By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-is-better-than-one department
"Haven" is the new name of the joint health-care venture between Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. The CEOs of the three companies last January announced they were teaming up to tackle rising health-care costs. They formed a nonprofit company and named renowned surgeon, author and speaker Dr. Atul Gawande as CEO in June. CNBC reports: Prior to the big reveal, many industry insiders referred to the venture as "ABC" or "ABJ." The company said the name choice of "Haven" lines up with its mission to be a "partner" to care providers and to focus on the health-care needs of the 1.2 million Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P Morgan workers. Since his appointment, Gawande has been meeting with employees at these three companies to understand their health-care experiences. In addition to its new brand, the company also unveiled a website with more details about the venture, including a number of areas of focus. These include: Improving the process of navigating the complex health-care system, and accessing affordable treatments and prescription drugs.
Haven also said on its website that it's interested in working with clinicians and insurance companies to improve the overall health-care system, suggesting the venture wants to work with existing players such as insurers, providers and pharmacy benefit managers rather than uprooting them. The website also includes a letter where Gawande describes Haven's role as being "an advocate for the patient and an ally to anyone -- clinicians, industry leaders, innovators, policymakers, and others -- who makes patient care and costs better."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you-have-nothing-to-worry-about department
Last month, the U.S. Army asked private companies for ideas about how to improve its planned semi-autonomous, AI-driven targeting system for tanks. "In its request, the Army asked for help enabling the Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) to 'acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process,'" reports Gizmodo. "But that language apparently scared some people who are worried about the rise of AI-powered killing machines. And with good reason." Slashdot reader darth_borehd summarizes the U.S. Army's response: Robot (or more accurately, drone) tanks will always have a human "in the loop" just like the drone plane program, according to the U.S. Army. The new robot tanks, officially called the Multi Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT), will use the Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS). The Department of Defense assures everyone that they will adhere to "ethical standards." Here's the language the Defense Department used: "All development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including manned and unmanned platforms, remain subject to the guidelines in the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 3000.09, which was updated in 2017. Nothing in this notice should be understood to represent a change in DoD policy towards autonomy in weapon systems. All uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence in this program will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with DoD legal and ethical standards." Directive 3000.09 requires that humans be able to "exercise appropriate levels of human judgement over the use of force," which is sometimes called being "in the loop," as mentioned by above.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pedestrian-problems department
According to a new paper from the Georgia Institute of Technology, autonomous cars could disproportionately endanger pedestrians with darker skin, a troubling sign of how AI can inadvertently reproduce prejudices from the wider world. Futurism reports: [In the paper, the researchers] detail their investigation of eight AI models used in state-of-the-art object detection systems. These are the systems that allow autonomous vehicles to recognize road signs, pedestrians, and other objects. They tested these models using images of pedestrians divided into two categories based on their score on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is commonly used to classify human skin color. According to the researchers' paper, the models exhibited "uniformly poorer performance" when confronted with pedestrians with the three darkest shades on the scale. On average, the models' accuracy decreased by 5 percent when examining the group containing images of pedestrians with darker skin tones, even when the researchers accounted for variables such as whether the photo was taken during the day or at night. Thankfully, the researchers were able to figure out what was needed to avoid a future of biased self-driving cars: start including more images of dark-skinned pedestrians in the data sets the systems train on and place more weight on accurately detecting those images.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Hackers and security researchers use rare "dev-fused" iPhones created for internal use at Apple to bypass Apple's protections and security features to uncover iPhone vulnerabilities and other sensitive info, Motherboard reported Wednesday, citing two dozen security researchers, current and former Apple employees, rare phone collectors, and members of the iPhone jailbreaking community. From the report: These rare iPhones have many security features disabled, allowing researchers to probe them much more easily than the iPhones you can buy at a store. Since the Black Hat talk, dev-fused iPhones have become a tool that security researchers around the world use to find previously unknown iPhone vulnerabilities (known as zero days), Motherboard has learned. Dev-fused iPhones were never intended to escape Apple's production pipeline have made their way to the gray market, where smugglers and middlemen sell them for thousands of dollars to hackers and security researchers. Using the information gleaned from probing a dev-fused device, researchers can sometimes parlay what they've learned into developing a hack for the normal iPhones hundreds of millions of people own.