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The world's first university dedicated to the field of artificial intelligence is set to open its doors to students in Abu Dhabi in January 2021.
The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence is part of the Emirati city state's 50-point plan to diversify its economy for the future.
Trustees includes Dr Kai-Fu Lee, previously of Google China, and Sir Michael Brady, a former director at MIT's AI Lab.
The UAE has a problematic record on human rights. Sir Michael told Business Insider he did not "have anxieties" about the issue.
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In the wake of a three-month delay induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world's first university dedicated to the study of AI is gearing up to welcome its first cohort of students in Abu Dhabi.
The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), named for the city state's crown prince, will open its doors in January 2021. As a new university, students will be entering into something of an experiment. However, the university says it will pick 85 Masters and PhD students after whittling them down from more than 1,400 applicants.
The specialist graduate school is part of Abu Dhabi's wider diversification drive, as it attempts to move away an from oil and gas-based economy to focus more intensely on knowledge and skills.
The US and China continue to dominate developments in AI, thanks to the vast amounts of capital at their disposal. A 2019 report by the Center for Data Innovation found that the US had the most AI startups and the most capital flowing into the sector. China, it found, is rapidly catching up.
Students at MBZUAI take a range of courses on the core components of AI, including "Mathematical Foundations for Artificial Intelligence", "Big Data Processing", "Human and Computer Vision", and "Natural Language and Speech Processing".
Business Insider understands the full syllabus is still being finalized.
All students admitted to the university will receive a full scholarship, plus benefits including a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation.
The university's board of trustees includes Dr Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, and Sir Michael Brady, one-time associate director of the AI Laboratory at MIT.
Speaking to Business Insider, Sir Michael said MBZUAI was "bound together" with the local government's vision for the future.
"We're not trying to build Stanford by the sea," he said. "Abu Dhabi has devised a 50-point strategy to diversify its economy, they knew they wanted to move into a number of new industries, and there were glaring gaps in AI – that's how this college came to be."
In spite of Crown Prince bin Zayed's forward-thinking agenda, the UAE has been riddled with claims of human rights abuses in recent years, with reports of Emirati citizens being disappeared by government agents, the continued use of flogging and stoning as forms of punishment, and censorship of the press.
Asked about the UAE's record on human rights, Sir Michael said: "I've been asked this question by pretty much all of my friends [and] it's not something that I, personally, have anxieties about."
He added: "I am unconvinced that the human rights record of the UAE, which is pretty liberal compared with other countries in the region, is any worse than a number of other countries with which I am extremely familiar."
Last month, MBZUAI signed a deal with Virgin's Hyperloop division to collaborate on researching applications of AI for the transportation industry.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
I have nothing against Google’s Meet videoconferencing platform — I’ve even used it a couple of times with relatives — but I can’t help being annoyed when the feature is pushed at me via other apps. Specifically, Gmail. Meet first appeared on the desktop Gmail app last spring, but it did not take up much space and was reasonably easy to ignore (or remove from your screen, if you so wished).
Now, however, Meet is making its way onto the mobile Gmail app via two tabs which will eventually appear (if they haven’t already) at the bottom of your screen: one labeled “Mail” and one labeled “Meet.” The problem here isn’t only that you’re being pushed to use a particular videoconferencing app while all you want to do is check your email, but it...
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A long one, too. The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the market power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google ran to nearly six hours, accounting for a handful of delays and intermissions. Alternating Democrats and Republicans asked the CEOs of those companies a combined 217 questions, ranging from pointed questions about how Facebook intimidates smaller competitors (from Rep. Pramila Jayapal) to comically self-interested inquiries into why members’ fundraising emails are going to the spam folder (thank you, Rep. Greg Steube.)
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Web scraping has been used to extract data from websites almost from the time the World Wide Web was born. In the early days, scraping was mainly done on static pages – those with known elements, tags, and data. More recently, however, advanced technologies in web development have made the task a bit more difficult. In this article, we’ll explore how we might go about scraping data in the case that new technology and other factors prevent standard scraping. Traditional data scraping As most websites produce pages meant for human readability rather than automated reading, web scraping mainly consisted of… This story continues at The Next Web
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The option to see directions via a cycle share scheme appears under regular bike directions. | Image; Google
Starting today, Google Maps can show you directions using rented bikes from docked bike-share schemes like Citi Bike in New York City or Santander Cycles in London. It works by giving walking directions to get to a nearby dock, cycling directions to get from one dock to another, and finally walking directions once more to get from the dock to your destination. It’s similar to what Google started offering for Lime’s dockless scooters and bikes back in 2018, but for the many docked bike-hire schemes that are available in cities around the world.
