Leading AI researchers boycott Korean university over its work on ‘killer robots’

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<em>An unmanned military robot operates on a beach during a training exercise organized by the US Navy.</em>

More than 50 leading AI and robotics researchers have joined a boycott of South Korea’s KAIST university over the institute’s plans to help develop AI-powered weapons. The boycott was announced ahead of a UN meeting set in Geneva next week to discuss international restrictions on so-called “killer robots.” It marks an escalation in tactics from the part of the scientific community actively fighting for stronger controls on AI-controlled weaponry.

The boycott was organized by Professor Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales, who warned in a press statement that the race to build autonomous weapons had already begun. “We can see prototypes of autonomous weapons under development today by many nations including the US, China,…

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US researchers develop wearable for smart stomach health

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A research team from University California Berkeley and the University of California San Diego has developed a wearable system for monitoring electrical activity in the stomach.

It is as accurate at diagnosing some medical conditions as current invasive methods, without traditional treatments’ restriction to clinical settings.

Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are the second leading cause for missing work or school in the US, and are responsible for 10 percent of patient visits to a doctor. But, according to a UCSD and UC Berkeley paper published in Nature, their prevalence is “at odds with bottlenecks in their diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.”

Trying to figure out the source of problems in the GI tract can be a major challenge for doctors. In search of answers, patients are sometimes asked to undergo unpleasant or invasive procedures – such manometry, which requires a catheter to be inserted through the nose to measure pressure at different points inside the stomach.

Read more: Health IoT: Scientists develop diet wearable – for your teeth

“A new kind of medicine”

The problem is especially complicated with young children, who usually need sedation for invasive procedures. The wearable system developed by the UCSD and UC Berkeley team offers an alternative without sacrificing the accuracy of the results.

It consists of a custom circuitboard, a battery and off-the-shelf electrodes, and connects to a smartphone application. But the researchers’ real achievement has been to design algorithms capable of recognising and analysing the stomach’s varying electrical signals.

Read more: Health IoT: KardiaBand sensor could replace invasive blood tests

“We think our system will spark a new kind of medicine, where a gastroenterologist can quickly see where and when a part of the GI tract is showing abnormal rhythms and, as a result, make more accurate, faster, and personalised diagnoses,” said Armen Gharibans, one of the paper’s co-authors and a bioengineering postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego.

Co-author Todd Coleman, a UC San Diego professor of bioengineering, points out that being able to monitor patients without an invasive procedure over longer periods of time could lead to better outcomes.

“This work opens the door to accurately monitoring the dynamic activity of the GI system,” he said. “Until now, it was quite challenging to accurately measure the electrical patterns of stomach activity in a continuous manner, outside of a clinical setting. From now on, we will be able to observe patterns and analyse them, in both healthy and unwell people as they go about their daily lives.”

Read more: Flexible wearables: a game-changer for connected healthcare

Widening the scope

It is expected that as well as spotting health problems, UCSD and UC Berkeley’s wearable technology could also help with their management. It could even inform the diets of healthy people, from competitive athletes to pregnant women.

“Changes to digestion and gastric health are hallmarks of two understudied processes: ageing and pregnancy,” said Benjamin Smarr, another of the paper’s co-authors and a chronobiologist at UC Berkeley.

“One of our hopes is that this technology will allow us to quantify the changes that happen during these critical periods in life. They affect the vast majority of humanity, and it will now be possible to study what’s going on, and build predictive, personal medical applications based on getting ahead of bad changes.”

Internet of Business says

2018 has certainly been the year of healthtech wearables, which have proven to be especially adept at monitoring changes in electrical activity within the body, which may indicate a variety of different medical conditions. Combined with AI and smart algorithms, doctors have been able to make accurate diagnoses that are comparable to traditional investigations, but far more swiftly and sensitively. Speeding up diagnoses, while offering non-invasive alternatives to longstanding procedures, will not only save lives, but perhaps encourage more people to seek treatment early.

Some more of our recent reports:

Read more: Consumer wearables can detect major heart problem

Read more: Perfect storm blows healthtech towards IoT cures

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

Read more: Flexible wearables: a game-changer for connected healthcare

 

The post US researchers develop wearable for smart stomach health appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Berkeley researchers unveil “most dexterous robot ever created”

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Berkeley robot is dexterous in mind and body

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed and unveiled a first in robotics: a robot that matches two highly versatile limbs with the ability to reason and simulate different outcomes via two onboard neural networks.

