Jun 21, 2021

Privacy watchdogs call for facial recognition tech ban

Laura Berrill
2 min
Europe’s two privacy regulators call for full ban on facial recognition technology in public spaces, against EU rules

The call, made this week by two privacy watchdogs, goes against draft European Union rules which would allow the technology to be used for public security reasons. The privacy regulators have called for the ban in all publicly-accessible spaces, including shops and stadia.

A couple of months back the European Commission proposed regulation that would place strict safeguards on the use of Artificial Intelligence, with implications for the global rules of AI. This expansive rule book covers a lot of ground, but facial recognition, which is a touchy subject in much of privacy-conscious Europe, is a key focus. It also classifies so-called real-time remote biometric identification systems (which includes facial recognition) as high risk, meaning people need to be given clear information on how they are being watched; as well as the need for good security and oversight for the data. Law enforcement would also be generally banned from using such systems.

Strictly speaking

But the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said this was not strict enough and said deploying remote biometric identification in public areas meant the end of anonymity. It added the systems interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms and that there should be an immediate application of a ‘precautionary approach’.

A strong message

However, neither the EDPB or EDPS do not write or modify laws, they are the EU’s top advisers on privacy issues and their intervention sends a very strong message to the bodies that will spend the next year or two thrashing out the AI regulations’s final form - namely the EC and the European Parliament, as well as the Council of the EU, which represents national governments.

That message is that under EU law, AI threatens EU citizens’ fundamental rights and needs therefore to be tightly and broadly reined in as soon as possible.

The Commission and the privacy regulators seem to have the same view on social scoring systems such as those used in China. It states the proposed regulation should also prohibit any type of use of AI for social scoring, saying it is against the EU fundamental values and can lead to discrimination.


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Aug 3, 2021

Nvidia’s platform for AI startups passes 8,500 members

2 min
Nvidia has announced it is tracking more than 8,500 AI startups through its Inception AI startup programme

NVIDIA Inception, an acceleration platform for AI startups, has now surpassed 8,500 members. That’s about two-thirds of the total number of AI startups worldwide, as estimated by Pitchbook.

NVIDIA Inception is a programme built to accommodate every startup that is accelerating computing, at every stage in their journey. All programme benefits are free of charge and startups never have to give up equity to join.

Since Inception’s launch in 2016, it has grown more than tenfold. With total cumulative funding of over $60 billion and members in 90 countries, NVIDIA Inception is one of the largest AI startup ecosystems in the world. Growth has accelerated year over year, with membership increasing to 26% in 2020, and reaching 17% in the first half of 2021.


Data from across the world


Inception figures show the United States leads the world in terms of both the number of AI startups, representing nearly 27%, and the amount of secured funding, accounting for over $27 billion in cumulative funding. 42% of US-based startups were in California, with 29% in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Behind the US is China, in terms of both funding and company stage, with 12% of NVIDIA Inception members based there. India comes in third at 7%, with the UK right behind at 6%.

AI startups based in the US, China, India, and the UK account for just over half of all startups in NVIDIA Inception. Following in order after these are Germany, Russia, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Korea and Japan.


Industry acceleration


In terms of industries, healthcare, IT services, intelligent video analytics (IVA), media and entertainment (M&E) and robotics are the top five in NVIDIA Inception. AI startups in healthcare account for 16% of Inception members, followed by those in IT services at 15%. 

More than 3,000 AI startups have joined Nvidia Inception since 2020. “Some countries are accelerating their ecosystem of AI startups by investing money and encouraging the local players to create more companies,” said Serge Lemonde, global head of Nvidia Inception, in an interview with VentureBeat.

“In our programme, what we are looking at is to help them all,” Lemonde said. “The lesson here is really having this window on the landscape and helping the startups all around the world — [this] is helping us understand the new trends. We can help more startups by developing our software  and platforms for the upcoming trends.”

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