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Medical AI systems are often built with data from just three states


Late last year, Stanford University researcher Amit Kaushal and a collaborator noticed something striking while sifting through the scientific literature on artificial intelligence systems designed to make a diagnosis by analyzing medical images. "It became apparent that all the datasets [being used to train those algorithms] just seemed to be coming from the same sorts of places: the Stanfords and UCSFs and Mass Generals," Kaushal said. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT Plus and enjoy your first 30 days free! STAT Plus is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.



Nearly 100 years ago, the word "robot" was invented by the Czechoslovak brothers Karel and Josef Čapek. The word appeared for the first time in Karel's theatre play titled R.U.R. in 1920. The play is about humanoid robots who seem happy to work for humans at first, but later a robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race. The play achieved a fast international success when it was performed not only in Prague but also in London, New York or Chicago. Karel Čapek was one of the first people who thought of a potential threat if machine-robot inventions happen too fast or without a regulation.

Fran Allen

Communications of the ACM

Frances E. Allen, an American computer scientist, ACM Fellow, and the first female recipient of the ACM A.M. Turing Award (2006), passed away on Aug. 4, 2020--her 88th birthday--from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Allen was raised on a dairy farm in Peru, NY, without running water or electricity. She received a BS degree in mathematics from the New York State College for Teachers (now the State University of New York at Albany). Inspired by a beloved math teacher, and by the example of her mother, who had also been a grade-school teacher, Allen started teaching high school math. She needed a master's degree to be certified, so she enrolled in a mathematics master's program at the University of Michigan.

CryptoHarlem's Founder Warns Against 'Digital Stop and Frisk'


This year, many people braved the risk of coronavirus infection to protest police brutality in Black neighborhoods, but physical violence isn't the only way law enforcement can harm marginalized and minority communities: Hacker Matt Mitchell wants us to pay attention to digital policing, too. He argues that marginalized communities have become a test bed for powerful and troubling new surveillance tools that could become more widespread. In 2013, Mitchell founded a series of free security workshops in his New York City neighborhood called CryptoHarlem as a way to work through the pain of watching the divisive trial over the death of Black Florida teen Trayvon Martin. "I talk to people about the surveillance in our neighborhood and how it got there and how it works and what we can do to circumvent it and what we can do to be safer," Mitchell said, in a video interview with WIRED's Sidney Fussell at the second of three WIRED25 events Wednesday. Society's growing dependence on digital platforms and infrastructure, combined with the events of 2020, have made his work more relevant than ever.

State of Sales 2020: Companies are accelerating digital transformation in pandemic times


If you want to make the most of your sales pipeline, customer relationship management software allows your business to monitor customer interactions, track deal progress, and analyze financial performance. For the fourth edition of our "State of Sales" report, Salesforce Research surveyed nearly 6,000 sales professionals worldwide to discover: To extract the 10 most important takeaways from the State of Sales Report, I asked my colleague Tiffani Bova to join me in highlighting the major insights from this incredible report. Tiffani Bova is the growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce and the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book GROWTH IQ. Work from anywhere since the pandemic means that traditional methods of monitoring in-office sales performance is no longer viable. As technologies like artificial intelligence mature, reps are finding some relief in the form of automation to help them spend more time on actual selling activities.

Walmart drone delivery trial brings COVID-19 tests to the home


The Walmart drones just keep coming. Over the past few weeks, Walmart has announced drone delivery trials for health and wellness products, as well as groceries with Flytrex and Zipline. Now, the company has started delivering COVID-19 self-collection kits by drone, too. Starting Tuesday, customers in the North Las Vegas area will be able to order and receive kits dropped off by DroneUp-powered drones. Then, next month as the trial service continues, those drones will also start delivering kits to customers in Cheektowaga, New York (near Buffalo).

Walmart's latest drone trial delivers at-home COVID-19 tests


Walmart is starting to deliver at-home COVID-19 tests by drone. A trial got underway in North Las Vegas today and the deliveries will expand to Cheektowaga, New York early next month. It's delivering the kits to qualifying patients who live within a mile of certain Walmart Supercenters in both locales. Patients will self-administer a nasal swab, which they'll send to Quest Diagnostics for testing. Walmart says there's no kit or delivery cost for those who opt to receive a test by drone, and there's a prepaid shipping label to return it.

AI in the Hand of the Artist


Daniel Ambrosi – "Dreamscapes" fuses computational photography and AI to create a deeply textural environment. Refik Anadol – "Machine Hallucinations," by the Turkish-born, Los Angeles-based conceptual artist known for his immersive architectural digital installations, such as a project at New York's Chelsea Market that used projectors to splash AI generated images based of New York cityscapes to create what Anadol called a "machine hallucination." Sofia Crespo and Dark Fractures – Work from the Argentina-born artist and Berlin-based studio led by Feileacan McCormick uses GANs and NLP models to generate 3D insects in a virtual, digital space. Scott Eaton – An artist, educator and creative technologist residing in London combines a deep understanding of human anatomy, traditional art techniques and modern digital tools in his uncanny, figurative artworks. Oxia Palus – The NVIDIA Inception startup will uncover a new masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci that resurrects a hidden sketch and reconstructs the painting style from one of the most famous artists of all time, DaVinci.

Sidewalk Labs launches Mesa, an AI platform designed to help commercial buildings save energy


Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs urban tech division today detailed a commercial building kit dubbed Mesa that uses real-time data and automation to optimize energy usage. Sidewalk claims it's able to cut waste and cost while simplifying installation and management. Commercial buildings have an outsized environmental impact, Sidewalk Labs notes, making up for nearly 30% of greenhouse emissions from buildings in New York City alone. In response, at least 31 U.S. metros have passed laws establishing power benchmarks or reporting mandates, with 15 requiring energy performance targets. But older buildings often lack the requisite technologies found in more modern construction.

Twitter probes alleged racial bias in image cropping feature

The Japan Times

New York – Social media giant Twitter said Monday it would investigate its image-cropping function after users complained it favored white faces over Black ones. The image preview feature of Twitter's mobile app automatically crops pictures that are too big to fit on the screen, selecting which parts of the image to display and which to conceal. Prompted by a graduate student who found an image he was posting cropped out the face of a Black colleague, a San Francisco-based programmer found Twitter's system would crop out images of President Barack Obama when posted together with images of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. "Twitter is just one example of racism manifesting in machine learning algorithms," the programmer, Tony Arcieri, wrote on Twitter. Twitter is one of the world's most popular social networks, with nearly 200 million daily users.