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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 6, 2023 to May 12, 2023 and includes articles on installing sensors to monitor air quality and building a robotic snake to explore one of Saturn’s moons.

1. Creating Music
Google has opened access to its text-to-music generative AI system, known as MusicLM. Users can submit text prompts, select particular instruments, and specify moods or emotions to generate songs.

2. Improving Precision Medicine
An international team of over 120 researchers has unveiled the first draft of the pangenome, a collection of genetic codes from 47 people with different ancestries. The pangenome improves upon the first draft of the genome, which was predominantly influenced by patients of white European ancestry. Doctors and medical researchers can use the pangenome to better study rare genetic diseases and advance precision medicine.

3. Launching AI Systems
Google has launched an updated version of its language model and added it to 25 products, including the Bard chatbot and Workspace apps. The new version, known as PaLM 2, improves upon the past version in common sense reasoning, coding capabilities, and language translation.

4. Exploring Moons
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has created an autonomous robotic snake to explore Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. The snake uses cameras and lidar sensors to create a 3D map of its surroundings and can travel through a variety of harsh terrains.

5. Advancing AI Tools
Meta has open-sourced an AI-powered tool that can create associations between text, images, videos, audios, 3D measurements, temperature data, and motion and position data. The tool could eventually be used to generate output according to a text, image, or audio prompt. Because it can predict associations between more types of data, the tool could create a more complex output or environment.

6. Delivering Pizzas
Domino’s Pizza has partnered with Goggo Network, an autonomous delivery company, to test autonomous pizza delivery robots in the Madrid suburb of Alcobendas. The robots use cameras, radar, and ultrasound sensors to collect data on their surrounding environment and an AI system to navigate to customers’ locations and return to the store.

7. Predicting Pancreatic Cancer Risks
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Copenhagen have created an AI system that can predict a patient’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer within the next three years. The team trained the system with medical data from nine million patients.

8. Monitoring Air Quality
Officials in Milan, Italy have partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to install air quality sensors around the city. Officials will use the sensors to collect data on air pollution and inform future environmental policies.

9. Ordering Food
Wendy’s, a U.S.-based fast food restaurant chain, has partnered with Google to create a chatbot that can take customers’ orders in drive-through lanes. Customers can use the chatbot to order food known by phrases unique to Wendy’s, such as a milkshake known as a Frostie.

10. Riding on Autonomous Shuttles
May Mobility, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, has partnered with Via, a U.S.-based public transportation company, to launch an autonomous shuttle service in Sun City, a retirement community in Arizona. Residents can use the shuttles to travel between recreation services, healthcare facilities, and shopping destinations.

Image credit: Flickr user Hubble ESA

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