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Opinion | America’s Risky Approach to Artificial Intelligence
October 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tim Wu
Mr. Wu is the author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.”

The brilliant 2014 science fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem,” by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin, depicts the fate of civilizations as almost entirely dependent on winning grand races to scientific milestones. Someone in China’s leadership must have read that book, for Beijing has made winning the race to artificial intelligence a national obsession, devoting billions of dollars to the cause and setting 2030 as the target year for world dominance. Not to be outdone, President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently declared that whoever masters A.I. “will become the ruler of the world.”..... if there is even a slim chance that the race to build stronger A.I. will determine the future of the world — and that does appear to be at least a possibility — the United States and the rest of the West are taking a surprisingly lackadaisical and alarmingly risky approach to the technology........The plan seems to be for the American tech industry, which makes most of its money in advertising and selling personal gadgets, to serve as champions of the West. Those businesses, it is hoped, will research, develop and disseminate the most important basic technologies of the future. Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are formidable entities, with great talent and resources that approximate those of small countries. But they don’t have the resources of large countries, nor do they have incentives that fully align with the public interest...... The history of computing research is a story not just of big corporate laboratories but also of collaboration and competition among civilian government, the military, academia and private players both big (IBM, AT&T) and small (Apple, Sun)......Some advocates of more A.I. research have called for a “Manhattan project” for A.I. — but that’s not the right model. The atomic bomb and the moon rocket were giant but discrete projects. In contrast, A.I. is a broad and vague set of scientific technologies that encompass not just recent trends in machine learning but also anything else designed to replicate or augment human cognition.....the United States government should broadly fund basic research and insist on broad dissemination..... the United States needs to support immigration laws that attract the world’s top A.I. talent. The history of breakthroughs made by start-ups also suggests the need for policies, like the enforcement of antitrust laws and the defense of net neutrality, that give small players a chance.... the computer scientist and entrepreneur Kai-Fu Lee, in his book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order,” describes a race between China and Silicon Valley, as if the latter were the sum total of Western science in this area. In the future, when we look back at this period, we may come to regret the loss of a healthy balance between privately and publicly funded A.I. research in the West, and the drift of too much scientific and engineering talent into the private sector.
antitrust  ARPA  artificial_intelligence  Beijing  Bell_Labs  Big_Tech  China  China_Rising  FAANG  high-risk  immigration  industrial_policies  Kai-Fu_Lee  Manhattan_project  publicly_funded  R&D  risks  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  talent  Tim_Wu  Vladimir_Putin  Xerox 
8 days ago by jerryking
Lunacy India’s government is pouring money into dung
When it comes to government funding, cows have jumped over the moon.On september 7th mission control in Bengaluru lost contact with an Indian-designed and -built lunar probe mere seconds before it was supposed to land. Some Indians were consoled by the fact that their country had nearly pulled off an extraordinarily complex mission on a shoestring budget. But others asked why the budget was quite so pinched.As a proportion of gdp—0.6%—public spending on research and development has not budged in 20 years. That is one of the lowest figures among big economies. Since 2015 the largest state funding agency, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has seen its budget decline in real terms. The government wants it to attract private money. Yet firms are even stingier: India’s top companies spend barely half a percent of their income on r&d.A particular focus, since the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) took power in 2014, has been on promoting ancient Indian science and medicine.Scientists also describe mounting pressure to propose work on gomutra (cows’ urine) or panchagavya (a mixture of milk, yogurt, clarified butter, urine and dung), so as to win funding from a recently created government board tasked with “validating” the beneficial qualities of all things bovine. A newly created National Cow Commission has pledged to fund up to 60% of startup capital for businesses that commercialise panchagavya.
Economist  India  oddly  Hinduism  R&D 
28 days ago by thomas.kochi
Two MIT Economists Share A Bold Plan To Jump-Start The Economy In New Book
April 9, 2019 | Boston Public Radio | By Arjun Singh

On paper, America’s economy seems to be excelling. In March, the economy added 196,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate sat at 3.8 percent. Meanwhile, American startups like Uber and Pinterest are expected to go public with multi-million or higher valuations. But MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson believe this hides a darker truth about the American economy: It’s slowly falling behind the rest of the world.

