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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
A statue with the scales of justice in front of a computer

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers January 28, 2023 to February 3, 2023 and includes articles on building an autonomous Zamboni and using an AI system to write legal decisions.

1. Crediting Plays
Researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria and the University of Valladolid in Spain believe they have discovered the authorship of the play, La francesa Laura. The team used an AI system to transcribe 1,300 anonymous manuscripts at Spain’s National Library and compare each manuscript’s writing to pieces with known authors. The system identified the famous Baroque author Felix Lope de Vega as the likely playwright.

2. Tracking Campaign Finance
Officials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have launched a dashboard tracking the city’s campaign finance data. Residents can use the dashboard to access data on donations to political campaigns, campaign expenditures, unpaid debts, and the number of donations from donors in Philadelphia and donors outside of Philadelphia.

3. Supporting Work Meetings
Microsoft has added a premium version of its Teams tool. The premium tool will use OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate notes, personalized highlights, recommended tasks, and real-time translated captions for 40 spoken languages during meetings.

4. Selling Quantum Computers
Origin Quantum, a quantum computing company based in China, has announced it sold its first commercial quantum computer to a customer. The computer, known as Wuyuan, has 24 qubits. The delivery makes China the third country to sell a complete quantum computer, after the United States and Canada, and points to continued growth in the country’s technological competitiveness.

5. Drafting Legal Decisions
Judge Juan Manuel Padilla in Colombia used OpenAI’s ChatGPT to draft parts of a legal decision for a case involving a health insurance dispute. Judge Padilla asked ChatGPT legal questions and included its answers in his decision, as well as precedent from previous rulings.

6. Parking Cars
Officials in Oakland, California have partnered with Populus, a U.S.-based traffic management technology company, to build over 380 loading zones in the city that use Populus’ digital payment platform. The platform uses the Curb Data Specification, a standard language through which cities and commercial fleets can communicate about curb regulations and activity. Commercial drivers can use the platform to share their vehicle’s location data and pay the applicable parking fee, while policymakers can use the data to inform transportation regulations.

7. Writing News Articles
Arena Group Holdings, a U.S.-based media firm that publishes Sports Illustrated and Men’s Journal, has partnered with Jasper, a U.S.-based generative AI company, and Nota, a South Korean AI company, to generate stories for its magazines. The companies will train AI systems to generate new articles based on information in Arena Group Holdings’ past articles before asking human editors to review the generated stories.

8. Resurfacing Ice
Students at Carnegie Mellon University have created an autonomous Zamboni—an ice resurfacing vehicle. The autonomous Zamboni will follow a human-driven one and mimic its speed and direction while resurfacing ice.

9. Improving Traffic Management
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has launched a pilot project to use an AI system to improve traffic management at vehicular crossings between Manhattan and New Jersey. Officials will use an AI system from GridMatrix, a U.S.-based transportation technology company, to analyze data from existing cameras and sensors to monitor congestion, quantify emissions, and alert responders about traffic incidents.

10. Training First Responders
The Colorado School of Mines has partnered with Avrio Analytics, a U.S.-based augmented reality company that creates training exercises for first responders, to train campus police officers. Campus officers can use the platform to practice responding to active threats in virtual versions of the school’s buildings.

Image credit: Flickr user Jernej Furman

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