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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers January 6, 2024 to January 12, 2024 and includes articles on launching AI-powered vehicle assistants and teaching healthcare lessons through virtual reality.

1. Testing Generative AI Tools
Pennsylvania’s Office of Administration has partnered with OpenAI to launch a pilot program testing generative AI tools in government work. State employees will use the tools for daily tasks, such as drafting copy, generating code, and making outdated policy language more accessible. Officials will then use the feedback from the program to determine how to best adopt generative AI.

2. Driving on Highways
Waymo, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, will start testing autonomous vehicles on highways and freeways in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, the company restricted autonomous vehicles to streets with low driving limits or driving on highways with a human specialist on board.

3. Identifying Battery Materials
Researchers at Microsoft and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have used an AI system to identify battery materials from over 32 million possible materials. The team found one material that could require 70 percent less lithium in batteries than currently necessary.

4. Proving Identification
Delta Air Lines has expanded its digital ID program to Los Angeles International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. The program uses facial matching technology to verify eligible passengers’ identities and enables them to move through baggage drop and security checkpoints faster and more efficiently.

5. Shopping for Goods
Walmart has updated its app to include three new features that help customers shop for goods more efficiently. The first feature allows customers to search for activities, such as football watch parties, and receive relevant products, instead of searching for individual items. Another feature uses an AI system to predict when customers will run out of household items and order more for delivery. A third feature enables customers to ask friends for feedback on clothing with augmented reality.

6. Tracking Literacy Data
The Indiana Department of Education has launched a dashboard tracking literacy data in the state. Policymakers, education officials, and teachers can use the dashboard to view information on the number of students who can or cannot read by the end of third grade, students who reach the fourth grade without foundational reading skills, students who reach proficiency in math but not reading, and more.

7. Assisting Staff
Deloitte, a U.K.-based financial services company, has created an AI-powered chatbot for employees. The chatbot, known as PairD, can assist employees with drafting emails, creating presentations, and more.

8. Expanding Drone Deliveries
Walmart will expand its drone delivery services to include up to 75 percent of residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Residents can use the service to order and receive goods from a drone within 30 minutes.

9. Learning About Cars
Amazon and BMW have partnered to launch a chatbot trained on cars’ driver’s manuals. Users can ask the chatbot questions about their cars, direct it to change the music, ask for directions, and more.

10. Enhancing Healthcare Lessons
Northwest Florida State College has partnered with Xennial, a U.S.-based technology company, to enhance healthcare education. Nursing students will participate in lessons using virtual reality.

Image credit: Flickr user Wall Boat

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