Neutrogena Is Using AI To Launch Personalized, 3D Printed Face Masks

Neutrogena–a household name for beauty products–is launching a new iOS App called MaskiD that will help with problem spots on user’s faces.

MaskiD relies on TrueDepth cameras in the iPhone X, XS, and XR to create 3D printed masks that fit the user’s face measurements. MaskiD can be paired with Neutrogena’s Skin360, one of the company’s other tools that uses artificial intelligence, to help with skin care.

Skin360 tracks skin’s progress over time and analyzes its health and needs. Skin360 comes in two parts: the skin scanner and the app. The scanner is paired with an iPhone to magnify the phone’s camera lens and enhances the magnification with eight high-powered LED lights. The scanner also has a “moisture meter” to determine which areas of the face require more attention.

Skin360 scans different areas of a user’s face and when paired with the MaskiD provides a better skin care suggestion. MaskiD users can select from a variety of ingredients used to improve their skin including stabilized vitamin C, purified hyaluronic acid and N-Acetylglucosamine. Each section of the mask uses the ingredients to target user’s problem areas.

MaskiD and Skin360 are two of Neutrogena’s latest products to use artificial intelligence. The company told the Verge their plan is to roll out even more products using AI.

This Researcher Is Using AI To Generate Tribal Masks

One researcher is using technology to recreate some of the world’s oldest and most beautiful works of art.

Human-computer interaction researcher Victor Dibia is using artificial intelligence to generate African masks based on his custom curated dataset.

The Carnegie Mellon graduate was inspired to explore merging tribal art and AI after attending the Deep Learning Indaba conference in South Africa where Google provided attendees Tensor Processing Units (TPUs)—Google’s custom-developed AI accelerator application.

He trained a generative adversarial network (GAN)—a two-part neural network consisting of generators that produce samples and discriminators that attempt to distinguish between the generated samples and real-world samples—to generate images based on the dataset he built.

Dibia explains in a blog post that he manually created a dataset of over 9000 diverse images depicting African masks in different shapes and textures.

“The goal is not to generate a perfectly realistic mask, but more towards observing any creative or artistic elements encoded in the resulting GAN,” he wrote.

The researcher trained the GAN by using a larger set of non-curated images from a web search with initial results showing the model generating images “distinct from their closest relatives in the dataset.”

“GANs can be useful for artistic exploration,” he wrote of his findings. “In this case, while some of the generated images are not complete masks, they excel at capturing the texture or feel of African art.”

Dibia plans to expand the Africa masks dataset and continue experiments with “conditioned GANs” and its relationship to artistic properties.

Study Shows Twitter Is Toxic For Women—Especially Black Women

Twitter is a toxic place for women.

That’s according to a new report by Amnesty International and Element AI, which analyzed millions of tweets showing women are targeted with hate speech on social platforms.

The Troll Patrol Report found that 7.1 percent of tweets sent to women can be considered “problematic” or “abusive.” That’s one every 30 seconds on average or a total of 1.1 million.

“We have built the world’s largest crowdsourced dataset about online abuse against women,” Milena Marin, Senior Adviser for Tactical Research at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “We have the data to back up what women have long been telling us—that Twitter is a place where racism, misogyny, and homophobia are allowed to flourish basically unchecked.”

Black women are particularly impacted and are 84 percent more likely to be targeted with hate speech online than their white counterparts. Women of color are 34 percent more likely to be targeted in tweets with abusive language.

The report surveyed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US last year across the political spectrum.

“We found that, although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of color were much more likely to be impacted and black women are disproportionately targeted,” said Marin. “Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalized voices.”

The human rights group has repeatedly asked Twitter to release data detailing the abuse taking place on their platform and address the hate speech. While Twitter has yet to release a comprehensive breakdown of violence against women on their platform, the social media company did release its latest transparency report last week.

Encounter AI Wants To Streamline How We Order Food

Artificial intelligence is looking to provide better service to customers, restaurants and fast food chains by making their ordering process faster than ever. Encounter AI is doing so through the use of voice-recognition technology and artificial intelligence.

Founded by CEO Derrick Johnson and Kabah Conda, Encounter AI is marketed toward businesses who use headset and intercom systems to shorten ordering time. For example, while the automated system is handling orders, cashiers are able to focus on monetary transactions.

Johnson said the biggest benefit to using Encounter AI for consumers is the customization and personalization.

“You can say what diet you’re on and the system will show you menu items that are there,” Johnson said. Consumers with allergies and other restricted diets are easily able to identify with menu items that fit their needs within seconds using Encounter AI.

Encounter AI’s ordering system also helps eliminate waste — cashiers do not have to worry about logging the wrong orders and risking customers throwing food away.

Johnson said other technological changes in the food and restaurant industries such as the use of mobile ordering and kiosks have had contrasting impacts. Panera Bread, Wendy’s and McDonald’s currently have ordering kiosks in their restaurants, but the equipment is not making significant changes in ordering times because customers are not using them.

Alternatively, mobile ordering with Seamless, Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats, and in-house apps has made it easier for customers to get their food without going to an actual store.

Johnson said customers use kiosks as a backup plan and usually “choose humans first.” He also said customers aren’t going to use an app once they have already committed time to a store.

