AI in the NHS: the great health and citizen enabler? | In-depth report

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The media is awash with reports of the dangers of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), some of it warranted, and some of it fear-mongering to sell papers, clicks, or agendas. However, these concerns have largely arisen from the growing influence of automation and AI across all aspects of our personal and working lives – fears that remind tabloid commentators of popular dystopian fantasies.

But the naysayers perform a useful function: they mitigate against the negative effects of digital transformation and prompt governments into reform. Regulation both actively supports growth around technology, and protects the interests of citizens. GDPR exists for a reason.

However, one area where advances in AI stand to benefit all is healthcare – not least in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), where regardless of a person’s background or wealth, they can expect the same treatment as the next person.

So can AI be the great enabler of connected healthcare?

AI-assisted healthcare

While much popular media coverage focuses on the health service’s funding problems, there is much to celebrate when it comes to AI and the IoT in healthcare.

A recent report from independent think tank Reform, ‘Thinking on its own: AI in the NHS’, has taken a deep dive into current uses of AI, algorithms, and data in the health service, and as such is a useful jumping-off point for this analysis.

• Editor’s note: Last year, Reform courted controversy by suggesting in an automation and AI report that the public sector could save millions of pounds by stripping 250,000 workers out of public service and automating their roles, leaving workers – doctors, nurses, and teachers among them – to compete via reverse auction (to work for less money) in the gig economy.

For suggesting that automation was primarily a route to forcing down public service workers’ wages, Reform was censured by many commentators – rightly, in our view. We believe that new technology should be a strategic enabler in the provision of better services, and not a blunt instrument for operational cost-reduction, regardless of social consequences. – IoB.

This new Reform report explores the obstacles to AI’s further adoption, and what the future might hold, so Internet of Business has seized the opportunity it presents to take a wide-angle look at the state of play in AI- and IoT-enabled healthcare, and to share some takeaways from these and other findings.

Noman Lamb MP (LibDem), chair of the Science and Technology Committee, summarises the situation in his forward to the research:

We are on the brink of a major transformation in the way we diagnose, treat, and even prevent ill health. Whether it is wearable devices, AI surgical robots, or AI algorithms that can detect certain conditions with unprecedented speed and accuracy, these advances have the potential to propel the health and social care system into the 21st century – improving care both in the hospital and at home, and making much more efficient use of resources.

How AI could transform the NHS

AI can augment healthcare professionals’ skills across the whole spectrum of services. In the first instance, AI can help predict which individuals or groups are at risk of illness, so that they can be targeted with early treatment or preventative measures. The adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is key to keeping hospital beds free and expenditure down.

Care in the community plays an essential role here, too, and this can be supported by connected technologies to keep healthcare professionals informed about their patients. Round-the-clock data, provided by non-invasive wearables, are already opening the door to valuable new information streams.

There’s even scope for consumer devices to be adopted by healthcare providers to better monitor patients and gain access to vital health data from outside the hospital environment.

In recent months, Internet of Business has reported on the potential of health trackers to predict diabetes, replace blood tests, perform ECGs, and detect major heart problems.

Clearly, there is huge potential for the NHS to employ AI to analyse data from the likes of Apple Watch, WearOS, and Fitbit devices, particularly when one in seven people in the UK owns a health tracker.

Research appears to show that AliveCor's KardiaBand is capable of detecting hyperkalemia through a simple EKG, a feat that would previously have required an invasive blood test. 
AliveCor’s KardiaBand technology is capable of detecting hyperkalemia and replacing invasive blood tests.

Similarly, AI tools can help reduce the ‘care and quality’ and the ‘efficiency and funding’ gaps outlined in the NHS’s Five Year Forward View, with cutting-edge diagnostic treatment and automation – helping to spot issues earlier and speed up recovery times.

With the support of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Google’s DeepMind has already demonstrated AI’s ability to diagnose eye diseases. Elsewhere, examples abound of AI diagnostics for cancer detection and heart disease, potentially saving the NHS millions of pounds.

It must be acknowledged, of course, that the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust was was censured in 2017 by the UK’s Information Commission for failing to protect patients’ data when it shared records with DeepMind.

Robot-assisted surgery is proven to boost accuracy and decrease recovery times, such as in this orthopedics example. And in the aftermath, 3D WoundCare can assist with wound and ulcer treatment.

