How Will Humans React If We Discover Alien Life? This New Study Just Found Out (and Surprised Us)

If science fiction’s to be believed, humans are going to absolutely freak out when we first encounter extraterrestrials — we’re talking pandemonium, nothing short of out-and-out hysteria. From Independence Day to Alien, your average human in a movie doesn’t take well to meeting our newly-discovered alien neighbors, who, to be fair, are usually threatening the widespread elimination of humans in some way.

But if you talk to the average person, you might get a different picture of what a reaction to first contact might look like. Most people aren’t so alarmed. In fact, they’re pretty optimistic about what meeting aliens might mean. Most of us are like the kids in E.T., rather than the terrified adults: A reaction that’s less reflexive hostility, more peaceful curiosity.

A new study suggests that, in the event of an extraterrestrial encounter, the rioting and looting would be kept to a minimum — humans would actually react pretty positively to the news.

Michael Varnum, assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, took several different approaches in his study, which he presented during a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas.

For the first part, he and his team used a computer program to analyze the language used in news articles about discoveries that indicated the possibility of alien life. The program focused on the emotional timbre of the articles and found that the media coverage was generally positive. The researchers also made a (hypothetical) announcement that humans had detected extraterrestrial microbial life, and asked more than 500 people to offer their written responses. Again, the language the authors used was largely positive.

As for something that feels a bit more real? In the final part of the study, the researchers asked 500 people to respond to one of two articles in the New York Times about real scientific discoveries: evidence of microbial life on a Martian meteorite and the creation of synthetic life in a lab. Interestingly, participants reacted more positively to the possibility of alien life than the human capacity to create life.

“[T]aken together, this suggests if we find out we’re not alone, we’ll take the news rather well,” said Varnum in a press release.

Varnum’s studies, it should be noted, only took American perspectives into account. First contact would affect the entire human population (and probably some other types of organisms, too), and different cultures might respond to the news very differently.

Plus, it’s easy to be optimistic about something that you know hasn’t happened. Many of us are simply rosy about going to the gym, but hate it once we’re actually there (or, conversely, we hate the idea of going to the gym, but love it once we’re actually exercising). After all, we are humans, and we do tend to do a great job of tricking ourselves into looking forward to things.

If scientists have their way, the question of whether extraterrestrials exist won’t be hypothetical for long — increasingly sophisticated technology will help us detect aliens, if in fact they’re out there. Playing out possible scenarios and getting a sense for how humanity would react to such a discovery could help governments come up with better-informed policies for how to handle first contact, when and if it arises.

Ultimately, we can at least hope that humans would have an upbeat reaction to the discovery of alien life. We can test the waters, make policies, or play out different scenarios in the fictional space all we like.

But the best way to figure out how humans will react to extraterrestrials? Find the aliens. Then we’ll really get to see if humans are as upbeat as researchers predict.

The post How Will Humans React If We Discover Alien Life? This New Study Just Found Out (and Surprised Us) appeared first on Futurism.


Cleveland-Chicago Hyperloop Line Gets Feasibility Study

HTT has announced an agreement with an Ohio agency to launch a study on creating its first interstate hyperloop project in the U.S., connecting Chicago and Cleveland. The agreement with the Northern Ohio Area Coordinating Committee puts in motion a regional feasibility study, to be carried out in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Various routes have been identified for the hyperloop service, which would operate a super high-speed system to accommodate transport at more than 700 miles per hour.

Fitbit and Apple Watch can help predict diabetes risk, study reveals

DeepHeart: Fitbit and Apple Watch can help predict diabetes risk

Smart watches just got smarter, according to a new study of the use of wearables to predict the risk of medical conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

An AI neural network, known as DeepHeart, is the brains behind the breakthrough.

Research from digital heart-rate tracking company Cardiogram has revealed the latent potential in consumer heart rate trackers, such as those found in Fitbit and Apple Watch devices, to detect signs of cardiovascular illnesses. They presented their findings at this week’s AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in New Orleans.

