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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Martin Makaryan

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers April 27, 2024 to May 3, 2024 and includes articles on the world’s first “AI diplomat” and using a digital twin of an airport to reduce carbon emissions.

1. Reinventing the Passenger Experience

A Paris-based tech firm called Valeo has partnered with Unity, a gaming software developer, to produce an extended-reality racing video game for passenger’s seat. The game blends in virtual reality (VR) technology with the physical surrounding of a moving car to enhance the passenger experience. 

2. Streamlining Digital Enterprise

Amazon has added a new capability to its AI-business assistant called Amazon Q Apps that uses generative AI to create digital apps from a text prompt. The tool does not require coding knowledge and will help businesses easily digitize their services. 

3. Improving Municipal Services

Vancouver’s city government is partnering with other municipalities and provincial governments to issue digital credentials for use in permitting and licensing services for businesses and homeowners. People will use a mobile app called BC Wallet to verify the validity of their government-issued credentials for a variety of services.

4. Reducing Carbon Emissions

The Brussels airport has partnered with a U.K.-based climate tech firm called Integrated Environmental Solutions to create a digital twin of the airport. This virtual model will help minimize energy use in the buildings and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. 

5. Tackling the Opioid Crisis

The South Carolina state government has released an online interactive data dashboard that shows the number of drug prescriptions broken down by drug category, age groups, and other factors over the past two years. State agencies have collected data on prescriptions for years, and hope to more effectively combat prescription misuse and the overprescription of some drugs by making the data available to the larger public. 

6. Digitizing Diplomacy

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the world’s first “digital diplomat” called Victoria that will serve as official spokeswoman to save time and resources for diplomats. The ministry created Victoria’s visuals using generative AI, but will only use human-generated statements.

7. Improving Solar Panels

Researchers at the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney in Australia have developed new algorithms that identify shortcomings in solar panels. The researchers used air conditioning (A/C) power data to develop the algorithms, which can accurately diagnose underperformance and allow for early interventions to maximize energy production.

8. Reinventing Retail Advertising

7-Eleven Japan is using AI to enhance digital ads at retail stores by implementing a vision detection technology to maximize advertising outreach and efficiency. The technology counts the number of people who stop to look at specific ads and the amount of time they spend on each ad, and AI analyzes this data to constantly adapt the content and placement of ads. 

9. Improving Water Quality

Scotland’s Innovation Center for sensing, imaging, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has partnered with a London-based start-up called Aqsen Innovations to create a water sensor that could help developing nations minimize the harmful effects of climate change by improving water quality in agricultural lands and areas at risk of flooding. The new technology will use sensors to monitor water quality in real time by testing various factors, such as temperature and the presence of dangerous chemicals.

10. Scaling AI Research

A Texas-based technology firm called Hewlett Packard Enterprise has built a new supercomputer for the University of Krakow called Helios, making it the fastest system in Poland. Helios will support large-scale model training in AI to advance scientific research in chemistry, medicine, materials technology, astronomy, and environmental protection.

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