Khari Johnson

I cover artificial intelligence for VentureBeat and get excited about transformational technology and conversations with committed, passionate people. Yes to community, citizenship, and good ideas that make people’s lives better during our time on this planet. I love photography and visual storytelling. Research is fun. Lifelong learner.

Robots, AI, and the road to a fully autonomous construction industry

Built Robotics executives are fond of saying that their autonomous system for construction equipment, like dozers and excavators, might be further along than many autonomous vehicles. In fact, CEO Noah Ready-Campbell insists you’ll see autonomous vehicles in controlled industrial environments — like construction sites — before you see level 5 driverless cars on public roads. That […]

AI ethics is all about power

At the Common Good in the Digital Age tech conference recently held in Vatican City, Pope Francis urged Facebook executives, venture capitalists, and government regulators to be wary of the impact of AI and other technologies. “If mankind’s so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression […]

The U.S. military, algorithmic warfare, and big tech

We learned this week that the Department of Defense is using facial recognition at scale, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he believes China is selling lethal autonomous drones. Amid all that, you may have missed Joint AI Center (JAIC) director Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan — who is charged by the Pentagon with modernizing and guiding […]

As robotic grasping improves, rivals debate the metrics of success

Amazon’s re:Mars conference last June featured a carnival of robotics and AI. Disney showed a demo of its stunning robot acrobats, while others showed off delivery robots, dextrous robotic hands, and robotic snakes that can weave through the cracks of buildings after a disaster. Boston Dynamics’ four-legged Spot Mini was there, as well as robots built for space. […]

How Congress is shaping data privacy laws during the pandemic

After saving lives, the most urgent — and hotly debated — problem facing government policymakers in the age of COVID-19 may be how to strike a balance between privacy and public health. The fast-moving and unprecedented story around surveillance tech highlights a long-delayed push for comprehensive consumer data privacy laws, even as privacy advocates grudgingly […]

How AI is fighting, and could enable, ransomware attacks on cities

Imagine getting to a courthouse and seeing paper signs stuck to the doors with the message “Systems down.” What about police officers in the field unable to access information on laptops in their vehicles, or surgeries delayed in hospitals? That’s what can happen to a city, police department, or hospital in a ransomware attack. Ransomware […]

A fight for the soul of machine learning

Last Tuesday, Google shared a blog post highlighting the perspectives of three women of color employees on fairness and machine learning. I suppose the comms team saw trouble coming: The next day NBC News broke the news that diversity initiatives at Google are being scrapped over concern about conservative backlash, according to eight current and former employees speaking […]

Entrepreneurialism and the Bright, Slightly Terrifying Future of Journalism

I recently had the opportunity to speak with fellows at John S. Knight (JSK) Fellowship at Stanford University about different ways storytellers use crowdfunding to enable journalism. I got to exchange ideas with journalists from China, Columbia, Australia, and the United States about how to sustain journalism. I also learned a little about how crowdfunding […]

Video: Crowdfunding Journalism Beyond Money

I went to the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) recently and it was everything a news nerd like me could hope for. In 15-20 minute intervals, news startup founders, intrapreneurs, executive leadership from major media outlets, and innovators of all kinds shared ideas and answered questions as part of the Collaborative Culture Symposium at RJI.

A Humans of New York-Inspired Project in the Arctic

Far north, where the borders of Norway, Finland and Russia begin to converge, is where a group of college journalists decided to build something sort of awesome – and temporary. It wasn’t built to last but it was built to have an impact. Using traditional news, long reportage, short stories and a photographic style inspired […]