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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Martin Makaryan

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 11, 2024 to May 17, 2024 and includes articles on the first AI robot delivering a commencement speech and using digital platforms to ensure security for Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca.

1. Enhancing TV Experience

Google TV is using the company’s generative AI model family, Gemini, to write movie descriptions for titles that don’t have them and translate those descriptions into the viewer’s native language. Gemini’s AI models will analyze a viewer’s preference for genres and actors to generate descriptions that include the most relevant details and information about the movie, allowing the user to better assess whether they would like to watch it.

2. Empowering Scientific Research

Sage Bionetworks, a Seattle-based nonprofit promoting open science, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have partnered to expand access to in-demand biomedical datasets. AWS will enhance Sage Bionetworks’ research platform with high-capacity and secure data storage, and the nonprofit will curate biomedical datasets on the platform to help users access and reuse open data in their research workflows, accelerating biomedical research. 

3. Tracking Higher Education

A U.K.-based consultancy called Sensu Insight has partnered with Universities UK, a nonprofit representing 142 universities in the country, to develop a tracker that will monitor public perceptions and issues affecting higher education institutions. The digital tool will track data from online discourse about universities, such as media coverage and tweets, and identify recurring themes and trends to help generate insights for universities. 

4. Delivering Commencement Speeches

Sophia, a humanoid robot that Texas-based robotics and engineering firm Hanson Robotics developed in 2007, delivered the commencement speech for the 2024 graduating class of D’Youville University in New York. Sophia, the first social robot to speak during a university graduation ceremony, used AI to analyze previous speeches and identify relevant themes and advice for graduating students.

5. Treating Depression

Oxford University researchers are testing a new digital tool called Petrushka to more effectively prescribe treatments for depression. Petrushka uses an AI model to analyze data regarding age, symptoms, and other factors that researchers previously collected from more than one million people and recommends the best antidepressants for each individual patient during a consultation. 

6. Enhancing AI Models

OpenAI has launched a new generative AI model called GPT-4o, which improves on existing capabilities to understand text, image, video, and audio. The new model enables ChatGPT to respond to users via audio.

7. Improving Air Navigation

The U.K. government has partnered with Infleqtion, a Colorado-based quantum technology firm, and two aerospace companies to successfully test the world’s first commercial flight using a quantum-based navigation system. The new technology uses ultracold atoms, whose low temperatures allow for quantum properties to replace classical mechanics, to improve navigation precision and protect against electronic and GPS jamming.

8. Streamlining Digital Commerce

Digital commerce platform eBay has partnered with Italian digital identity firm Certilogo to launch a new feature called “resell on eBay,” which helps authenticate clothing items. Certilogo already works with various well-known brands to incorporate QR codes into their product labels at the time of manufacturing. When an eBay user wants to resell a clothing item, they can use Certilogo’s system through their eBay account to verify the item’s authenticity. Once authenticated, eBay will create a prefilled listing with item details, making it easier for users to resell their garments.

9. Managing Pilgrimages

The government of Saudi Arabia has launched two new platform that both enable Muslims around the world making the annual pilgrimage, known as Hajj, to the Islamic holy city Mecca to use digital IDs. A digital ID at Hajj helps streamline various logistical and security processes by allowing pilgrims to easily prove their identity multiple times throughout their journey. Pilgrims often need to show their ID at checkpoints, accommodations, transportation services, and during various rituals, ensuring smooth and secure access to facilities and services.

10. Treating Heart Diseases

Researchers at Imperial College London and the Universities of Sheffield and Nottingham have partnered with the Alan Turing Institute, the U.K.’s national institute for artificial intelligence and data science, to create the first digital twin heart models for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a life-threatening heart disease. Researchers will use each patient’s health data to update the digital twin in real-time to better monitor disease progression and personalize treatment plans.

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