In their new book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” Gruber and Johnson lay out their plan for how the United States can reclaim its mantle as a leader in not just gross domestic product, but also innovation and science. The key, they say, is government investment and encouragement in the scientific sector.......The economists are optimistic, however, that the United States can regain its lead and eventually develop a robust economy that sees economic growth and investment in the sciences. And not just in places like Boston or San Francisco, but throughout the rest of the country, where Johnson says there is a wealth of untapped talent and potential. They estimate there are at least 102 potential scientific hubs scattered across the U.S.

“The coastal superstar cities have become extremely expensive, but there’s a tremendous amount of talent spread across the U.S.,” Johnson said. “Good living conditions also matter. People also want to live in a place [with a] good climate, much better commute times than you have in the megacities, and low crime rates. Those are our very simple, transparent criteria.”..... public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy.
books  breakthroughs  coastal  competitiveness_of_nations  economists  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  MIT  NSF  public_investments  R&D  science  Simon_Johnson  spillover  superstars  U.S. 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Are Incubators Only For Big Law? Austrian Firms Show Collaboration Is The Answer – Artificial Lawyer
By pooling resources between seven firms, and then bringing in the support of local universities and other bodies, the law firms (see below), which include major local brands such as Dorda, Schönherr and Wolf Theiss, have been able to put together what they may not have been able to do on their own.

For example, although Dorda is a well-known and leading firm in Austria and the region, it has less than 100 lawyers in total – and devoting fee earner time to creating and running an incubator would be a strain. But, if you combine a firm of this size with the firms below, then they have the resources of a far larger business.

Although the LTHV doesn’t appear to have gone down that road yet, another opportunity here could be to pool anonymised contract data to help NLP/ML start-ups – something that Singapore is planning to do.

Overall, this collaborative approach could be a model for law firms in other parts of the world that also want to explore working directly with start-ups and scale-up legal tech companies, but that feel limited in terms of resources. 
innovation  firms  incubator  r&d  collaboration 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Forum Magazine: A Safe Space for Innovation — Law Firms Creating “Captive ALSPs” | Legal Executive Institute
oday’s market for alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) has become larger, quickly growing and more broadly adopted by clients looking for more nimble or lower cost options to law firms alone.

In response to clients’ needs, ALSPs are leveraging different business models, emerging in all shapes and sizes from the Big Four accounting firms to small, tech-savvy disruptors, according to a new report on the sector from Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, in partnership with Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, and legal research firm Acritas.

One of these new formations — captive ALSPs — has seen law firms seek to regain their competitive edge in the market by essentially creating in-house ALSPs that can allow the firm to pitch a wider range of services to clients and offer oversight of the work while keeping costs low. Indeed, this was the first year the report measured the impact of captive ALSPs, and it found that the new model was making “headway among law firms of all sizes in both the US and the UK.” Further, when captives are included in ALSP market totals, “the scope of the alternative legal services model and market expands significantly,” the report notes.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, said captive ALSPs were included in the report totals this year because they’ve grown very quickly and are becoming quite commonplace within the market. “Among the large law firms, if they don’t already have an in-house ALSP, then they are looking at having one,” Hart Shepherd says. As part of the report, Acritas conducted telephone interviews with representatives of 35 ALSPs located in the US, UK, and other countries. While law firms were not willing to release the revenue or growth figures for their captive units, some noted that the units had staff that numbered in the hundreds of employees.
newlaw  subsidiaries  r&d  innovation  firms 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
'This Is Not Greenberg Traurig': Firm Leader Touts New Innovation Venture | The American Lawyer
Greenberg Traurig chair Richard Rosenbaum recognizes that the traditional full-service law firm can’t do everything.

