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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
Electric vehicle charging parking spot

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers March 18, 2023 to March 24, 2023 and includes articles on using an autonomous robot to charge electric vehicles and deploying the world’s first quantum computer dedicated to healthcare research.

1. Fighting Wildfires
The Telluride Fire Protection District and the San Miguel Power Association in Colorado have partnered with Pano AI, a U.S.-based software company focused on wildfire detection, to improve wildfire response times. The partners will install AI-powered cameras that can detect wildfires in the surrounding region and alert first responders. Officials can also use the cameras to better conduct prescribed burns and protect the electric grid and infrastructure.

2. Paying for Food
Panera, a U.S.-based fast casual restaurant chain, has partnered with Amazon to test the Amazon One palm-reading payment system in two St. Louis, Missouri locations. Customers can scan their palm to pay for food and claim loyalty points.

3. Improving Chatbots
OpenAI has added plugins to ChatGPT that enable the AI system to use data from third-party sources, such as the Internet, to respond to approved users. Previously, ChatGPT could not answer questions related to subjects outside of its training data, which ended in September 2021.

4. Deploying Quantum Computers
Cleveland Clinic, a U.S.-based academic medical center, and IBM have installed a quantum computer on Cleveland Clinic’s campus. The computer will be the first dedicated to healthcare research in the world.

5. Launching Chatbots
Google has launched its own AI-powered chatbot, known as Bard, that can respond to user-submitted queries and comments with realistic writing. The company created the chatbot as its own webpage, instead of integrating it into their search engine, and each answer features a button that presents users with an option to open a tab with conventional search results.

6. Tracking Affordable Housing
Officials in Toronto have launched a dashboard to improve transparency into the city’s plans to build more housing. The dashboard contains data on demolished or replaced rental units, affordable rental units under construction, waiting lists for social housing programs, and more.

7. Predicting Opioid-Related Deaths
Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have created an AI system that can forecast U.S. counties’ opioid-related death rates using tweets. The team trained the system with data on word usage on Twitter and annual opioid-related deaths from 2011 to 2017 in each county.

8. Charging Electric Vehicles
Hyundai, a South Korean automotive manufacturer, has built an autonomous robot that can charge electric vehicles. The robot uses cameras and sensors to collect data on its environment and the location and structure of the car’s charging point. An AI system then uses the data to direct the robot to pick up the charger, secure it to the car, remove and replace the charger, and close the charging port.

9. Fixing Potholes
The Oregon City Public Works department in Oregon has added an AI-powered tool to its street sweepers to detect potholes. The tool has a camera that scans the road and an AI system that uses the data to identify potholes, map their location, and alert city staff.

10. Shopping Online
Snap has launched a new service for retailers to add augmented reality shopping tools to their own apps. Through the service, Snap will offer tools that help online shoppers virtually peruse products, including a tool to try on apparel with augmented reality, a 3D viewer tool that shows various angles of each product, and a tool that can recommend sizing options according to customers’ measurements.

Image credit: Flickr user David Seibold

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