The new functionality comes as cities are promoting cycling as a means for people to get around in an environmentally friendly and socially distanced way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Google says...
Keeping your hands clean is a critical component of protection against the spread of the coronavirus.Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is a convenient method of hand hygiene on the go, especially when soap and water ― the more effective way of getting rid of all types of germs ― is not readily available. But just because you spray or squirt some on your hands and give them a quick wipe doesn’t mean your sanitiser is working as best it should. Here are common hand sanitiser mistakes to beware of:1. You don’t use enough hand sanitiser on your hands. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says you need to use enough sanitiser to cover all surfaces of your hands. This is a common mistake people make, said Dr. Zeke J. McKinney, the primary occupational and environmental medicine provider at Minnesota’s HealthPartners Riverway Clinic.“The right way to use it is to basically make sure it covers both of your hands,” he said. “Often people don’t put enough on their palms to do that.“Too much is better than too little. “If you’re worried about using too much, that’s not a problem,” McKinney said.Once sanitiser is on your hands, take the time to cover every crevice. The World Health Organization said this should take 20-30 seconds, and it offers step-by-step instructions on the proper technique:Thomas Russo, chief of the infectious disease division at the University of Buffalo in New York, said not covering your whole hand is the biggest risk with hand-sanitiser use.“You get the palm side of your fingers. You’ll get your fingertips, but you won’t get the other side, or between the fingers and the outside of the thumbs,” Russo said. “You have to make sure you get all those other parts.”2. You don’t wait for the hand sanitiser to dry. The CDC says you should rub your hands together for about 20 seconds until they feel dry.If you don’t wait for that, you can “essentially end up wiping it off on something, and then it’s not really doing its job,” McKinney said. The time that it’s sitting on your hands is when it’s working to inactivate certain bacteria and viruses, he added. Russo said rubbing the hand sanitiser dry is good because it also encourages people to thoroughly rub it onto every surface of their hand. 3. You’re only relying on hand sanitiser and not storing it safely. You may be in need of clean hands after handling messy food or playing sports. But spritzing hand sanitiser should not replace thoroughly cleaning your hands with soap and water when there’s grit or grease on them. If there is “dirt covering part of your hand, that hand sanitiser cannot really effectively get to the surface of your hand,” McKinney said. “The reason scrubbing your hands, like washing hands, is more effective, is because you get the mechanical action of getting off bacteria by virtue of scrubbing.“Recognise that using hand sanitiser properly is an effective way to slow the potential spread of the coronavirus, but it should not be the only preventative measure you are taking. “People think [hand sanitiser] is a reasonable replacement for washing your hands, but it definitely is not,” McKinney said. “Washing your hands is by far the best thing.”Also keep in mind where you store your hand sanitiser. Russo warned that you should keep it away from children, citing a rise in cases of kids being poisoned from ingesting it. And remember to wear your mask. Covid-19 is believed to primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. “If I get to choose one thing, I choose a mask, and I’ll let my hands go dirty,” Russo said. Related...
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Major US tech and investment firms including Facebook — and possibly Google — are investing a collective $15 billion in Indian tech firm Jio Platforms.
Jio Platforms saw explosive growth by luring Indians online for the first time with free or cheap mobile data and has now become India's biggest telecoms firm with almost 400 million subscribers.
These Indians are swarming onto US apps like YouTube and Facebook for the first time, a phenomenon called the "Jio effect", bringing user growth and revenue.
This flock of new users has had cultural side-effects, with the Indian music label T-Series overtaking the YouTube star PewDiePie in 2019 to become the YouTube channel with the most subscribers.
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The "Jio effect" is little known outside India, but it's already reshaped the way Silicon Valley does business.
The phenomenon is named after Jio, a mobile-network operator that launched in 2016 with extremely cheap data plans and successfully lured millions of Indians online for the first time.
Jio went from having zero customers to becoming the biggest mobile operator in the world, with nearly 400 million subscribers. To put this in context, Jio's customer base is about as big as the entire US population.
Jio's radical move was this: making 4G available to millions of Indians for free in 2016. It began charging nominal amounts for data in 2017 and, by then, the Indian appetite for internet content knew no bounds in part thanks to the availability of budget Android smartphones. Initially, Jio made no money, but it has now become profitable.
Jio is owned by tech company Jio Platforms and was founded by the Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Jio Platforms is itself a subsidiary of giant Indian conglomerate Reliance, of which Ambani is chairman and largest shareholder.
