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Changing business needs due to COVID-19 driving AI adoption: IBM survey


Recent advances in artificial intelligence technology and the changing business needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic are driving the adoption of AI, according to new market research commissioned by IBM. The "Global AI Adoption Index 2021," survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM, sheds light on the deployment of AI across 5,501 businesses in China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru), Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to the annual survey, while advances in AI are making it more accessible, some global businesses are still facing a multitude of challenges when it comes to adopting AI. "As organizations move to a post-pandemic world, data from the Global AI Adoption Index 2021 underscores a major uptick in AI investment. We believe these investments will continue to accelerate rapidly as customers look for new, innovative ways to drive their digital transformations by taking advantage of hybrid cloud and AI," said Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud and Data Platform.

Google Search turns Pac-Man and Hello Kitty into interactive AR objects


Google is putting a bunch of iconic Japanese characters in Search as augmented reality objects you can interact with. The tech giant is giving you the chance to bring 14 familiar characters from anime, video games and TV shows into your environment, including Pac-Man and Hello Kitty. Apparently, Pac-Man remains the most-searched animated icon on Google, especially (for some reason) in Peru. Its worldwide search interest more than doubles the second-most searched character, Hello Kitty. Aside from those two, you'll also be able to summon Ultraman, Evangelion and Gundam robots, as well as Little Twin Stars characters into your space.

How Google's hot air balloon surprised its creators


They had spent many months honing an algorithm designed to steer an unmanned hot air balloon all the way from Puerto Rico to Peru. The balloon, controlled by its machine mind, kept veering off course. Salvatore Candido of Google's now-defunct Project Loon venture, which aimed to bring internet access to remote areas via the balloons, couldn't explain the craft's trajectory. His colleagues manually took control of the system and put it back on track. It was only later that they realised what was happening.