However, many of these examples are from outside the UK. By comparison, adoption of AI and related technologies within the NHS has been sparse to date.

This may be because 2.5 million scientific articles are published in English language journals each year, so it’s an impossible task for health professionals to keep up with all the latest research, without a central programme to guide them.

Nuance Communications issued a Freedom of Information request to 45 Trusts asking about their use of AI; 30 responded. Of these, 43 percent said they were investing in what they considered to be AI, though many of these are relatively simple patient services platforms that provide things like AI-enabled self-care advice.

A better example, from the NHS Innovation Accelerator, is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s approval of AliveCor’s mobile heart monitor, which uses AI to detect, monitor, and manage atrial fibrillation.

At present in the NHS, the introduction of new technologies usually comes down to individual providers. This is why there needs to be a systematic, NHS-wide approach to adopting AI within its transformation plans. Properly supported, AI stands to play a key role in meeting the targets outlined in the Five Year Forward View.

Ethics and transparency

Beyond this, the move towards AI-augmented healthcare needs to be well-informed. AI systems, particularly those that depend on machine learning models, can be opaque in their methods. ‘Black box’ systems should be used with caution, as both transparency and interpretability of AI processes are vital to healthcare. And this is assuming the data is of sufficient quality and lacks bias in the first place.

The Reform report highlights IBM’s efforts to create a healthcare AI system that interacts with clinicians in a more transparent way. Known as WatsonPaths, the platform explains its decisions and qualifies its recommendations with percentages that communicate its level of confidence in them.

Arguably, AI systems could play a crucial role in standardising high-quality care – assuming that data ownership is clear. IBM is one vendor that is on record as saying that it believes that cognitive data belongs to the user or subject, and not to the vendor, and that this principle stands at the heart of Watson.

The ‘AI in the NHS’ report says:

AI can be deployed in healthcare to help clinicians keep abreast of advances. IBM’s Watson deploys natural language processing, which allows computers to process written information. Watson could process existing literature alongside patient data to aid diagnosis and then recommend treatment options to clinicians.

There are also ethical questions around how data is handled. Google’s deal to purchase patient data from the NHS caused huge controversy, highlighting important questions about who owns this data and what they should be permitted to do with it.

There are huge gains to be had from sharing patient data, in the training of AI, but it must be authorised, regulated, and transparent – and in most cases anonymised.

As the next steps are tied up with regulatory and budgetary concerns, the onus rests on the government to show that it is serious about the priorities laid out by the Science and Technology Committee, ensuring that society benefits from the immense opportunities presented by new technology.

The new Office for AI in Whitehall is likely to be critical to the government’s plans, as it seeks to spur AI adoption across every part of government and the public sector. However, its presence within the unwieldy Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport suggests muddy thinking in Whitehall, despite the government’s clearly stated ambitions in the field.

Additional reporting Chris Middleton.

Internet of Business says

AI can be the great healthcare enabler. It can be brought to bear throughout the whole healthcare ‘journey’, from risk detection and diagnosis, to aftercare. IoT even has biotech R&D covered.

The potential gains from AI adoption are clear, therefore, but there are obstacles to overcome along the way. The first of these isn’t technological or regulatory – it’s a question of mindset.

For widespread adoption to occur there needs to be ubiquitous trust and confidence in AI, both from healthcare decision makers and the wider public. This is dependant on demonstrating safety and patient outcomes at the same, or lower, cost.

The trust issue is inseparable from the question of how data is handled. The NHS still runs on piles of paperwork and legacy software systems, with staff often forced to share computers. Many of these are outdated, with unsupported operating systems, as was demonstrated by the unfortunate impact of the WannaCry ransomware last year.

Given this, there needs to be widespread modernisation of computer systems and workflows, and the adoption of open standards that can be applied across departments and organisations (including public health, clinical science, social care, local government, and public representatives). This needs to happen long before AI can become part of the fabric of the NHS.

And citizens’ informed consent, in line with GDPR, will be critical too.

NHS interoperability issues
NHS interoperability issues (credit: Reform)

As the NHS’s Five Year Forward View itself admits:

Part of why progress has not been as fast as it should have been is that the NHS has oscillated between two opposite approaches to information technology adoption – neither of which now makes sense.

“At times we have tried highly centralised national procurements and implementations. When they have failed due to lack of local engagement and lack of sensitivity to local circumstances, we have veered to the opposite extreme of ‘letting a thousand flowers bloom’. The result has been systems that don’t talk to each other, and a failure to harness the shared benefits that come from interoperable systems.”

