AI raising kids, making music, and perpetuating biases (Issue 20)

Welcome to Issue 20 of the All Turtles newsletter. Each week, we bring you carefully chosen news and analysis about AI, startups, and happenings at the All Turtles startup studio. If you like this newsletter (we hope you do!), please subscribe or share with a friend.

Girl, put your AI on, tell me your favorite song

Is Amazon headed to the Grammys? Not quite, but it is giving Alexa the ability to play AI-generated music, and so far nearly all reviews of the songs have been positive and reveal a fascination with AI. Powered by DeepMusic, the tunes have a robotic quality to them, so they likely won’t be popping up on curated Spotify playlists anytime soon. Even so, building a feature into a voice assistant to let people experience the melodic musings of AI is a step toward broadening public perception of the technology’s nascent creativity, and furthering the discussion about what constitutes art…ificial intelligence.

Read: This new Alexa skill will play music generated by artificial intelligence (The Verge)

Introducing Edwin’s 1:1 language instruction and test prep

All Turtles is pleased to share an announcement about a new product from Edwin, one of our studio companies. Edwin combines the power of machine learning with access to on-demand human tutors to deliver private instruction to each user. The new Tactics & Practice course for TOEFL is a high-performance course for upper-intermediate (B2) and higher-level students preparing for this common English language proficiency exam. Edwin is committed to delivering effective and convenient personalized English language tutoring to each user at an affordable price.

Read: Introducing Edwin: Personalized and accessible English language tutoring (All Turtles)

Mama and Papa AI

What’s a new parent to do? They’re bombarded with advice about caring for their child from books, TV, and of course, the Internet. But none of these resources can take a kid’s specific needs into account. Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist and entrepreneur, has developed what may be a better way to guide parents. Her app is called Muse, and it uses AI to provide personalized advice to parents. While other parenting apps focus on helping parents teach their kids skills like math and literacy, Muse aims to help parents nurture traits like self-control, persistence, and emotional regulation. Muse’s methods have raised some privacy questions, but the value of helping parents teach their kids soft skills is, well, worth musing about.

Read: Can an AI-powered bot help parents raise better humans? (Quartz)

And justice for all

DoNotPay is a chatbot that has helped people beat more than 500,000 parking tickets and can now help you get a lower airfare after you’ve booked a flight. We talk with the startup’s founder and CEO Josh Browder about helping refugees apply for visas and his vision for a lawyer-free future. Phil Libin, Blaise Zerega, and guest host Cathy Dinas recap a trip to Japan, debate the portrayal of AI in the Netflix series Black Mirror, and consider whether hiring a PR firm early in a product’s life cycle is really just, well, BS.

Listen: Episode 20: A Few Good Bots (SoundCloud)

PrAId and Prejudice

Here’s a fact that we can’t repeat enough: people are biased, and therefore the AI they create may reproduce those biases. Already, studies on predictive policing show that it perpetuates discriminatory practices, and AI may do the same in industries like insurance and banking. The risks of AI-influenced inequity will be especially threatening for middle and low income countries, as Erica Kochi, co-founder of UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, forewarns. Identifying and removing these data-driven prejudices is no small task, but Kochi has outlined tangible measures that can minimize their impact.

Read: AI is already learning how to discriminate (Quartz)

Fools rush in, right?

For many industries, AI is a relatively new concept, and isn’t something all businesses are rushing to adopt. The cause of their reluctance: a perceived lack of ROI. There are other obstacles, too. Most companies encounter steep technical challenges when transforming information into actionable data. Often, there’s also an underlying resistance to innovation. Yet admitting there’s a problem is, as they say, the first step toward a solution.

Read: Who’s afraid of practical AI? What businesses need to know (All Turtles)

Tweet of the week

VC Aileen Lee makes a plea.

Work at All Turtles and our studio companies

All Turtles is hiring in San Francisco:

Sunflower Labs is hiring in Zurich:

Please apply, or if anyone you know may be interested, forward this on to them.

That’s all for now. If you have any feedback, just hit reply — we read every message.