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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
A bumblebee

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 20, 2023 to May 26, 2023 and includes articles on building robotic bees and using an AI system to create antibiotics.

1. Generating Movement
An international team of researchers helped a paralyzed patient regain the ability to walk. The team implanted electrodes in the patient’s skull and spine and used a machine learning model to determine which parts of his brain lit up when he attempted to move. They then used an AI system to connect different implants, with the spinal implant interpreting his intentions from the brain implant and sending electrical signals to different parts of his body to produce movement.

2. Preventing Pandemics
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the International Pathogen Surveillance Network to share data on pathogen genomics. Researchers can use the data to identify potential disease outbreaks and improve public health responses.

3. Asking Questions
TikTok has started testing an AI-powered chatbot. TikTok users can ask the chatbot, known as Tako, questions about videos or for recommendations for new content.

4. Providing Identification
The Georgia Department of Driver Services has launched digital IDs for iPhone and Apple Watch users. Residents can use the digital ID to prove their identity at participating airport security checkpoints.

5. Killing Superbugs
An international team of researchers has used an AI system to identify an antibiotic that can kill the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, a superbug the WHO has deemed a critical threat because it can cause deadly infections and is resistant to many other antibiotics. The team trained the system with data on known drugs and their interactions with the bacteria.

6. Riding in Robotaxis
Uber has partnered with Waymo, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, to offer autonomous vehicle services on Uber’s platform in Phoenix, Arizona. Uber customers can use the platform to hail rides and order deliveries from autonomous vehicles.

7. Detecting Inappropriate Content
Microsoft has launched an AI-powered tool that can detect inappropriate content in online images and text. The tool can understand content in English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese and will assign content a score depending on its severity.

8. Paying by Palm
Two bars at Coors Field, the stadium for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, have added Amazon’s palm recognition technology to their services. Customers can use their palms to verify their identity, pay for purchases, and enter the premises.

9. Learning Languages
Meta has created and open-sourced an AI system that can recognize over 4,000 spoken languages and turn text into speech in over 1,100 languages. Researchers used audio recordings of translated religious texts to train the system.

10. Building Robotic Bees
Researchers at Washington State University have created a robotic bee that uses four independently-controlled wings to fly. Officials could eventually use the bee to conduct artificial pollination, facilitate search and rescue operations, and more.

Image credit: Flickr user Dmitry Grigoriev

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