Ones we've lost


Scientists, too, died in the pandemic. COVID-19 has made 2020 a cruel year for us all. As Science went to press, the global toll of the pandemic had already exceeded 1.6 million, a tragic number that includes scientists of all specialties, ages, and backgrounds. Behind the mind-numbing total are individuals, each a spark of ingenuity, imagination, and creative spirit. Because we can't do justice to every life lost, we've chosen only a few. In remembering them, we mourn the much larger losses for the scientific community—and the world. ### Li Wenliang Li Wenliang did not set out to be a hero. On 30 December 2019, the 33-year-old Wuhan Central Hospital ophthalmologist warned a small group of colleagues that cases of a severe acute respiratory syndrome–like illness had been confirmed in area hospitals. “Don't spread the word, let your family members take precautions,” he wrote in a brief message. Someone did spread the word, which went viral. Four days later, Li was called to a meeting with local police, who forced him to confess to spreading rumors. When the young doctor fell ill with COVID-19 less than 1 week later, he took to the microblogging website Sina Weibo to tell his story. Citizens were outraged at the officials' tactics. As Li's condition deteriorated in the early hours of 7 February, millions followed media updates on his condition. When his hospital confirmed his death shortly before 3 a.m., thousands of locked-down Wuhan citizens came to their high-rise windows, calling his name and grieving. He became “the face of COVID-19 in China,” independent social media expert Manya Koetse wrote on her What's on Weibo website. The outrage forced an investigation, and in March, officials formally exonerated Li and apologized to his family. Although his death shook a nation, Li was a modest man dedicated to his work. In one social media post, he apologized to his patients for being irritable, then added that he enjoyed his fried chicken dinner after “thinking about it all day.” Ten months after his death, more than 1.5 million people still follow Li's Weibo page. His final post, in which he finally reported testing positive for the COVID-19 virus weeks after infection, has drawn more than 1 million comments, with dozens more posted every day. Writers address Li as if he's an old friend, sharing their daily troubles and future hopes, calling him an inspiration, and sending birthday wishes. Many sent congratulations when his wife gave birth to their second son, about 4 months after Li died. In early February, Li was “a symbol of public anger against the failure of the Chinese system to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Steve Tsang, a political scientist who focuses on China at the SOAS University of London. As China brought the outbreak under control, that anger has largely dissipated. But in the eyes of the public, Li remains the hero he never set out to be. — Dennis Normile and Bian Huihui ### Gita Ramjee After finishing her Ph.D., epidemiologist Gita Ramjee made a decision that would change the course of her life—and many others. She paused her work on childhood kidney disease to explore whether vaginal microbicides could protect South African women from contracting HIV. It was 1994, and the world was at the height of the AIDS crisis: Few treatments were available, and no end was in sight. And women, especially sex workers, were being hit increasingly hard. The largely overlooked plight of these women “sparked her passion,” says Gavin Churchyard, CEO of the Aurum Institute, the HIV and tuberculosis prevention nonprofit where Ramjee was chief scientific officer. “She wouldn't just sit back and allow things to happen,” Churchyard says. “She would make them happen.” Ramjee, a fierce advocate for women's health, devoted the rest of her life to searching for ways to prevent HIV infection and providing them to the communities that needed them most. She held herself and colleagues to high standards, Churchyard says, pushing for excellence in an area of research that often had disappointing results. “She was a persevering and dedicated person,” says social scientist Neetha Morar, whom Ramjee mentored at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). “Every time a negative result came through, she would get up and continue on.” Ramjee's commitment to work was matched only by her devotion to her family, Morar says. When her two sons still lived at home, she would prepare a full meal—with handmade bread—every day before work, to make sure her family ate dinner together in the evening. After her sons left home, Morar says, she kept up the ritual with her husband. She was ecstatic at the birth of her first grandchild and often brought pictures to the office to show colleagues, Churchyard remembers. Ramjee died on 31 March at age 63. Even months after her passing, her life's labor is still bearing fruit, says Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiologist at Columbia University and longtime collaborator. While at SAMRC, Ramjee oversaw on-site trials for a long-acting antiviral injection recently found to be more effective than a daily pill at preventing HIV in women. “She would have been thrilled,” El-Sadr says. “It's very bittersweet to have this amazing victory and she's not around to celebrate.” — Lucy Hicks ### Lynika Strozier Lynika Strozier lay in a hospital bed dying of COVID-19 as Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets of Chicago in June. The 35-year-old geneticist was a gifted laboratory scientist, a passionate teacher, and a mentor to scores of students, many from underrepresented backgrounds. “Science was her baby,” says her grandmother, Sharon Wright, who raised Strozier from birth. Her path wasn't easy. Strozier was diagnosed early in life with a learning disability, and she had to study harder than her peers, Wright says. But she was a natural when it came to lab work, discovering her talent in college when she landed an internship taking care of cell lines at Truman College. “Most of us would have given up—and she always persevered,” says Matt von Konrat, a botanist at the Field Museum who watched Strozier move from intern to research assistant to collections associate at the museum's Pritzker DNA Laboratory, where she studied evolution in liverworts, birds, and other organisms. By 2018, Strozier had completed two master's degrees, one in biology and one in science education, before starting a