The Robot Will See You Now: Health-Care Chatbots Boom but Still Can’t Replace Doctors


Scout’s job is just to ask questions. A lot of them.

How long have you had a fever? Are you feeling short of breath? When you bend your neck forward, is there pain that is so severe it makes you want to cry?

If so, Scout might recommend a trip to the emergency room. Scout is usually overly cautious about these things. It kind of has to be, as a robot.

Scout is a conversational chatbot made by health tech company Gyant and used by Intermountain Healthcare in Utah to tell patients what they should do when they feel sick. It may suggest getting some good rest, or setting up a doctor’s appointment or, oftentimes, making a trip to the ER or an urgent-care facility.

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Lyft travels to the future with new self-driving cars coming to Austin

Experimentation and innovation are driving this technology. 

By John Egan

The Lyft ride-hailing service is traveling into a new era in Austin.

Starting next year, Lyft customers in certain parts of Austin will be able to hire a self-driving car as part of a new partnership with automaker Ford and Argo AI, a provider of technology for self-driving vehicles.

“This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together this way,“ Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green says in a July 21 news release. “Each company brings the scale, knowledge, and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality.”

The initiative will roll out later this year in Miami, with self-driving Lyft cars coming to Austin sometime next year. Washington, D.C., is also on the road map. A so-called “safety driver” will ride in each of the cars along with the Lyft passengers.

The three companies behind the effort hope to add at least 1,000 self-driving cars to the Lyft network over the next five years in various U.S. markets, including Austin.

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New Artificial Intelligence Technology Can Spot Shipwrecks From Ocean Surface And Air

By Dipayan Mitra

Scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence technology that can spot shipwrecks from the ocean surface and also from the air. 

The University of Texas collaborated with the United State Navy’s underwater archeology branch to develop this new artificial intelligence software capable of detecting shipwrecks with an accuracy rate of 92%. 

The newly developed computer model is now ready to be deployed in order to identify unmapped shipwrecks on the coasts of the United States and Puerto Rico. The artificial intelligence algorithm was fed with images of shipwrecks and underwater topology to enable it to recognize unknown wrecks. 

The platform uses images from publicly available databases of pictures collected from various parts of the globe and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s database of shipwrecks. It also uses lidar and sonar-based imageries of the seafloor to carry out its operations more accurately. 

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This Solar-Powered Robot Is Basically a Beach Cleaning Roomba


4ocean partners with Poralu Marine for a more effective way to clear up trash.

The plastic pollution crisis has no doubt devastated ocean ecosystems worldwide. With a continual rise in trash and litter on shorelines, 4ocean has partnered with Poralu Marine to create an effective and sustainable solution for beach cleanups.

The BeBot is essentially a solar-powered, beach cleaning robot specifically designed to recover any coastal plastic debris The electric-powered bot can clean up to 3,000 sqm of beach per hour, making it 20 to 30 times more efficient than cleaning the trash on the beach by hand. Easy to manoeuver and operate, the BeBot can be operated from 950 feet away.

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Telemedicine with 5G could be a gamechanger for military health

Telehealth became an even bigger industry during COVID-19. Doctors were forces to think of creative ways to see patients as people were forced to stay home to avoid the spread of the virus.

However, as 5G is starting to roll out, telehealth may be breaking into a completely new plane. At Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) the Air Force is testing capabilities that could be the future of medicine.

“5G brings a whole new paradigm and architecture to the table. From what we’ve seen before even up through the current 5G  non-standalone that you see advertised on TV today,” Jody Little, executive program manager for 5G NextGen at JBSA, said during a Federal Insights discussion sponsored by Verizon. “Now you can bring large amounts of data forward or back to it and operate in the forward edge. You can virtualize these applications and get very ultra-low latency. And now you’re supporting lots of sensors. Whereas in, say, 4G, you could support maybe 100. Here, you can support 1000s.”

That means that doctors have the opportunity to monitor patients like never before. Doctors across the country can sit in on surgeries and experience them as if it were almost in-person by looking at multiple sensors and using virtual reality.

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European Robotic Arm is launched into space

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) is on its way to the International Space Station after being launched on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, at 16:58 CEST today.

The 11-m-long robot is travelling folded and attached to what will be its home base – the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, also called ‘Nauka’. The Proton-M booster placed Nauka and ERA into orbit around 10 minutes after liftoff, nearly 200 km above Earth.  