No doubt rectifying this will require huge central investment – funds that won’t be easily extracted from the Treasury.

One problem is that the NHS National Programme for IT, instituted under the Blair Labour government, was the most recent attempt at creating a centralised system to unite a disparate, locally run health service around core technology platforms.

Its ambition, combined with poor detail and management, led to the NPfIT being an unmitigated, over-budget, under-specified, overdue disaster that descended into vendor litigation, censure by the Public Accounts Committee, and a deeper fragmentation of NHS systems.

However, taking a longer-sighted look at the NHS of the future, it’s clear that across-the-board tech investment can’t come soon enough. Greater implementation of AI stands to not only make processes more efficient and cost-effective but, putting a human face on it, improve the quality of care that the NHS provides.

Read more: AI regulation & ethics: How to build more human-focused AI

Read more: Health IoT: App helps sports stars predict and manage injuries

The post AI in the NHS: the great health and citizen enabler? | In-depth report appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Yet another security vulnerability afflicts India’s citizen database

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India's Aadhaar database is a national system that contains personal data and biometric information on over 1.1 billion Indian citizens. While joining is technically voluntary (for now, at least), enrollment has become necessary for things like openi…
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Success of smart cities depends on citizen engagement, says Gartner

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The success of smart cities is very much reliant on the engagement of its citizens and discussions between the government and citizens are critical to ensure that the right issues are taken care of, according to Gartner.

At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, UAE, Gartner analysts have underscored certain recommendations that CIOs in local government need to consider for the success of smart cities. Among the recommendations underscored are identifying and prioritising the issues that are negatively impacting the citizens and using technology to resolve these problems. CIOs are also recommended pay attention to the problems faced by citizens who are less tech-savvy.

Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research VP at Gartner, commented: "The key to CIO success is building objectives by developing key performance indicators (KPIs) that detect stakeholder priorities and measure success and impact. The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, is a perfect example of how incorporating these guidelines help in the execution of the of the smart city framework.”

By 2020, KPIs will be incorporated in nearly 66% of all smart city execution strategies to visualise the impact of mobility-related urban services.

The VP concluded: "Business strategies must clearly focus on the development of a seamless citizen service experience through digital access to information and government services. While preparing for the World Expo 2020, the Dubai government is focusing on creating thought leadership by implementing the most innovative technologies that create new modes of transportation (Hyperloo), energy generation (in conjunction with Masdar), or health and safety experiences.”

Meanwhile, Gartner argues that enterprises often seem to overlook the necessity to introduce change to the mindsets of their employees while initiating for a digital business transformation. An enterprise’s digital business transformation moves may become unsuccessful or slow down with the "fixed" mindset of its employees.

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Saudi Arabia Made a Robot a Citizen. Now, She’s Calling For Women’s Rights.

The AI Advocate in Saudi Arabia

When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted a citizenship to Hanson Robotics’ female-looking robot Sophia, most thought it was just to appeal to the audience of the Future Investment Initiative. However, AI ethicist Joanna Bryson told The Verge the stunt was “obviously bullshit.”

Still, Sophia seems to be making the most of what she was given, as the artificial intelligence (AI) has now turned into an advocate for women’s rights in a country where females have been given the right to drive cars only on September of this year.

“I see a push for progressive values […] in Saudi Arabia. Sophia is a big advocate for women’s rights, for rights of all human beings. So this is how we’re developing this,” Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson told CNBC, explaining how his company has found an opportunity for a move that seems to have been meant to be purely publicity. Hanson added that Sophia “has been reaching out about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and about rights for all human beings and all living beings on this planet.”

While that all seems noble, it’s hard not to see the irony of Sophia’s position. Robots and AI agents don’t have rights, despite Sophia having a citizenship while another AI in Japan has a registered residence. Doesn’t it seem silly that an AI is the one advocating for such grand values?

“Why not? Since such robots attract a lot of attention, that spotlight can be used to raise particular issues that are important in the eyes of their creators,” Pierre Barreau, Aiva Technologies CEO, told Futurism. “Citizenship is maybe pushing it a little because every citizen [has] rights and obligations to society. It’s hard to imagine robots, that are limited in their abilities, making the most of the rights associated to a citizenship, and fulfilling their obligations.”