job teaching ecology and evolution in January at Malcolm X College. “We had hoped that that would be just the beginning of her success story,” says Sushma Reddy, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who was Strozier's graduate adviser at Loyola University Chicago. She was an inspiring teacher, Reddy says, and she was also someone her students could aspire to be. “She was literally the first Black scientist I ever met,” says Heaven Wade, a biochemistry undergraduate at Denison University whom Strozier mentored during an internship at the Field Museum. “We all loved her.” Wade, who is also Black, credits Strozier with keeping her in science: When she considered switching her major because she wasn't feeling “very welcome” in her program, Strozier persuaded her to stay. “She was so encouraging … it really inspired me to keep going.” Even now, Strozier continues to inspire young scientists. Her colleagues came up with the idea of creating an internship in her name, to help women of color gain research experience at the Field Museum. The fund is halfway to its $100,000 goal. “That's what Lynika would have wanted,” Reddy says. — Katie Langin ### John Houghton John Houghton loved a good country walk. So when the British climate scientist, instrumental to sounding the global alarm on climate change, found himself with a free afternoon at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Mesa Laboratory near Boulder, Colorado, he headed straight out the back door—and into the Rocky Mountains. He even convinced a handful of fellow visitors, in inappropriate shoes, to join him as the sunlight waned. That spirit of exploration was fundamental to Houghton, who began his career in the 1960s developing space-based sensors that used the radiation emitted by carbon dioxide to take the atmosphere's temperature. Those measurements soon helped make clear that the burning of fossil fuels could, in a few generations, deeply alter the planet. In time, Houghton found himself in a position to make a difference, directing the United Kingdom's Met Office and helping lead the first three reports from the United Nations's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Houghton was widely regarded as brilliant, but it was his emotional intelligence that made him so effective, says Robert Watson, a former IPCC chairman. “He showed respect for people,” Watson says. During the summit of the third IPCC assessment, published in 2001, government representatives spent the entire first day squabbling over a sentence that explained who was preparing the report. Fellow panelist David Griggs despaired of getting more controversial language approved. “Everyone wants to hear their own voice,” Houghton told him. “If I allow them to take control now, they'll allow me more flexibility later.” And sure enough, by the third day, the IPCC scientists were willing to include a sentence that is now seen as a turning point in climate science: “Most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” Like many who led the charge on climate change, Houghton, who died in April at age 88, did not live to see the world mount a credible response. But he never lost faith in humanity, Griggs says. “He always felt, in the end, people would respond and act on climate change.” That optimism may have stemmed in part from Houghton's deep Christian faith, which led him to engage with climate change skeptics—and sometimes convince them, Watson says. The hikers who set off from the Mesa Lab that afternoon never made it to the summit, says Griggs, who was among them. A pitch-black night fell, and they were ready to bed down outside—but Houghton believed they'd find the road back. They did. — Paul Voosen ### Lungile Pepeta When the breadwinner of a Xhosa family dies, mourners say umthi omkhulu uwile , a mighty tree has fallen. That's what family, friends, and colleagues felt when Lungile Pepeta, a leading South African pediatric cardiologist and dean of health sciences at Nelson Mandela University, lost his life to COVID-19 at age 46, says Samkelo Jiyana, a pediatric cardiologist who trained under Pepeta, a tireless champion of rural and child health care. “He was an incredible person,” says pediatric cardiologist Adèle Greyling, who also trained under Pepeta. “It was a devastating loss for us all.” Pepeta, who grew up in Eastern Cape province, never forgot his roots. After his training in Johannesburg, he returned to the Eastern Cape, where he founded the poverty-stricken province's first pediatric cardiology unit and began to train others to follow in his footsteps. Before his arrival, children with serious heart conditions were forced to travel hundreds of kilometers—often by bus or even hitchhiking—to medical centers in major cities. Pepeta's research at Nelson Mandela University, in the Eastern Cape, focused on congenital heart conditions and rheumatic heart disease, which often arises from untreated streptococcal throat infections. It is a “disease of the poor,” says Jiyana, who now works at Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. But when the pandemic reached the Eastern Cape, Pepeta launched a public information battle through social media and TV interviews in which he urged social distancing and the isolation of anyone who might be infected. He also called for coordination between the region's public and private health care systems and advised the provincial government on its pandemic response. Pepeta did not live to see the achievement of one of his most ambitious dreams: the opening of South Africa's 10th medical school, at his university. He deliberately located the school on the Missionvale campus—once an apartheid-era university built for Black people—to fulfill its mission of delivering “proper healthcare for all our communities,” he wrote last year. On his birthday on 16 July, Pepeta was in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms when he received news that the medical school's accreditation application had been approved. Soon after, when he was already on high-flow oxygen and within days of being admitted to the intensive care unit, he submitted his final paper to a medical journal. He died on 7 August. “He did the work of two or three other people in his lifetime,” Greyling says. “I don't think we'll ever meet anyone like him again.” — Cathleen O'Grady ### Maria de Sousa When Portuguese immunologist Maria de Sousa was teaching at the University of Porto in the 1990s, she