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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
The Amazon rainforest

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers June 17, 2023 to June 23, 2023 and includes articles on using an autonomous robot to reforest the Amazon and launching a data dashboard to track summer-related health hazards.

1. Finding Ancient Geoglyphs
Researchers at the Yamagata University Institute of Nasca and IBM Japan have found four new large-scale, man-made designs called geoglyphs created on the face of the Earth, in Peru. The team used an AI system to analyze aerial images of the region to find the geoglyphs, which date back to between 500 BC and 500 AD.

2. Training Robots
Researchers at Stanford University have created a simulated environment to train robots that includes both visual and auditory components, instead of only visual ones. This platform will allow robots to learn to navigate environments based on both sight and sound.

3. Generating Tennis Commentary
The All England Club, the host of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, has partnered with IBM to add AI-generated audio commentary to highlight videos on the Wimbledon app and website. The AI system will use data on ball movements, players, and game actions to create the commentary.

4. Reforesting the Amazon
Swiss robotics company ABB Robotics has partnered with the Junglekeepers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the Amazon rainforest, to use an autonomous robot to plant seeds in its laboratory and reforest the Amazon. The robot can plant enough seeds to cover two soccer fields per day, which frees up Junglekeepers’ workers to patrol for illegal logging and work with the local population.

5. Improving Search Tools
Dropbox, a U.S.-based file storage company, has launched two new AI-powered services. The first can summarize documents or videos and enables users to locate relevant information by asking a question. The second is a universal search experience that can return information from external sources, such as Microsoft Outlook and Google Workspace.

6. Reducing Air Pollution
The Hertfordshire County Council in the United Kingdom has partnered with a local university and some tech companies to reduce air pollution at Hatfield Business Park, one of the largest business parks in the country. Officials will install sensors around the park to collect data on air quality and combine the results with data on the weather, drones, traffic, and pedestrians to create a digital twin.

7. Editing Videos
Vimeo, a U.S.-based video platform company, has created three new AI-powered tools that can generate scripts from user-submitted text prompts, display scripts on screens to teleprompt creators while filming, and enable users to search for certain words in video transcripts and either delete the resultant video content or isolate it in a short clip.

8. Tracking Summertime Hazards
The Oregon Health Authority has launched a dashboard to track data on summer-related health hazards. Residents can use the dashboard to view information on emergency department and urgent care center visits related to heat illnesses, wildfire smoke or air quality issues, or near drownings.

9. Enhancing Work Meetings
Otter, a U.S.-based transcription software company, has created an AI-powered chatbot that can answer questions about meetings in real time and generate emails with action points from meetings after they end. The chatbot improves upon other bots by generating answers for multiple users at once, instead of only one user.

10. Creating Templates
Google has started testing an AI feature that can create custom templates in Google Sheets. Users can submit text prompts describing a format and the feature will generate a template.

Image credit: Flickr user Mina Guli

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