Holistic decision-making in a digitized health-care environment

Smart data integration can help to increase the quality of data-based decision-making, especially in scenarios where clinical decision-makers face multiple barriers and challenges along the patient pathway. And this is critically important in today’s digitized health-care environment where the quality of decision-making depends on the quality and availability of the underlying data.

In medicine, decision-making has a clear goal: to benefit the patient. Health-care decisions are shaped by professional standards, expert knowledge, wishes of the patient, and therapeutic possibilities.

Achieving this goal increasingly depends on the smart use of medical data. The continuously growing, multi-dimensional range of health data from electronic medical records, image databases, and other multi-layered, often fragmented IT systems is becoming more and more important for making up-to-date, patient-oriented decisions and designing care processes accordingly.

Of course, not all medical decisions are necessarily difficult. In some uncomplicated health-care situations, professional medical knowledge is sufficient to find an … Read the rest

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The best places to find extraterrestrial life in our solar system, ranked

If you want to believe, now is the time: the hope that we might one day stumble upon alien life is greater than it ever was. No, it’s not going to be little green men speeding through space in flying disks—more likely microbes or primitive bacteria. But a discovery like that would nevertheless be a sign that we are not alone in the universe—that life elsewhere is a possibility. 

Where are we going to find that life? It was once thought the solar system was probably a barren wasteland apart from Earth. Rocky neighbors were too dry and cold like Mars, or too hot and hellish like Venus. The other planets were gas giants, and life on those worlds or their satellite moons was basically inconceivable. Earth seemed to be a miracle of a miracle.

But life isn’t that simple. We now know that life on Earth is able to … Read the rest

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NASA inches closer to printing artificial organs in space

In America, at least 17 people a day die waiting for an organ transplant. But instead of waiting for a donor to die, what if we could someday grow our own organs?

Last week, six years after NASA announced its Vascular Tissue Challenge, a competition designed to accelerate research that could someday lead to artificial organs, the agency named two winning teams. The challenge required teams to create thick, vascularized human organ tissue that could survive for 30 days. 

The two teams, named Winston and WFIRM, both from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, used different 3D-printing techniques to create lab-grown liver tissue that would satisfy all of NASA’s requirements and maintain their function.

“We did take two different approaches because when you look at tissues and vascularity, you look at the body doing two main things,” says Anthony Atala, team leader for WFIRM and director of the institute. … Read the rest

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Bias isn’t the only problem with credit scores—and no, AI can’t help

We already knew that biased data and biased algorithms skew automated decision-making in a way that disadvantages low-income and minority groups. For example, software used by banks to predict whether or not someone will pay back credit-card debt typically favors wealthier white applicants. Many researchers and a slew of start-ups are trying to fix the problem by making these algorithms more fair.  

But in the biggest ever study of real-world mortgage data, economists Laura Blattner at Stanford University and Scott Nelson at the University of Chicago show that differences in mortgage approval between minority and majority groups is not just down to bias, but to the fact that minority and low-income groups have less data in their credit histories.

This means that when this data is used to calculate a credit score and this credit score used to make a prediction on loan default, then that prediction will be less … Read the rest

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The best places to find extraterrestrial life in our solar system, ranked

If you want to believe, now is the time: the hope that we might one day stumble upon alien life is greater than it ever was. No, it’s not going to be little green men speeding through space in flying disks—more likely microbes or primitive bacteria. But a discovery like that would nevertheless be a sign that we are not alone in the universe—that life elsewhere is a possibility. 

Where are we going to find that life? It was once thought the solar system was probably a barren wasteland apart from Earth. Rocky neighbors were too dry and cold like Mars, or too hot and hellish like Venus. The other planets were gas giants, and life on those worlds or their satellite moons was basically inconceivable. Earth seemed to be a miracle of a miracle.

But life isn’t that simple. We now know that life on Earth is able to … Read the rest

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Every workplace can be a place of continual learning

While businesses in every sector have been working toward a digital transformation for the past several years, covid-19 accelerated this shift across industries. New technologies are advancing at a pace that requires employers to continuously retrain their workforce to stay current. Organizations must become places of learning if they are to prepare workers for jobs of the future.

Joe Schaefer is Chief Transformation Officer at Strategic Education.

The World Economic Forum has published one estimate suggesting that technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) could displace 75 million jobs by 2022 but may also create 133 million new roles, and a study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value predicts as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained in the next three years as a result of an increasing shift toward and embrace of automation and AI. This scale of retraining and workforce preparation … Read the rest

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Taxing digital advertising could help break up big tech

For the past several years, economists, and government leaders have regularly sounded alarms about the dangers of big tech monopolies. On her 2020 campaign website, for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren said “big tech companies have too much power, too much power over our economy, our society, our democracy.” In the months since the election, politicians on both the left and right have expressed concerns over how to encourage competition and innovation among the big tech leaders, and even how to hold onto democratic ideals in the face of digital misinformation and conspiracy theories.

The challenge with a company like Facebook is that its business model actively encourages tribalism and anger, which is not the way markets usually work, says Paul Romer, an economics professor at New York University who previously served as the chief economist of The World Bank and was the co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics … Read the rest

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What makes the Delta covid-19 variant more infectious?

Covid cases are on the rise in England, and a fast-spreading variant may be to blame. B.1.617.2, which now goes by the name Delta, first emerged in India, but has since spread to 62 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Delta is still rare in the US. At a press conference on Tuesday, the White House’s chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, said that it accounts for just 6% of cases. But in the UK it has quickly overtaken B.1.1.7—also known as Alpha—to become the dominant strain, which could derail the country’s plans to ease restrictions on June 21.

The total number of cases is still small, but public health officials are watching the variant closely. On Monday, UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock reported that Delta appears to be about 40% more transmissible than Alpha, but scientists are still trying to pin down the exact number—estimates … Read the rest

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Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof

On the first hot weekend of the summer, Richard Knapp put up a sign outside Mother’s Ruin, a bar tucked in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. It had two arrows: one pointing vaccinated people indoors, another pointing unvaccinated people outdoors.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPsh43GtmgW/

The Instagram post showing the sign (above) quickly went viral among European anti-vaxxers on Reddit. “We started receiving hate mail through the Google portal,” Knapp says, estimating he’d received about a “few dozen” emails: “I’ve been called a Nazi and a communist in the same sentence. People hope that our bar burns down. It’s a name and shame campaign.” It wasn’t just the emails. Soon, his bar started receiving multiple one-star reviews on Yelp and Google Reviews from accounts as far away as Europe. 

Spamming review portals with negative ratings is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the pandemic, the tactic has also been deployed to attack bars and restaurants that enforced … Read the rest

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These creepy fake humans herald a new age in AI

You can see the faint stubble coming in on his upper lip, the wrinkles on his forehead, the blemishes on his skin. He isn’t a real person, but he’s meant to mimic one—as are the hundreds of thousands of others made by Datagen, a company that sells fake, simulated humans.

These humans are not gaming avatars or animated characters for movies. They are synthetic data designed to feed the growing appetite of deep-learning algorithms. Firms like Datagen offer a compelling alternative to the expensive and time-consuming process of gathering real-world data. They will make it for you: how you want it, when you want—and relatively cheaply.

To generate its synthetic humans, Datagen first scans actual humans. It partners with vendors who pay people to step inside giant full-body scanners that capture every detail from their irises to their skin texture to the curvature of their fingers. The startup then takes … Read the rest

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