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Daily Digest October 21, 2018 – BioDecoded

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Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by "Eastern" medicine. It's been a record year for US medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for US life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the US than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 US-based companies, per Pitchbook. Chinese capital's newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the strongest year of venture investment ever, with over one hundred companies receiving $4 billion in investment.


Germany's falling behind on tech, and Merkel knows it

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"I'm used to bad news," Merkel said, according to a participant's recollection. The German chancellor had just returned from China, where she spent a day in the Shenzhen tech hub visiting companies like ICarbonX, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup focused on disease detection. A trained physicist, Merkel had been impressed by what she saw. The money and manpower China poured into AI left the 64-year-old with little doubt that the country viewed the technology as its key to becoming a global superpower. "We really do have to walk the extra mile to make sure we're not left behind" -- Jörg Bienert, president of a new association representing more than 50 AI startups Germany, by contrast, had no plan for AI. So on her return to Berlin, Merkel met the country's top 32 AI experts at the chancellery to hear how the country was doing. Their assessment was sobering: Germany, they said, has a good track record in AI research, but it suffers from problems ranging from brain drain to a weak record in transforming basic research into real-world applications that are hampering its ability to compete in a new technology race. After three hours, Merkel left concerned -- and made her worries public a month later. "For centuries, or let's say since the age of Enlightenment, we in Europe were used to being the first ones to come up with technological innovations," she told a tech conference.


Secret Google kite project on verge of launching

The Independent

A project from Google's secretive X division that uses giant plane-like kites to generate renewable electricity may be about to be launched. Makani Power has been developing airborne wind turbines with the support of the Internet giant's research and development facility founded to pursue "moonshot" ideas. If successful the plan would negate the need for costly construction materials and labour that is required for ground-based wind turbines. But after more than 10 years of development, the kites are yet to be used beyond testing. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.


Why China Will Win The Artificial Intelligence Race

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President Trump's threat of "severe" repercussions if the Saudis are found to have killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi were met with more threats from the Saudi side, including from a media figure close to the royal family who warned of high oil prices and a shift of alliances.


Automation could accelerate China's scientific rise, close gap with U.S.

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"We're in the middle of a paradigm shift, a time when the choice of experiments and the execution of experiments are not really things that people do," says Bob Murphy, the head of the computational biology department at Carnegie Mellon University. Details: Experimental science is expensive. In biology, for example, pricey equipment and labor mean that scientists can't do all the experiments they would like. Instead, they have to prioritize the ones they think will give them the most information about the questions they are after, and then extrapolate to estimate the outcomes of the experiments they didn't do. Automating science makes it easier to do big experiments, allowing more people to participate -- and potentially boosting the scientific output of countries that have traditionally trailed the U.S.


US consortium for safe AI development welcomes Baidu as first Chinese member

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An American-led tech consortium dedicated to safeguarding the development of artificial intelligence has welcomed its first Chinese member, internet search company Baidu. The Partnership on AI (PAI) was set up two years ago to generate best practices for AI technology. It's funded by its members, which include companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, and also partners with government entities like the UN and Human Rights Watch. Membership does not necessitate any legally binding promises, but companies who join PAI must "believe in and endeavor to uphold" eight key tenets. PAI's executive director, Terah Lyons, told The Verge that the group cannot accomplish its aims without "insight from the leading global AI actors" -- including Chinese firms.


Tumblr finds major security bug that could have leaked people's most personal information

The Independent

Tumblr has found a major security bug in its platform that could have leaked people's most personal information, it has said. A problem with the innocent looking "recommended blogs" screen could have given up people's email addresses, passwords, old accounts, and where they were. The issue has now been fixed and there is no evidence that it was actually used, Tumblr said. Users don't need to do anything to keep their account secure. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.


Facebook builds 'war room' to try and stop people interfering in elections

The Independent

Facebook has built a "war room" in its California headquarters ahead of upcoming elections. The social network is fighting to stop its platform being used to interfere in elections and promote fake news, after a run of scandals that saw it blamed for promoting false stories and helping boost particular candidates. Now it has built a physical room inside of its Menlo Park campus which will host different experts in election interference and allow them to work together. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar.


Microsoft and Amazon workers protest firms' military AI contract and 'authoritarian surveillance' tech

The Independent

Employees at Amazon and Microsoft have raised concerns about ethical decisions being made at the highest level of their companies. Both tech firms have drawn criticism over their involvement in controversial military and police projects, prompting anonymous workers to write public letters denouncing them. The protests come after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that part of his job is to make unpopular decisions, such as choosing to work with the US military or providing tools that enable police surveillance. In response, an Amazon employee wrote in a post published to Medium: "Companies like ours should not be in the business of facilitating authoritarian surveillance. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.


Growth in China's robot market to slump this year amid trade war

The Japan Times

Sales of industrial robots in China, the world's biggest market, will grow this year at only about a third the pace seen last year as an escalating Sino-U.S. trade war hits spending on equipment, a global robot group said on Thursday. In its annual report, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) forecast Chinese demand for robots will grow 15-20 percent this year after surging 59 percent to 137,920 units last year. With China accounting for 36 percent of the global robot market and with its sales volume exceeding the total of Europe and the Americas combined, slowing demand growth in the Asian nation is also impacting global demand. IFR, which brings together nearly 60 global robot suppliers and integrators, predicts worldwide industrial robot sales this year will grow 10 percent compared to last year's 30 percent. Because of the trade war, many global manufacturers "are now in a wait-and-see mode, wondering whether to shift production (away from China) to, let's say, Vietnam or the United States," IFR President Junji Tsuda said in an interview.