back to article Amazon shareholders revolt on Rekognition, Nvidia opens robotics lab, and hot AI chips on Google Cloud

Hello, here’s a very quick roundup of some of the interesting AI announcements from this week. Read on if you like robots and GPUs. Nvidia robotics lab opens: Nvidia’s AI robotics lab has officially opened its doors after CEO Jensen Huang paid a visit to its Seattle office. The lab was announced back in November last year …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Interesting shareholder attitude

    Coming from a population that is generally percieved as only being interested in money, this "don't sell Rekog to the government" is a very big surprise.

    I wonder what could have motivated that attitude ? A conscience ? Nah. So it has to be that they fear backlash from the population if these deals go ahead.

    Well I can accept that as a reason. They don't need to have a conscience if fear gets them to do the right thing.

    1. Starace
      Flame

      Re: Interesting shareholder attitude

      If you look it isn't Amazon shareholders in general, it's activist groups that invest in various things as a means of getting their ideas across.

      So it was accurate but misleading to go with the way this was presented.

      You could get something similar with a group buying up some shares then pushing for McDonald's to go to a 100% vegan menu; while 'shareholders' may be presenting a view it doesnt mean it's representative of many of them.

      I doubt Amazon will even blink at this.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Interesting shareholder attitude

      "They don't need to have a conscience if fear gets them to do the right thing."

      But what would the right thing be? A polite letter to the board asking them to refrain or a shareholders' motion absolutely forbidding it at the AGM?

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Interesting shareholder attitude

      I think the important question is: How many shareholders?

      IIRC Amazon does have the "peculiarity" compared to Google and Facebook that the company is not completely controlled by the founders; outsiders do technically have the possibility to force them to do something. Of course, this requires a majority of the shareholders; and Jeff Bezos does have 16% of shares, so good luck with that.

      1. Sirius Lee

        Re: Interesting shareholder attitude

        Given you an up vote. Marketing and activism in the social media age is to put some label together with a small handful of like minded people who share some characteristic (in this case being an Amazon shareholder) then make a claim that sounds like all people with the same characteristic have the same point of view. Which is ridiculous. But it gets picked up by mindless blog drones and amplified without any further qualification. Always disappointing.

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting shareholder attitude

        %age ownership of shares doesn't mean anything when you have different classes of shares. Bezos may only have 16% of shares, but he controls ...

        I'm totally wrong, he owns class A shares like everyone else. He's in control because he does so well running it. I have a little respect for that. Counter that to Alphabet, where Page, Brin and Schmidt own 13% of the shares combined but >50% of the voting rights.

  2. Paul

    do they really think if they won't sell it to an overtly government agency, that the government will simply buy it and use it through some other channel?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      The point being most likely to separate the name and market value of Amazon from whatever potential bad press this technology might create. If some Amazon subsidiary named "Evil Works Inc." gets to sell Rekognition to oppressive regimes and harvests a bad press, it won't affect Amazon share value.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only Tokyo?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "People of Color"

    Please DO include "white" as one of the colors that will be affected.

  5. Rainer

    I guess the problem is in the White House

    If the prez was Clinton or Obama or old Bernie, it wouldn't be such an issue.

    At least on the surface. The principal issues would still remain, of course.

    But with Trump being who he is and where he is, people seem to actually warm up to the idea that having the military-industrial complex rule the country could have negative consequences for a lot of people.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: I guess the problem is in the White House

      Agreed.

      I always get annoyed when politicians say "but we'd never use it that way!" when some dangerous loophole or capability is pointed out in legislation.

      My response is usually something along the lines of:

      1) If you or the government would never use it that way, then redraft the legislation so it can't be used that way. After all, if you'd never use it that way what's the issue with fixing the legislation such that it can't be used that way?

      2) I don't believe you, you are a politician therefore you are lying. If you weren't lying you'd just fix the legislation.

      3) If I believe you (see point 2.) that you or the current government would never use it that way, what about the next one? Do you know who's going to be in power in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? If you don't know who's going to be in power in 10 years, how can you predict whether a future government won't use it that way?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: I guess the problem is in the White House

        After all, if you'd never use it that way what's the issue with fixing the legislation such that it can't be used that way?

        Assuming that the TLAs bother to follow the law at all.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I guess the problem is in the White House

      "If the prez was Clinton or Obama or old Bernie, it wouldn't be such an issue."

      It sure would for me. The nature of the occupant of the White House doesn't enter into this.

  6. max allan

    Private security

    Hmm, so only private security firms can use rekog. That's so much better. Private security have never employed ex forces nutjobs or people with axes to grind. And they're so much better regulated. Like security guards needing to read people their rights ebfore they shoot them.

    Or not. It's a brave new world where private orgs have better tech than the officials.

  7. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Facial recognition

    In case anyone was wondering why Amazon, Google, and Facebook provide "free" photo storage for you geo- and name-tagged smartphone photos.

    To paraphrase Douglas Adams: "So long, and thanks for all the AI training data."

  8. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Terminator

    AI robot to help in the kitchen

    ..Maybe they can store recipes on it......

  9. naive

    What is worng with facial recognition

    It would be a great benefit to society.

    Criminals can be easily flagged, so they can be more effectively removed from the society.

    Once computers are powerful enough to scan the database of the whole population using facial recognition pictures, including pictures of the tourists staying legally, illegal aliens can be flagged and apprehended for deportation.

    Once there is enough coverage, society will become crime free and safe, resulting in huge cost reductions for law enforcement.

    It is very weird people would oppose technological progress so beneficial for society, unless they are leftist bottom feeders, thriving on chaos and despair.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: What is worng with facial recognition

      What is wrong with face recognition?

      First, it has a high false-positive rate, so using it in a law enforcement or public safety capacity is automatically problematic just because of that.

      Second, it's putting more power into the hands of authorities that have consistently demonstrated over many decades that they can't be trusted with power. Nothing like this should be used in such a capacity without muscular oversight.

      Third, it's expanding a surveillance state that inherently restricts legitimate behavior.

      I have more, but that's probably enough for now.

      "Once there is enough coverage, society will become crime free and safe, resulting in huge cost reductions for law enforcement."

      I can't tell if you're being sarcastic here or not. If you are, then my apologies. But it simply cannot result in the utopia you describe here. Even if it could, at what cost? I'd rather live as a free person in a dangerous world than as an unfree person in a safe world.

      "It is very weird people would oppose technological progress so beneficial for society"

      That would be very weird. Perhaps the issue is that it's not so clear this is beneficial for society on the whole.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is worng with facial recognition

      naive,

      Your list of benefits stopped too soon !!!

      Once society accepts your premise and runs according to these rules it will become very easy to eliminate *anyone* by 1st defining them as 'Criminal' then let the automatic systems take over to remove them.

      Does this sound familiar in any way ..... clue .... start at Germany late 1930s onwards and every dictator since.

      But do not worry it is only the 'Criminals' being rounded up ....... until it is you and your family & friends !!!

      BTW:

      Your user name appears to be very appropriate ... Nominative determinism strikes again !!! :)

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