By analysing the relationship between the heart rate and step counting data recorded by compatible wearables, Cardiogram was able to predict whether the participants had diabetes, with 85 percent accuracy.

Alongside diabetes risk, the research, carried out in partnership with the University of California, sought to train the company’s DeepHeart neural network to predict high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

The study compared two semi-supervised training methods, sequence learning and heuristic pretraining, and successfully demonstrated that these methods can outperform traditional hand-engineered biomarkers.

The DeepHeart neural net

Existing (and widely used) predictive models rely on very small amounts of positive labels (which represents a ‘human life at risk’). However, readily available wearables such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Android Wear devices, benefit from trillions of unlabelled data points – including rich signals such as resting heart rate and heart rate variation, which correlate with many health conditions. As an individual develops diabetes, their heart rate pattern changes, due to the heart’s link with the pancreas, via the autonomic nervous system.

Utilising consumer heart rate trackers offers a rich vein of data with which to train a neural network. This kind of AI thrives on huge quantities of information, as seen in natural language processing algorithms from the likes of Amazon and Google.

The research was not straightforward, however. Tracking company Cardiogram had to overcome several challenges presented by consumer-grade devices, including sensor error, variations in the rate of measurement, and daily activities confusing the data.

The company is now planning to launch new features within its app for iOS and Android, incorporating DeepHeart.

Internet of Business says…

We’ve touched on the wealth of data that healthcare providers could potentially tap into when it comes to wearables, such as the KardiaBand. This example requires supplementary hardware, however. With DeepHeart’s intelligent use of neural network methods, they have opened the door to healthcare professionals being able to make use of the persistent monitoring capabilities of consumer wearables.

With an estimated 100 million-plus US adults now living with prediabetes or diabetes, many of whom aren’t aware of having the condition, Cardiogram’s study has significant practical implications. This is magnified by the fact that one-in-five Americans own a heart rate sensor today, so the infrastructure is already there to deploy DeepHeart’s technology quickly. With rumours that Apple is considering including a glucose monitor in it’s next smart watch, the scope for using data from consumer wearables is set to grow even further still.

The likely determining factor in adoption will be the rate of deployment. Hospitals are typically slow to adopt new AI technologies because the cost of errors is so high.

A word of warning, too, we’ve already seen the danger of using ‘black box’ AI systems in our finance and justice systems – the dangers of using similarly opaque methods in healthcare are just as acute.

Read more: Police need AI help with surge in evidential data

The post Fitbit and Apple Watch can help predict diabetes risk, study reveals appeared first on Internet of Business.

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New Study Reveals Your Aging iPhone Is Actually a Major Turnoff

If you’re looking for love, you might want to ditch your old smartphone — at least according to new data from a popular dating site. has released the results of its eighth annual Singles in America Study. The dating site surveyed 5,000 single Americans about various dating rituals, including tech-centric etiquette like the use and ownership of smartphones.

One of the findings is that, if you’re a single straight guy, you might want to upgrade your smartphone..

  • According to Match, women are 92 percent more likely than men to judge their suitors for having an aging handset.
  • Similarly, 14 percent of all singles said a cracked screen was also a no-go.

Those weren’t the only findings. While this isn’t a revelation by any means, the survey also found that just having a smartphone out during a date could snarl your chances at love (but let’s be real, we all knew this already).

Three-quarters of participants said they wouldn’t want their date answering the phone without an explanation, while about 66 percent said that texting while on a date was equally off-putting.

If you do text, make sure the volume is off — 14 percent said that audible clicks are annoying. Which, honestly, seems like a lower percentage than it should be.

Fifty-eight percent said that a phone placed face-up on a table was in bad form, and 41 percent said it was rude to take a phone to the bathroom or outside.

Interestingly, the survey also confirmed the age-old rivalry between iPhone and Apple users. Android owners were 15 times more likely to judge someone negatively if they owned an iPhone. On the flip side, Apple users were 21 times more likely to judge Android users.

