Collaborating Authors


How to parent without perpetuating gender stereotypes


You've heard the lines on the playground as a kid: "Only boys play with trucks; only girls like dolls." You've seen all the pink and blue in the baby section of every store. When it comes to parenting, one thing is clear: The gender binary is hard to avoid. But that's not helping anyone, Dr. Christia S. Brown, a developmental psychology professor at the University of Kentucky and the author of Parenting Beyond Blue and Pink, says. She notes the gender binary, the division of gender into only two, opposing categories (masculine or feminine) rather than acknowledging the broad spectrum of gender identities, hurts all kids: The gender binary gives kids who don't fit neatly into it "the implicit and explicit message...that who they are is flawed or wrong," which Brown calls damaging.

Kentucky Diabetes Patients: Can Artificial Intelligence Tool Optimize Care?


Artificial intelligence is the key to healthcare breakthroughs. AI tools assist rather than replace healthcare professionals by providing shared decision making and improving personalized, patient-centered care. GlucosePATH equips physicians with various treatment options for patients with type 2 diabetes by curating their particular needs and integrating the medication cost into the treatment decision-making process. This project demonstrates how to reach therapeutic goals by integrating GlucosePATH software into your practice. An opportunity to act will be provided at the end of this series.

016 - Guest: Roman Yampolskiy, Professor of AI Safety


This and all episodes at: .   What does it look like to be on the front lines of academic research into making future AI safe? It looks like Roman Yampolskiy, professor at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, director of their Cyber Security lab and key contributor to the field of AI Safety. With over 100 papers and books on AI, Roman is recognized as an AI expert the world over. In this first part of our interview, we talk about his latest paper, a comprehensive analysis of the Control Problem, the central issue of AI safety: How do we ensure future AI remains under our control? All this and our usual look at today's AI headlines. Transcript and URLs referenced at HumanCusp Blog.  

Annapurna Interactive is releasing a PS4 box set with eight games


Annapurna Interactive hasn't been around that long and it has already published many memorable games, including Outer Wilds, Donut County, What Remains of Edith Finch and Sayonara Wild Hearts (my favorite game of 2019). To celebrate its first five years as an indie powerhouse, AI has teamed up with iam8bit to release physical PS4 box sets containing eight titles. They'll include those previously mentioned games, along with Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition and Wattam. Telling Lies and Gorogoa are also included in the box sets, which'll mark the first physical PS4 release for both of those games. The $179.99 Annapurna Interactive Ultimate PS4 Collection includes exclusive cover sheets.

