Tianjin, China to launch a new $16bn AI fund
The northern Chinese city of Tianjin has announced that it will be setting up a new $16bn AI fund in the aim of supporting the country’s continued innovation efforts.
The news, revealed by local agency Xinhua, reinstates China’s overriding technology goal of becoming the world leader in AI by 2025 ahead of the US.
In January, Beijing announced that it would begin building a $2.1bn AI centre in support of the same national goal.
The newly announced fund will be focused on developing intelligent automation, hardware and software, with $4.71bn having been allocated for investment in intelligent devices.
“The funds are established to foster and expand the intelligent technology industry in the city,” said Sun Wenkui, Vice Mayor of Tianjin that made the pledge.
Xinhua added that the city is expected to add a further $1.57bn AI fund that will be focused on advancing technology within the country’s manufacturing industry, but a date for this had not yet been set.
The news follows a similar commitment made by the European Union Commission last month who revealed that it would be launching a $1.78bn fund for AI development by 2020.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.