Google is looking to artificial intelligence as a way to make a mark in health care. Google is looking to artificial intelligence as a way to make a mark in health care. One of the biggest corporations on the planet is taking a serious interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and health. Google and its sister companies, parts of the holding company Alphabet, are making a huge investment in the field, with potentially big implications for everyone who interacts with Google -- which is more than a billion of us. The push into AI and health is a natural evolution for a company that has developed algorithms that reach deep into our lives through the Web.
We're going to look now at the state of artificial intelligence this month in All Tech Considered. You've probably seen that statement online alongside a prompt that says something like, type the letters you see, or, click on all the stoplights. Do it right, and you get to go on to the next page. These games are developed by Google. Researcher Jason Polakis of the University of Illinois at Chicago has proven that, in fact, robots are pretty good at CAPTCHAs.
When Merdis Wells visited the diabetes clinic at the University Medical Center in New Orleans about a year ago, a nurse practitioner checked her eyes to look for signs of diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of blindness. At her next visit, in February of this year, artificial intelligence software made the call. The clinic had just installed a system that's designed to identify patients who need follow-up attention. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the system -- called IDx-DR -- for use in 2018. The agency said it was the first time it had authorized the marketing of a device that makes a screening decision without a clinician having to get involved in the interpretation.
Instead, they found a trapped robotic vacuum cleaner. Three seasoned deputies -- one with at least 20 years on the force -- a detective who happened to be in the area, and two canine officers all responded to the call of a burglary in progress at a Cedar Hills home near Portland, Ore. Instead, they found a trapped robotic vacuum cleaner. The Washington County sheriff in Oregon says there was nothing unusual about the call. Sure, it was broad daylight -- 1:48 p.m. local time exactly -- but "crime can happen anytime."
Can artificial intelligence make the hiring process fairer? We look at that question in All Tech Considered. SHAPIRO: Lots of Fortune 500 companies use some sort of AI to screen job candidates. In Sweden, recruiters are testing an AI-powered recruitment robot. Reporter Maddy Savage went to check it out.
Let's take a couple minutes now to examine some of the questions you might have that this Swedish hiring robot poses. Ifeoma Ajunwa of Cornell University has studied the use of artificial intelligence in the hiring process here in the U.S. Welcome. IFEOMA AJUNWA: Thank you very much for having me. CHANG: Is it possible for AI to completely eliminate human bias in the hiring process? AJUNWA: I would say no because you still have to remember that AI isn't fully automated.
Delivery robots have been popping up in high-end hotels. Now they are making their way to a younger clientele. PATRICK MADDEN, BYLINE: George Mason University looks like any other big college campus - tall buildings, dorms, green grass and wide sidewalks where streams of students make their way to classes, except here on this campus, there's something not so ordinary - robots. MADDEN: This is one of several dozen Starship food delivery robots here on campus. Picture a cooler on wheels that resembles R2-D2, if you're a "Star Wars" fan.
At George Mason University in Virginia, a fleet of several dozen autonomous robots deliver food to students on campus. At George Mason University in Virginia, a fleet of several dozen autonomous robots deliver food to students on campus. George Mason University looks like any other big college campus with its tall buildings, student housing, and manicured green lawns – except for the robots. This Northern Virginia university recently set up several dozen meal delivery robots from Starship Technologies to make it easier for students to access food. Multiple colleges across the country have deployed delivery robots – including University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and Northern Arizona University – but George Mason University is the first college in the United States to incorporate robots into its student dining plan.
NOTE: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here. If you shop online, there's a good chance the price you pay for stuff is determined by a computer algorithm. As of 2015, over one third of the 1,600 best-selling items sold on Amazon came from sellers who used algorithms to set their price. Algorithms are spreading like crazy, but are they giving companies too much power over consumers?
Southwest Airlines was among the airlines affected by a contractor's computer outage Monday, forcing hundreds of flights to be delayed. Southwest Airlines was among the airlines affected by a contractor's computer outage Monday, forcing hundreds of flights to be delayed. Thousands of travelers on some of the largest U.S. airlines endured long waits Monday morning, as their flights were delayed owing to a contractor's computer outage. The technical problem forced Southwest Airlines, which had some of the biggest issues, to shut down all U.S. flights for about 40 minutes Monday. Eastern Time, more than 600 Southwest flights today had been delayed," NPR's David Schaper reports.