How an ancient microbial arms race remodeled human cells


At a recent symposium on the evolution of infectious diseases, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), pathologist Nissi Varki noted that humans suffer from a long list of deadly diseases—including typhoid fever, cholera, mumps, whooping cough, and gonorrhea—that don't afflict apes and most other mammals. All of those pathogens follow the same well-trodden pathway to break into our cells: They manipulate sugar molecules called sialic acids. Hundreds of millions of these sugars stud the outer surface of every cell in the human body—and the sialic acids in humans are different from those in apes. Varki and an international team of researchers have now traced how evolution may have scrambled to construct new defenses after that molecular vulnerability emerged in our distant ancestors. By analyzing modern human genomes and ancient DNA from our extinct cousins, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, the researchers detected a burst of evolution in our immune cells that occurred in an ancestor of all three types of human by at least 600,000 years ago. As the researchers report in the current issue of Genome Biology and Evolution , these genetic changes may have sharpened the body's defenses against the pathogens that evolved to exploit sialic acids—but created new vulnerabilities. In an added irony, they note, humans' distinctive sialic acids were themselves once a defense against disease. The evolutionary saga is a vivid illustration of the competition between humans and microbes, says microbiologist Christine Szymanski of the University of Georgia, Athens, who is not a co-author. “This gives us a human perspective on how we have to keep changing to keep pace.” The arena for this evolutionary arms race is the glycocalyx, a sugar coating that protects the outer membrane of all cells. It consists of a forest of molecules that sprout from the cell membrane. The sialic acids are at the tip of the tallest branches, sugar chains called glycans, which are rooted to fats and proteins deeper in the membrane. Given their prominence and sheer number, sialic acids are usually the first molecules that invading pathogens encounter. Human cells are coated with one type of sialic acid, N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac). But apes and most other mammals also carry a different one, N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc). More than 2 million years ago, according to multiple molecular clock methods that estimate when mutations arose, a mutation in a gene on chromosome six made it impossible for human ancestors to make Neu5Gc anymore; instead, they made more of another sialic acid, Neu5Ac ( Science , 4 September 1998, p. [1432][1]). “We now know we had an ancient complete makeover of the surface of the human cells,” says evolutionary biologist Pascal Gagneux of UCSD, a co-author of the new paper. Birds, some bats, ferrets, and New World monkeys all separately made the same evolutionary change. The change likely evolved as a defense against malaria, says UCSD physician-scientist Ajit Varki, senior author of the paper and Nissi Varki's spouse. Malarial parasites that infect chimpanzees were no longer able to bind with the altered sialic acids on our red blood cells ( Science , 24 September 2010, p. 1586). But in the next million years or so, that mutation became a liability, as Neu5Ac became a portal for a flurry of other pathogens. At the infectious disease symposium organized by UCSD's Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny, researchers described how multiple diseases evolved to use Neu5Ac to enter cells or to evade immune cells. Coronaviruses appear to be no exception. “Most coronaviruses infect cells in two steps—first by recognizing abundant sialic acids as binding sites to gain a foothold, and then seeking out the higher affinity protein receptors like ACE2,” Ajit Varki says. “Think of it like an initial handshake or introduction that is required before one can ask for a date.” Two preprints suggest the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, also docks with sialic acids before binding with the ACE2 receptor to pierce human cells. In past studies, Ajit Varki and Gagneux suggested the makeover of the cell and the loss of Neu5Gc may have even contributed to the origin of a new species in our genus Homo . If a woman with only Neu5Ac sialic acids mated with a man who still expressed Neu5Gc, her immune system may have rejected that man's sperm or the fetus that developed from it. This fertility barrier might have helped divide Homo populations into different species more than 2 million years ago, the researchers speculated. But the sialic acid change also sparked a new arms race between pathogens and our ancestors. In the new study, the researchers scanned DNA for immune genes in six Neanderthals, two Denisovans, and 1000 humans, and looked at dozens of chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans as well. They found evolutionary changes that “markedly altered” one class of proteins—sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins, or Siglecs—that usually sit on the surface of human immune cells and recognize sialic acids. ![Figure][2] Battle at the cell surface Some pathogens use sialic acids, which sit on the outer edge of the cell membrane, to invade a cell. Pathogens sometimes coat themselves in humanlike sialic acids to trick signaling molecules called sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins (Siglecs) into inhibiting immune responses. But other Siglecs can instead turn on an immune response if they sense sialic acids on pathogens. GRAPHIC: PASCAL GAGNEUX/UCSD, ADAPTED BY N. DESAI/ SCIENCE Siglecs are molecular sentries: They probe sialic acids to see whether they are familiar parts of our own bodies or foreign invaders. If Siglecs spot sialic acids that are damaged or missing, they signal immune cells to activate, rousing an inflammatory army to attack potential invaders or clean up damaged cells. If sialic acids instead appear to be normal parts of our own cells, other, inhibitory Siglecs throttle back immune defenses so as not to attack our own tissues (see graphic, below). The researchers identified functional changes in the DNA of eight out of 13 Siglecs encoded by genes on chromosome 19 in humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. This hot spot of evolution appears only in Siglec gene variants, not in nearby genes on the chromosome, suggesting natural selection favored these changes, presumably because they helped fight pathogens that target Neu5Ac. Apes did not show these changes, says first author Naazneen Khan, an evolutionary biologist now at the University of Kentucky. Given the mutations' presence in archaic hominins, this burst of evolution must have happened before our lineages diverged 600,000 years ago, but after the mutation in that altered sialic acid arose more than 2 million years ago, perhaps in Homo erectus , thought to be an ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals. Most Siglecs are found on immune cells, but in the new paper, the team reports that several of the human Siglecs that underwent evolutionary changes are expressed in other types of human cells, including some in the placenta, cervix, pancreas, gut, and brain. Siglec changes may have been a side effect of intense battles with pathogens that infected these tissues, Nissi Varki suggests. Although the recently mutated Siglecs protect us from pathogens, they may also contribute to other diseases. Some of the genetically changed Siglecs are associated with inflammation and autoimmune disorders such as asthma and with meningitis. The researchers suggest the altered Siglecs are constantly on high alert and do not dampen immune responses against our own tissues; they may even make some individuals more prone to the runaway inflammation seen in severe COVID-19. Other researchers say the work underscores broad evolutionary principles. “This nicely shows that … natural selection is not always going for the optimal solution, because the optimal solution is changing all the time,” says Rita Gerardy-Schahn, a glycobiologist at Hannover Medical School in Germany, who was not part of the new work. “What is best for natural selection in the short run may be the wrong selection tomorrow.” [1]: [2]: pending:yes

