The AI Incident Database Catalogs AI Errors

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The threat Artificial Intelligence holds is unknown and many people are rightfully concerned about the potential harm that AI can cause. The AI Incident Databaseo help us as a society to think through how we should regulate AIs by tracking any problematic issue that has been raised by the actions (or inaction) of an AI. Anyone can submit an incident and anyone can explore the database. In time this should become a very informative resource for researchers and policy makers.

The AI Incident Database is dedicated to indexing the collective history of harms or near harms realized in the real world by the deployment of artificial intelligence systems. Like similar databases in aviation and computer security, the AI Incident Database aims to learn from experience so we can prevent or mitigate bad outcomes.

You are invited to submit incident reports, whereupon submissions will be indexed and made discoverable to the world. Artificial intelligence will only be a benefit to people and society if we collectively record and learn from its failings.

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Collision 2023 Day 3

The final day of Collision conference and there are still more startups to write about. It’s neat that there are so many companies looking to address the UN SDGs!

Loop wants to be the so called middleman, and that’s good. They are on a mission to make it super easy and simple to buy/sell children’s items from other parents in your local community. They will literally handle pickup and delivery of kids items you want to resell.

Everyone knows we need to get cars off the road, and one way to do that is to encourage car sharing instead of car owning. RideALike is a new car share company with a slightly different business model similar to AirBnB.

Future Fields genetically modifies fruit flies to produce proteins and other biomolecules. The output can then be used to make vaccines, insulin, or other useful bio products. This is a really neat approach to speeding up production of biomolecules and doing so in a green fashion. The CEO of the company told me that the fruit flies can’t escape because they are genetically engineered to have curved wings.

Today I had to park at a bike rack further away from the entrance. It’s good to see so many people using two wheels to attend Collision. Let’s hope for more bike parking next year.

Collision 2023 Day 2

I’m back at Collision Conference for another day of finding startups doing good in the world. Let’s see what today brings.

Ensogo provides a system for teams to track and ensure they are meeting their ESG and sustainability goals. They do this by breaking down an abstract goal like better gender parity into concrete actions organizations can take.

Fenri focuses on ensuring clean water and proper wastewater treatment. They use a combination of sensors and cameras to monitor water systems in real time. This helps companies and governments better plan and react to changes in their water system. Their system can connect to government monitoring regulators too.

South Pole is a sustainability consulting firm to help other companies achieve their sustainable goals. They provide carbon offsets and insights into how companies can best reduce their carbon footprint.

Despite the smoke from the wildfires the bike racks were yet again full.

Collision 2023 Day 1

I’m at Collision conference today in Toronto looking for some cool new good things to share. I’ll update this post as I find stuff.

A record-breaking 30 percent of startups this year at Collision are women-founded.

The first company that’s a good one is Unwrapit. They want gift giving to be more about experiences tHan physical artifacts.

We believe that giving gifts and making a positive impact can be one and the same. That reaching out, saying thank you, and providing an engaging and branded experience can be seamless. That receiving corporate gifts from a client, your employer, or at an event, doesn’t have to feel corporate at all.

Smart Cocoon sets to optimize HVAC in your house be utilizing some tiny fans. They’ve created a smart fan system that boosts the airflow from your furnace to the whole house.

GoParity funds good projects by using the power of the crowd. Each project must be related to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They tell me they have funded some solar projects in Portugal among others. Check it out!

Muuvment helps corporations engage their workers in making a meaningful impact on the planet. The system relies on self reporting from employees to see a company wide impact. By celebrating the good work everyone in the company keeping their employees engaged.

Homestozero are on a mission to get 10.5 homes in Canada to net zero as quickly as possible. They’re a service that helps homeowners understand the current state of their home and gives personalized advice on to get to gas zero.

Earthnet connects AI with experts to help craft projects from idea to impact around climate action projects. What’s more the site will help connect projects with potential finders.

Sponge Microgrids helps small renewable producers stay active and live. They use a suite of tools to help micro grid operators predict and control energy production. This may sound boring but is crucial to moving to a fully renewable energy grid.

Lastly, Collision needs more bike parking for all the eco conscious attendees.

Machine Learning Improves Enzyme Eating Plastic

A bacteria that eats plastic may sound too good to be true since we have so much plastic waste littering the planet. The rouble with plastic eating bacterias is that they aren’t efficient nor can they survive long outside the lab. So a research team turned to machine learning, or AI, to create a new enzyme that helps bacteria break down plastic. Of course, the best approach to eliminating plastic waste is not to use plastic in the first place.

Here’s the abstract:

Plastic waste poses an ecological challenge and enzymatic degradation offers one, potentially green and scalable, route for polyesters waste recycling. Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) accounts for 12% of global solid waste, and a circular carbon economy for PET is theoretically attainable through rapid enzymatic depolymerization followed by repolymerization or conversion/valorization into other products. Application of PET hydrolases, however, has been hampered by their lack of robustness to pH and temperature ranges, slow reaction rates and inability to directly use untreated postconsumer plastics11. Here, we use a structure-based, machine learning algorithm to engineer a robust and active PET hydrolase. Our mutant and scaffold combination (FAST-PETase: functional, active, stable and tolerant PETase) contains five mutations compared to wild-type PETase (N233K/R224Q/S121E from prediction and D186H/R280A from scaffold) and shows superior PET-hydrolytic activity relative to both wild-type and engineered alternatives12 between 30 and 50?°C and a range of pH levels. We demonstrate that untreated, postconsumer-PET from 51 different thermoformed products can all be almost completely degraded by FAST-PETase in 1?week. FAST-PETase can also depolymerize untreated, amorphous portions of a commercial water bottle and an entire thermally pretreated water bottle at 50?ºC. Finally, we demonstrate a closed-loop PET recycling process by using FAST-PETase and resynthesizing PET from the recovered monomers. Collectively, our results demonstrate a viable route for enzymatic plastic recycling at the industrial scale.

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