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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers December 9, 2023 to December 15, 2023 and includes articles on using an AI system to create a playlist and creating virtual reality goggles for lab mice.

1. Building Nuclear Power Plants
Microsoft has partnered with Terra Praxis, a U.K.-based climate nonprofit organization, to develop a generative AI system that can assist nuclear power plant developers with the regulatory process to build a nuclear power plant. The team is training the system with U.S. nuclear regulatory and licensing texts.

2. Improving Robots
Tesla has built a new version of its humanoid Optimus robot. The new robot can walk faster, handle objects more gently, and maintain balance better than its predecessor.

3. Filing Taxes
H&R Block, a U.S.-based tax preparation company, has launched an AI-powered chatbot that can answer questions about tax rules, exemptions, and more.

4. Riding in Robotaxis
Waymo, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, has expanded its ride hailing services at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Approved travelers can now request rides in an autonomous vehicle from terminals’ curbside.

5. Directing Warehouse Robots
Agility Robotics, a U.S.-based robotics company, has updated its warehouse robot to include an AI system that can understand and follow spoken commands. Warehouse workers can use the robot, known as Digit, to complete tedious or dangerous tasks.

6. Tracking School Performance
California’s State Board of Education has relaunched a dashboard to measure performance in the state’s schools. Researchers and educators can use the dashboard to view data on math and English scores, absenteeism, graduation and suspension rates, and more.

7. Generating Backgrounds
Instagram has added an AI-powered tool that can generate backgrounds for users’ stories. Users can upload or capture images and submit text prompts to create the background.

8. Conducting Experiments
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed virtual reality goggles for lab mice. The team is using the goggles to better simulate overhead threats, such as birds, and measure brain activity.

9. Creating Playlists
Spotify is developing an AI system that can create playlists from user-submitted prompts or selections from existing suggestions, such as “fill in the silence with background café music.”

10. Wearing Glasses
Meta has updated the AI system for its Ray-Ban smart glasses to allow searches for real-time information. The company has also started testing a new feature that can answer questions about what users look at through the glasses.

Image credit: Flickr user Tobias Begemann

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