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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
A table centerpiece for a graduation celebration

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers April 8, 2023 to April 14, 2023 and includes articles on adding augmented reality lenses to conference calls and tracking data on higher education enrollment.

1. Detecting Lung Cancer
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Mass General Cancer Center have created an AI system that can detect signs of lung cancer in computerized tomography (CT) scans earlier than doctors and predict whether a patient will develop lung cancer within the next six years. In one test, the system predicted whether a patient would develop lung cancer within the next year with at least 86 percent accuracy.

2. Creating Artwork
The National Gallery of Victoria in Australia has announced that three of Boston Dynamics’ Spot the robot dogs will create artwork for the Triennial, an arts festival scheduled for later this year. Agnieszka Pilat, a U.S.-based artist, will train the dogs to autonomously manipulate sticks of oil paint on a canvas.

3. Clarifying Black Holes
A team of researchers led by the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey has clarified the first ever image of a black hole. The team used a machine learning model to reprocess the data used to create the first image and estimate missing data to create a clearer picture.

4. Analyzing Bird Diversity
Researchers at the Ohio State University have created a map showing different bird species and their contributions to the ecosystem in the United States. The team used a supercomputer to analyze bird species abundance, body mass, diet, foraging patterns, and activity times and found that Western migratory birds and resident birds have different impacts on their ecosystems than their Eastern counterparts.

5. Training AI-Powered Robots
Amazon has launched a simulation platform to better train AI systems to direct autonomous robots. The platform improves upon previous platforms with its user-centric features, such as visual cues in scenes to help humans create instructions for the AI systems and better train AI-powered robots to interact with humans.

6. Tracking Higher Education Trends
Researchers at the University of Utah have launched a dashboard tracking college enrollment and student population data and projecting future trends. Policymakers, researchers, and higher education institutions can use the dashboard to determine the impact of past enrollment and retention strategies and inform future higher education policies.

7. Drafting Newsletters
Intuit, a U.S.-based business software company, has beta launched a tool powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology to its Mailchimp newsletter service. The tool can draft marketing text based on companies’ industries, the purpose of the email, past marketing content, and user-submitted prompts requesting specific information or emotional tones.

8. Improving Roadway Safety
The New York City Department of Transportation has launched a pilot program to better collect data on transportation methods and improve street safety in the city. Officials have installed sensors that use a camera to collect data on roadway users, including their mode of travel, speed, and movements. Previously, city staff collected this data by standing on the street or reviewing traffic video footage.

9. Presenting the News
Kuwait News, a media outlet affiliated with the Kuwait Times, has launched an AI-powered news anchor. The outlet will use the anchor, known as Fedha, to deliver online news bulletins.

10. Enhancing Conference Calls
Microsoft has partnered with Snap to add 26 augmented reality lenses to the Microsoft Teams platform. Users can add the lenses to their appearance by clicking on the Video Effects button in Teams.

Image credit: Flickr user Illinois Springfield

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