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Facebook will increasingly shift its focus away from public posts to encrypted, ephemeral communications on its trio of messaging apps, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today in a significant new blog post. From a report: In a 3,200-word missive, Zuckerberg says that encryption will be one of the keys to Facebook's future -- and that the company is willing to be banned in countries that refuse to let it operate as a result. "As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today's open platforms," Zuckerberg writes. "Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication." [...] "I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever," Zuckerberg says. "This is the future I hope we will help bring about."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
Microsoft said today it has made the source code for its Windows calculator available on GitHub. The company said it hopes to work with contributors to improve the user experience of Windows calculator. In a statement, Dave Grochocki and Howard Wolosky of Microsoft said: Today, we're excited to announce that we are open sourcing Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. This includes the source code, build system, unit tests, and product roadmap. Our goal is to build an even better user experience in partnership with the community. We are encouraging your fresh perspectives and increased participation to help define the future of Calculator. As developers, if you would like to know how different parts of the Calculator app work, easily integrate Calculator logic or UI into your own applications, or contribute directly to something that ships in Windows, now you can. Calculator will continue to go through all usual testing, compliance, security, quality processes, and Insider flighting, just as we do for our other applications.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An 18-year-old from Ohio who famously inoculated himself against his mother's wishes in December says he
attributes his mother's anti-vaccine ideology to a single source: Facebook [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From a report: Ethan Lindenberger, a high school senior, testified Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and underscored the importance of "credible" information. In contrast, he said, the false and deep-rooted beliefs his mother held -- that vaccines were dangerous -- were perpetuated by social media. Specifically, he said, she turned to anti-vaccine groups on social media for evidence that supported her point of view. In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Lindenberger said Facebook, or websites that were linked on Facebook, is really the only source his mother ever relied on for her anti-vaccine information.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
A new computing tool developed by Google will let developers build AI-powered apps. The upside is it's doing so without sucking up all of your information. From a report: Google on Wednesday released TensorFlow Federated, open-source software that incorporates federated learning, an AI training system. It works by using data that's spread out across a lot of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to teach itself new tricks. But rather than send the data back to a central server for study, it learns on your phone or tablet itself and sends only the lesson back to the app maker.
Federated learning runs "part of the machine learning algorithm right next to where the data is on the device," Alex Ingerman, a product manager at Google Research, said in an interview. The algorithm applies what it already knows to the data on your phone, such as suggesting replies to emails, and creates a summary of what it learned in the process to send back.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's fascinating department
Jessica Roy, writing for LA Times: Thirty years ago, Maxis released "SimCity" for Mac and Amiga. It was succeeded by "SimCity 2000" in 1993, "SimCity 3000" in 1999, "SimCity 4" in 2003, a version for the Nintendo DS in 2007, "SimCity: BuildIt" in 2013 and an app launched in 2014. Along the way, the games have introduced millions of players to the joys and frustrations of zoning, street grids and infrastructure funding -- and influenced a generation of people who plan cities for a living.
For many urban and transit planners, architects, government officials and activists, "SimCity" was their first taste of running a city. It was the first time they realized that neighborhoods, towns and cities were things that were planned, and that it was someone's job to decide where streets, schools, bus stops and stores were supposed to go.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's case-closed department
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine isn't associated with an increased risk of autism even among kids who are at high risk because they have a sibling with the disorder, a Danish study suggests. From a report: Concerns about a potential link between the MMR vaccine and autism have persisted for two decades, since a controversial and ultimately retracted 1998 paper claimed there was a direct connection. Even though subsequent studies haven't tied inoculation to autism, fear about the risk has weighed on parents so much in several communities across Europe and the U.S. that vaccination rates have been too low to prevent a spate of measles outbreaks.
