Why you should attend Brainstorm A.I.

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly enmeshed in our daily lives. Consider Instacart and Doordash, whose A.I.-powered food-delivery apps played a vital role for many of their customers during the pandemic.

Those are just two businesses out of the hundreds that I could cite. As Fortune’s chief Alan Murray wrote, companies are undergoing “the great digital acceleration,” a race to muscle up on tech including artificial intelligence.

For a deep dive on the use of A.I. in business, you’ll want to attend Fortune’s inaugural conference specifically about the technology: Brainstorm A.I., to be held Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. in Boston. The event will feature lessons learned from the executives spearheading corporate A.I. projects and from researchers developing the cutting-edge technology.

Moderna co-founder and chairman Dr. Noubar Afeyan will discuss the promise of A.I. in healthcare, while Stanley Black & Decker CEO Jim Loree will explain how he and his tool company’s A.I. chief, Dr. Mukesh Dalal, are using machine learning to turbocharge their business.

Amazon senior vice president and head scientist of Alexa Artificial Intelligence Rohit Prasad will explain how A.I. can help companies tailor their services to individual customers. Meanwhile, Levi Strauss senior vice president, and chief strategy and artificial intelligence officer Katia Walsh will share her secrets about using machine learning to better engage with customers.

Honeywell chief digital technologies officer Sheila Jordan and Athina Kanioura, executive vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer PepsiCo, will talk about using A.I. to remake their giant legacy businesses.  

Also, a panel focusing on the ethical considerations of A.I. will feature leading A.I. ethicist Margaret Mitchell, formerly of Google, and now at A.I. firm Hugging Face; Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, director of machine learning ethics, transparency, and accountability at Twitter; and Sony AI senior research scientist Alice Xiang.

We’d love for you to join us at Brainstorm A.I. If interested in attending, please apply here.

Jonathan Vanian 


China heralds A.I. ethics. China, through the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology, has released a set of ethical guidelines governing the use of A.I., calling for the technology to be “controllable and trustworthy,” the South China Morning Post reported. The report cited the opinion of an analyst at the German think tank Mercator Institute for China Studies who said the guidelines represent “a clear message to tech giants that have built entire business models on recommendation algorithms.”

Intel’s new chip brains. Intel detailed its latest version of so-called neuromorphic hardware called Loihi, a kind of computer chip that’s designed to work similar to how neurons inside a human brain pass information to one another via “spiking” signals, tech publication Ars Technica reported. The new hardware works well with a kind of neural network, or software that learns, called a “spiking neural network.” Researchers are excited because the spiking neural network only activates at certain times when it receives information, thus saving energy, among other feats. Still, Intel’s new hardware is still a research project, and its widespread use will depend heavily on A.I. researchers who can develop the software needed to easily manipulate spiking neural networks.

A.I. for detecting art fraud. Researchers at the Swiss company Art Recognition used deep learning to analyze the painting Samson and Delilah and determine whether the artwork was indeed painted by artist Peter Paul Rubens, The Guardian reported. According to researcher Dr Carina Popovici, “The algorithm has returned a 91% probability for the artwork not being authentic.”

Amazon’s new Astro robot. Amazon last week debuted the Astro home robot, which uses computer-vision technology to help it recognize and react to people’s faces. It’s unclear if the robot will catch on with consumers, given that home robots haven’t historically been big sellers. But Amazon vice president of product Charlie Tritschler said that the new robot is merely “version one,” and the online retail giant plans to continue building more sophisticated models.  


AMD hired Lynn Comp as corporate vice president of the semiconductor firm’s cloud business group, reported tech publication CRN. Comp previously spent over 20 years at Intel, most recently as vice president of the company’s data platforms group.

1Password picked Pedro Canahuati to be the security company’s first chief technology officer, according to a report by tech publication VentureBeat. Canahuati was previously the vice president of security and privacy engineering at Facebook, where he worked for over a decade.  

Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that oversees the “.org” Internet domain, chose Rick Wilhelm as CTO. Wilhelm was previously the vice president of platform management at Internet communications firm Verisign.


Do people trust medical A.I.? Academics from Rotterdam School of Management and the Questrom School of Business at Boston University published a paper in Nature Human Behavior about how well people understand and trust A.I. systems used in healthcare to make medical decisions. The authors found that while people don’t trust A.I. systems for certain medical decisions, they also tend to overestimate their ability to understand how human doctors make their decisions.

In a Harvard Business Review article about their paper, the authors write,“ Consumers are also reluctant to utilize medical AI because they erroneously believe they better understand how humans make medical decisions.”

A.I. as creator of super malware. Researchers from Microsoft published a paper about using A.I. to develop a kind of malware that learns to evade malware-detection services, posing potential security threats. This type of adaptable malware would pose problems for companies, because there’s a lack of available training data to help modern A.I. malware detection services hunt this malicious software.

The paper was presented at the 2021 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks.


Need an umbrella? Now DeepMind’s A.I. can tell you—By Jeremy Kahn

Tech leaders share their secrets for making A.I. projects successful—By Jonathan Vanian

Why Instacart’s new CEO is also launching a women’s health startup—By Maria Aspan

Beijing’s crackdown on teen gamers is about more than screen time—By Grady McGregor

Firefighters enlist high-tech tools to stave off the West’s increasingly destructive blazes—By Kevin T. Dugan


A.I. to discourage gambling? My Eye on A.I. colleague Jeremy Kahn wrote an interesting article about A.I. technologies developed by the U.K. online gambling company Entain to “discourage problem gambling.” The proposed A.I. system, called Advanced Responsibility & Care (ARC), is “designed to use machine learning to spot warning signs of problematic betting behavior before a player gets into trouble,” Kahn writes. The company hopes that this gambling—deterring tech will help it avoid regulation.

From the article:

ARC allows the company to intervene with players in real time, while they are using a betting app, suggesting they set a deposit limit or take a break, says Grainne Hurst, Entain’s director of regulation and safer gaming. If the player ignores warnings, the company can, again in real time, cut the player off, preventing the person from betting at all for a 24-hour period. It can then impose further 24-hour breaks, or ban them from using the app completely, if the problem behavior persists. These real-time interventions have already been rolled out across some, but not all, of Entain’s U.K. brands.

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