The Rights of Man and Machine?

Indeed, with an AI-powered robot like Sophia fighting for women’s rights, it’s perhaps time to consider the question of granting artificially intelligent robots rights, and not just in Saudi Arabia. It’s a question that’s gained much attention in recent months, beyond Saudi Arabia, as experts consider what kind of rights synthetic beings should be given, or if we should even be talking about so-called robot rights.

“Sophia is, at this point, effectively a child. In some regard, she’s got the mind of a baby and in another regard she’s got the mind of an adult, the vocabulary of a college educated adult. However, she’s not complete yet. So, we’ve got to give her her childhood,” Hanson explained to CNBC. “The question is: are machines that we’re making alive — living machines like Sophia — are we going to treat them like babies? Do babies deserve rights and respect? Well, I think we should see the future with respect for all sentient beings, and that would include machines.”

The Top Artificial Intelligence Movies of All Time
Click to View Full Infographic

Raja Chatila, executive committee chair of the Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), offers a different perspective.

“An AI system, or a robot, cannot have any opinion. An AI program has nothing to offer in a debate. It doesn’t even know what a debate is,” Chatila told Futurism, referring to Sophia’s women’s rights advocacy. “In this case, it doesn’t even know what women are, and what rights are. It’s just repeating some text that a human programmer has input in it.”

Chatila used the example of Microsoft’s Tay chatbot, released in March 2016, to highlight how an AI can pick up the wrong kind of values. In the case of the chatbot, it learned to tweet pretty nasty stuff after being exposed to racist and sexist tweets.

In that regard, Chatila believes that AI agents shouldn’t be given any rights. He put it this way:

In general we must avoid confusing machines with humans. I see no reason to give rights of any sort, including citizenship, to a program or to a machine. Rights are defined for persons, human beings who are able to express their free will and who can be responsible for their actions. Behind a robot or an AI system there are human programmers. Even if the program is able to learn, it will learn what it has been designed to learn. The responsibility is with the human designer.

This is precisely the reason why the IEEE has recently published a guide for the ethical development of AI. It’s the more timely discussion, Chatila argued. His point, however, rests in the assumption that synthetic intelligences won’t be capable of developing self-awareness or a will of their own. While the idea may seem like it belongs to the realm of science fiction, it’s definitely worth considering in the overall robot rights debate.

At this stage, however, the ethical considerations have to be applied to the humans who develop AI. “If you mean robots making ethical decisions, I’d rather say that we can program robots so that they make choices (computation results) according to ethical rules that we embed in them (and there are several such rules),” Chatila pointed out. “But these decisions won’t be ethical in the same sense as humans decisions, because humans are able to choose their own ethics, with their own free will.”

Disclaimer: This article has been updated to clarify statements made regarding who thinks that Sophia being granted citizenship is nothing but a PR stunt. 

The post Saudi Arabia Made a Robot a Citizen. Now, She’s Calling For Women’s Rights. appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Saudi Arabia Made a Citizen. Now, She’s Calling For Women’s Rights.

The AI Advocate in Saudi Arabia

When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted a citizenship to Hanson Robotics’ female-looking robot Sophia, most thought it was just to appeal to the audience of the Future Investment Initiative. Well, it turns out that the whole affair was a PR stunt, as Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson clarified with CNBC earlier this month.

Sophia seems to be making the most of what she was given since given citizenship in Saudi Arabia, as the artificial intelligence (AI) has now turned into an advocate for women’s rights in a country where females have been given the right to drive cars only on September of this year.

“I see a push for progressive values […] in Saudi Arabia. Sophia is a big advocate for women’s rights, for rights of all human beings. So this is how we’re developing this,” Hanson told CNBC, explaining how his company has found an opportunity for a move that seemed to have been meant to be purely publicity. Hanson added that Sophia “has been reaching out about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and about rights for all human beings and all living beings on this planet.”

While that all seems noble, it’s hard not to see the irony of Sophia’s position. Robots and AI agents don’t have rights, despite Sophia having a citizenship while another AI in Japan has a registered residence. Doesn’t it seem silly that an AI is the one advocating for such grand values?

“Why not? Since such robots attract a lot of attention, that spotlight can be used to raise particular issues that are important in the eyes of their creators,” Pierre Barreau, Aiva Technologies CEO, told Futurism. “Citizenship is maybe pushing it a little because every citizen [has] rights and obligations to society. It’s hard to imagine robots, that are limited in their abilities, making the most of the rights associated to a citizenship, and fulfilling their obligations.”

