Regional Government


Tech Giants Pledge to Ease Patient, Provider Access to Health Data

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

WASHINGTON--Major tech companies committed Monday to removing technological barriers that have hindered patient and provider access to health-care data online. At a Trump administration event focused on developing more health-care apps, companies including Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google and Microsoft Corp. said they would "share the common quest to unlock the potential in health care data, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs." That promise would help accelerate what many regard as a coming data-driven revolution in health care, as patients, providers and researchers gain more access to records. It could help the development of more calibrated and cost-effective treatments. Improving communications and data exchanges among health information-technology systems and devices could lead to more than $30 billion a year in savings, according to some estimates.


Foe accused by Maduro says Venezuela military is fracturing

FOX News

BOGOTA, Colombia – The exiled opposition leader accused by Venezuelan authorities of directing a failed plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro says the greatest threat to the embattled socialist leader may be his detractors in uniform standing quietly behind him. Julio Borges, who once led Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, said Tuesday that the arrests of two high-ranking military officers in connection with the attack using drones loaded with plastic explosives is yet another signal that fractures within the nation's armed forces are growing. "The conflict today is within the government -- not just at the political level, but more importantly within the armed forces," Borges said in an interview with The Associated Press in Colombia's capital. His comments came hours after Venezuela's chief prosecutor announced the arrest of Gen. Alejandro Perez and Col. Pedro Zambrano from Venezuela's National Guard as part of the investigation into the Aug. 4 attack. Their alleged roles were not described.


Text Mining Fedspeak · Len Kiefer

#artificialintelligence

Textmining is an exciting topic. There is tremendous potential to gain insights from textual analysis. See for example Gentzko, Kelly and Taddy's Text as Data. While text mining may be quite advanced in other fields, in finance and economics the application of these techniques is still in its infancy. In order to take advantage of text as data, economists and financial analysts need tools to help them.


NASA picks early winners for its ISS robot arm challenge

Engadget

NASA's bid to crowdsource an arm for its Astrobee cube robot is starting to bear fruit. The agency and Freelancer.com have chosen early winners for the Astrobee Challenges Series, each of which has designed a key component for the robotic appendage. South African grad student Nino Wunderlin produced an attachment mechanism, while Filipino conceptual engineer Myrdal Manzano crafted a "smart" attachment system. Indian software engineer Amit Biswas, in turn, developed a simple deployment mechanism. There's still a ways to go when nine of the contests in the challenge have yet to be unlocked.


Health Care Is Broken. Google Thinks Oscar Health Can Fix It

WIRED

In the late 1990s, two graduate students named in Stanford's computer science department set out to organize the world's information. Shortly thereafter, a visiting scholar named Mario Schlosser arrived on campus, set on figuring out how trust could be built into peer-to-peer networks. The original server used by the graduate students, who were now running a little outfit named Google, had formerly been crammed under a desk in the office Schlosser now used. Now, twenty years later, the graduate students have done OK, and they no longer need to borrow server space. But they've continually been stifled by one kind of information that's very hard to organize: health care data. The industry in America is a mess: yoked together with confusing regulations, perverse incentives, and computers running Windows XP. Meanwhile, Schlosser, has moved on from academia and created a company, called Oscar, with Joshua Kushner (brother of Jared) to try to solve those problems. The goal of Oscar is to do to health care what Uber did to the taxi industry: use smart digital technology to make everything faster and easier for customers, and then use the data gathered to build radically new services, which can collect more data that leads to new services. Google invested early in Oscar through its venture capital fund Capital G and its health services spinoff, Verily. Neither company will give exact figures, but it seems that Alphabet will now own roughly ten percent of the Oscar. One of Google earliest employees, Salar Kamangar, the former CEO of YouTube, will also join Oscar's board.


Ambient Weather WS-2902 Osprey Weather Station review: The best choice for smart-home buffs

PCWorld

Smart home enthusiasts take note: You can tie Ambient Weather's WS-2902 Osprey weather station into your smart home system, so your indoor lights won't wait until sunset to turn on when it's gray and dreary outside; your smart sprinkler will stop watering the lawn if it starts to rain; and you can ask Alexa or Google Assistant for a weather report from where you actually live, not from the closest National Weather Service (NWS) monitoring station. You'd think most home weather stations do these things, but they don't. Netatmo comes close, with hooks into Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT, but you'll spend more than $300 to build out a complete Netatmo system that can measure temperature, rainfall, and wind speed. The WS-2902 Osprey is built with connectivity top of mind. It's Wi-Fi capable and it works with IFTTT, so you can program weather events and conditions to trigger actions in your smart home.


A dialogue from Timing using Polly

#artificialintelligence

This is an extract from my near-future science-fiction novel, Timing. It has been prepared using Amazon's text-to-speech engine called Polly to generate the various voices. It is near the start of the book and relates a conversation between four of the main characters - Mitnash Thakur, his AI companion Slate, and two friends called Parvati and Chandrika... Some pictures are public domain from NASA/JPL


Silicon Valley gets queasy about Chinese money

#artificialintelligence

BUYER'S remorse is often experienced in Silicon Valley by investors who plough money into risky startups only to see them fail. Some technology entrepreneurs are now suffering from seller's remorse. They are those whose young companies have grown big in part thanks to Chinese financial backing, but now feel under scrutiny because of an escalating fight between the two tech superpowers. One entrepreneur who took money from Danhua Capital, a Chinese venture-capital firm based near Stanford University, for example, only recently learned that the firm was established with help and funding from China's government. If there are issues down the line you may not know who you're dealing with," he laments.


Now DeepMind's AI can spot eye disease just as well as your doctor

#artificialintelligence

When Pearse Keane started using optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanners to peer to the back of a person's eye in Los Angeles a decade ago, the machines were relatively crude. "The devices were lower resolution, they had much slower image acquisition speeds," says Keane, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital and researcher at University College, London. From 2007, Keane spent two years studying scans from OCT machines learning to diagnose eye conditions in patients and pick out the minute details which make up sight-threatening diseases. "It was very time consuming, laborious work," Keane says. OCT scans use light to quickly create high resolution, 3D images of the back of the eye.


NASA Goddard Workshop on Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

Elon Musk's SpaceX program plans to break another important barrier in private space flight Tuesday with the re-launch of a previously-used Block 5 booster just three months after its initial flight. In conjunction with the re-launch, SpaceX announced plans to shorten re-launch times for the Block 5 booster to less than 24 hours by 2019, which would further solidify SpaceX's dominance of the private space flight market? Private space flight companies have been involved in a technological arms race for years on a number of different fronts. One of the most important fronts is the development of an inexpensive reusable rocket booster system that can be used to launch satelites and manned craft into space.