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66 data science teams compete in challenge to help reopen Los Angeles

#artificialintelligence

California is one of the hardest-hit states when it comes to coronavirus with more than 200,000 total cases. Data scientists seeking ways to help the state reopen the economy participated in a two-week 2020 COVID-19 Computational Challenge (CCC) in mid-June. The challenge was to provide guidance for risk mitigation for Los Angeles County. Additionally, the solution "must incorporate the ethical protection of individual data and respect data privacy norms." The winning teams revealed location-based COVID-19 exposure at different L.A. communities, developed apps for people to calculate their potential for infection, and delivered applicable data-driven recommendations along with L.A.'s reopening stages, officials said.


Autonomous bike bots to delivery grub and groceries

ZDNet

Few have, but it's looking increasingly like that may change -- at least for city dwellers in dense urban environments. The footprints of companies offering autonomous mobile robots to deliver food and groceries, while still small, continues to expand thanks to pandemic-related restrictions on dining in and shifting attitudes on contactless service, and companies are jockeying to be the as-a-service robot of choice for consumers and local businesses. We've seen expanding pilot programs announced from nearly every delivery robot developer, and today we add REV-1, a lightweight, bike-like delivery robot from startup Refraction AI, which is offering free delivery within Ann Arbor from grocery store Produce Station. Refraction is the creation of two University of Michigan professors, Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan, who say they've developed a safer, more cost-effective solution for last mile logistics than anything in the current delivery paradigm. "We have created the Goldilocks of autonomous vehicles in terms of size and shape," CEO and cofounder Matthew Johnson-Roberson told ZDNet last July.


Autonomous robot uses UVC light to kill coronavirus in warehouses

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A new robot developed by MIT in the US is being used to kill coronavirus in a 4,000-square-foot warehouse using ultraviolet light (UV) light. The autonomous machine uses a specific type of short-wavelength UV, known as UVC, to kill microorganisms and disrupt their DNA in a process known as'ultraviolet germicidal irradiation'. UVC is emitted from the bot's four vertical beams as it nips around warehouse aisles, killing 90 per cent of coronavirus particles in 30 minutes. Because UVC light is harmful to humans, the robot has to do its work alone and is sent to do its sanitising shift when human workers have clocked off. The robot can map an entire industrial facility – in this case the Great Boston Food Bank (GBFB), a US non-profit that provides hunger relief.


Robotics in business: Everything humans need to know

#artificialintelligence

One kind of robot has endured for the last half-century: the hulking one-armed Goliaths that dominate industrial assembly lines. These industrial robots have been task-specific -- built to spot weld, say, or add threads to the end of a pipe. They aren't sexy, but in the latter half of the 20th century they transformed industrial manufacturing and, with it, the low- and medium-skilled labor landscape in much of the US, Asia, and Europe. You've probably been hearing a lot more about robots and robotics over the last couple years. That's because, for the first time since the 1961 debut of GM's Unimate, regarded as the first industrial robot, the field is once again transforming world economies. Only this time the impact is going to be broader. That's particularly true in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped advance automation adoption across a variety of industries as manufacturers, fulfillment centers, retail, and restaurants seek to create durable, hygienic operations that can withstand evolving disruptions and regulations.


'Robotics for Infectious Diseases' and other resources

Robohub

In times of crisis, we all want to know where the robots are! And young roboticists just starting their careers, or simply thinking about robotics as a career, ask us'How can robotics help?' and'What can I do to help?'. Cluster organizations like Silicon Valley Robotics can serve as connection points between industry and academia, between undergrads and experts, between startups and investors, which is why we rapidly organized a weekly discussion with experts about "COVID-19, robots and us" (video playlist). During our online series, we heard from roboticists directly helping with all sorts of COVID-19 response, like Gui Cavalcanti of Open Source Medical Supplies and Alder Riley of Helpful Engineering. Both groups are great examples of the incredible power of people working together.


U.S. may help others buy non-Huawei telecom gear, says Washington official

The Japan Times

Beijing – The United States is willing to help other countries finance purchases of next-generation telecommunications devices from Western providers so they can avoid buying from Chinese technology giant Huawei, a U.S. official said Thursday. Washington is lobbying European and other allies to exclude Huawei Technologies Ltd., which the U.S. sees as a security threat, as they upgrade to 5G networks. Australia, Japan and some others have imposed restrictions on Chinese technology, but Huawei's lower-cost equipment is popular with developing countries and is making inroads into Europe. Giving Huawei even a small 5G role would allow Beijing to expand its "surveillance state" by eavesdropping on phone and other network-based systems, said Keith Krach, a U.S. undersecretary of state for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. "There's lots of financing tools and those kinds of things that I think many countries like us are willing to help provide, because we recognize this danger," Krach said on a conference call with reporters.


Covid-19 could accelerate the robot takeover of human jobs – IAM Network

#artificialintelligence

Inside a Schnucks grocery store in St. Louis, Missouri, the toilet paper and baking ingredients are mostly cleared out. A rolling robot turns a corner and heads down an aisle stocked with salsa and taco shells. It comes up against a masked customer wearing shorts and sneakers; he's pushing a shopping cart carrying bread. The robot looks something like a tower speaker on top of an autonomous home vacuum cleaner--tall and thin, with orb-like screen eyes halfway up that shift left and right. A red sign on its long head makes the introductions.


Scientists create the fastest computer ever made, as 'Fugaku' supercomputer hits top of ranking

The Independent - Tech

Scientists have created the fastest computer ever. The Japanese supercomputer named "Fugaku" now sits at the top of official rankings of how quickly they can do certain real-world tasks. Fugaku was awarded the top spot on the Top500 list, which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers, its creators said. It is also now at the top of other rankings that test how quickly it would perform in real-world applications, how well it can conduct certain artificial intelligence tasks, and how well it can perform with data-intensive processes. No supercomputer has ever scored at the top of the three rankings – known as Top500, HPCG, and Graph500 – before, the creators said.


Why Deep Investment In Automation Results In More Jobs

#artificialintelligence

As the coronavirus has swept across the globe, the swathes of redundancies that have followed in its wake have relegated the "robots are taking our jobs" narrative into the background. It was a narrative with a somewhat mixed logic at the best of times. For instance, research from the London School of Economics (LSE) found that the introduction of industrial robots has actually increased wages for employees while also increasing the number of job opportunities for highly skilled people. The researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of industrial robots over 17 countries between 1993 and 2007 across 14 different industries. The period of analysis corresponded with a huge rise in the use of industrial robots, with the price of such machinery also falling by approximately 80%.


Podcast: Robots are the new recruits on the pandemic's front lines

MIT Technology Review

We give robots some pretty scary and stressful jobs: cleaning up nuclear sites, inspecting pipelines from the inside, exploring the frozen wastes of Mars. The arrival of the coronavirus has transformed more familiar settings, like grocery stores and hospitals, into potentially hazardous environments as well. Erika Hayasaki, a writer and journalism professor in California, learned that the pandemic is leading some organizations to speed up their automation plans in order to aid front-line workers. Her feature article appears in the July issue of MIT Technology Review. In this episode of Deep Tech, she describes her reporting on companies in California and Texas that are rushing to meet the demand, and asks whether the new wave of safety-driven automation could ultimately force more human workers into retraining programs. Amazon's Investment in Robots is Eliminating Human Jobs, December 5, 2017 Wade Roush: The day when robots show up in your workplace may be closer than you think. BBC Business News: The robots are coming.