The university team claims that this combination of technologies makes it the world’s most dextrous robot.

Professor Ken Goldberg and one of his graduate students, Jeff Mahler, displayed the results of their work at EmTech Digital, an AI event in San Francisco organised by MIT Technology Review.

The two-armed robot relies on software called Dex-Net, which gives it the ability to reason and make decisions with as much dexterity as its arms are capable of moving. Via this onboard system, the robot is capable of quickly determining how best to grasp objects, based on simulations that take place within two separate, deep neural networks.  

The robot can be seen in action here.

Read more: Ocado bots offer safe pair of hands for packing shopping

Mean picks per hour 

The potential for dexterous robots in industrial, commercial, and other settings is obvious. That’s one of the reasons why companies such as Ocado are pouring resources into developing sophisticated warehouse robots.

To move on from looking at dexterity in a simple or binary sense, the Berkeley researchers use the preferred metric of ‘mean picks per hour’. This is calculated by multiplying the average time per pick with the average probability of success for a consistent set of objects.

The Dex-Net system can determine how to grasp an object based on what it has seen before. It can even nudge an item to gain more insight into how to handle it.

The system has gone through several iterations over the past year. The latest version combines a high-resolution 3D sensor with two arms – one with a robot gripper, and the other with a suction system. Each is controlled by its own neural network. The Dex-Net software scans an object and uses both networks to determine which approach is best for that particular object.

The new machine is already capable of between 200 and 300 mean picks per hour, according to Goldberg. That’s substantially more than the winner of a recent Amazon robotics contest. Humans are capable of between 400 and 600 mean picks per hour, so the machines are fast catching up.

Internet of Business says

While the mass-media has grown more hostile to robots and AI in recent months – and arguably more hostile to technology overall – robots’ ability to work quickly, safely, and non-stop among human beings is fast developing. ‘Cobots’ are rapidly becoming smart, programmable platforms, rather than dumb, single-task machines – following the smartphone model of the apps being the most important factors, not the hardware.

And while many people may be misinformed about the threat to humanity from intelligent, dextrous machines, most will enjoy the lower costs, faster services, and cheaper products that automated production will bring.

However, buy-side organisations need to consider the application of robotics carefully from both a strategic and an operational angle. Flippy, the burger-flipping robot in the US, was removed from service after less than one week because it was working so fast that human employees were unable to keep up with it.

Read more: Disney researches safe human-robot interactions

The post Berkeley researchers unveil “most dexterous robot ever created” appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Maritz Motivation Solutions, Harvard Researchers Find Transparency in Ad Targeting Benefits Engagement

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Maritz Motivation Solutions, a leader in providing consumer and channel loyalty, employee engagement and sales incentive programs to U.S. and global companies, partnered with researchers at Harvard Business School for an academic study published in the Harvard Business Review.

The study found that when marketers are transparent in communicating how they have used customer data to target advertising messages, customer engagement and purchasing increases.

People are increasingly concerned about how their data is being used by marketers – especially in the online environment. In Ads That Don’t Overstep, Harvard Business Review authors Leslie K. John, Tami Kim and Kate Barasz examined consumer reactions to marketers’ use of personal data for ad targeting, and offered guidelines for marketers on effective targeting based on what customers consider acceptable. For the study, Maritz Motivation Solutions provided the field data for two tests focused on transparency conducted on RewardSphere, the company’s online rewards site.

The two experiments varied the language on the product detail page. In the first one, half the audience saw “recommended” items, while the language for the other visitors was more transparent saying, “recommended based on your clicks on our site.” With this language, visitors were 11% more likely to select and click on items and spent 34% more time on the recommended products page. They also spent 38% more on recommended items.

This experiment demonstrates that customers feel more comfortable and are more engaged when they know that recommendations are based on information related to their behavior on a website they trust – rather than having that information come from other, less trusted or unknown sources.

The second experiment was similar but used different language. Like the first experiment, half the audience saw “recommended” items, but the language for the other visitors was “recommended based on what you’ve shared with us.”

