Radical Reads — June 29, 2020

Original article was published on Deep Learning on Medium

Radical Reads — June 29, 2020

Curated deep tech and AI content that humans at Radical are reading and thinking about. Sign up here to have Radical Reads delivered directly to your inbox every week.

1) AI Business Models: Why Global AI companies must be more SaaS than Service (Radical Ventures)

“When it comes to building an AI enterprise software business, founders are often faced with a dilemma: build a software product that generates less revenue per sale but has the potential to scale, versus taking larger short-term revenues that come with requests for customization and services. On an income statement, the former looks like a traditional Software as a Service (SaaS) company, offering similar margins or even higher. The latter has lower margins and is not scalable.”

2) AI Talent: Immigration Policy and the Global Competition for AI Talent (CSET)

“Current immigration policies may undermine the historic strength of the United States in attracting and retaining international AI talent. This report examines the immigration policies of four U.S. economic competitor nations — the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia — to offer best practices for ensuring future AI competitiveness.”

Radical Commentary: In the global competition for AI talent, the U.S. Administration made an important move by temporarily suspending new work visas, including H-1B and L-1 visas. These visas are frequently used by employees with highly specialized knowledge such as software development, engineering, deep learning research and quantum computing.

In our view (and much of the technology industry which has been vocal in its opposition) this policy will severely weaken the U.S. technology sector, which is already struggling to fill critical positions.

Nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Luckily, just across the border in Canada, we have a suite of immigration measures designed to remove barriers for highly qualified people to relocate to the country, including two-week turnaround on visas, accelerated permanent residency for founders of companies, and no caps on the number of visas issued in certain categories.

We encourage anyone who was in the process of obtaining a US work permit, or has one but cannot stay or return to the US to consider Canada. We have fantastic schools and universities, free health care, a technology sector that is growing faster than anywhere else in North America, the NBA champions, the world centre of contemporary music and, of course, delicious maple syrup.

3) Quantum and Communication Security: A step closer to secure global communications (Nature)

“Modern society is driven by the large-scale exchange of information. As a result, secure communication of sensitive data around the world is an increasingly valuable asset. The mathematical toolbox that is widely used for this task can be complemented by applying the principles of quantum physics to enhance the security of the communication link. This approach has highly desirable features, such as protection of the encrypted information from threats that might arise as a consequence of future advances in computational power. However, it also comes with substantial technological challenges in terms of the range of communication possible and the degree of trust in the devices used. Writing in Nature, Yin et al.1 demonstrate that such cryptographic solutions can be deployed over distances exceeding 1,000 kilometres, without compromising the security promised by the underlying quantum technology.”

Radical Commentary: With recent trends in Internet of Things devices and increasing global connectivity, our sensitive personal financial and health data, as well as commercial and national secrets are routinely being transmitted through the Internet. In this context, communication security is of utmost importance.

Cryptography is a longstanding means to secure information — examples survive in cuneiform tablets. Quantum key distribution (QKD) is the best-known and developed application of quantum cryptography. Although QKD is seemingly secure, its application has not been a practical security solution based on challenges such as limited transmission distance and key generation rate. Although some shortcomings persist, the authors’ 1000km result is a milestone toward unlocking the potential of quantum technologies for executing cryptographic tasks at a global scale.

4) Future of Remote Learning: Edtech is surging and parents have some notes (TechCrunch)

“In light of the struggles parents and educators alike are seeing with the current set of online learning tools and their inability to inspire young learners, new edtech startups are thinking about how the future of remote learning might look..”

Radical Commentary: This article discusses both the challenges and opportunities for the future of learning. COVID-19 forced a switch to remote learning solutions for kids and parents. As this widespread change took hold in peoples homes, several underlying issues became clear. These range from video fatigue for kids to balancing childcare with remote work for parents, as well as gaps with existing technologies that were designed for traditional teacher-student interaction. Most importantly, this period of mass scale experimentation exposed wide inequities for students and families. We are actively looking for solutions that apply machine learning to solve these problems and will be writing more about the future of learning in the months to come.

Editor’s Note: We will continue to use this platform to share without commentary articles focused on data and the use of it to illustrate and illuminate racial injustice. Because you cannot fix problems you cannot see or understand.

5) Dust in the Light (Stratechery)

“While red-lining helped shape segregation in many cities, Minneapolis was pre-emptive about its discrimination; beginning in the 1910s Minneapolis real estate deeds started to include “Covenants” that explicitly excluded African Americans. Racial covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1948, but the effect remains. […]

What made the Floyd story different than all of the surely similar examples that went before it is the Internet, specifically the combination of cameras on smartphones and social networks. The former means any incident can be recorded on a whim; the latter means that said recording can be spread worldwide instantly. That is exactly what happened with the Floyd homicide: the initial video was captured on a smartphone and posted on Facebook, triggering a level of attention to the Floyd case that in all likelihood changed the nature of the autopsy and led to the pressing of charges against Chauvin…”

6) These numbers show that black and white people live in two different Americas (Washington Post)

“Numbers can help put American racism in perspective. And here is what the numbers say: The United States is a vastly different country, depending on the color of your skin. For African Americans, hardship begins before birth. The infant mortality rate for blacks, for example, is more than twice that of white Americans.”