May 20, 2020

Why is Uber ditching Taiwan?

government
Uber
Taiwan
Transport
2 min
Why is Uber ditching Taiwan?

Global ridesharing platform Uber is putting a stop to its Taiwan operations following a disagreement with the Government over the legality of its activities. The company floated February 10th as a date for when its work will stop.

Having reportedly reached an "impasse" with Taiwanese authorities and accrued a number of fines for not operating with a correct taxi service registration. The maximum penalty for Uber drivers operating in the country has reached highs of NT$25 million, which puts the charge amongst the highest globally.

Furthermore, Taiwan’s Transport Ministry has announced that penalties could soar further to as much as NT$230 million, and the company could also be hit with an official order to cease operations.

"In the face of this impasse, we must create a new path forward," Uber said in a statement. "We hope that pressing 'pause' will reset the conversation and inspire President Tsai to take action."

Uber also said that the Taiwanese regime had "moved further and further away from embracing innovation and setting the stage for a 21st century transportation policy."

In a bid to ease the burden, the ride-hailing platform has indicated that would commit to assisting drivers hit by the restrictions, although it remains to be seen how this will be done. What Uber has announced is a new service called UberTAXI that enables customers to book conventional cabs using an app. 

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SOURCE: [HK Standard

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Jul 18, 2021

Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC

BeyondLimits
Mitsui
AI
Energy
3 min
Artificial intelligence startup Beyond Limits and global investment company Mitsui have partnered up to bring AI to the energy industry

Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’. 

 

Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC. 

How Does Beyond Limits Work? 

Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel. 

 

But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’. 

Why Partner With Mitsui? 

Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’. 

 

In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back. 

 

Why Does This Matter? 

Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise. 

 

 ‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.

 

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