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Dubai creates its own rain to break heatwave by sending drones to ‘zap’ clouds

The mini-planes ‘shock’ the clouds into releasing their moisture

By Michael Moran

With temperatures soaring to over 120F (49C), Dubai desperately needs rain – and a new initiative from the Brit university is delivering a bigger downpour than expected.

Drones that give clouds ‘electric shocks’ to encourage rainfall are being tested in the skies above Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates [UAE] is one of the world’s driest countries, and with a summer heatwave driving temperatures up as high as 122F (49C) locals are desperate for a few drops of rain.

Average rainfall in the Emirates is just under four inches per year (compared to almost 35” in the UK) and the UAE is only expected to get hotter and drier as climate change takes hold.

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Ford and partner Argo AI will launch Lyft self-driving cars this year

The first autonomous cars ready for ride hailing will hit the road in Miami by the end of this year.

By Sean Szymkowski

Look out Miami, there are some new machines in town.Ford

Ford last year said it needed to delay its robotaxi service until 2022 because of the pandemic, but now a big first step will happen this year. On Wednesday, Ford announced that by the end of 2021 it will deploy the first self-driving cars with its partner Argo AI on ride-hailing service Lyft’s network. The first cars will land in Miami, the automaker said.

This first step is one of many to commercialize (that’s corporate speak for “make money”) autonomous ride-hailing services. Many companies and automakers have promised these services for years now, but Google’s sister company Waymo is the only one to actually pick riders up and charge them a fare. And that’s only outside of Phoenix — far from nationwide.

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New Algorithm Flies Drones Faster than Human Racing Pilots

To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have – searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo – in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment.

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China unveils 373-mph ‘levitating’ train, fastest ground vehicle in the world

The Chinese train uses “maglev” technology, meaning it levitates above the track with no contact between body and rail.

By Theo Wayt

China unveiled a futuristic “levitating” train on Tuesday that has a top speed of 373 miles per hour — making it the fastest ground vehicle in the world.

By comparison, Tesla’s Model S Plaid — which the company bills as the fastest production car in the world — tops out at just 200 mph. 


The Chinese train uses “maglev” technology, meaning electromagnetic forces allow the train to levitate above the track with no contact between body and rail. The lack of friction lets the train reach blistering speeds.

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Scientists Are Giving AI The Ability to Imagine Things It’s Never Seen Before

Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving very adept at certain tasks – like inventing human faces that don’t actually exist, or winning games of poker – but these networks still struggle when it comes to something humans do naturally: imagine.-

Once human beings know what a cat is, we can easily imagine a cat of a different color, or a cat in a different pose, or a cat in different surroundings. For AI networks, that’s much harder, even though they can recognize a cat when they see it (with enough training).

To try and unlock AI’s capacity for imagination, researchers have come up with a new method for enabling artificial intelligence systems to work out what an object should look like, even if they’ve never actually seen one exactly like it before.

“We were inspired by human visual generalization capabilities to try to simulate human imagination in machines,” says computer scientist Yunhao Ge from the University of Southern California (USC).-

“Humans can separate their learned knowledge by attributes – for instance, shape, pose, position, color – and then recombine them to imagine a new object. Our paper attempts to simulate this process using neural networks.”

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China adding finishing touches to world-first thorium nuclear reactor

China is pursuing an experimental form of nuclear fission in thorium molten salt reactors, and will reportedly begin tests at a facility in the coming months

China is moving ahead with development of an experimental reactor that would be the first of its kind in the world, but could prove key to the pursuit of clean and safe nuclear power. According to local news reports, the Chinese government intends to finish building a prototype molten salt nuclear reactor in the desert city of Wuwei in the coming months, with plans to establish a number of larger-scale plants in similar settings thereafter.

With an ability to generate power while producing very minimal carbon emissions, nuclear reactors have a clear upside when it comes to the sustainable generation of energy. But there are very valid reasons the technology hasn’t been widely adopted across the world, many of which stem from the reliance on uranium and plutonium for fuel.

Not only is uranium expensive and rare, it can also be used to build nuclear weapons. These reactors also generate radioactive waste that needs to be safely stored, and carry the very real risk of catastrophic meltdown, as seen at Fukushima in 2011.

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