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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers September 2, 2023 to September 8, 2023 and includes articles on landing autonomous drones on navy ships and using a robot to attend class remotely.

1. Designing Drugs
Insilico Medicine, a biotechnology company based in Hong Kong, has started clinical trials for a COVID-19 drug designed by AI. In preliminary tests, the drug showed efficacy against all COVID-19 variants and other viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

2. Mapping Radioactive Sites
Operators at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Scotland and Createc, a U.K.-based technology company, have mapped a radioactive section of the site that has been sealed off for 25 years. The team used Boston Dynamics’ Spot the robot dog to survey the site, collect radiological data, and build a 3D map showing radioactivity levels across the site.

3. Reselling Goods
U.S.-based e-commerce company eBay has launched an AI-powered tool that can generate product listings from images. Sellers can upload a photo of the product to the tool and receive a product title, description, item category, and more.

4. Studying the Sun
The Indian Space Research Organisation has launched a spacecraft to collect data on the sun. Scientists will use the data to study the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere, solar wind behavior, and solar radiation. They will also examine the effects of solar phenomena on communications systems, satellites, power grids, and the Earth’s climate.

5. Triaging Patients
Researchers at Yale University have created an AI platform that can predict the length of a patient’s hospitalization stay and their disease severity during a viral outbreak. The team trained the platform’s AI system with data from over 100 COVID-19 patients and over 300 healthy patients. Doctors can use the platform to better triage patients and allocate resources.

6. Attending Classes
The Kumamoto Board of Education in Japan will deploy two robots that enable absent students to remotely participate in classes this year. The robots have microphones, speakers, cameras, and a tablet and can maneuver freely around the classroom.

7. Offering Financial Advice
U.S.-based financial services company Morgan Stanley has created a chatbot that can answer financial questions. The company will later add functionality to generate summaries of client conversations, draft emails containing next steps, update sales databases, schedule appointments, and provide personalized advice on taxes, retirement savings, and inheritances for clients.

8. Delivering Supplies
The U.K. Royal Navy has flown an autonomous drone to deliver supplies to a navy ship for the first time. The drone departed from the Lizard Peninsula in the United Kingdom, landed on the HMS Prince of Wales, and flew back to land.

9. Summarizing Messages
Slack is developing an AI-powered tool that can summarize threads and answer questions based on past messages, files, and channels. The company will start testing the tool this winter.

10. Detecting Tax Evasion
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started using an AI system to identify potential tax violations by high-income earners and businesses. Since integrating the AI system, the IRS has opened investigations into 75 large business partnerships.

Image credit: Flickr user Bertram Nudelbach

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