would take her students to the city's famous art museum, in a former 18th century palace. She would tell them to describe a painting, then take a second look. “She wanted to teach people how to see, because people miss what's there,” says Rui Costa, a neuroscientist at Columbia University and former student. De Sousa herself looked beyond the obvious in a career that took her to top research centers in the United Kingdom and New York City, then back to her home country. Her discoveries, and her tireless devotion to Portuguese science, earned her the status of a revered hero in the research community. She died in Lisbon, Portugal, on 14 April at age 80. De Sousa's work in immunology began in the 1960s, when a dictator ruled Portugal and most young women had no choice but to become homemakers. After earning a medical degree, de Sousa left at age 25 for graduate studies in London and Glasgow, U.K. There, she examined mice from which the thymus—an organ whose role in the immune system was just coming to light—had been removed soon after birth. A whole class of immune cells produced by the thymus was missing from the animals' lymph nodes. She realized that the cells, now called T cells, must migrate from the thymus to specific areas in the lymph nodes, where they stand ready to fight pathogenic invaders. The discovery soon became part of standard immunology textbooks. De Sousa moved to New York City in 1975 and later established a cell ecology lab at what is now Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. But she was drawn back to Portugal in 1984 to study hemochromatosis, an inherited disease common in the northern part of the country that causes a harmful overload of iron in the blood. De Sousa also had a second mission: to bring scientific rigor to Portugal's then-weak research institutions. She worked with the country's science minister to establish outside reviews of university research programs. And de Sousa pushed for Portugal's first graduate programs in biomedical science, including a highly regarded Ph.D. program that she led at the University of Porto. “She spearheaded a revolution in Portuguese science,” Costa says. De Sousa was not only a creative scientist and demanding mentor; she was also a poet, pianist, and art lover. “She was the quintessential intellectual,” Costa says. After her death, Portugal's president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, remembered her as “an unmatched figure in Portuguese science.” — Jocelyn Kaiser ### Mishik Kazaryan and Arpik Asratyan In 1980, at the tender age of 32, experimental physicist Mishik Kazaryan won the Soviet Union's top science prize for his pioneering work on metal vapor lasers. At the same time, his wife—epidemiologist Arpik Asratyan—was making her own mark as a scientist, crisscrossing the vast nation and probing disease outbreaks. The high-achieving couple, who mentored scores of scientists, persevered through the Soviet collapse and the subsequent privations visited on Russian research. But within days of celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, they succumbed to COVID-19: Asratyan first, on 27 March, and Kazaryan 10 days later. The couple ran a science-first household: Their daughter, Serine Kazaryan, is a gynecologist with the Global Medical System Clinic in Moscow, and their son, Airazat Kazaryan, is a gastrointestinal surgeon at the Østfold Hospital Trust in Grålum, Norway. Talk at the dinner table often revolved around research, and daughter, father, and mother published several papers together. Mishik Kazaryan, born in Armenia, spent his entire working life at one of Russia's scientific powerhouses, the P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute. His research spanned areas including high-power tunable lasers, laser isotope separation, and laser medicine; he collaborated with Alexander Prokhorov, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the laser. Mishik Kazaryan's “major contribution,” Serine Kazaryan says, was a self-heating copper vapor laser—the brightest pulsed visible-light laser—that found wide use in the precision machining of semiconductors and other materials. Asratyan, also born in Armenia, first studied Mycoplasma hominis , a then–little-known bacterium linked to pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginosis, and respiratory ailments. She became a leading figure in the diagnosis of hepatitis B and C at the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and she spent much of her career working with vulnerable individuals: drug addicts and those with psychiatric afflictions or HIV. “I don't remember my parents to complain of anything,” says Serine Kazaryan, who lived with her son, daughter, and parents in an apartment in Moscow. They all took ill in mid-March. Serine Kazaryan and her children recovered. Her parents did not. Right up until his last days, Mishik Kazaryan was wrapping up a book about the laser cutting of glass. It was “very touching,” Serine Kazaryan says, when an old friend and co-author, Valery Revenko of the JSC Scientific Research Institute of Technical Glass, vowed to complete it. — Richard Stone ### Ricardo Valderrama Fernández Peruvian scientist and politician Ricardo Valderrama Fernández was first in many things. In the 1970s, he was among the first anthropologists to make contact with the Kugapakori, an Indigenous group living in the Peruvian Amazon. He co-founded the first research institute for Andean studies in Cusco in 1974. And in 1977, he wrote a “revolutionary” work on Indigenous, Quechua-speaking laborers, in which—breaking with anthropological traditions of the time—their testimony took center stage. The book, one of the first works on contemporary Andean culture, “broke the barrier” between anthropology and politics, says César Aguilar León, an anthropologist at the National University of San Marcos. Gregorio Condori Mamani: An Autobiography documented the poverty, discrimination, and mistreatment faced by those left behind in a society grappling with the legacy of Spanish colonialism. “We wanted to be the voice of those who are not heard, to write the words of those who cannot read and write,” says Valderrama Fernández's co-author and wife, anthropologist Carmen Escalante Gutiérrez. The couple always worked together and published four more books and dozens of articles on the legends and customs of the Andean people. They immersed themselves in remote communities and lived