion or more had one or more founders who were born outside of the U.S.

Overall, 31 percent of venture-backed founders are immigrants. A large number of these are leading technology companies at the forefront of developing new American products and services, many of which will leverage some form of AI in the next few years if they aren’t already. Attracting and retaining fresh talent, educators and data scientists must be a part of our national agenda, as the talent pool necessary to take a leadership position in AI is currently cannibalizing itself.

With respect to the American AI Initiative, success comes down to the details and specific plans, which will be determined over the course of the next three to six months. Each of the milestones outlined in the executive order are important advancements, but the Initiative will only truly succeed if it is built holistically.

Access (and the necessary protections) to data, access to cloud computing and a commitment to computer science must be embraced by the government as an integral part of our technology-driven businesses and personal lifestyles. These cannot be viewed as separate components in disparate silos.

If the government can champion a frontier technology and data-centric approach, the American AI Initiative has the potential to both reduce barriers to entry for AI startups and elevate the entire tech, business and innovation landscape. But it starts with a commitment to academic education, training for the workforce and a deliberate and concerted focus on ensuring public trust in AI. While no small feat, this is what is required to guarantee the intelligent future of America, and its leadership role in global innovation.

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Corellium iOS virtualization tool now available to individuals

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While leaks of Apple’s next hardware products have become more common and more easy-flowing, its software remains closely guarded secrets kept behind locked doors. This security by obscurity strategy has worked in Apple’s favor in keeping some malicious actors out but has also thwarted attempts by third-party security researchers to help improve the software. At least that’s the goal that Corellium has with its contested iOS virtualization tool that it is now making available even to individual customers.

Unlike some other operating systems, Apple has made it virtually impossible for iOS to run on any device other than Apple’s, including using virtualization technology to run iOS on a powerful desktop computer. Virtualization, however, is seen by some security researchers, like the folks behind Corellium, as key to testing and investigating iOS’ security with the goal of helping Apple improve the platform, not to weaken it.

For that purpose, Corellium developed support for virtual iOS devices to run on its CORSEC security research platform. It’s also for that reason that Apple sued it on grounds of copyright infringement. Surprisingly, Apple lost that battle, though it still has a few cards to play. In the meantime, it seems that Corellium is using that victory to push forward with its new commercial offering.

Previously available only to enterprise subscribers, Corellium is now opening the doors to its virtual iOS devices to individual subscribers. The purpose remains the same but, this time, the company is probably hoping that lone white hat hackers will also be encouraged to try out their tool instead of some cracking or jailbreaking tool from the hacking community or, worse, the dark corners of the Web.

That, however, doesn’t mean that just about anyone can grab the tool, not that everyone would be able to afford it. Now that it is opening the virtual iOS option to individual subscribers, Corellium is now requiring even individuals to request an account and go through their vetting process to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

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Facebook News expands to the UK

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While many people probably take to Google to search for the latest news, social media has been playing a bigger role in bringing news, both real and fake, to even more people. Of course, this has also brought them under more scrutiny because of the consequences for the news industry in general, particularly when page views, ads, and profits are concerned. Facebook seems to suggest that it is offering the better option for all parties involved as it rolls out Facebook News outside the US for the first time.

In a nutshell, Facebook News is a relatively new section in its app that is, well, all about news. Instead of a simple list of search results, it offers a serving of daily Top Stories curated by humans and News Sections that invite users to dig deeper into topics. Of course, there’s also the promise of complete control as well as personalization options on what users want or do not want to follow.

The features of Facebook News almost comes second to what the social networking giant is really proud of, striking business deals with news outlets and publishers in the UK. In addition to its existing partners like The Guardian, The Economist, and The Independent, among others, Facebook has also added Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, and Financial Times to its roster, among others.

Facebook wants to remind everyone that it has been partnering with news organizations for many years and has been trying to work out a sustainable business model in the age of the Internet. In fact, this infusion from Facebook is expected to boost the local news industry, especially during these trying times. Facebook even says it is continuing not only to invest more in news but also to pay publishers for more content in more countries.

This almost sounds like a subtle jab at Google’s current situation regarding its own news offering in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which the UK is no longer part of, and Australia. Google has recently agreed to pay news publishers in France but has threatened to makes Google News unavailable in Australia should the government regulatory body push its demands.

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Samsung Exynos with AMD GPU claimed to beat Apple A12 Bionic

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Samsung’s Exynos has been the subject of much controversy and drama in the past months, especially as its performance gap with Qualcomm’s equivalent Snapdragon chips became more prominent. The company’s semiconductor business has been trying to turn that ship around quickly, especially with a favorable outlook for the new Exynos 2100. That said, the real highlight might still be coming later this year, especially if the combined powers of Samsung and AMD are indeed able to run circles around Apple’s 2019 A12 Bionic chip.

Of course, it’s extremely early to jump to such conclusions, especially with equally early, unverified leaks. Samsung was planning to launch the Exynos chip with AMD graphics next year but the company has allegedly decided to move up the schedule to sometime later this year. That may explain why the chip is already being tested on benchmarking suites, presuming it is the real deal.

Chinese site ITHome says that the GFXBench scores were seen on a Korean forum, making it a hearsay of a hearsay. It pits the still-unnamed Exynos chip with the Apple A12 Bionic used in the 2019 iPhone XS generation. If true, the results are definitely impressive.

The graphics benchmark scores show the in-development Exynos performing almost two times better than the Apple A12 Bionic, at least when taking frame rates into account. There are other GPU benchmarks on mobile, of course, and also other factors to consider before giving the Exynos the graphics crown.

It also bears noting that the Apple chip being compared with is already two generations old. A mobile processor’s overall performance also doesn’t depend solely on CPU or GPU but a combination of both, and two parts coming from different companies could have some growing pains at least in the first iteration.

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