The firm's ambitions have attracted interest from the major US tech firms, who see the "Jio effect" of new users and growth on their own businesses as a whole new user base discovers apps and content.In 2020, Jio Platforms raised more than $15.2 billion from international backers including Facebook, which funnelled $5.7 billion into Jio Platforms in April, as well as Qualcomm, KKR, and many other investors.
Google is reportedly close to investing $4 billion into Jio Platforms.
Mukesh Ambani is, at the time of writing, the sixth richest person in the world with a net worth of $72.4 billion, making him richer than Google's founders or Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
"Jio has changed the consumption habits for hundreds of millions of consumers," Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, told Business Insider.
Shah estimates that thanks to Jio's pricing, Indians have gone from consuming just 700 MB of data per month to 11 GB. This would let you watch about 30 episodes of "Game of Thrones."
"You can get around 28 GB of data for just a couple of dollars," Shah said. "And in that sense, once you have cheaper data and a smartphone, you're going to consume more content."
Unlike the West, Indian smartphone adoption is still growing in the double digits as people buy their first internet-connected devices. "More and more people are using smartphones as their first device, unlike developed markets where the PC is the first device," Shah said.
This is significant. According to Pew Research, about 81% of Americans own a smartphone, meaning there isn't much room to grow. The smartphone probably isn't their first internet-connected device either.
Most consumers outside India won't have really noticed what this means for the wider internet, but one incident really put the Jio effect on the map: the battle in 2019 between the Indian record label T-Series and the popular Swedish gaming vlogger PewDiePie to become the YouTube channel with the most subscribers.
T-Series is a long-established Indian record label, producing music videos in various Indian languages and highly successful blockbuster films, all directed at the home market. It's historically been little-known outside India, except among the diaspora.
PewDiePie, by contrast, is a 29-year-old gaming vlogger and representative of a specific Western YouTube demographic — the self-referential, meme-loving, and occasionally offensive gamer.
Up until March 2018, PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, was by far the most popular YouTuber and the inspiration for hundreds of other smaller creators who riffed off his offbeat humor and occasionally tasteless pranks.
Read more: How T-Series went from making cassette tapes to dethroning PewDiePie and becoming the biggest channel on YouTube
But the cumulative effect of millions of Indians discovering their favorite Bollywood music on YouTube kicked in, and T-Series became the most popular YouTube channel in May 2019. It has continued to cement its lead, with approximately 145 million subscribers to PewDiePie's 105 million subscribers.
Because cheap bandwidth is essentially unlimited, Indians are treating YouTube as their de facto streaming service, according to Shah. With access to the internet for the first time, they're turning to YouTube to find their favorite Indian-language songs.
"Most users have warmed up to YouTube to consume content, not just video, but music," he said. "They are going to YouTube rather than Spotify. People like T-Series or Star Network are seeing growth in video as well as music content."
Neeraj Kalyan, the president of T-Series, told Business Insider in 2019: "The recent growth of internet in India has increased the consumption of Indian content and, because of the decreased data costs, increased internet penetration, and higher bandwidth, this has been a real catalyst.
"In 2016, there was mobile internet available in tier one or tier two cities, but now it's in tier three to tier five cities and villages, which had never experienced internet. So now the consumer is excited, and he's experimenting with everything, and it's resulted in an increase in consumption."
It isn't just YouTube. India is now producing its own Silicon Valley-style internet giants, such as the retail firm Flipkart — majority acquired by Walmart for $16 billion — the online supermarket Grofers, the payment firm Paytm, and the Uber rival Ola.
Silicon Valley is also feeling the Jio effect.
Facebook, for example, began talking about the Jio effect indirectly in 2016.
The firm first mentioned the effect of cheap data in India on its 2016 third-quarter earnings call when chief financial officer Dave Wehner said: "We're seeing the introduction of low price data plans in markets like India and Mexico contributing [to user growth]."
Facebook would continue to talk about the effect of India's "promotional free data plans" on its user growth in every subsequent earnings call for a year. And the firm has described India as its biggest growth market in every quarter since the third quarter of 2016, according to call transcripts analyzed by Business Insider.
Google is also playing nice with Jio. CEO Sundar Pichai attended the wedding of Akash Ambani, the son of Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, earlier this year.
And Google has been flagging the massive growth in Indian Android users since early 2017, not long after the launch of Reliance Jio.
Google said there were more than 300 million new Android users from markets such as India and Brazil. At the beginning of 2019, the firm said India was the fastest-growing market for YouTube. Its companion app, YouTube Music, had more than 15 million downloads.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why you don't see brilliantly blue fireworks
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