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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers October 22, 2022 to October 28, 2022 and includes articles on modeling tornadoes with a supercomputer and using an AI system to locate missing hikers.

1. Detecting Monkeypox

Researchers at Sakarya University in Turkey have created an AI-powered app that can identify monkeypox infections from images of skin lesions. In tests, the system identified signs of monkeypox with 91 percent accuracy. 

2. Analyzing the Impacts of Climate Change

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, National Defense Academy of Japan, and the University of Tsukuba in Japan have used a supercomputer to model the relationship between land-surface processes, such as deforestation and cloud cover, and climate change. The team found that the difference between daily high temperatures and daily low temperatures is shrinking because of increases in daytime cloud coverage. 

3. Selling AI-Generated Photographs

Shutterstock, a U.S.-based stock photography company, has partnered with OpenAI, a U.S.-based AI research company, to sell stock images created by OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 text-to-image system. Shutterstock has also launched a fund to compensate creators whose work is used to train text-to-image systems. 

4. Calculating the Cost of the Opioid Epidemic

The Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Commonwealth University have launched a cost calculator estimating the cost of the opioid epidemic in the state. The calculator shows data on lost labor, healthcare, crime, household costs, and state and federal costs by sector, payer, and location, as well as data visualizations and reports. According to the calculator, the opioid epidemic in Virginia cost $3.5 billion in 2020. 

5. Flagging Inappropriate Images

Online dating platform Bumble has open-sourced its AI system that can detect inappropriate images users send. The framework for the system is now available on GitHub.

6. Modeling Tornadoes

Researchers at Northern Illinois University have used a supercomputer to model extreme weather events and tornado supercell development. The team found that tornado alley, a region of the United States most affected by tornadoes, has shifted eastward from the Central Plains to the Mid-South and Ohio Valley regions.

7. Locating Missing Hikers

Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department has started using an AI system and drones to locate missing hikers. The AI system can identify people in drone images and inform first responders of their location. Thus far, the AI system has shortened the typical drone image review process from eight hours to around two hours. 

8. Advancing Quantum Research

The United States and Switzerland have partnered to advance research in quantum information science and technology. The partnership will focus on applications in quantum computing, networking, and sensing. 

9. Predicting Unplanned Hospitalization

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Montefiore Medical Center in New York have created an AI system that uses data on step counts from wearables to predict health outcomes and the likelihood of unplanned hospitalization within the next week for patients with cancer. The team trained the system on medical and fitness tracker data from 214 patients in clinical trials. 

10. Promoting Midnights

Taylor Swift and Snapchat have partnered to create three augmented reality lenses featuring her latest album, Midnights. Two of the lenses display artwork from her album cover on the clock face of Big Ben in London and Grand Central Terminal’s clock in New York City. The third lens completes a partial clock on the album’s back cover. 

Image credit: Flickr user Niccolò Ubalducci

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