IBM Watson and FDA collaborate to explore the use of blockchain data in population health management


IBM Watson Health has announced a joint initiative with the US Food and Drug Administration to study the use of blockchain technology to share health data to ultimately improve public health. At first, the two-year collaboration will focus on oncology data, pulling together and exchanging data from a variety of sources including that from clinical trials, genomic data, EMRs, and from miscellaneous Internet of Things data from wearables, apps and connected devices. IBM and the FDA will look at how the technology can facilitate information exchange across a spectrum of data types, including clinical trials and real world data. For example, patient-generated data from connected devices could provide clinicians with more insights into population health, potentially offering up research opportunities and ways to leverage large quantities of data into biomedical and healthcare industries. At the core of the collaboration is blockchain technology, which allows secure data sharing between organizations more freely and has been increasingly favored among industry leaders.

A Practical Algorithm for Topic Modeling with Provable Guarantees Machine Learning

Topic models provide a useful method for dimensionality reduction and exploratory data analysis in large text corpora. Most approaches to topic model inference have been based on a maximum likelihood objective. Efficient algorithms exist that approximate this objective, but they have no provable guarantees. Recently, algorithms have been introduced that provide provable bounds, but these algorithms are not practical because they are inefficient and not robust to violations of model assumptions. In this paper we present an algorithm for topic model inference that is both provable and practical. The algorithm produces results comparable to the best MCMC implementations while running orders of magnitude faster.

First FDA-approved medical AI to spy eyes proves completely autonomous


The first FDA-approved AI system for diagnosing eye diseases caused by diabetes is completely autonomous, and doesn't require a doctor to interpret the results. Several corporations including Google and DeepMind have been working on building algorithms for diabetic retinography, a leading cause of blindness amongst adults. The first biz to release a device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year in April, however, is less well-known. IDx LLC, an AI diagnostics company based in Iowa, developed the tool known as IDx-DR. The details about the system were published in a paper in Nature Digital Medicine on Tuesday.

Leading AI country will be 'ruler of the world,' says Putin


Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday (Sept. AI development "raises colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now," Putin said in a lecture to students, warning that "it would be strongly undesirable if someone wins a monopolist position." Future wars will be fought by autonomous drones, Putin suggested, and "when one party's drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender." U.N. urged to address lethal autonomous weapons AI experts worldwide are also concerned. On August 20, 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries, including Elon Musk and Google DeepMind's Mustafa Suleyman, signed an open letter asking the United Nations to "urgently address the challenge of lethal autonomous weapons (often called'killer robots') and ban their use internationally."

Security News This Week: Germany's Election Software Is Dangerously Hackable


First, Symantec revealed that hackers--probably based in Russia, although the security firm didn't go so far as to name names--had hacked more than 20 power companies in North America and Europe, and in a handful of cases, had direct access to their control systems. And then Equifax confessed it had been the target of a breach that stole 143 million Americans' data, one of the worst data spills ever, and one that raises questions about data centralization, particularly for Social Security Numbers. Megabreaches aside, Facebook admitted that a Russian troll farm had spent $100,000 on influence ads during last year's election. Google patched a flaw in Android that would allow a nasty "toast overlay" attack to take control of devices. And we spoke to the Democratic National Committee's chief technology officer about how he hopes to prevent the next attack aimed at disemboweling the party.