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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of data news highlights covers February 19, 2022 to February 25, 2022 and includes articles on using an AI system to improve access to colonoscopies and mapping permafrost in the Arctic with a supercomputer.

1. Updating Traffic Regulations

The U.S. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has ruled that automakers can add smart adaptive driving beams to cars in the United States. Adaptive driving beams use an AI system to control the direction and brightness of car headlights, which can reduce glare for oncoming traffic.

2. Translating Languages

Meta has announced a new project to create AI systems that can translate every language in the world to another language. Around 20 percent of the world’s population speaks a language that cannot be translated with current translation tools, often because there are few written examples available to train the tools. Meta plans to build one system to understand all languages without the need for a written component and another that can learn languages with only a few examples.

3. Proving Vaccination Status

Hong Kong has launched a digital vaccine passport for residents to display their vaccination status from a mobile phone. Residents must display proof of vaccination before entering supermarkets, malls, and restaurants.

4. Automating Prior Authorization Approvals

Florida Blue, a U.S.-based health insurance company, has partnered with Olive, a U.S.-based health technology company, to use an AI system to automate prior authorization approvals. The system will enable medical providers to receive immediate approval to administer certain treatments if necessary medical requirements are met. 

5. Informing Urban Planning

Officials in Tallinn, Estonia have created a digital transportation model to predict public movement around the city and inform urban planning efforts. The model uses data on 130,000 different road sections to create predictions and can distinguish between 12 types of travelers, including students, workers, and pensioners.

6. Providing Colonoscopies

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and medical technology company Medtronic have partnered to improve patient access to colonoscopy screenings. The two will send Medtronic’s AI-powered endoscopy module, which can detect polyps in real time more accurately than current tools, to endoscopy centers with low screenings rates. The partnership is meant to improve accessibility to leading health technologies in underserved communities. 

7. Touring Las Vegas

Motional, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, and Via, a U.S.-based transportation company, have partnered to launch a free autonomous shuttle service in Las Vegas, Nevada. Passengers can use the shuttle with Via’s app and visit destinations across downtown.

8. Improving Bus Safety

A school district located in Brevard County, Florida has partnered with BusPatrol, a U.S.-based smart transportation company, to install cameras with AI systems on school buses. The cameras will take pictures of vehicles that illegally pass buses after a stop sign arm is activated and collect data on the extent of violations.  

9. Mapping Permafrost

Researchers at the University of Connecticut, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Woodwell Climate Research Center, a U.S.-based research organization focused on climate change, have used a supercomputer and satellite data to map permafrost in the Arctic. So far, the team has located 1.2 billion polygons, or distinctive ice features caused by permafrost.

10. Monitoring Marine Ecosystems

An international team of researchers has launched a platform to catalog aquatic noise and monitor marine ecosystems. The team plans to use an AI system to identify and classify unknown noises.

Image credit: Flickr user NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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