Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Advances in software applications that process human language lie at the heart of the debate over whether computer technologies will enhance or even substitute for human creativity.

Source: New York Times

Date: April 21st, 2020

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/technology/ai-creative-software-language.html

Discussion

  1. Do you agree that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used as “intelligence amplifiers” that offer an important boost for human creativity?
  2. What do you think of the output of the AI program ( GPT-2) to automatically write a simple policy statement about ethics policies for A.I. systems, which said: “Decision systems that assume predictability about human behavior can be prone to error. These are the errors of a data-driven society…Recognizing these issues will ensure that we are able to use the tools that humanity has entrusted to us to address the most pressing rights and security challenges of our time.” ? That’s 100% written by an AI.

Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

The pandemic will have many losers, but it already has one clear winner: big tech. The large digital platforms, including Alphabet and Facebook, will come out of the crisis even stronger. They should use this good fortune to reset their sometimes testy relations with their users. Otherwise big government, the other beneficiary of the covid calamity, is likely to do it for them.

Source: The Economist

Date: April 16th, 2020

Link: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/04/04/big-techs-covid-19-opportunity

Discussion

  1. ” In fact, more than ever it is clear that big tech firms act as vital utilities. Therein lies the trap, because almost everywhere other utilities, such as water or electricity, are heavily regulated and have their prices and profits capped.  ” Do you understand that “the trap” is that the big tech firms are NOT regulated?
  2. The Economist proposes that big tech should propose ” clear and verifiable rules on how they publish and moderate content, helping users own, control and profit from their own data; as well as fair treatment of competitors that use their platforms”. Is this a complete list? A useful list?

Posted by & filed under 3D Printing, AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

“In the long run the firms that survive will have to master a new environment as the crisis and the response to it accelerate three trends:
1) an energising adoption of new technologies,

2) an inevitable retreat from freewheeling global supply chains and

3) a worrying rise in well-connected oligopolies.

Source: The Economist

Date: April 12, 2020

Link: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/04/08/the-coronavirus-crisis-will-change-the-world-of-commerce

Discussion

  1. What are the “new technologies” mentioned in the first trend ( an energising adoption of new technologies)?
  2. How does AI, robotic process automation and 3D printing factor in to the second trend ( an inevitable retreat from freewheeling global supply chains )?
  3. Did you know that FAANG + Microsoft are some of the major “well-connected oligopolies” in the third trend? FAANG = Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google.

Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

For earthquake scientists, having hundreds of millions of people off the streets and out of the skies is providing a bonanza of data about the planet.

All those planes, trains and automobiles that aren’t running because of stay-home policies meant to fight the spread of COVID-19 have cut noise pollution in some cities by more than half, allowing seismologists to record sounds from inside Earth they never could before.

John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, says holidays like Christmas are the closest we ever get to these low levels of background noise and that’s only for a day at a time.

“It’s really unprecedented to see this level of quiet,” said Cassidy, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: April 14th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/noise-earthquakes-1.5531375

Discussion

  1. What other types of research could be done with things so quiet outside?

Posted by & filed under COVID-19, Data Analytics.

Richard Masse, public health strategic adviser, explained Quebec’s COVID-19 pandemic projections on Tuesday. They estimate the province could see between 1,300 and 8,900 deaths due to the disease by the end of the month.

That’s why the COVID-19 modelling the federal government is presenting this morning needs to be read with an understanding of what these models can — and can’t — tell us.

The projections that governments across the country are relying on now are imperfect but still important, because they allow those governments to assess their capacity to handle the spread of the virus, explain the reasons behind restrictive preventative measures and prepare for the future.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: April 10th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-covid19-models-1.5525478

Discussion

  1. ” Ontario and Saskatchewan have projected a best-case scenario death toll of about 3,000 people in their provinces — even though Ontario has 12.5 times the population of Saskatchewan ” How can this be?
  2. ” governments are using them to inform their decisions. The modelling released by British Columbia provides a practical example of this. It was focused not on future cases or fatalities, but rather on how many beds in intensive care units would be needed under various scenarios. That allowed the government to determine the likelihood that its health care system would be overburdened and decide what needs to be done in advance to prevent that from happening. ” What different sorts of information are needed to make estimates like these?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Healthcare, Privacy.

https://healthweather.us/ is a thermometer-based smartphone app that updates in real time. There is a thermometer that plugs into your phone. Kinsa, the company behind the app and service gathers all those thermometer readings to produce a heat map of where people are sick. It’s actually for influenza, but, of course, tracking temperature is part of COVID-19 identification.

Source: www.Healthweather.us

Date: April 6th, 2020

Link: https://healthweather.us/?mode=Atypical

Discussion

  1. Kinsa Insights, the company that sells this plug-into-your-smartphone app-based take-your-temperature app collects all the data and sells it to places like CVS and Walgreens so they can get the right flu meds on the shelves. Is this an invasion of privacy, or a useful service?
  2. How might you use this publicly available data (down to the county level) to sell a service?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, COVID-19, Google, Healthcare.

Google is now using GoogleMaps data from users of the app to show, publicly, people’s mobility changes.
“As global communities respond to COVID-19, we’ve heard from public health officials that the same type of aggregated, anonymized insights we use in products such as Google Maps could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.

These Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.”

Source: Google

Date: April 6th, 2020

Link: https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/

Discussion

  1. ” These Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19 ” How could you use these reports in your community?
  2. Not this this is an appropriate use of this information, but what sort of company or service could you set up (after the pandemic) to monetize this sort of information?

Posted by & filed under Healthcare.

“Cell phones are like an organ of your body, an extension of your body,” microbiology specialist Jason Tetro said from Edmonton in a phone interview with The Canadian Press. “So you have to think of it in the same way that you would think of your hands or feet or something along those lines. “You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: April 2nd, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cell-phone-germs-covid-coronavirus-1.5518705

Discussion

  1. In addition to giving good advice here in this article, is there a way to build a sustainable company (as in, one that outlasts the impacts of COVID-19) for what you’ve learnt here?
  2. In what settings going forward might this advice be useful?

Posted by & filed under Robotics.

From taking temperatures remotely to helping with hand washing, robots are helping with healthcare around the world. This video looks at some of the novel ways robots are being used in the battle against coronavirus.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: April 2nd, 2020

Link to 3 minutes 45 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-52105478/how-robots-have-joined-the-battle-against-coronavirus

Discussion

  1. How might you start a company using robots in the same ways as in the video?
  2. What are some issues with using robots in this way?

Posted by & filed under Electronic Surveillance, Ethical issues, Privacy.

The coronavirus pandemic may have emerged in China, but the country now has fewer cases than the US, Italy and Spain.

The Chinese government has used tools such as phone tracking to control the outbreak. Other countries are starting to look at similar technological solutions.

But how does China’s controversial surveillance system work and can state intervention on this scale be justified?

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: April 2nd, 2020

Link to video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-52104798/coronavirus-how-china-s-using-surveillance-to-tackle-outbreak

Discussion

  1. In a crisis like this ” can state intervention on this scale be justified? “
  2. At what level could the U.S. and Canadian governments use surveillance before hitting privacy problems?