Alibaba, Microsoft AI-models beats humans in reading comprehension test — [The Stanford Question Answering Dataset]

Two of the world’s largest tech companies have built artificial intelligence technology that can outperform humans in the one of the world’s hardest reading comprehension tests.

On January 3rd, Microsoft Research Asia (the company’s Asia-based research arm) scored an 82.665 on a the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, considered a premiere machine-reading test. The human score to beat is 82.304

On January 5th, Alibaba scored an 82.440.

This number is based on exact matches to 100,000 questions based on Wikipedia articles. According to Bloomberg, the point is to see if artificial intelligence can ingest a significant amount of information and then provide the correct answers to fairly specific questions.

Microsoft and Alibaba are the only two AI models to have beaten the human score (although many of the the runner-up scores are also Microsoft’s).

Rappler loses news license — [Rappler]

Rappler, the Philippines digital media organisation that grew into Southeast Asia’s most famous ‘new media’ company has had its news license revoked by the Philippines’ Security and Exchange commission because it allegedly violated the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.

The government says it revoked the license because it receives funding from the Omidyar Network, a company that calls itself a ‘philanthropic investment firm’ which was started by eBay Co-founder Pierre Omidyar.

In making the decision, the SEC said the following:

“The En Banc finds Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation, a Mass Media Entity and its alter ego, liable for violating the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restriction in Mass Media, enforceable through laws and rules within the mandate of the commission.”

The full decision can be read on Rappler’s homepage, which has published the entire document.

Singapore real estate consultancy group invests in Indian proptech startup

JLL, a Singaporean company that focusses on real estate and property management, announced today that it has lead a US$3.8 million Series A round in an Indian startup named Foyr.

Foyr is a company that allows people to visualise and customise their interior design.

Also Read: 3 mistakes I made as a student entrepreneur in Hong Kong, and what you can learn from them

Prior to the investment, JLL was already a customer of Foyr, having integrated its product in November 2016 for properties in Japan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, India, China and Malaysia.

Lego partners with Tencent to build online games, possible social network
— [Reuters]

Lego, the iconic Danish toy making company, and Chinese internet giant Tencent, are partnering to develop online games, and could possibly build a social network for youngsters in China, according to a report in Reuters.

The end goal is to create an online community that is safe for children while being a vibrant source of information and creativity. One of the neat parts of the partnership is Lego BOOST, a programme that allows kids to build inventions, and then code them so they move.

Mattel (which makes Barbies) signed a deal with Alibaba last year.

pi Ventures makes second close of first fund at US$25 million — [Press Release]

pi Ventures, an Indian VC fund focussed on artificial intelligence and machine learning, announced today it has reached a second close of their fund at US$25 million.

The company is Co-founded by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni and they want to use the money to invest in early-stage AI startups in the healthcare, logistics, retail, fintech and enterprise sectors. The company, based in Bangalore, plans to invest in up to 20 companies with the money.

Also Read: Thai startup ZmyHome lets homeowners sell directly to buyers; bags US$400K from KK Fund

“We are very excited to be able to back path breaking companies in the Artificial Intelligence area making a substantial difference in various sectors like Healthcare, Logistics, Energy, etc.,” said Singhal in an official statement.

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