What it’s like to be a robot, the end of potholes, and back office cool (Issue 39)

This is a photo of a tutor from Chatterbox speaking to a language learner.

Welcome to Issue 39 of the All Turtles newsletter. Each week, we bring you carefully chosen news and analysis about AI, startups, and updates from our product teams. If you like this newsletter (we hope you do!), please subscribe or share with a friend.

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Pothole cams

A common critique of San Francisco is that the city ignores problems with infrastructure in favor of the development of its tech sector. Yet there are ways to bridge that gap: researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing an AI system to identify potholes and other issues with public facilities through car-mounted cameras. The cameras will cheaply and efficiently provide data to local governments about what needs maintenance, cutting costs from the current method of having employees find them in person. Potholes, begone!

ReadAI system makes finding potholes cheaper and easier (Phys.org)

 

It’s the little things

Sometimes the seemingly humdrum stories are the ones that deserve the most attention, because they often signal a revolution. Such is the case with how AI is taking over the dull operational tasks in back offices. Surprising research from McKinsey revealed that almost 60-percent of companies that have $1 billion in revenue are making use of robotic automation. Goodbye to the boring menial assignments of a desk job, hello new era of AI.

Read‘The Beginning of a Wave’: A.I. Tiptoes Into the Workplace (New York Times)

 

Talking Heads

When it comes to issues of race and gender, how do people impact AI and how does AI impact people? To answer this question, Stephanie Dinkins has been speaking with a robot since 2014 and working with communities of color to develop more inclusive AI and to promote AI literacy. Her conversations with Bina48, a robotic head modelled on a black woman, challenge common assumptions about gender and race by AI and suggest ways to build more equitable systems.

ListenBonus Episode 7: Her (All Turtles)

 

A fresh start

When refugees arrive in Europe and start looking for work, they typically are constrained to unskilled jobs, as their prior education or work experience is dismissed. Chatterbox, an All Turtles product, aims to give these refugees an opportunity to do skillful work by employing them as language tutors for students and professionals. By teaching their native languages, which range from Spanish to Arabic, they are also able to share their stories and their culture.

ReadSchool where refugees are the teachers (BBC News)

 

Buffering a buzzword

Is AI just a buzzword? In this episode of Rule of Three, Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of All Turtles, provides a three-part answer. He defines AI as a foundational buzzword, one that is about to rewrite the world, and cites “dotcom” and “mobile” as earlier examples of foundational buzzwords.

WatchRule of Three: Is AI Just a Buzzword? (All Turtles)

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