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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers December 2, 2023 to December 8, 2023 and includes articles on using an AI system to track chemicals used to produce fentanyl and tracking data on dengue fever.

1. Launching AI Systems
Google has created a new large language model, known as Gemini, that can understand text, audio, image, video, and code. The largest version of the model, known as Gemini Ultra, beat ChatGPT-4’s results in 30 out of 32 academic benchmarks for language models.

2. Building Quantum Chips
IBM has unveiled two new quantum chips. The first, known as Condor, contains over 1,100 qubits and the second, known as Heron, contains 133 qubits and has an error rate three times lower than the company’s last quantum processor.

3. Finding Jobs
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Department of Employment Services have partnered with Eightfold AI, a U.S.-based software company, to launch a career platform. The platform uses an AI system to match job seekers with employers, build resumes, and suggest new skills for applicants.

4. Cleaning Microplastics
Researchers at Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Minnesota have created a robot that can clean microplastics in aquatic environments. The robot contains a rotating structure that creates waves in the water and filters small plastic particles from the surface.

5. Answering Questions
The Chicago Transit Authority has partnered with Google to launch an AI-powered chatbot that can answer travel questions in English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Filipino/Tagalog. Officials can use the chatbot to provide information about public transportation and collect feedback on services more efficiently.

6. Tracking Dengue
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will develop the world’s first dashboard to track dengue. Public health researchers and officials can use the dashboard to view data on the disease’s spread and predict future transmissions.

7. Analyzing Wine
Researchers at the University of Geneva have created an AI system that can identify the winery a bottle of wine originates from. Officials can use the system to detect fraudulent wines.

8. Inspecting Pipes
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has deployed a robot to inspect pipes at its Paducah site in Kentucky. The robot enables workers to collect data on pipes’ material five times faster than previous methods.

9. Preventing Drug Trafficking
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has partnered with Altana, a U.S.-based supply chain platform, to track chemicals used to produce fentanyl in Mexico. CBP agents will use Altana’s AI system and data from 450 million companies to determine how and where production occurs.

10. Monitoring Heart Rates
Researchers at Glasgow University have created a camera that can read patients’ heartbeats from a distance. The camera has a laser that shines on patients’ throats and an AI system that uses the laser’s reflection to calculate their heart rate.

Image credit: Flickr user wp paarz

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