Artificial Intelligence
The latest news about artificial intelligence and AI startups in Southern California from dot.LA.

Robots could soon take on the tasks of farmworkers harvesting the nation's food.

Santa Monica-based Future Acres, an agriculture tech startup, unveiled its first prototype on Tuesday — a robot named Carry that helps farmers transport crops.

Carry won't replace human employees that pick crops. Rather, the remote-operated machine will follow workers and take what they collect back to a sorting facility, speeding up operations in a labor-intensive industry. Since 2017, the team has been quietly busy testing the AI-powered machine that can transport up to 500 pounds of produce in virtually any weather condition.

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A former Facebook machine learning analyst is behind Sci Find's new Google-like search engine for bioscience companies. The service launches Monday, aiming to eliminate the often-tedious task researchers must face to find labs that can help them test different products or drugs.

The startup used AI to cull thousands of publicly available research abstracts from the National Institute of Health and is now gathering proprietary documents to build its free search engine. It provides results on researchers' contact information, patents and expertise.

"The scientific part of science is very innovative and groundbreaking," said Sci Find co-founder and genomics expert Guy Rohkin. "But a lot of the communication channels and the way that the information is disseminated is kind of traditional and disjointed."

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Alexa-maker Amazon is creating a machine learning and artificial intelligence research lab at USC as the retail giant grapples with growing privacy concerns around its products. The Center for Secure and Trusted Machine Learning, part of USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, will support research that looks at new ways to secure and preserve privacy in machine learning and can be applied at scale "to support billions of users."

Amazon's artificial intelligence systems extend beyond its smart home devices; the company automates much of its processes using machine learning; including product recommendation, the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Go store (a brick and mortar location that runs without cashiers). Amazon also recently launched Halo, a wearable fitness tracker comparable to the Fitbit that also connects with Alexa and the rest of its smart devices.

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