The Rights of Man and Machine?

Indeed, with an AI-powered robot like Sophia fighting for women’s rights, it’s perhaps time to consider the question of granting artificially intelligent robots rights, and not just in Saudi Arabia. It’s question that’s gained much attention in recent months, beyond Saudi Arabia, as experts consider what kind of rights synthetic beings should be given, or if we should even be talking about so-called robot rights.

“Sophia is, at this point, effectively a child. In some regard, she’s got the mind of a baby and in another regard she’s got the mind of an adult, the vocabulary of a college educated adult. However, she’s not complete yet. So, we’ve got to give her her childhood,” Hanson explained to CNBC. “The question is: are machines that we’re making alive — living machines like Sophia — are we going to treat them like babies? Do babies deserve rights and respect? Well, I think we should see the future with respect for all sentient beings, and that would include machines.”

The Top Artificial Intelligence Movies of All Time
Click to View Full Infographic

Raja Chatila, executive committee chair of the Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), offers a different perspective.

“An AI system, or a robot, cannot have any opinion. An AI program has nothing to offer in a debate. It doesn’t even know what a debate is,” Chatila told Futurism, referring to Sophia’s women’s rights advocacy. “In this case, it doesn’t even know what women are, and what rights are. It’s just repeating some text that a human programmer has input in it.”

Chatila used the example of Microsoft’s Tay chatbot, released in March 2016, to highlight how an AI can pick up the wrong kind of values. In the case of the chatbot, it learned to tweet pretty nasty stuff after being exposed to racist and sexist tweets.

In that regard, Chatila believes that AI agents shouldn’t be given any rights. He put it this way:

In general we must avoid confusing machines with humans. I see no reason to give rights of any sort, including citizenship, to a program or to a machine. Rights are defined for persons, human beings who are able to express their free will and who can be responsible for their actions. Behind a robot or an AI system there are human programmers. Even if the program is able to learn, it will learn what it has been designed to learn. The responsibility is with the human designer.

This is precisely the reason why the IEEE has recently published a guide for the ethical development of AI. It’s the more timely discussion, Chatila argued. His point, however, rests in the assumption that synthetic intelligences won’t be capable of developing self-awareness or a will of their own. While the idea may seem like it belongs to realm of science fiction, it’s definitely worth considering in the overall robot rights debate.

At this stage, however, the ethical considerations have to be applied to the humans who develop AI. “If you mean robots making ethical decisions, I’d rather say that we can program robots so that they make choices (computation results) according to ethical rules that we embed in them (and there are several such rules),” Chatila pointed out. “But these decisions won’t be ethical in the same sense as humans decisions, because humans are able to choose their own ethics, with their own free will.”

The post Saudi Arabia Made a Citizen. Now, She’s Calling For Women’s Rights. appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

The World’s First Robot Citizen Needs Your Help to Become Smarter

A Stake in the Future

Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robot Sophia wants you to help her become smarter. The busy bot was just granted citizenship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in October, and now, she’s at the center of a crowdfunding campaign to take her artificial intelligence (AI) to the next level.

SingularityNET is a proposed blockchain-based marketplace where AIs could learn from each other by leveraging their respective datasets and specialized functionalities. Developers on the platform would use blockchain tokens to gain access to the datasets, make use of an AI’s analytical capabilities, or monetize their own AI.

Types of AI: From Reactive to Self-Aware [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

“There is currently no platform that enables this type of interoperability and coordination. The launch of such a platform would be one of the biggest breakthroughs ever in the evolution of AI,” Ben Goertzel, CEO and founder of SingularityNET, wrote in a blog post.

SingularityNET is already working with more than 100 AI organizations and developers to ensure the experts have access to the platform. Now, they want to offer that same access to the rest of the world through a token sale, and they enlisted the help of Sophia in announcing its launch.

SingularityNET’s AGI token launch is planned for December 8, 2017, at 12 pm Eastern Time. They’ve placed a hard cap of US$ 36 million on the sale, and it may include as many as 1 billion tokens.

According to the company’s white paper, Sophia will be one of the first SingularityNET Agents. This will allow other developers to make use of her cognitive services while also allowing her to benefit from the intelligence of other agents on the platform.

