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Are the Boston Dynamics robots really dancing? The creepy video, explained

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It's one thing to have your cabbage patch or running man shown up by Zoomers on TikTok, but it's another level of embarrassment to have a robot out dance you. That's exactly what Boston Dynamics' cohort of robots -- including its dog Spot and more human-like bot Atlas -- did in a video that resurfaced on Twitter this weekend. Swaying to the tune of the 1962 classic "Do You Love Me?" by the Contours, the robotic dance team inspired awe, disbelief, and dread in users. But while online lamenting over the robot apocalypse is nearly always tongue-in-cheek, the engineering achievement lurking behind Spot's dance moves means this reality could be much closer and darker than we realize. It is difficult to believe your eyes when you watch the Boston Dynamics robots bust a move -- albeit jerkily -- in the December 2020 video that made new Twitter rounds this weekend.


US firefighters turn to AI to battle the blazes

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Last summer, as Will Harling captained a fire engine trying to control a wildfire that had burst out of northern California's Klamath National Forest, overrun a firebreak, and raced towards his hometown, he got a frustrating email. It was a statistical analysis from Oregon State University forestry researcher Chris Dunn, predicting that the spot where firefighters had built the firebreak, on top of a ridge a few miles out of town, had only a 10% chance of stopping the blaze. "They had spent so many resources building that useless break," said Mr. Harling, who directs the Mid Klamath Watershed Council, and works as a wildland firefighter for the local Karuk Tribe. "The index showed it had no chance," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview. The Suppression Difficulty Index (SDI) is one of a number of analytical tools Mr. Dunn and other firefighting technology experts are building to bring the latest in machine learning, big data, and forecasting to the world of firefighting.


Activision Blizzard execs respond to harassment and discrimination lawsuit

Engadget

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. In a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote that "the allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling." Brack wrote that everyone should feel safe at Blizzard and that "it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He noted it requires courage for people to come forward with their stories, and that all claims brought to the company are taken seriously and investigated. "People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community," Brack wrote.


Amazon rolls out male voice for its smart speakers

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Amazon has started to roll out a male version of its smart assistant, called Ziggy, as an alternative to Alexa. Users of Amazon smart speakers in the US now have the option to choose from either Alexa or Ziggy when they're saying a vocal command. They can simply say'Alexa, change your voice' to hear the male voice coming out of their speaker, or go to settings in the Alexa app. There's a short snippet of Ziggy's voice – which has a generic but robotic-sounding American accent – to listen to here. Amazon's smart assistant powers the Echo speakers, including the spherical fourth generation Echo released last autumn (pictured) Note that this option is only available for US users for now.


Surgeon and researcher innovate with mixed reality and AI for safer surgeries

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The Oklahoma changemakers have devised a system for using artificial intelligence to visualize superimposed and anatomically aligned 3D CT scan …


How to Create Better Online Videos with Artificial Intelligence

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It is reported that 85% of internet users watch online video content on any of their devices in the United States. This means, there are more possibilities for watching online video content than ever before. At the same time, videos are still one of the most impactful ways to communicate your message and engage more audiences around the world. As marketers deploy their own unique video content creation and marketing strategies to tailor their brand and to boost ROI, the world of online video is progressing and changing all the time. In this article, we are going to highlight some of the most recent advancement with online video content creation and three of the best tips to help you to make better videos and content.


DeepMind's AI predicts structures for a vast trove of proteins

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The human mediator complex has long been one of the most challenging multi-protein systems for structural biologists to understand.Credit: Yuan He The human genome holds the instructions for more than 20,000 proteins. But only about one-third of those have had their 3D structures determined experimentally. And in many cases, those structures are only partially known. Now, a transformative artificial intelligence (AI) tool called AlphaFold, which has been developed by Google's sister company DeepMind in London, has predicted the structure of nearly the entire human proteome (the full complement of proteins expressed by an organism). In addition, the tool has predicted almost complete proteomes for various other organisms, ranging from mice and maize (corn) to the malaria parasite (see'Folding options').


DeepMind's AI has finally shown how useful it can be

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Marcelo Sousa, a biochemist at the University of Colorado Boulder, had spent ten years trying to crack a particularly tricky puzzle. Sousa and his team had collected reams of experimental data on a single bacterial protein linked to antibiotic resistance. Working out its structure, they hoped, would help to find inhibitors that could stop that resistance from building. But, year after year, the puzzle remained unsolved. Within 15 minutes, DeepMind's machine learning system had solved the structure.


Interweaving Poetic Code Links Textiles with Coding

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While the project centred around an exhibition in Hong Kong at the former cotton spinning mills housing the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT, 30 April–18 July 2021), it kicked off with a Zoom symposium, Poetic Emergences: Organisation through Textile and Code (16–19 April 2021), that foregrounded the work of weavers, programmers, philosophers, and community workers investigating the transformative processes of textile and code. Keynote speaker Alexander R. Galloway, a New York-based media studies professor, discussed the innovations of two female mathematicians at the intersection of weaving and computation: Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), who theorised that Jacquard loom punch cards could store data in an analytical machine (i.e. Moderator Amy K.S. Chan, a Hong Kong-based professor and scholar, introduced Nüshu (literally: 'female script'), a syllabic script that was written and embroidered by women in Imperial China to compose fiction and correspond undetected by male family members. In'Session 2: Metaphors of E-Textiles', scholar Annapurna Mamidipudi discussed the PENELOPE project, which aims to integrate ancient weaving into the realm of digital technology, through the lens of her work with handloom weavers in South India. Mamidipudi riled against the pure academicians who confine the practice of weavers as'some kind of embodied ethno-mathematics that are not universal', and described weaving as a'technical mode of existence' that performs digital intelligence.


Artificial intelligence firms Shield AI, Heron Systems join forces

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Shield AI announced on 22 July that it has acquired Heron Systems, bringing together two US software companies that are developing artificial intelligence (AI) pilots for military aviation. "Together, Shield AI and Heron will accelerate the deployment of advanced AI pilots to legacy and future military aircraft – an urgent and necessary step towards achieving national security priorities and remaining credible in the face of sophisticated peer countries," the announcement says. Heron Systems made headlines last year when its AI software defeated a human US Air Force F-16 pilot 5-0, and five other AI pilots, during the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) AlphaDogfight Trials. "Heron has developed the most advanced AI pilot for fighter aircraft in the United States," Shield AI co-founder and CEO Ryan Tseng said. Heron general manager Brett Darcey said that joining a larger company like Shield AI will provide "the opportunity and scale to accelerate the integration of our AI pilot on a next-generation fighter" and unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).