This Week In Digital – Week 17, 2019

AI & Twitter to help scientists predict & monitor floods; Google introduces personalized story telling feature; Sparse Transformers made Generative modeling possible. Here’s your weekly update of This Week In Digital covering all the latest tech developments around the world.

Google kills Chrome’s Data Saver extension – Kyle Wiggers, April 23, 2019.

Data Saver, a Chrome browser feature that automatically improves page loading times using “built-in optimizations” and dedicated servers, is no more — at least in name. Google this afternoon announced that it’ll kill off the desktop Data Saver extension and relaunch Data Saver on Android as Lite mode. Data Saver made its debut in March 2013 as part of the Chrome beta release for Android, and it officially arrived in January 2014 with Chrome 32 for Android and iOS.


Generative Modeling with Sparse Transformers – OpenAI, April 23, 2019.

One existing challenge in AI research is modeling long-range, subtle interdependencies in complex data like images, videos, or sounds. The Sparse Transformer incorporates an O(N \sqrt{N})O(NN​) reformulation of the O(N^2)O(N2) Transformer self-attention mechanism, along with several other improvements, to apply it directly to these rich data types. Previously, models used on these data were specifically crafted for one domain or difficult to scale to sequences more than a few thousand elements long.

Machine teaching: How people’s expertise makes AI even more powerful – Jennifer Langston, April 23, 2019.

Most people wouldn’t think to teach five-year-olds how to hit a baseball by handing them a bat and ball, telling them to toss the objects into the air in a zillion different combinations and hoping they figure out how the two things connect. And yet, this is in some ways how we approach machine learning today — by showing machines a lot of data and expecting them to learn associations or find patterns on their own.


Google: What’s in an image: fast, accurate image segmentation with Cloud TPUs – April 24, 2019.

Google designed Cloud TPUs from the ground up to accelerate cutting-edge machine learning (ML) applications, from image recognition, to language modeling, to reinforcement learning. And now, we’ve made it even easier for you to use Cloud TPUs for image segmentation—the process of identifying and labeling regions of an image based on the objects or textures they contain—by releasing high-performance TPU implementations of two state-of-the-art segmentation models, Mask R-CNN and DeepLab v3+ as open source code.


AI identifies skiing techniques through pole data – Kyle Wiggers, April 24, 2019.

AI has lots of useful applications. Take video game design, for example — machine learning systems can generate 3D environments in seconds from a handful of variables. In the civil engineering realm, sophisticated algorithms are being used to coordinate traffic signals with ride-sharing routes.


Google Assistant on Android and iOS gets narrated children’s stories – Kyle Wiggers, April 25, 2019.

Have you heard? This Saturday is Tell a Story Day in the U.S. and U.K., an unofficial holiday dedicated to conjuring up tales and reading books together with friends, family, and loved ones of all ages. To help get folks in the spirit, Google’s bringing Tell Me a Story, a Google Home smart speaker feature that reads aloud stories from popular franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Blaze and the Monster Machines, to Android and iOS devices via Google Assistant.


AI-analyzed tweets could help Europe track floods – Christine Fisher, April 25, 2019.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center is working on a tool that could use tweets and artificial intelligence to collect real-time data on floods. In a paper released on, EU scientists explain how their Social Media for Flood Risk (SMFR) prototype could help emergency responders better understand what’s happening on the ground in flooded areas and determine what trouble spots might need immediate attention.


What Google’s burst of cloud announcements tells us about its overall strategy – Jack Gold, April 27, 2019.

Google recently held its annual Next conference where it made a large number (>122) of both major and minor announcements as it provided guidance on where its cloud platform is headed. The specifics of the announcements have already been covered extensively in the media, but there’s been a less clear idea of the overall strategy they represent.



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