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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
Asteroid collision

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers December 4, 2021 to December 10, 2021 and includes articles on forecasting asteroid impact scenarios and advancing mathematical proofs for the first time in 40 years.

1. Providing Digital Identification

The Council of the District of Columbia has approved a measure allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue and support digital forms of identification. Under the new legislation, residents can add their driver’s licenses and ID cards to mobile devices and provide digital identification to law enforcement and security personnel in government buildings. 

2. Identifying Climate Misinformation

Researchers with Monash University, the University of Exeter, and Trinity College Dublin have created an AI system that can detect false statements about climate change in written work. The team trained the model with 255,449 documents on climate change from conservative think tanks and climate contrarian blogs.

3. Paying at Airport Stores

Officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport have partnered with SSP America, a U.S.-based airport concessions company, and Zippin, a U.S.-based cashless store technology company, to launch cashless and contact-free concessions stores. Travelers can enter the stores by tapping their credit cards on nearby turnstiles. The stores then use an AI system to identify customers’ purchases and charge their cards accordingly. 

4. Forecasting Asteroid Impact Scenarios

NASA has upgraded its AI system to better detect near-Earth asteroids (NEA). The new system, known as Sentry-II, can account for non-gravitational forces, such as sunlight, and identify possible NEA orbits or impacts in low-risk scenarios. 

5. Mapping Recreational Areas

City officials in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have released an open data portal of the city’s trails and outdoor recreation areas. A city staffer collected the data by carrying a GPS device as he walked his dog on every publicly-available trail. 

6. Predicting Chronic Disease Progression

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created an AI system that can predict chronic disease progression from metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers. Doctors can use the system to recommend preventative care measures and inform future treatment plans. 

7. Monitoring Bus Safety

Officials in Gyeonggi, South Korea have launched a pilot program to improve bus drivers’ alertness with sensor technology. Volunteer drivers will wear sensors that can monitor their focus, fatigue, and stress levels in real time and issue alerts upon detecting unsafe driving conditions.

8. Solving Mathematical Proofs

Researchers with DeepMind, the University of Oxford, and the University of Sydney have discovered new clues to previously unsolved mathematical problems with an AI system. The team advanced a proof for Kazhdan-Lusztig polynomials for the first time in 40 years by using the system to find patterns in the polynomials. The system then identified a previously unseen relationship between two types of mathematical knots, leading to the creation of a new theorem in knot theory.

9. Exploring New York City

ARTECHOUSE, a U.S.-based art technology company, and Refik Anadol, a new media artist in Los Angeles, have partnered to open a lounge with an augmented reality exhibit featuring scenes of New York City. Visitors can use a mobile app to learn more about the city and view photographs of the city’s architecture and urban landscapes on top of pre-selected menu items.

10. Informing Cardiac Surgery Referrals

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that an AI system meant to identify patients with ventricular issues can also predict long-term survival rates after cardiac surgery. The team tested the system with data from 20,627 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery, or both, and had a left ventricular ejection fraction greater than 35 percent. Doctors can use the system to inform patients about their personal risks with cardiac surgery.

Image credit: Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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