If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
President Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden by double digits in polls by CNN, CNBC, and even Fox News. So, of course, Trump has taken to Twitter to shout about how popular and beloved he definitely is, complaining that mainstream media isn't reporting his (incredibly poorly attended) rally in Tulsa was a ratings hit for Fox News. "Great point," said Late Night host Stephen Colbert. "In the midst of a global pandemic and massive civil unrest, reporters are totally burying the story of how many people were watching TV. It reminds me of that headline after Pearl Harbor: 'FDR speech gets incredible ratings! "To be fair, Trump is right," Colbert continued with an incredibly rare, incredibly cursed phrase. "A record number of people did tune in to watch him be humiliated in Tulsa.
New AI technologies are helping scientists to sort through the wealth of COVID-19 papers -- hopefully hastening the research process.Credit: Adapted from Getty The COVID-19 literature has grown in much the same way as the disease's transmission: exponentially. But a fast-growing set of artificial-intelligence (AI) tools might help researchers and clinicians to quickly sift through the literature. Driven by a combination of factors -- including the availability of a large collection of relevant papers, advances in natural-language processing (NLP) technology and the urgency of the pandemic itself -- these tools use AI to find the studies that are most relevant to the user, and in some cases to extract specific findings from the results. Beyond the current pandemic, such tools could help to bridge fields by making it easier to identify solutions from other disciplines, says Amalie Trewartha, one of the team leads for the literature-search tool COVIDScholar, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. The tools are still in development, and their utility is largely unproven.
Science's COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center. Timothy Sheahan, a virologist studying COVID-19, wishes he could keep pace with the growing torrent of new scientific papers about the disease and the novel coronavirus that causes it. But there are just too many--more than 4000 alone last week. "I'm not keeping up," says Sheahan, who works at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A loose-knit army of data scientists, software developers, and journal publishers is pressing hard to change that.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Steve Hahn says it will be up to the White House to determine whether it continues to use a coronavirus test that has falsely cleared patients of infection. Hahn Told CBS on Friday the FDA will keep "providing guidance to the White House regarding this test" but whether to keep using the test "will be a White House decision." The test is used daily at the White House to test President Donald Trump and key members of his staff, including the coronavirus task force. The FDA said late Thursday it was investigating preliminary data suggesting Abbott Laboratories' 15-minute test can miss COVID-19 cases, producing false negatives. Hahn told CBS the test is on the market and the FDA continues to "recommend its use or to have it available for use."
On April 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission" of COVID-19. Despite a plethora of health experts telling it to do so since then, the White House only complied with this health guidance Monday. It sent an email to staffers ordering all of them to wear face masks inside the building. White House staffers can take-off their masks while they're seated at their desks and are able to maintain six feet of distance from others. Incredibly, President Donald Trump is exempted from this order, aides told The Washington Post.
In a briefing on Monday, research leaders across tech, academia and the government joined the White House to announce an open data set full of scientific literature on the novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, known as CORD-19, will also add relevant new research moving forward, compiling it into one centralized hub. The new data set is machine readable, making it easily parsed for machine learning purposes -- a key advantage according to researchers involved in the ambitious project. In a press conference, U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios called the new data set the "most extensive collection of machine readable coronavirus literature to date." Kratsios characterized the project as a "call to action" for the AI community, which can employ machine learning techniques to surface unique insights in the body of data.
Consider the grocery clerks at two Safeway stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. A few weeks ago, over 200 workers who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 (UFCW5) union picketed a Safeway store in San Jose, Calif. to voice concerns about a push by parent company Albertsons to add more A.I to its operations. Albertsons recently partnered with the startup Takeoff Technologies to create mini warehouses where computer vision technology automatically sorts items that shoppers order online. Using A.I. reduces the need for Safeway staff to manually locate and grab items for delivery--workers now just retrieve the finalized orders from a conveyor belt and sign off on them for eventual delivery. Several grocery store chains are investing heavily in micro-fulfillment centers after Amazon helped to popularize as-fast-as-you-can deliveries, said Andrew Lipsman, a principal analyst at research firm eMarketer.
IBM is looking to supercomputers to help find a cure to the COVID-19 virus, with a consortium that includes many top universities and labs, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, according to President Donald Trump, who announced it in the daily COVID-19 task force briefing at the White House on Sunday. "We are going to unleash the power of supercomputers to fight," the virus, said Trump. IBM calls it the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium and says it will bring an "unprecedented amount" of computing power – with more than 265 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting – "to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments and potential cures." For context, there are about a million gigabytes in a petaflop. CPUs are the processors that function as the brains of computers, and GPUs, like the processors used for gaming functions on a gaming console, can quickly render data-heavy graphics, images and video.
On Monday, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy challenged researchers to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze about 29,000 scholarly articles to answer key questions about the coronavirus. The White House Office announced that it had partnered with companies such as Microsoft and Alphabet's Google to collect the most extensive database of scholarly articles about the virus available to researchers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said they want help to better understand the origins and transmission of the coronavirus in aid of developing a vaccine and treatments. The US Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, who works in the White House, told reporters on a conference call that the hope is that computers will be able to scan the research more quickly than humans and uncover findings that humans may miss. Machine Learning, a form of AI in which software is designed to detect patterns in data on its own, is already used in healthcare and other industries to develop summaries from large amounts of text.
The White House has urged AI experts to analyze a dataset of 29,000 scholarly articles about coronavirus that could offer insights into how to manage the pandemic. These questions have been published on Kaggle, a machine learning community owned by Google. The entire COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) has been made available on SemanticScholar, a free, nonprofit, academic search engine. The collection will be updated whenever new research is published in archival services and peer-reviewed publications. "Decisive action from America's science and technology enterprise is critical to prevent, detect, treat, and develop solutions to COVID-19," said Michael Kratsios, the USA's Chief Technology Officer.