You can read more about the results, and some of the study’s other findings, at Business Insider here.

iDrop News

Study Shows Apple Watch Can Detect Diabetes with 85% Accuracy

The Apple Watch can detect diabetes in previously diagnosed individuals with up to an 85 percent accuracy rate, according to the results of yet another clinical study related to the wearable.

The study, conducted by health firm Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), used data from 14,000 Apple Watch users. Researchers found that they could accurately detect diabetes in 462 of the participants by using the Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate sensor.

Diabetes is already a huge problem in the U.S., and it’s only getting larger. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 100 million U.S. adults are living with pre-diabetes or diabetes — and many of them go undiagnosed.

Luckily, early detection of diabetes can help in cutting down the severity of other complications associated with the disease.

Diabetes & Heart Rate Sensors

While there have been other attempts to create diabetes-detecting hardware that rely on glucose-sensing, Cardiogram’s latest study seems to corroborate previous findings that indicate that standard heart rate sensors can identify the disease.

In 2015, the Framingham Heart Study found that a person’s resting heart rate and heart rate variability could be used to reliably predict diabetes and hypertension. In fact, this was one of the motivating factors that moved Cardiogram to conduct its own diabetes study with the Apple Watch.

Cardiogram’s co-founders, Brandon Ballinger and Johnson Hsieh, still caution that those participants in the study had already been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. As such, Cardiogram insists that users wait for a diagnosis from their doctors — rather than relying on an Apple Watch to let them know.

Still, the results of the study are promising, and they represent the first large-scale clinical initiative showing that ordinary heart rate sensors can be effective in diabetes detection.

Cardiogram’s Other Initiatives

The study was only a subset of the larger DeepHeart program, which has used Cardiogram’s proprietary deep-learning algorithms to analyze and parse data collected via Apple Watch sensors.

In November of last year, Cardiogram announced that the Apple Watch could accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea. Previously, the health data firm found that the device could also detect abnormal heart rhythms with a 97 percent accuracy.

The health analysis firm has since announced that it’s looking at a number of other diseases to detect through commercial wearables and its own algorithms.

Apple & Health Care

Apple has become increasingly interested in health and wellness in the last few years, and its Apple Watch has been on the forefront of its ambitions in the health sphere.

The flagship Apple wearable has been used in a variety of studies, and in some cases, the Apple Watch has even helped to save lives.

Together with initiatives like ResearchKit, CareKit, and the iOS Health app, Apple is only becoming more focused on healthcare. Just recently, the company has partnered with Stanford to launch its first-ever Apple Heart Study.

iDrop News

New Study Suggests Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Can Detect Early Signs of Diabetes

Cardiogram, a company that offers an app able to break down heart rate data collected by the Apple Watch, today shared the results of a new study that suggests the Apple Watch can be used to detect the signs of diabetes.

Cardiogram researchers teamed up with the University of California, San Francisco and used the Cardiogram DeepHeart neural network to determine that heart rate data collected from the Apple Watch was 85 percent accurate at distinguishing between people with diabetes and people without diabetes.

For the study, Cardiogram used more than 200 million sensor measurements from 14,011 participants using an Apple Watch or Android Wear device and the Cardiogram app, aggregating data that included heart rate, step count, and other activity.

Prediabetes is a condition that often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed because traditional methods of detection require glucose-sensing hardware. Detection via the Apple Watch and an AI-based algorithm like Cardiogram’s DeepHeart has the potential to alert users that there’s an issue so they can then follow up with a medical professional.

According to Cardiogram, its study is the first large-scale study that demonstrates how an ordinary heart rate sensor, like the one in the Apple Watch and other devices like the Fitbit, can detect early signs of diabetes. Because the pancreas is connected to the heart through the nervous system, the heart rate variability changes when a person begins experiencing diabetes symptoms.

Over the course of the last year, Cardiogram and UCSF have teamed up to do a lot of research into the potential for wrist-worn heart rate sensors to detect serious health conditions. Previous studies have shown the Apple Watch heart rate sensor’s ability to detect conditions that include hypertension, sleep apnea, and atrial fibrillation.