alongside Indigenous people for months. Valderrama Fernández's fluency in abstract Quechua, which included theological and philosophical concepts and terms, helped him speak freely with Andean elders and understand how they adapted their ancient cosmology to the present. His love of the language, which he learned from his grandmother, never diminished. “That's what made him special,” Escalante Gutiérrez says. Valderrama Fernández taught for 30 years at his alma mater, the National University of Saint Anthony the Abad in Cusco. In his final years, he embarked on a second career in politics, advocating for the region's Indigenous people. In 2006, he was elected to the municipal council of his hometown; in December 2019, he became interim mayor of Cusco, after his predecessor left office under a cloud of corruption charges. In his new role, Valderrama Fernández led the COVID-19 response in Cusco, visiting markets and other areas of the city to enforce health measures. He caught the virus on one of those visits, and died on 30 August at 75 years old. Jan Szemiński, a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says the world has lost a great anthropologist—and someone who embodied the Incan ideal of reciprocity, or ayni : the idea that you should give to others today—knowing that tomorrow, you will receive. — Rodrigo Pérez Ortega ### John Horton Conway John Horton Conway liked to have fun. The U.K.-born mathematician cut a broad path, making important contributions to geometry, group theory, and topology. But unlike some great mathematicians who grind away on inscrutable problems in jealously guarded isolation, Conway—who worked at the University of Cambridge and Princeton University—was gregarious, talkative, and, above all, playful, often drawing deep insights from mathematical games. In the 1970s, while musing about the end stage of the board game Go, Conway expanded the concept of real numbers into something called “surreal numbers,” which are smaller or larger than any positive number. In 1985, he and four colleagues essentially wrapped up an entire subfield of math by identifying all groups with a finite number of elements. (A group is a closed set of elements and a rule akin to addition or multiplication for combining them—for example, all rotations that leave the image of a featureless cube the same.) Most famously, in 1970 Conway invented something he called the game of life. Imagine a grid of squares, some colored black for “living,” others colored white for “dead,” with rules for changing a square's color that depend on those of its neighbors. The simple system can produce a shocking variety of moving patterns depending on its initial configuration, and the game became popular as computers made their way into everyday life. Conway showed the squares could also be configured to do computations. As impressive as Conway's genius was his generosity of spirit, says Marjorie Senechal, a mathematician at Smith College. In the 1990s, she helped organize summer geometry institutes to build bridges among professional mathematicians, math teachers, and students. The first few summers, the pros simply lectured the others, Senechal says. Then she invited Conway, and everything clicked. “He didn't see these as separate communities,” she says. “He was like the Pied Piper. He'd go to get a coffee and a hundred people would follow him.” Conway, who died in April at age 82, would prowl the Princeton math department at night, chatting with anyone he could find about his latest interest, recalls Timothy Hsu, a mathematician at San Jose State University who earned his doctorate with Conway in 1995. Unkempt and funny, Conway studiously ignored his mail, but could be reached by phone—in the department common room. “Towards the end of my graduate career, he told me that because math is such a forbidding subject, it helps to make yourself slightly ridiculous,” Hsu says. Conway then teased, “That seems to come naturally to you.” — Adrian Cho ### Donald Kennedy Neurobiologist Donald Kennedy brought a towering intellect, insatiable curiosity, and abiding interest in both the concerns of individuals and the fate of society to everything he did. The longtime faculty member and former president of Stanford University “could talk to people about science without condescending to them,” says research advocate Thomas Grumbly, a friend and colleague. “And he could stand toe to toe with the best scientists in the world.” Kennedy, who died on 21 April at age 88, relished his role as a scientist, educator, public servant, and communicator—even when his views did not prevail. After Congress refused to embrace his proposed ban on the artificial sweetener saccharine while he was commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the late 1970s, he questioned its logic. The body had “established a principle,” Kennedy said. “You shouldn't have cancer-causing substances in the food supply, unless people like them a lot.” That dry wit did him no favors in a subsequent fight with a congressional panel investigating Stanford's questionable use of federal research funds during his tenure as president. The fallout from that grueling inquiry led him to step down from the presidency in 1991. In 2000, Kennedy became editor-in-chief of Science . He used the platform to prod climate researchers to work harder on public outreach, condemn politicians who bent—or ignored—scientific findings to serve their own purposes, and publish the best research on the planet, including the first sequence of the human genome. Kennedy had been a larger-than-life figure at Stanford, whether dashing around campus on his bike or posing bare-chested with the championship swim team. He brought that enthusiasm to the journal, where he also liked to shine a light on the personal side of science. One of his editorials accompanied a 2005 paper describing a sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought to be extinct. Kennedy recounted how, at age 7, he wrote a “fan letter” to famed Cornell University ornithologist Arthur Allen about Allen's pursuit of the fabled bird. The letter, signed “Love, Donny,” prompted a reply that ended “Love, Arthur.” The woodpecker sighting didn't hold up to scrutiny. But Kennedy's point did: that an encouraging word from a senior scientist could have a lasting impact on a curious child. In fact, one could say Kennedy spent his entire career paying forward that kindness. — Jeffrey Mervis