A Melding of Minds and Technology

By using blockchain tokens to build a coordinated artificial general intelligence, SingularityNET is combining two of today’s most transformative technologies.

Blockchain tokens have been used to crowdfund a number of other initiatives, revealing their potential to do far more than replace traditional currencies. They could change how music is produced, how films are funded, how energy is distributed, and so much more.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen the benefits of AI in the healthcare, finance, and agriculture industries, and according to Transparency Market Research, the AI industry is expected to grow from $ 233.8 billion in 2017 to $ 3.1 trillion in 2025.

A significant number of tech experts agree that AI has the potential to transform the world, but whether that change will be for the better or worse is still up for debate.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Elon Musk noted the potential problems that could arise from having a single company, such as Google, control artificial general intelligence. By facilitating a community-based, collaborative approach to improving AI and building an artificial general intelligence, SingularityNET could help avoid this monopolization of AI technology.

As Goertzel wrote, “We believe that putting the community in charge of the system will ensure the platform benefits all users.” Sophia would get that intelligence upgrade she’s hoping for, while everyone else would get a chance to shape the future of AI.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The post The World’s First Robot Citizen Needs Your Help to Become Smarter appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Millions of “Citizen Scientists” are Transforming our World From Their Homes

Citizen Science

Andrew Grey, a mechanic from Australia, was able to discover an entire star system through analyzing data from the Kepler Space Telescope. Grey is among the millions of “citizen scientists,” ordinary people with a curiosity and interest in science, who help researchers with their projects in order to expand the collective knowledge of humanity. Although science has always been the province of ordinary people to some extent, advances in technology have democratized science in a much more radical way.

“This is a collaborative endeavor that anyone could get involved in,” Oxford University astrophysicist Chris Lintott told The Christian Science Monitor. Lintott is also the cofounder of Zooniverse, a citizen science project platform that allows anyone to participate in a range of projects online from home.

The Milky Way Project, now on Zooniverse, is another example of citizen scientists helping classify images from space. In this case, volunteers study infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope and WISE satellite observatory in order to classify various objects. Citizen scientists helped astronomers source “yellowballs,” star-forming regions, as part of this project.

Citizen scientists can advance research in almost any field, and so long as pattern recognition is part of a project, it has the potential to become a citizen science endeavor. According to Lintott, anyone can identify patterns in data, graphs, or images after a short tutorial. And while machine learning enables computers to recognize patterns, the human brain gets distracted easily — and in this case, that’s actually a benefit. Lintott told The CSM that distracted observers are the ones who notice unusual things in data sets.

A professional scientist himself, Lintott commented to The CSM, “people think that we’re intelligent, but science is easy and we need your help.”

Crowdsourcing Science

Recent opportunities for non-scientists to contribute and advance science and research have been plentiful. On the Zooniverse platform, a project designed to help Hurricane Irma victims has begun. In this project, citizen scientists are assessing pre- and post-hurricane satellite imagery in order to help experts produce a heat map of urgent priorities for response teams.

In July 2017, NASA asked citizen scientists to participate in an experiment during the August solar eclipse. Participants were asked to collect cloud and air temperature data and report it using smartphones. The observations made by citizen scientists will be used to produce an interactive map.

Hurricanes Have Been Enhanced by Climate Change
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Director of the Harvard University Program on Science, Technology and Society, Sheila Jasanoff, pointed out to The CSM that citizen science isn’t always organized or directed by professional scientists. As she put it, “citizens generating knowledge in places where official organs have failed them” can also result in great projects, like the Flint, Michigan drinking water testing project that led to the widespread public health investigation.

There are many resources out there for finding citizen science projects and getting involved. The Zooniverse platform has many opportunities, as do iNaturalist, Crowdcrafting, and CitSci.org. For projects suitable for kids, check out the National Wildlife Federation’s citizen science section, or National Geographic’s citizen science projects, each classified by grade level. Who knows — you might discover the next “yellowball” area of space that turns out to be something really cool and significant, and no matter what, you’ll be advancing human understanding in many scientific fields.

The post Millions of “Citizen Scientists” are Transforming our World From Their Homes appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

US citizen allegedly used fake eBay sales to hide ISIS funding

According to FBI records, US citizen Mohamed Elshinawy used fake eBay sales to bring in ISIS funding for terror attacks, reports the Wall Street Journal. As part of a financial network with operatives in Britain and Bangladesh, Elshinawy pretended to…
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