Algorithmia Blog

Emergent // Future Weekly: Speech Recognition Milestone, Open Sourced AI, and Webcams that Break the Internet

Issue 28

This week we check out Microsoft’s speech recognition milestone, how Amazon is developing a drone listens to you, why it’s important to open source AI, and what it means whenwebcams break the internet

And, check out the top projects to try at home, and our favorite articles from the past week are down at the bottom. 

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Speech Recognition Milestone 📢

You Might Have Heard: Microsoft AI research group says its speech recognition tech is now as proficient as humans.

“We’ve reached human parity,” says Microsoft’s chief speech scientist Xuedong Huang in a statement. “This is an historic achievement.”

The 5.9% error rate is about equal to that of professional transcriptionists. Microsoft’s system understands acoustics and details like a speaker’s pitch and how fast or slow they speak.

But Did You Know: Amazon filed a patent for a new drone that can both see and hear you.

The voice-controlled drone is small enough to fit in your pocket, and could act like a personal assistant hovering over you.

There is a gotcha, however: Most of the use cases Amazon describes in the filing aren’t legal since they require flying a drone out of line of sight and in populated areas. Oops. 😔

AI agents like Alexa, Siri, and M will create the first trillion-dollar company.


Open Sourced AI 🤖

The Artificial Intelligence Open Network launched last week to draw attention to the important, under-appreciated AI-related research problems that exist.

AI•ON’s goal is for more open source code getting shipped shipped that has the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the real world by connecting researchers and enabling them to work on applied and fundamental AI research.

We love this, and have long believed that algorithm development is broken.

Algorithm marketplaces can function as the global meeting place for researchers, engineers, and organizations to create, share, and remix algorithmic intelligence at scale.


When Your Webcam Breaks the Internet 👀

Friday’s internet outage was caused by a DDoS attack on DynDNSthat was powered by a Mirai-based botnet of DVRs and webcams.

Twitter, Etsy, Github, Heroku, Spotify and hundreds of other sites were all effected by the attack.

Mirai is malware that turns Linux machines into remotely controlled botnets that can be used in large-scale network attacks.

We’re in a new era of internet attacks powered by everyday devices, the NY Times writes.

Most of the IoT devices used in the attack were produced by the Chinese company Xiongmai.

Weak default passwords are to blame, and Xinogmai said it patched this last September, but some devices are still vulnerable… because who upgrades the firmware on their webcam?

Massive DDoS attacks are undermining the Internet, and Friday’s outages are just the beginning.

Here’s a few choice tweets:


What We’re Reading 📚


Try This At Home 🛠


A depiction of the outages caused by today’s attacks on Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company. 

Emergent Future is a weekly, hand-curated dispatch exploring technology through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. Subscribe here.