While there’s still a long way to go before research proves whether the Apple Watch can officially detect early health problems, Cardiogram plans to implement new features to incorporate DeepHeart directly into the Cardiogram app in the future, which will allow users to be alerted if early signs of disease are detected.

Apple has also launched its own study in partnership with Stanford to determine whether the heart rate sensor in the Apple Watch can be used to detect abnormal heart rhythms and common heart conditions.

You can sign up to participate in the Apple Heart Study by downloading and installing the Apple Heart Study app and wearing the Apple Watch on a regular basis. If the Apple Watch detects an irregular heart rhythm, you’ll be contacted by researchers and may be asked to wear an ePatch monitor.

You can also participate in Cardiogram’s studies by installing the Cardiogram app and signing up to join the mRhythm study.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Study: 44% of bitcoin transactions are for illegal activities

The odds are about one in four that the crypto fanatic in your office is involved in illegal activities. After conducting a study of historical bitcoin transaction data an Australian research group concluded: We find approximately one-quarter of bitcoin users and one-half of bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity. Around $ 72 billion of illegal activity per year involves bitcoin, which is close to the scale of the US and European markets for illegal drugs. And that $ 72 billion? Here’s a bone for you conspiracy theory types: Business Insider reports Bitcoin has lost $ 72 billion in value since the beginning…

This story continues at The Next Web

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Study shows that the Apple Watch and other wearables can detect diabetes early on

Diabetes Signs Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch may never be able to non-invasively measure a user’s glucose levels, an intriguing and massive new study conducted by the health startup Cardiogram and the University of California San Francisco suggests that the device can accurately detect when a wearer has diabetes. The study specifically found that the Apple Watch and other wearables were able to detect the disease in previously diagnosed patients 85% of the time.

All told, the study monitored approximately 14,000 Apple Watch and Android Wear owners over the course of many weeks. As for how the testing was done, the researchers explain that they used an avalanche of health sensor data to train a deep neural network “by presenting it with samples from people with and without diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, atrial fibrillation, and high cholesterol.” Incidentally, Cardiogram calls its AI-based algorithm DeepHeart.

As to how heart rate data is tied into the detection of diabetes, Cardiogram co-founder Johnson Hsieh explains: “Your heart is connected with your pancreas via the autonomic nervous system. As people develop the early stages of diabetes, their pattern of heart rate variability shifts.”

Hsieh further cites a 2015 study wherein researchers discovered that a “high resting heart rate and low heart rate variability” is capable of predicting when individuals are liable to develop diabetes “over a 12-year period.”

The research here is obviously incredibly important, especially as the number of individuals suffering from diabetes continues to grow. As the study notes, more than 100 million individuals in the U.S. alone either suffer from diabetes or are prediabetic.

“1 in 4 of those with diabetes are undiagnosed and, even worse, 88.4% of people with prediabetes don’t realize they have it,” the report further adds.

With these new research results in mind, Hsieh adds that the Cardiogram app for iOS and Android will likely incorporate DeepHeart into subsequent app updates.

Apple – BGR

Apple Watch can detect early signs of diabetes with 85% accuracy, study finds

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Amid rumors that Apple is working on a non-invasive glucose monitoring system for Apple Watch, researchers are using cutting edge software science to prove the heart rate sensors in current-generation wearables can successfully detect early signs of diabetes.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Female Uber drivers earn $1.24 per hour less than men: study

Men who drive for Uber earn roughly 7 percent more per hour than women, according to a new study that examined over a million Uber drivers. Women were found to earn $ 1.24 per hour less than men, and also $ 130 less per week on average, in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.

The study, which was released today, was a collaboration between the University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Uber’s own economic team. Researchers examined earnings data from over 1.8 million drivers, of which roughly 27 percent were women.

The results are surprising, given that Uber has long argued that its algorithms that determine how much drivers earn are supposed to be blind to things like race, gender, and sexuality. The technology, however, did…

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