Encounter AI is not only for restaurants, but the platform can also be used to streamline inventory management.

Encounter AI is currently being tested in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Atlanta with plans to release in early 2019.

Derrick Johnson and Kabah Conda will be participating in the AfroTech Cup Pitch Competition. Check out the live stream starting at 2 o’clock to see them and other founders pitch their ideas.

These Automation Companies Are Hitting Big Valuations By Replacing Office Workers

Photo: Pexels

The changes artificial intelligence will have on the workforce will be substantial in years to come. And now, according to Tech Crunch, companies that are automating repetitive tasks are seeing big valuations as businesses look to replace their office workers.

Tech brands UiPath and Automation Anywhere each develop automation robotics and have recently received notable amounts of funding. UiPath earned $225 million in its last funding round, while Automation Anywhere, whose customers include Google, Unilever and Comcast, received $250 million.

Companies across various industries want to automate customer support, scheduling, hiring and employee analytics and investors are pouring into the places that know how to make it happen. Sequoia Capital and Alphabet’s CapitalG led the funding for UiPath and helped bring the company to $408 million in funding and a $3 billion valuation.

Goldman Sachs invested in Automation Anywhere’s latest funding round, bringing the robot-maker to a $1.8 billion valuation.

“The financing and our high caliber of investors strongly position us to push boundaries and drive the next major business disruption,” said Automation Anywhere CEO and Cofounder Mihir Shukla in a statement.

Other automation companies like WorkFusion, Blue Prism Group, SaltStack and AntWorks are also hitting big with funding and valuations.

Several Members of Congress Are Raising Questions About Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology is now being used to unlock smartphones, automatically tag friends on Facebook and certain sectors of law enforcement are even finding uses for it. While it is a major advancement in the way we live our everyday lives, some senators believe this form of artificial intelligence poses a threat to civil rights.

Seven members of Congress sent letters to the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission highlighting the risks of facial recognition technology.

“While they can offer many benefits, we are concerned by the mounting evidence that these technologies can perpetuate gender, racial, age, and other biases,” said the senators in their letter to the FTC.

In the letter to the EEOC, senators — including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren — questioned if the technologies could violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

In the letter to the FTC, senators said that facial recognition technology could lead to discrimination, saying people could be misidentified for crimes and charged for them.  The letter to the FBI mainly asked for updates on the recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office to address concerns about facial recognition technology.

Concerns over facial recognition are not new and have come up in national headlines several times over the past couple of years.

In July, the American Civil Liberties Union tested Amazon’s face surveillance technology on members of Congress against 25,000 mugshots, which resulted in 28 false matches.

In January, Google said it “fixed” a flaw in its facial recognition algorithm that misidentified black people as gorillas by blocking the terms “gorilla,” “chimp,” “chimpanzee,” and “monkey.”

And in February, a study by Joy Buolamwini at MIT showed that many major facial recognition technologies have issues accurately identifying the genders of darker skinned women.

Each letter requests that the agencies respond by the end of September.

Got Ideas On How To Improve AI? This Organization Wants To Hear From You

Photo: WOC In Tech

Artificial Intelligence might be the future, but it’s plagued with issues that are becoming more prominent. A new program from the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative is hoping to combat some of the issues that are arising as the technology is being more widely used.

The organization will launch an open call later this month where it will accept proposals that address issues facing AI. Specifically, it is trying to tackle a few areas: governance, platform design, bad actors and journalism. The best ideas will receive $750,000 in investment funds from the foundation.

AI problems have made national news lately. Earlier this summer, the ALCU did a test of Amazon Rekognition, the tech giant’s facial recognition tool. It ran the faces of lawmakers to see if the program could recognize them. Instead, it falsely identified 28 lawmakers as criminals, 39 percent of which were people of color, including Representative John Lewis.

By hosting an open call, the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative hopes to expand the range of ideas, tools and communities that are involved in fixing the concerns that arise with AI, instead of leaving things completely in the hands of private companies.

Submissions open on Sept. 12 and must be submitted by Oct. 12, 2018.

With Google’s Help, These Summer Camps Are Trying To Fight Racial Bias In Artificial Intelligence


Racial bias in artificial intelligence is well-documented. Just last month the ACLU published a report criticizing Amazon’s facial recognition technology (Amazon Rekognition) for racial bias after it misidentified black members of Congress as criminals. In the past, people were also able to get an AI-based social chatbot to say racial slurs, leading to an apology from Microsoft. 

Having a more diverse group of people actually building the technology could help combat some of the issues AI has faced recently. That’s where Oakland based non-profit  AI4ALL comes in.

AI4ALL’s primary goal is to increase diversity and inclusion in the world of artificial intelligence. It provides students with the chance to learn, first-hand, about computer science, coding and more through summer camps nationwide that spark interest and teach them fundamental skills. Last week announced it would be donating a $1 million grant to the nonprofit in order to grow the number of underrepresented minorities and women who have access to working in these spaces.

“We really need for AI to be made by diverse creators, and that starts with people having access to the learning opportunities to understand at its core what AI is and how it can be applied,”’s AI4All partnership lead Hannah Peter said to USA Today.

And with the grant, AI4All will be able to open more camps and ultimately create a free online AI course that anyone can access in order to diversify the space regardless of access.