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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
A pile of newspapers

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers July 15, 2023 to July 21, 2023 and includes articles on surveying fisheries with autonomous vehicles and using an AI system to draft news articles.

1. Launching AI Systems
Meta and Microsoft have partnered to launch Llama 2, a large language model. The two companies have made the model open source and available for commercial and research use.

2. Shopping for Groceries
Amazon has announced that it will add its pay-by-palm technology to all Whole Foods Market stores in the United States this year. Shoppers can scan their palms to pay for purchases and verify their ages.

3. Updating Chatbots
Microsoft has updated Bing, its AI-powered chatbot. The new version can interpret and answer questions about user-submitted images.

4. Boarding Trains
Eurostar, a U.K.-based international railway company, has partnered with iProov, a U.K.-based biometric technology company, to launch the first biometric checkpoint for rail travel. Travelers at King’s Cross St. Pancras Station in London can use iProov’s app to authenticate their identification and scan their face. The checkpoint will then use facial recognition technology to verify their entry prior to boarding.

5. Designing Meeting Backgrounds
Google has started testing a generative AI system that can create artificial backgrounds for Google Meet calls. Users can submit text prompts and choose styles, such as photography or illustration, to generate their backgrounds.

6. Surveying Fisheries
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has partnered with Saildrone, a U.S.-based company that develops autonomous boats and ships, to survey fisheries on Lake Erie. Saildrone’s vehicles use sensor technology to detect fish and can operate more quietly than previous research vessels.

7. Summarizing Meetings
Microsoft has announced that it will add its AI-powered Copilot tool to Microsoft Teams calls and chats. The tool can generate summaries of calls and chats, identify key points of meetings, recommend next steps, and more.

8. Tracking Smoke-Free Policies
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Indonesia Ministry of Health have launched a dashboard to track the implementation of smoke-free policies in Indonesia. Residents can use the dashboard to view information on smoke-free regulations, inspections, enforcement, and compliance with regulations at the city and district levels.

9. Enhancing News Articles
Google has created an AI-powered tool that can generate content for news articles. Journalists can use the tool to generate headlines, draft content in a different writing style, and more.

10. Applying Makeup
Microsoft has partnered with U.S.-based cosmetics company Maybelline, Canadian augmented reality company Modiface, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a U.S.-based research organization, to add AI-powered makeup filters to Microsoft Teams calls. Users can select 12 different makeup options and receive information on the products replicated in the filter.

Image credit: Flickr user Jeff Eaton

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