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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers August 20, 2022 to August 26, 2022 and includes articles on launching a data dashboard to track public sentiment towards meat and using smart glasses to care for patients more efficiently. 

1. Comparing Doppelgangers

Researchers at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain and Barcelona Supercomputing Center have found that unrelated people who look alike share similar genetic characteristics related to physical and behavioral traits. The team used a facial recognition system to identify 16 pairs of individuals who look similar to each other. Researchers compared each pair’s genetic information and found that nine of the pairs shared genetic characteristics related to attributes such as height, weight, smoking habits, and education.

2. Unveiling Quantum Computers

Baidu, a technology company based in China, has created its first quantum computer. The computer has a 10 qubit processor and the company will make it available to external users. 

3. Experimenting with AI

Google has created an Android app for external users to experiment with some of the company’s AI systems. The app, known as AI Test Kitchen, will first feature a restricted version of one of its most advanced chatbots. Users can ask the chatbot to describe a real or imaginary place, talk about a specific topic, or break a topic down into smaller bullet points. 

4. Caring for Patients Using Smart Glasses

Nurses with Northern Lincolnshire and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom have started trialing smart glasses during home visits with patients. The glasses can transcribe appointments into electronic health records, transmit live footage to clinicians in hospitals, and use thermal imaging to determine how wounds have healed. 

5. Developing AI Systems

Researchers at the University of Florida have started developing an AI system that can track current COVID-19 variants and predict new variants. Public health officials could use the system to identify variants of concern immediately and enact preventative measures.

6. Tracking Attitudes Towards Meat

The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability at Purdue University in Indiana has launched an interactive dashboard tracking attitudes towards meat and alternative meat products on social media and in online news. The dashboard showed that social media sentiment toward poultry in Indiana was more positive than beef and pork between April 2020 to July 2022, while plant-based meat alternatives rated a barely positive net sentiment. 

7. Detecting Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created an AI system that can detect signs of Parkinson’s disease and determine its severity using patients’ breathing patterns during sleep. The team trained the system with nocturnal breathing data from around 760 patients with Parkinson’s disease and approximately 6,900 patients without the disease. 

8. Cleaning Subway Stations

Officials in Daejeon, South Korea have deployed four autonomous robots at two subway stations within the city to sanitize floors and purify the air. The robots use a camera and sensors to collect data on the surrounding environment and an AI system to navigate around people. 

9. Identifying Signs of Burnout

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri have created an AI system that can detect physician burnout from electronic health record activity logs. The system uses timestamps and clinical actions to measure daily and monthly activity levels and determine the extent of physicians’ workload. The system improves upon current methods of identifying burnout, namely surveys, by automating information collection on burnout. 

10. Engaging Baseball Fans

The Minnesota Twins baseball team has launched an augmented reality app to engage fans during games. Game attendees can use the app to play games and display digital content such as mascot races on the field. 

Image credit: Flickr user Wall Boat

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