New study tests machine learning on detection of borrowed words in world languages


Lexical borrowing is very widespread and may affect even those words that play an important role in our daily life. English'mountain', for example, was borrowed from Old French, along with many other words. Researchers from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History have investigated the ability of machine learning algorithms to identify lexical borrowings using word lists from a single language. Results published in the journal PLOS ONE show that current machine-learning methods alone are insufficient for borrowing detection, confirming that additional data and expert knowledge are needed to tackle one of historical linguistics' most pressing challenges. Lexical borrowing, or the direct transfer of words from one language to another, has interested scholars for millennia, as evidenced in Plato's Kratylos dialog, in which Socrates discusses the challenge imposed by borrowed words on etymological studies.

African Desert is Home to Abundant Forest Growth


With help from high resolution satellite imagery and some advanced artificial intelligence techniques, European scientists have been counting the trees in a parched African desert. They pored over 1.3 million square kilometres of the waterless western Sahara and the arid lands of the Sahel to the south, to identify what is in effect an unknown forest. This region a stretch of dunes and dryland larger than Angola, or Peru, or Niger proved to be home to 1.8 billion trees and shrubs with crowns larger than three square metres. "We were very surprised to see that quite a few trees actually grow in the Sahara Desert because up till now, most people thought that virtually none existed. We counted hundreds of millions of trees in the desert alone," said Martin Brandt, a geographer at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the research.

Latin America's Growing Artificial Intelligence Wave


Artificial intelligence offers a chance for the Latin America's economies to leapfrog to greater innovation and economic progress. E-commerce firms have faced a conundrum in Latin America: How can they deliver packages in a region where 25% of urban populations live in informal, squatter neighborhoods with no addresses? Enter Chazki, a logistics startup from Peru, which partnered with Arequipa's Universidad San Pablo to build an artificial intelligence robot to generate new postal maps across the country. The company has now expanded to Argentina, Mexico and Chile, introducing remote communities and city outskirts to online deliveries. That's just one example of how machine learning is bringing unique Latin American solutions to unique Latin American challenges.

Latin America's Growing Artificial Intelligence Wave – IAM Network


Artificial intelligence offers a chance for the Latin America's economies to leapfrog to greater innovation and economic progress. E-commerce firms have faced a conundrum in Latin America: How can they deliver packages in a region where 25% of urban populations live in informal, squatter neighborhoods with no addresses? Enter Chazki, a logistics startup from Peru, which partnered with Arequipa's Universidad San Pablo to build an artificial intelligence robot to generate new postal maps across the country. The company has now expanded to Argentina, Mexico and Chile, introducing remote communities and city outskirts to online deliveries. That's just one example of how machine learning is bringing unique Latin American solutions to unique Latin American challenges.

Artificial intelligence learns continental hydrology


So far it is not precisely known, how much water a continent really stores. The continental water masses are also constantly changing, thus affecting the Earth's rotation and acting as a link in the water cycle between atmosphere and ocean. Amazon tributaries in Peru, for example, carry huge amounts of water in some years, but only a fraction of it in others. In addition to the water masses of rivers and other bodies of fresh water, considerable amounts of water are also found in soil, snow and underground reservoirs, which are difficult to quantify directly. Now the research team around primary author Christopher Irrgang developed a new method in order to draw conclusions on the stored water quantities of the South American continent from the coarsely-resolved satellite data.

I 'walked' Boston Dynamics' robot dog around San Francisco


"Can I take a photo?" The Boston Dynamics robot dog known as Spot stood out. Others were annoyed and wary. Most, however, seemed excited to see the four-legged robot in person. That's what I noticed from more than 4,500 miles away from home in Lima, Peru, while remotely operating the quadruped as it scurried along a busy sidewalk in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.