AI predicts a Dodgers World Series win after a COVID-shortened season


Major League Baseball is entering uncharted waters with the start of its COVID-abridged season today. Nobody's really sure if the 60-game season will even be able to get through the World Series without disruption by the pandemic's spread. However, one crowd-sourced AI system already has a pretty good guess as to who will be taking home the Commissioner's Trophy. The folks at Unanimous AI have been making high profile predictions like these since 2016, when their UNU platform correctly figured 11 of 15 winners for that year's Academy Awards. In 2017, the company followed up by correctly guessing the Kentucky Derby's top four finishers -- in order, no less -- and in 2019, correctly figured that the Houston Astros would make it to the series (though nobody could have seen the Nat's miraculous postseason run coming). "The fundamental core of our system is a technology that captures input from groups of people by connecting them together in real time using AI algorithms modeled after swarms," Dr. Louis Rosenberg, Unanimous' founder and chief scientist, told Engadget.

Smart Planning Will Grow Artificial Intelligence - Lane Report


Many in Kentucky's tech, academia, government and nonprofit circles understand that rapidly developing artificial intelligence is changing the work they do, prompting 1,100 to sign up for the "Tomorrow's Talent: AI & The Future of Work" conference in Louisville in late February.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Mail Delivery

U.S. News

The apartment complexes near Western Kentucky University sued the United States Postal Service and a postmaster in January after the agency began delivering mail in bulk to property management offices instead of tenants' mailboxes. The change came after the Postal Service reclassified the residences as dormitories, according to the lawsuit.

AI Gets Into The Fight With COVID-19


Recent surveys, studies, forecasts and other quantitative assessments of AI highlight the role AI plays in fighting the Coronavirus, the business impact of AI, and what the American public feels about it. UC San Diego Health developed and applied an artificial intelligence algorithm to more than 2,000 lung X-ray images, helping radiologists more quickly identify signs of early pneumonia in Covid-19 patients [Becker's Hospital Review] Mayo Clinic teamed up with the state's health department to create an artificial intelligence-powered tool that can identify zones of greater Covid-19 transmission in southern Minnesota [Becker's Hospital Review] The FluSense model, developed by researchers at University of Massachusetts Amherst, was tested in campus clinic waiting rooms. The AI platform was able to analyze coughing sounds and crowd size collected by the handheld device in real-time, then use that data to accurately predict daily illness rates in each clinic [Becker's Hospital Review] The Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, has begun a clinical trial of Cordio Medical's app-based AI system that analyzes speech to diagnose and remotely monitor Covid-19 patients [VentureBeat] Kentucky-based Baptist Health is using an AI platform from remote-patient-monitoring startup Current Health Ltd. to track about 20 Covid-19 patients [WSJ] AI startup SparkBeyond will assist Argentina in looking at how the country can allow citizens to return to work and minimize economic impact. The platform will use data from the Argentinian ministry of health, which aggregates travel, demographic and employment data for each citizen, then integrates hundreds of external data sources to create a wider picture of the situation. It is an area where any country, even countries as big as China and the United States, will find it challenging to achieve the necessary scale of data--from tens to hundreds of millions of humans--to train machine-learning applications that generate robust insights into health and disease.

Build a unique Brand Voice with Amazon Polly Amazon Web Services


AWS is pleased to announce a new feature in Amazon Polly called Brand Voice, a capability in which you can work with the Amazon Polly team of AI research scientists and linguists to build an exclusive, high-quality, Neural Text-to-Speech (NTTS) voice that represents your brand's persona. Brand Voice allows you to differentiate your brand by incorporating a unique vocal identity into your products and services. Amazon Polly has been working with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Canada and National Australia Bank (NAB) to create two unique Brand Voices, using the same deep learning technology that powers the voice of Alexa. The Amazon Polly team has built a voice for KFC Canada in a Southern US English accent for the iconic Colonel Sanders to voice KFC's latest Alexa skill. The voice-activated skill available through any Alexa-enabled Amazon device allows KFC lovers in Canada to chat all things chicken with Colonel Sanders himself, including re-ordering their favorite KFC.