Looking outside the box: IBM halts facial recognition, journalists replaced by AI, and navigating the high volume of COVID-19-related articles

This week in artificial intelligence (AI) news, we take a look at IBM’s decision to halt the development of facial recognition software, Microsoft using an AI systems to replace teams of journalists who curate news stories for its website MSN.com, and sifting through the extremely high volume of articles and research being published on COVID-19.

IBM’s recent decision to stop developing and selling facial recognition technology is being praised by the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL). Privacy issues aside, this technology, especially used by police and law enforcement, “has been used to undermine human rights, and to harm Black people specifically, as well as Indigenous people and other People of Color,” states the AJL’s founder, Joy Buolamwini. The AJL is calling on other industry players to follow IBM’s lead and for the increased transparency and external accountability of companies operating in the area of facial recognition technology. Read more on this topic in this article from Medium.com.

US tech company Microsoft currently uses a team of contract journalists to help curate stories and headlines from various news organizations for its MSN website; however, this is about to change. Microsoft is re-evaluating this area of their business and plans to use an artificial intelligence system to replace this team of journalists in the selection and presentation of news articles, resulting in around fifty people losing their jobs. Read more on this story from BBC.com by clicking here.

With the news dominated by COVID-19, one can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of articles and information, and the scientific articles are no exception. According to a recent article from nature, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) COVID-19 Portfolio, which is a website that tracks all papers related to the coronavirus disease, has listed over 28,000 articles. But have no fear! There are AI tools being developed which may help researchers and clinicians sift through these thousands of papers. Read more on these tools and their development in this article on Nature.com.


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