For clients’ primary needs—excellence in core legal areas—they’re not looking anywhere else. But when it comes to so-called “commoditized” work, they have an increasing set of options, and law firms will invariably struggle to keep up with the technology needed to compete.
His firm announced this week it was founding a subsidiary, Recurve, that will partner with artificial intelligence providers, staffing firms, real estate innovators and other startups to guide clients as well as other law firms in taking advantage of the growing range of services available. The idea is to be “innovation architects,” who identify client needs and guide them toward solutions, but won’t execute them or engage in the practice of law.

The initiative will be run out of Warsaw, Poland; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Denver, and will also include operations in strategically selected locations like Austin, Texas; Berlin; and South Florida. The 2,000-attorney firm has existing offices in all of these locations.
Rosenbaum spoke Wednesday with The American Lawyer about his vision for Recurve and what is novel about the offering.

In your own words, what is Recurve?

Over time we obviously have seen the evolution of both technology and other forms of staffing, artificial intelligence and other value-enhancing ways of addressing so-called repetitive and commoditized aspects of legal work. Because of that, there has arisen a lot of capital spending and business units within law firms, with limited success for the most part. It’s very hard to keep up with the cutting edge.
innovation  r&d  offshore  process 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
VW Group Acquires Blackberry R&D Center, Launches Infotainment Arm
The Volkswagen Group is taking over BlackBerry’s European research and development center in Bochum, Germany, buying the Canadian telecommunications company’s assets, which include those of software developer QNX. via Pocket
automotive  connected  r&d 
june 2019 by thewavingcat
The UK's Top Legal Tech Incubators: A Firm-By-Firm Guide | Legaltech News
This year alone has seen Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and Ashurst all launch new initiatives. Even Barclays and PwC have taken interest with their own legal-tech focused programs.
The benefit for law firms is that they get in at the ground level with high-growth (and potentially high fee-generating) clients, or they can boost their own practices by bringing their technology in-house.

But you would be forgiven for losing track of which firm has done what. Here, Legal Week rounds up the main incubator-style programs run by U.K. Top 50 firms.
r&d  innovation 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
Greenberg Traurig Announces the Founding of "Recurve": A First-of-its-Kind Global Shared Services Platform Transforming the Delivery of Tech, Staffing, Space, and Other Support Services for the Legal Industry | News | Greenberg Traurig LLP
Recurve's core focus areas are intended to include innovations in technology solutions, artificial intelligence, project management, alternative staffing, novel space innovations and other developing aides for lawyers and clients which do not involve the actual practice of law. 

“Recurve will work outside the traditional legal model to provide previously unavailable tools and efficiencies in the legal ecosystem, bringing together diverse talents and resources across the globe in a collaborative platform aimed at industry-wide innovation to help attorneys and clients adapt to the rapidly changing legal landscape,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig. “We are pleased to establish this unique and nimble business, initially as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenberg Traurig. Utilizing investments by strategic partners involved in its core disciplines and other equity investors experienced in the space to fund its capital requirements and operational needs, Recurve is intended to become the first law-firm founded, third-party financed global collaboration platform solely focused on creative innovation in the support of the delivery of legal services.”

Recurve will be staffed by a lean and experienced team of innovation "architects", well versed in client needs, the advantages of the traditional law firm model and the wide array of growing resources in the legal innovation marketplace. This team will serve as the point of contact for Recurve's clients to identify their needs and design appropriate solutions; but it will not itself execute them or otherwise engage in legal practice. 
innovation  offshoring  r&d 
june 2019 by JordanFurlong
JavaScript End to End Testing Framework | Cypress.io
Fast, easy and reliable testing for anything that runs in a browser. Install Cypress in seconds and take the pain out of front-end testing.
r&d  testing  javascript 
may 2019 by jdaihl
keycastr/keycastr: KeyCastr, an open-source keystroke visualizer
KeyCastr, an open-source keystroke visualizer. Contribute to keycastr/keycastr development by creating an account on GitHub.
keyboard  mac  screencast  r&d 
may 2019 by jdaihl

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