This AI can tell if you have prostate cancer by looking at your pee

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Researchers at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) recently developed a machine for detecting prostate cancer that only needs 20 minutes of your time and a few ounces of your pee to achieve near 100-percent accuracy. Human oncologists are only about 30% accurate when it comes to detecting the disease. This is a big deal. Background: Detecting prostate cancer is, quite literally, a pain in the ass. Under the current paradigm the disease is confirmed through a combination of lab work and invasive diagnostics. This involves a painful biopsy procedure where surgeons remove a tissue sample from the…

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Stanford team behind BS gaydar AI says facial recognition can expose political orientation

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Stanford researcher Michael Kosinski, the PhD behind the infamous “Gaydar” AI, is back with another phrenology-adjacent (his team swears it’s not phrenology) bit of pseudo-scientific ridiculousness. This time, they’ve published a paper indicating that a simple facial recognition algorithm can tell a person’s political affiliation. First things first: The paper is called “Facial recognition technology can expose political orientation from naturalistic facial images.” You can read it here. Here’s a bit from the abstract: Ubiquitous facial recognition technology can expose individuals’ political orientation, as faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ. Second things second: These are demonstrably false statements. Before…

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Trump admin launches National AI Initiative Office

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The White House today announced the launch of its National AI Initiative Office, marking what should be President Trump‘s final manipulation of the country’s gutted Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). According to an OSTP press release: The Office is charged with overseeing and implementing the United States national AI strategy and will serve as the central hub for Federal coordination and collaboration in AI research and policymaking across the government, as well as with private sector, academia, and other stakeholders. Background: Over the course of the Trump presidency, the OSTP was whittled down from a record 135 staffers…

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Adios pandemic pals

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Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. This is our final issue. Hola pandemic pals, The time has come for us to say goodbye. The curtain’s falling and the crowds are dispersing. But the fight isn’t over. COVID-19 is just getting started. The pandemic is NOT “winding down,” “ending,” or “almost over.” Things are absolutely, definitely, NOT going “back to normal.” The US will soon face its toughest challenge as a nation. Experts predict the winter will bring a surge in cases and, with…

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What’s the opposite of pandemic?

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Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here. Hola pandemic pals, I was thinking about Superman today. He was designed to be the ultimate hero. He’s strong, fast, smart, and full of empathy. He’s everything a kid could want in the super-est of superheroes. And that’s why it’s damn near impossible to tell a compelling story about him without invoking one of his two great weaknesses: kryptonite and loving humans. My favorite superhero stories are the ones where the heroes fight…

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