This AI tool identifies the most promising COVID-19 research


An AI tool that scans reams of scientific literature for promising COVID-19 research could speed up the search for a coronavirus vaccine. The system provides an automated alternative to human review, which many COVID-19 researchers are starting to bypass so their colleagues can immediately provide feedback on their work. [Read: Drug discovery might be the best use of AI to tackle the pandemic] This approach sacrifices safety for speed, which can lead to low quality work reaching a wide audience. It also means that there are way too many papers on COVID-19 for humans to read. These issues led researchers from Northwestern University…

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Are we there yet?


Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here. Hola quarantino-rinos, Depending on where you’re at, we’re about six weeks into the general global shelter-in-place order and I gotta tell you: I’ve had about enough of it. I know, I know. We’ve all got to chin up and see this thing through so that we can return to whatever the new normal is going to be.  Mostly, I just miss sports. Technology’s managed to give us a decent replacement for nearly every…

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Apple’s virtual Worldwide Developers Conference begins June 22


Apple today revealed the exact date of its virtual 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference. The event, which will be entirely online for the first time in order to accommodate the social distancing protocols necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, will begin on June 22. WWDC will be free this year for all developers through the Developers website and the app of the same name. That makes it somewhat more accessible than previous WWDCs, which required developers to purchase tickets. Apple’s keeping a lid on some of the details — such as “keynote and Platforms State of the Union details, session and lab…

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Xiaomi’s new Mi Commerce platform lets local retailers sell phones to Indian consumers


Xiaomi has announced a new ecommerce platform called Mi Commerce to let local stores sell the company’s products — including phones, Mi TVs, and power banks — online. The idea is to connect these stores directly to consumers through a web app or WhatsApp to sell products. You can connect with local stores in your area through this web app or chat with them on WhatsApp (+91 8861826286 ) to explore Xiaomi products they have in stock. Once you place an order, the shop will deliver the item and collect money from you. The last-mile delivery logistics will have to be handled by the…

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Scientists found a way to plug adversarial backdoors in deep learning models


Imagine a high-security complex protected by a facial recognition system powered by deep learning. The artificial intelligence algorithm has been tuned to unlock the doors for authorized personnel only, a convenient alternative to fumbling for your keys at every door. A stranger shows up, dons a bizarre set of spectacles, and all of a sudden, the facial recognition system mistakes him for the company’s CEO and opens all the doors for him. By installing a backdoor in the deep learning algorithm, the malicious actor ironically gained access to the building through the front door. This is not a page out of…

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Daily Distraction: Our greatest hits, and a tearful goodbye


More than 33% of the year is over, but there’s no sign that the coronavirus pandemic will end soon.  However, countries across the world are opening up slowly with the hope that religious testing will help reduce casualties. In March, I tweeted a thread about free resources available to pass time while you’re stuck at home. A lot of people resonated with the sentiment and used those tools. Companies were making their resources available for free all over the world, and it was hard to maintain that in a thread. Thus Daily Distraction was born. I had a lot of…

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UK to combat air pollution with AI-powered traffic lights


The UK plans to tackle pollution with AI-powered traffic lights that delay the arrival of vehicles in toxic air hotspots. The system collects data on local pollution and traffic flows through roadside sensors, weather forecasts, and Bluetooth devices in cars. An algorithm then analyzes both live and historical data to predict where air pollution will spike within the next hour. When the system forecasts a sharp rise in toxic pollutants, the traffic light timings will automatically change. Drivers on their way to pollution hotspots will be held at red lights for up to 20 seconds longer than usual. For vehicles heading in other directions, lights will…

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Solutions, not art: The true business value of design


Did you know we have an online conference about product design coming up? SPRINT will cover how designers and product owners can stay ahead of the curve in these unprecedented times.  Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value. – Albert Einstein Value is an attribute that defines how much something is worth. People tend to make decisions by assessing value, such as “Should I buy that product?” or, “Should I subscribe to that service?” As they are considering the business value of design, business leaders may ask: “Should I hire a designer?” Value is…

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This Android app turns your to-dos into persistent notifications you can’t ignore


I sometimes worry I’m a total dolt when I forget things on my to-do list, despite putting them in a task management app myself and setting reminders with notifications. Clearly, most existing solutions aren’t entirely idiot-proof. But Pinnit is taking a stab at helping the morons among us stay on track. This new Android app is as elegant as it is simple. Just jot down a task, and Pinnit will turn it into a persistent notification that will remain visible for all eternity. Okay, that’s not true. You can actually dismiss it from within the app; you can even dismiss…

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