The other day, Brian reported on Sony's new LinkBuds headphones, including its partnership with "what if Brian Eno was a piece of computer software" app Endel. The company uses really fascinating AI technology to generate soundscapes and music tracks to help your brain do its best work -- to help you focus deeper, sleep more easily or to relax you. I spoke with one of Endel's founders to learn more about the tech and its deal with Sony. "Endel is first and foremost a technology that was built to help you focus, relax and sleep. And the way this technology works, it procedurally generates a soundscape in real time on the spot, on the device. It is personalized to you based on a number of inputs that we collect about you; things like the time of day, your heart rate, the weather, your movement and your circadian rhythms, like how much sleep you got last night," explains Oleg Stavitsky, CEO and co-founder at Endel.
In the past five years, interest in applying artificial intelligence (AI) approaches in drug research and development (R&D) has surged. Driven by the expectation of accelerated timelines, reduced costs and the potential to reveal hidden insights from vast datasets, more than 150 companies with a focus on AI have raised funding in this period, based on an analysis of the field by Back Bay Life Science Advisors (Figure 1a). And the number of financings and average amount raised soared in 2021. At the forefront of this field are companies harnessing AI approaches such as machine learning (ML) in small-molecule drug discovery, which account for the majority of financings backed by venture capital (VC) in recent years (Figure 1b), as well as some initial public offerings (IPOs) for pioneers in the area (Table 1). Such companies have also attracted large pharma companies to establish multiple high-value partnerships (Table 2), and the first AI-based small-molecule drug candidates are now in clinical trials (Nat.
Even as rapid improvements in artificial intelligence have led to speculation over significant changes in the health care landscape, the adoption of AI in health care has been minimal. A 2020 survey by Brookings, for example, found that less than 1 percent of job postings in health care required AI-related skills. The Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (Jameel Clinic), a research center within the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, recently hosted the MITxMGB AI Cures Conference in an effort to accelerate the adoption of clinical AI tools by creating new opportunities for collaboration between researchers and physicians focused on improving care for diverse patient populations. Once virtual, the AI Cures Conference returned to in-person attendance at MIT's Samberg Conference Center on the morning of April 25, welcoming over 300 attendees primarily made up of researchers and physicians from MIT and Mass General Brigham (MGB). MIT President L. Rafael Reif began the event by welcoming attendees and speaking to the "transformative capacity of artificial intelligence and its ability to detect, in a dark river of swirling data, the brilliant patterns of meaning that we could never see otherwise."
Depending on which Terminator movies you watch, the evil artificial intelligence Skynet has either already taken over humanity or is about to do so. But it's not just science fiction writers who are worried about the dangers of uncontrolled AI. In a 2019 survey by Emerj, an AI research and advisory company, 14% of AI researchers said that AI was an "existential threat" to humanity. Even if the AI apocalypse doesn't come to pass, shortchanging AI ethics poses big risks to society -- and to the enterprises that deploy those AI systems. Central to these risks are factors inherent to the technology -- for example, how a particular AI system arrives at a given conclusion, known as its "explainability" -- and those endemic to an enterprise's use of AI, including reliance on biased data sets or deploying AI without adequate governance in place.
Apple's long-awaited Apple Car could have virtual displays on the inside instead of clear windows, according to a new patent. The tech giant has filed a patent for a virtual reality (VR) vehicle system that matches up'virtual views' with the physical motion of a car as it's travelling. For example, if the car was careering down a hill, the system could project a virtual image of a rollercoaster ride. Chairs in the car would move about to match the visuals, the patent suggests, much like an immersive '4DX' cinema experience. But it would mean passing views of the real world – such as a beautiful medieval cathedral or stunning coastal hills – would be entirely replaced with virtual graphics.
Patterns of speech in a phone conservation can be used to correctly identify adults in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, a study published Wednesday by the journal PLOS found. Using more than 1,600 voice recordings of phone conversations made from 24 people with confirmed Alzheimer's and 99 healthy controls, researchers correctly identified those with the common form of dementia with roughly 90% accuracy, the data showed. The approach relies on the tendency of people with Alzheimer's "to speak more slowly and with longer pauses and to spend more time finding the correct word," the researchers said. These "vocal features" result in "broken messages and lack of speech fluency," which can be analyzed using an artificial intelligence-based program. The computer program was able to identify those with early Alzheimer's with essentially the same level of accuracy as a telephone-based test for cognitive function, according to the researchers.
On May 17, two Toulouse-based institutes, the IRT Saint Exupéry and the IUCT-Oncopole, a European center of expertise in oncology, signed a partnership focused on artificial intelligence. The aim of this partnership is to pool cutting-edge skills around AI-based research projects designed to improve prevention, diagnosis and care in oncology, particularly by predicting therapeutic effectiveness. Two of these projects are already at an advanced stage. The Saint Exupéry Institute of Technological Research aims to accelerate scientific and technological research and transfer to the aeronautics and space industries for the development of reliable, robust, certifiable and sustainable innovative solutions. A private research foundation supported by the French government, the IRT's mission is to promote French technological research for the benefit of industry and to develop the ecosystem of the aeronautics, space and critical systems sectors by providing access to its research projects, technological platforms and expertise.
Combinostics, a neurology technology company looking at everything from early detection and diagnosis to the ongoing management of neurological disorders, has announced the Dementia Differential Analysis report, which aims to assist clinicians in the detection and differential diagnosis of dementias. The report will be available in an upcoming software release. Existing technologies compare against cognitively normal reference data only – the artificial intelligence-enabled application quantifies and evaluates patient MRI data against the distributions of key dementia-specific imaging biomarkers and reference data from approximately 2,000 patients with a confirmed neurodegenerative disease, including frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, the company explained. "The Dementia Differential Analysis report will help change the paradigm of diagnosing dementias," contended Richard Hausmann, CEO of Combinostics. Using the company's AI technology, it enables differential diagnostic support, furthering the company's commitment to provide clinicians with tools for reliable, evidence-based diagnostic decisions, he added.
Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet. Drone company Swoop Aero has been given the thumbs up by Australia's Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) to operate its drone logistics remote operations centre (ROC) at the company's campus in Port Melbourne Victoria. According to the company, the approval means the company will be able to "operate like an international airliner" and centralise its operations in one facility, including remotely monitoring its global operations across Oceania, Africa, and Europe, as well as pilot up to five drones by a single pilot beyond the physical view of the aircraft through a web interface. "The ROC will serve as an important function to foster complete visibility of drone operations. From a regulatory perspective, the ROC ensures Swoop Aero is meeting the highest aviation and safety standards at a global level," Swoop Aero chief regulatory officer Zachary Kennedy said.
Eating a small bowl of cranberries every day could help ward off dementia, research suggested today. Scientists tested giving healthy older adults the equivalent of 100g of the fruit each day. Volunteers who ate a powdered version of the fruit -- which has a notoriously bitter taste -- were found to have a better memory recall after 12 weeks. And MRI scans showed those eating cranberries had better blood flow to important parts of the brain. People given cranberries also had 9 per cent lower bad cholesterol levels, according to the University of East Anglia study.