Collaborating Authors

A coronavirus mystery: How many people in L.A. actually have COVID-19?

Los Angeles Times

One of the most pressing questions public health officials are trying to answer about the coronavirus is how many people actually have been infected by it. Have a relatively significant portion of Californians been infected with the virus but survived without much problem? Or has the virus touched only a tiny sliver of California, suggesting the chances of serious illness are greater if you're infected? In April, controversial studies out of Stanford University and USC suggested the coronavirus has circulated much more widely than previously thought in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles County. Almost immediately, there have been questions from other epidemiologists around the country about whether those estimates were too high.

Compute to data: using blockchain to decentralize data science and AI with the Ocean Protocol


AI and its machine learning algorithms need data to work. By now, that's a known fact. It's not that algorithms don't matter, it's just that typically, getting more data, better data, helps come up with better results more than tweaking algorithms. Data shows that data-driven organizations perform better. But what does it take to get there?

The best lighting products and solutions for your home office in 2020


The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced many of us to transition from a traditional working environment to a home office. Given how quickly both companies and employees have had to react to COVID-19 to stay in business, and with working from home -- at least part of the time -- now predicted to become far more commonplace in the future, it could be the right time to consider transforming your unused box room or dated office into something suitable for the long-term. Aside from furniture, a laptop, a camera, a microphone, and perhaps a monitor or two -- lighting is not an area that should be dismissed out of hand. You may want to show off your background (or yourself) in the best light possible on your next conference call; the right ambiance can help when you need to concentrate or read, custom lighting can prevent eye strain, and smart lighting options can be used to inject color and personality into a room you will now be spending a lot of time in. To view our top picks for home office lighting, check out the list below.

Gamers take to 'Toontown' to stand with Black Lives Matter protesters


As protests and demonstrations flood the streets of the United States and beyond with people calling for the end of police brutality and abuse of power, there's one place packed with vocal Black Lives Matter supporters that you won't find on any map: Toontown. Players in Toontown Rewritten (a free-to-play, not-for profit, and barely legal recreation of Disney's defunct MMORPG Toontown) are bringing messages of support to oppressed and abused communities with messages containing "Black Lives Matter" and calls to action to sign petitions and defund the police. BLM protests are even happening in toontown. It just goes to show that you can show up and support this movement no matter how old you are. As the Toontown Rewritten community comes together to spread these messages, the developers behind the game released a statement that they support players who are using their game as a platform for positivity around diversity, equality, and inclusion.

This startup is using AI to give workers a "productivity score"

MIT Technology Review

Now, one firm wants to take things even further. It is developing machine-learning software to measure how quickly employees complete different tasks and suggest ways to speed them up. The tool also gives each person a productivity score, which managers can use to identify those employees who are most worth retaining--and those who are not. How you feel about this will depend on how you view the covenant between employer and employee. Is it okay to be spied on by people because they pay you?

Facebook tool to transfer images to Google Photos now available worldwide

The Independent - Tech

Facebook's new feature to transfer photos from your profile to a Google Photos backup is now available globally, after previously only being accessible in the US and Canada. The tool was later rolled out to parts of Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America in February 2020, European countries in March 2020, but can now be accessed by all users across the world. The tool lets you make copies of all the photos and videos on your account, and move them to another platform more easily than having to mass download, and then reupload, the content. Going to "Your Facebook Information" in your Facebook Settings Selecting "Transfer a Copy of Your Photos or Videos and entering your Facebook password Choosing Google Photos – with the company stating that more options will be available over time Clicking the "Confirm Transfer" button It is currently unclear what other options will be available, but Facebook has previously said that if companies join the Data Transfer Project then they would be able to transfer content from Facebook to other platforms. The project was established in 2018 to "create an open-source, service-to-service data portability platform so that all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want," according to its website.

Internet not working? A third of Britons say WiFi has slowed in lockdown, as companies insist they are withstanding demand

The Independent - Tech

A third of people say their internet has got worse in lockdown, as people rely on their WiFi tow ork and study from home. It comes despite claims from broadband providers that they are largely coping with the increased demand from people using more of their home internet. According to a YouGov survey, 28 per cent have noticed their internet connection has become slightly worse than usual, while 7 per cent said it was much worse. It comes as three quarters revealed that they were going online more heavily, as the nation attempts to work from home, carry out school remotely or simply keep in touch with loved ones over the course of the pandemic. Seven in 10 of people who experienced connectivity issues said it affected general online activities, followed by streaming at 67 per cent, video calls at 59 per cent and and work-related tasks at 52 per cent.

Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford

Oxford Comp Sci

You may like to look at our GeomLab website which will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming in an interactive, visual way through a guided activity. The Turtle system is a graphics programming environment designed to provide an enjoyable introduction to programming in Java syntax, together with a practical insight into fundamental concepts of computer science such as compilation and machine code. The Alice system from Carnegie Mellon University provides a point-and-click environment for designing 3-D animations and is a useful introduction to object-oriented programming. Elizabeth is an automated conversation and natural language processing program that provides an enjoyable introduction to natural language processing, and that can give insights into some of the fundamental methods and issues of artificial intelligence within an entertaining context. CodeAcademy provides a fun introduction to programming.

Hitachi, Toshiba and Miraca join forces to raise output of antigen test kits

The Japan Times

Industrial conglomerates Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp, as well as Miraca Holdings subsidiary Fujirebio, said on Friday they will jointly set up a facility to produce antigen-testing kits for the coronavirus. The line would help double production of Fujirebio's testing kits, which received government approval in May, to 400,000 a week, the companies said. It would start operations by December in Hokkaido. Antigen tests scan for proteins found on or inside a virus. They can detect the virus quickly but produce false negatives at a higher rate than the polymerase chain reaction tests currently in use.

AI, AR, and the (Somewhat) Speculative Future of a Tech-Fueled FBI


Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution is a technothriller that follows the hunt for a terrorist through the streets of a future Washington, DC. More than 300 factual explanations and predictions (with endnotes) are baked into the story, and the research for it ranged from assembling the latest job automation reports to interviews with AI scientists and water-system cybersecurity experts. This is the first chapter, where we meet the main character, FBI special agent Lara Keegan, who is responding to an emergency alert at Washington's Union Station. Soon Keegan will be assigned to test out a robotic policing tool and launched into a conspiracy whose mastermind is using cutting-edge tech to tear the nation apart. The man's greasy red beard and braided Viking-style Mohawk had likely not been washed in a couple weeks, but the way that he cradled his AR-15 assault rifle made it clear he took care of what most mattered to him.