The more transparent language highlighted that recommendations were based on information visitors had explicitly provided about themselves – with the result being that they were 40% more likely to select and click on items, and spent 31% more time on the recommended products page.

The Maritz Motivation Solutions experiments spotlight the benefits companies can realize by increasing transparency in an environment where trust is already high, such as a customer loyalty or employee engagement program.

For more insight, check out this case study about the experiment.

The post Maritz Motivation Solutions, Harvard Researchers Find Transparency in Ad Targeting Benefits Engagement appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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Researchers develop device that extracts water from desert air

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Researchers at MIT and UC Berkeley have developed and now tested a device that can extract water out of the air even in the driest of climates. The team proposed the device in a Science article last year and now they've improved the design and tried…
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Researchers turned wood into a better insulator than Styrofoam

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The research lab behind the creation of see-through wood has developed a new type of material that could be used as a cheaper, stronger and more environmentally friendly insulator. They're calling it nanowood and it insulates better than Styrofoam an…
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Harvard researchers make better, smarter walking aids

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Humans don't all look, talk, or walk the same, with us shifting our weight and style in order to save much energy as possible. This adaptability is a problem for researchers who want to build assistive devices for folks with mobility issues, however….
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Researchers Are Developing a New Cancer Vaccine Using Virus-Like Particles

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Grant-Winning Cancer Vaccine

The National Cancer Institute has awarded a $ 2.4 million grant for researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) to engineer a cancer vaccine for animals that uses a virus-like particle to trigger anti-cancer immune responses. While the vaccine will initially be tested against cancer cells in animals, the hope is ultimately to develop a treatment for human patients.

Cancer can be tricky to deal with, particularly since cancer cells are able to suppress the immune system by concealing proteins that trigger an immune response. This vaccine gets around this using two major components: First, Qβ particles, which are the virus-like particles that serve as a red flag for the immune system, and second, tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs), which are unique structures present on many cancer cells, but not on healthy cells.

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When Qβ particles and TACAs are linked, or “conjugated” together, they effectually teach immune cells that anything they find with TACAs is dangerous and should be destroyed. Theoretically, this should build anti-tumor cell immunity, according to Xuefei Huang, the MSU professor who heads the vaccine research.

“There’s no better disease fighter than the immune system; drugs and other therapies can leave cancer cells behind, and then there’s nothing left to fight recurrence,” Huang said in a press release. “Our vaccine would reduce tumor growth and protect the host against tumor development and redevelopment.”

A New Way to Fight Cancer

“If we can further understand the connections between the structural features of Qβ-TACA conjugates and anti-tumor immunity, we can make a sustained impact on cancer vaccine design,” Huang elaborated in the press release. The researchers will study the structure of the Qβ particle in order to strategically modify it to reduce the formation of toxic antibodies and boost the desired cancer-killing cells.

This isn’t the only anti-cancer vaccine currently in development. A different attempt to build immunity against cancer uses stem cells for a more personalized treatment. Another similar vaccine that depends on messenger RNA has already started human trials. Indeed, personalized treatments are a growing trend in anti-cancer research, with one vaccine under clinical tests showing considerable efficacy against skin cancer.

The MSU researchers hope to earn similar successes by first treating cancer in animals. “Spontaneous cancers in dogs and cats provide a true test for the cancer vaccine approach,” explained cancer researcher Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan in the press release. “This is just one example of the many ways that veterinary and human medical research benefit each other.”

The post Researchers Are Developing a New Cancer Vaccine Using Virus-Like Particles appeared first on Futurism.

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Researchers just taught robots to predict your every move

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In a few years time the Droids from Star Wars are going to seem like relics. Today’s robots might be better suited for sewing clothes and building cars, but tomorrow’s could be as indispensable and ubiquitous as our smartphones are. A group of researchers in Europe recently published a white paper unveiling their experiments in teaching robots to anticipate human movements. The team’s work, to create “robots that can predict human actions and intent, and understand human non-verbal cues,” could pave the way for innumerable advances in the field. The researchers focused on combining previous research teaching AI to understand…

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Galaxy S9 Intelligent Scan Is A No Match For iPhone X Face ID, Says Security Researchers

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Security researchers say Galaxy S9 Intelligent Scan Vs iPhone X Face ID is a no competition, with Apple’s system far more secure than Samsung’s.

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