In the current study, researchers examined data on 657,461 children. During this time, 6,517 kids were diagnosed with autism. Kids who got the MMR vaccine were seven percent less likely to develop autism than children who didn't get vaccinated, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Parents should not skip the vaccine out of fear for autism," said lead study author Dr. Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. "The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks," Hviid said by email.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Gorilla-Glass-to-the-rescue department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: According to Wired, glass-maker Corning is "working on ultrathin, bendable glass that's 0.1 millimeters thick and can bend to a 5 millimeter radius" that may be usable for smartphone displays within two years. Corning produces Gorilla Glass used in Apple's iPhones, as well as in phones made by other manufacturers like LG, Asus, OnePlus, Nokia, Samsung, and more. Developing Gorilla Glass that can bend or fold like the materials used for the Samsung Galaxy Fold display or other foldable phone concepts could address some shortcomings endemic to these early designs.
The folding phones you see in headlines and gadget blog galleries today rely on plastic polymers that may scratch easier or have other undesirable properties. Generally, smartphone-makers that have announced foldable phones have not allowed us to test-drive these phones, which is otherwise normal practice for traditional smartphone product unveilings. That may be primarily because the software is not there yet, but it could also be that the companies anticipate negative reactions to the plastic displays, which have not been standard in flagship phones for a decade. [...] John Bayne, Corning's head of Gorilla Glass, and another expert Wired spoke with believe that Corning (or a competitor like ACG) will have foldable glass ready for use in foldable smartphones within a couple of years. But it's a difficult journey. "We have glasses we've sampled to customers, and they're functional," Bayne told Wired. "But they're not quite meeting all the requirements. People either want better performance against a drop event or a tighter bend radius. We can give them one or the other; the key is to give them both."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's learning-and-memory department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have discovered that broken DNA builds up in brain cells in the daytime and repair work reverses the damage only during sleep. For an act so universal, sleep has enormous benefits. Found in organisms from flies to worms and jellyfish, it restores the body and helps learning and memory. But despite extensive research, the purpose of sleep is still mysterious. Lior Appelbaum from Bar-Ilan University and his student, David Zada, reasoned that if sleep had evolved in all organisms with a nervous system, then it might be working at the level of individual neurons.
To find out, they genetically engineered small, transparent zebrafish so the chromosomes in their neurons carried colorful chemical tags. The researchers then used a powerful, specialized microscope to watch how the chromosomes moved in the neurons, and how often DNA was broken, when the fish were awake and asleep. When the fish were awake, the chromosomes did not move much and broken strands of DNA built up in the neurons, as part of the normal wear and tear of life. If the fish were sleep-deprived, by tapping on their tank for example, some of the neurons accumulated so much genetic damage they were in danger of dying off. But, when the fish fell asleep, the picture changed. The scientists noticed that the chromosomes changed shape far more often in sleeping fish, and that DNA damage in their neurons plummeted. The same happened when the researchers added a sleep-inducing drug to the tank, causing the fish to fall asleep in the daytime. "Appelbaum said that chromosomes are constantly changing shape to allow the cells' natural repair mechanisms to mend DNA damage at different points," the report adds. "When awake, the repair work cannot keep up with the rate at which damage builds up, but in the calm hours of sleep, the repair mechanisms have a chance to get on top of the job." The study has been published in Nature Communications.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's off-the-hook department
Uber is not criminally liable in a March 2018 crash in Tempe, Arizona, in which one of the company's self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian, prosecutors said on Tuesday. "The Yavapai County Attorney said in a letter made public that there was 'no basis for criminal liability' for Uber, but that the back-up driver, Rafaela Vasquez, should be referred to the Tempe police for additional investigation," reports Reuters. From the report: Vasquez, the Uber back-up driver, could face charges of vehicular manslaughter, according to a police report in June. Vasquez has not previously commented and could not immediately be reached on Tuesday. Based on a video taken inside the car, records collected from online entertainment streaming service Hulu and other evidence, police said last year that Vasquez was looking down and streaming an episode of the television show "The Voice" on a phone until about the time of the crash. The driver looked up a half-second before hitting Elaine Herzberg, 49, who died from her injuries. Police called the incident "entirely avoidable."
Yavapai County Attorney's Office, which examined the case at the request of Maricopa County where the accident occurred, did not explain the reasoning for not finding criminal liability against Uber. Yavapai sent the case back to Maricopa, calling for further expert analysis of the video to determine what the driver should have seen that night. The National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are still investigating.Read Replies (0)