Oren Etzioni stepping down as AI2 CEO | Microsoft helps create disability data hub

SPONSOR MESSAGE: United Way of King County is throwing their first Annual Community BBQ with Doug Baldwin Jr. this Saturday, 6/18: Grab your plate today!


Oren Etzioni stepping down as AI2 CEO: A renowned expert in the field of artificial intelligence, Etzioni teamed with the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to launch Seattle’s Allen Institute for AI in January 2014. “It has been an honor of a lifetime to help build and lead such an incredible organization,” he said Wednesday. Etzioni will continue as a board member and advisor and will also take the position of technical director of the AI2 Incubator. Read more.

Can robots have feelings? The debate over artificial intelligence having human-like emotions is front-and-center again after a Google engineer said that one of the company’s chatbot programs was sentient. We spoke with Yejin Choi, a University of Washington computer science professor and senior research manager at Seattle’s AI2, to get her take on the engineer’s claims and broader takeaways. Read the Q&A

Closing the disability divide: Microsoft is helping create a comprehensive, publicly available, worldwide clearinghouse of information on disabilities. “It’s really time to help us all to understand the sheer size of this community in a standardized, methodical, reliable, credible way,” said Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie in an interview with GeekWire.

Adaptive takes aim at Lyme disease: The Seattle biotech company unveiled a new type of test that may be most useful at detecting Lyme disease during the early stages of infection. 

Richard Sherman joins Amazon: The former Seattle Seahawks star will be taking his talk to Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast team.

Notable investor joins Loopie Laundry fold: Early Uber backer Jason Calacanis and his Launch Syndicate are putting nearly $1 million into the peer-to-peer clothes washing startup. Read more.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day. — GeekWire managing editor Taylor Soper, taylor@geekwire.com, and GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser, kurt@geekwire.com.
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