Welcome to Issue 32 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.
Before we dive into this week’s stories, we’re excited to tell you that next week marks the official opening of our Paris location. On June 20, we’ll open the doors to our new space at Station F. We hope you’ll come by and say bonjour.
If the robots that initially struggled to assemble IKEA furniture showed us anything, it’s that many of the human abilities we take for granted (like motor skills) can be difficult to replicate in machines. Consider the human ability to focus on one speaking voice at a time in a crowded room. While this may take some effort for a human, it has proved impossible for AI–until now. Researchers at Google trained an AI using videos of two people having a conversation at a cocktail party, and the AI was able to determine which person said what despite the background noise. Cheers to that.
Read: “A new AI can focus on one voice in a crowd” (ScienceNews)
At the All Turtles San Francisco office, we were so invested in the NBA finals that the Warriors’ gametime strategies seeped into our thoughts on company culture. Justin Vandehey, cofounder of All Turtles studio company Disco, wrote a piece about the Warriors’ secret sauce–with ingredients that include humility, praise for good work, and data–and how it can be used in any company. He shoots, he scores.
“Anything can be used for good. Anything can be used for bad.” That was the defense given by Amarjot Singh, the lead scientist developing a drone to identify violent behavior in crowds, when pressed about his project’s potential to infringe on privacy rights. While surveillance drones have good use cases, Singh’s dismissive response raised questions: Can a tool be truly neutral if used for beneficent or malevolent ends? Is so-called neutrality the only standard developers need to meet? We think not. If we learned anything from GDPR, it’s that doing the right thing–protecting user privacy–can and should be built into every product.
Read: “Drones taught to spot violent behavior in crowds using AI” (The Verge)
Motor City motivation
Delane Parnell is a entrepreneur who, even in his youth, fully understood what it meant to work hard–in those days not in the pursuit of accruing wealth, but as a means of survival. Growing up near Detroit’s Seven Mile Road, he says most of his childhood friends have either died or wound up in jail. He was determined to avoid a similar fate, and to help his family as well. At 13, he started working in a MetroPCS store, and four years later, he owned four mobile phone stores. His love of technology eventually led him into the startup world. He recently received the “largest Series A in consumer internet by any African-American” for his eSports company.
Science fiction has long inspired new technologies, from robots to flip phones to artificial intelligence and more. Yet it’s provocative to consider that sci-fi is more often descriptive than predictive. Dystopias can reflect contemporary fears and biases. Utopias may contain robot characters more developed than women characters. Still, the clear path from imagined worlds to today’s tech products is worth celebrating. Speaking of which, this episode marks the end of Season 1. Thanks for listening.
Listen: Episode 32: Galaxy Quest (SoundCloud)
Calling all redditors: join the discussion on our All Turtles subreddit about AI, entrepreneurship, and topics from our podcast at reddit.com/r/AllTurtles.
Tweet of the week
All Turtles is hiring in Tokyo:
All Turtles is hiring in Paris:
All Turtles is hiring in San Francisco:
Leaders is hiring in Paris:
Sunflower Labs is hiring in Zurich:
Please apply, or if anyone you know may be interested, forward this on to them.
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