The UK's Royal Mail wants to set up as many as 50 drone routes over the next three years to make deliveries to remote communities. The plan, which requires approval from the Civil Aviation Authority, would see the service secure up to 200 of the autonomous devices from logistics drone company Windracers. The Royal Mail said the first communities to benefit would be the Isles of Scilly (off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England) and the Scottish islands of Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides. Test flights started last year. In the most recent one, held in April, the service was able to use a UAV to deliver mail to Unst, Britain's most northerly inhabited island, from Tingwall Airport on Shetland's largest island.
Royal Mail is building a fleet of 500 drones to carry mail to remote communities all over the UK, including the Isles of Scilly and the Hebrides. The postal service, which has already conducted successful trials over Scotland and Cornwall, will create more than 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a new partnership with London company Windracers. Drones, or UAVs (uncrewed aerial vehicles), can help reduce carbon emissions and improve the reliability of island mail services, Royal Mail claims. They offer an alternative to currently-used delivery methods that can be affected by bad weather – ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based deliveries. They can also take off from any flat surface (sand, grass or tarmac) providing it is long enough.
Thanks to separate licensing agreements, EA Sports can keep most of its features even after its breakup with FIFA. Among those agreements are a deal with FIFPRO, the global players union, that was recently renewed and will allow the game to maintain player names and likenesses. EA also has deals with the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, MLS and UEFA Champions League, among others. Each organization released comments of support to go with EA's official announcement Tuesday.
Just when you thought modern life couldn't get any crazier, a video emerged during the run-up to the recent UK election, in which the Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to endorse his political opponent Jeremy Corbyn. "Appeared" is the important word here, because this was actually just one of the latest in a steady stream of deepfakes – video and audio clips in which artificial intelligence simulates real people doing unreal things. Of course, humans have been faking it for centuries. From tattoos and piercings to face paints and wigs, we love altering ourselves and indulging in a bit of make-believe. My own little secret for years was that I wore green-coloured contact lenses. I did need them for short-sightedness – the colour was purely a personal choice.
US surveillance-tech supplier Palantir has hired a one-time director of AI for NHSX – the former UK health service digital agency. Indra Joshi quit her role at the end of March as NHSX and NHS Digital were merged into NHS England, a non-departmental government body. Her arrival at Palantir will raise concerns among NHS watchers and privacy campaigners. Palantir largely carries out information analysis and processing work for the defense and intelligence communities, often creating bespoke solutions such as digital-profiling tools for organisations like the CIA and ICE. The firm was founded by prominent Donald Trump financier and PayPal investor Peter Thiel.
"Britain moves closer to a self-driving revolution," said a perky message from the Department for Transport that popped into my inbox on Wednesday morning. The purpose of the message was to let us know that the government is changing the Highway Code to "ensure the first self-driving vehicles are introduced safely on UK roads" and to "clarify drivers' responsibilities in self-driving vehicles, including when a driver must be ready to take back control". The changes will specify that while travelling in self-driving mode, motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to, such as when they approach motorway exits. They also signal a puzzling change to current regulations, allowing drivers "to view content that is not related to driving on built-in display screens while the self-driving vehicle is in control". So you could watch Gardeners' World on iPlayer, but not YouTube videos of F1 races? Reassuringly, though, it will still be illegal to use mobile phones in self-driving mode, "given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research".
The NHS is now employing a cutting-edge AI program that can diagnose heart illness in just 20 SECONDS. While the patient is in the scanner, the computer tool, which resembles human ability but with more precision and speed, can analyze cardiac MRI data in 20 seconds. According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which has supported research into the technology, this is significantly faster than a doctor physically examining the pictures following an MRI scan, which may take up to 13 minutes. The technology identifies heart structure and function changes with 40% greater accuracy and retrieves 40% more information than a human can. According to the new research, the approach was more accurate at analyzing MRIs than the work of three specialists.
The first UK clinical trial of an artificial intelligence (AI) device which has the potential to transform bowel cancer care is underway at nine NHS trusts. The COLO-DETECT study is trialing the use of GI Genius, an AI device which helps clinicians identify polyps during colonoscopies. Five hundred patients have already been recruited to take part in the trial at one of nine participating trusts. The AI device is capable of highlighting area that it thinks may contain a polyp – from which most bowel cancers develop. Spotting as many polyps as possible allows the area to be more closely examined to determine if polyps are present and if they need to be removed.
Artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Sandra Wachter says that although the House of Lords inquiry into police technology "was a great step in the right direction" and succeeded in highlighting the major concerns around police AI and algorithms, the conflict of interest between criminal justice bodies and their suppliers could still hold back meaningful change. Wachter, who was invited to the inquiry as an expert witness, is an associate professor and senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute who specialises in the law and ethics of AI. Speaking with Computer Weekly, Wachter said she is hopeful that at least some of the recommendations will be taken forward into legislation, but is worried about the impact of AI suppliers' hostility to transparency and openness. "I am worried about it mainly from the perspective of intellectual property and trade secrets," she said. "There is an unwillingness or hesitation in the private sector to be completely open about what is actually going on for various reasons, and I think that might be a barrier to implementing the inquiry's recommendations."
A research study being led by Royal Papworth Hospital and the University of Cambridge is hoping to use artificial intelligence to help diagnose heart valve diseases earlier. Valvular heart disease (VHD) affects nearly two million people in the UK with this number expected to double by 2040. About half of those affected by VHD are unaware of their condition, because symptoms often do not develop until the disease has become severe. Cardiovascular Acoustics and an Intelligent Stethoscope (CAIS) is a clinical study aimed at creating a first-of-its-kind screening tool which could be used to diagnose valve disease before symptoms emerge. Almost 1,200 patients with suspected heart valve disease or congenital heart disease have so far signed up to the study across five NHS hospital sites.