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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
A drinking fountain

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 13, 2023 to May 19, 2023 and includes articles on using an AI system to replicate voices and launching a data dashboard to track harmful chemicals in drinking water.

1. Advancing Pharmaceutical Research
Google Cloud has launched two solutions to help pharmaceutical researchers develop drugs and advance precision medicine. Researchers can use the first, known as the Target and Lead Identification Suite, to share molecular data, predict the structure of proteins, and determine how they interact with different molecules. The second, known as the Multiomics Suite, enables the sharing, storing, and analyzing of genomic data.

2. Delivering Food
Wendy’s, a U.S.-based fast food restaurant chain, has partnered with Pipedream, a U.S.-based autonomous delivery company, to test autonomous robots for online order pickups. Customers can order food online, arrive at Wendy’s parking lot, and confirm their orders with restaurant crews through a speaker. The robot will then transport the customer’s order from the restaurant to their car through underground tunnels.

3. Improving Documents’ Accessibility
Adobe, a U.S.-based computer software company, has launched an AI-powered application programming interface (API) that can tag PDFs with structural information, such as headings, paragraphs, and tables. Companies can use the API to automate the tagging process and make PDFs more accessible for individuals who use assistive technologies to read.

4. Elaborating on Images
Google has updated its Lookout app, which can provide individuals with vision impairments information about their surroundings. The new version includes functionality for users to ask questions about images with no caption or alternative texts.

5. Playing Music
Spotify has expanded its AI-powered DJ from North America to the United Kingdom and Ireland. The DJ can curate music according to users’ past preferences and generate commentary for the songs.

6. Tracking Forever Chemicals
Washington’s Department of Health has launched a dashboard to track data on forever chemicals, which are long-lasting chemicals harmful to human health, in drinking water wells. Residents can use the dashboard to view information on tested wells and determine if they should test their water source.

7. Replicating Voices
Apple has created a new feature that can replicate iPhone users’ voices. The feature uses an AI system and 15 minutes of user-recorded audio to generate each voice.

8. Monitoring Traffic
The Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in the United Kingdom has partnered with VivaCity, a U.K.-based traffic technology company, to install sensors that collect data on traffic patterns in the city. Officials will use the data to inform policies to reduce congestion, design infrastructure projects, and improve road safety.

9. Writing Code
Meta has created a generative AI-powered tool to help developers code. The tool, known as CodeCompose, can write lines of code and make suggestions on users’ code as they type.

10. Responding to Trucking Accidents
Volvo has launched an app to help first responders conduct rescue operations during incidents involving electric trucks. The app uses augmented reality, cameras, and sensors to display information on the vehicle, the location of high-voltage cables, battery packs, and other components, and instructions on how to turn off the truck’s power supply.

Image credit: Flickr user Bernal Saborio

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