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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Martin Makaryan

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers April 13, 2024 to April 19, 2024 and includes articles on revamping disaster response and tracking carbon emissions in buildings.

1. Creating Custom Playlists

Amazon Music and Spotify have launched AI tools that generate customized music playlists from text, audio, or emoji prompts. Spotify’s AI Playlists and Amazon’s Maestro, which a small number of users are currently testing, are capable of generating niche playlists in minutes.

2. Speeding Up Parkinson’s Research

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have used a machine learning method to help researchers develop a treatment drug for Parkinson’s disease, which affects six million people globally. The model identifies the molecular targets for scientific experiments, helping researchers speed up the screening process for drug candidates tenfold.

3. Mapping the World

Overture Maps Foundation, an affiliate of Linux Foundation that provides a hub for open technology projects, has launched a global geospatial dataset, which developers can use to create applications. The dataset contains 54 million places of interest, including 2.3 billion buildings, roads, footbaths, and other travel infrastructure.

4. Creating A Presidential Stand-in

Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar has partnered with ad agency IMPACT BBDO Dubai and New York-based venture capitalist firm Addition to launch what it is calling an “AI President,” an online tool which can answer questions related to Lebanon and its politics. They created the tool by training a large language model on the newspaper’s data dating back to the 1930s. The country has not had a president for the past two years despite thirteen attempts from the parliament to elect one, and this tool is meant to highlight the ongoing government dysfunction.

5. Reimagining Karaoke

Santa Monica-based AI music tool company Mayk has launched a new product called Popstarz, which allows users to look and sound like artists of their choice. The tool uses a short recording of a user’s voice to generate the full song and pairs the content with a user-uploaded selfie to produce an easily shareable clip. 

6. Revamping Disaster Response

Google has partnered with the National Guard to test a new AI tool that analyzes images taken from an airplane and compares them with satellite data to identify key infrastructure. The National Guard is planning to deploy the tool to help human analysts ahead of the upcoming summer wildfire season.

7. Tracking Carbon Pollution

A Nevada-based carbon-tracking startup called Nzero has developed a new algorithm to help building owners more accurately calculate their carbon emissions. Users input their building information and an algorithm analyzes the data and generates precise estimates. Accurately estimating a building’s carbon emissions is important as many governments are enacting carbon reduction regulations.

8. Responding to Direct Messages

Instagram is testing a new tool called “Creator AI” that will allow influencers with a large following to respond to direct messages using a chatbot that answers in the influencer’s voice. The tool will reduce the workload of influencers who have broad fan bases and allow users to interact with their favorite content creators directly. 

9. Advancing Precision Medicine

Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina have created a deep learning tool called lifelong neural network for gene regulation (LINGER) to better analyze interactions between genes, proteins, and the sequences of DNA that control the activity of genes. LINGER analyzes different types of cell data and learns from it to understand how genes control each other, helping scientists better understand how genes are regulated within cells and how genetic variations influence a patient’s drug response.

10. Tracking Homelessness

The New York City Comptroller has launched a new data dashboard that charts the city’s levels of homelessness. The dashboard provides data based on demographic categories, factors leading to homelessness, and homeless shelter exits. According to the dashboard, more than 120,000 New Yorkers reside in city-provided housing. 

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