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

Read more

The problem with Facebook’s attempt to be more like Nextdoor

Facebook is expanding its reliance on community moderators. | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nextdoor’s approach to content moderation doesn’t always work.

Facebook is becoming a bit more like Nextdoor in an effort to boost its groups feature. The only problem is that Facebook appears to be borrowing one of Nextdoor’s more controversial concepts: giving more power to community moderators.

On Wednesday, the company announced it was making a major enhancement to the powers of its groups’ community moderators. Now, administrators can do a number of new things, like automatically block certain people from commenting in conversations based on factors like how long they’ve been a member of the group. Facebook says the new tools are meant to help “admins play a key role in helping maintain a safe and healthy culture.” The changes are part of Facebook’s broader shift toward relying more on unpaid community admins, who get … Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

People keep finding late loved ones on Google Maps

Google uses cars to capture the panoramic images that power Street View, and sometimes, images of people. | Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some find it comforting, some find it creepy.

For years, Google Maps has offered Street View, which stitches together panoramic camera images to recreate a digital facsimile of physical spaces in the real world that you can explore online. Some people are discovering that if they scroll through the platform long enough and use a time travel feature, they just might find the image of a late loved one captured by one of Google’s cameras — and seemingly saved in Google Maps forever.

In the past few days, several posts announcing these discoveries have gone viral. One from UK-based writer Sherri Turner has already racked up tens of thousands of “Likes” on Twitter. A similar tweet from an anonymous confessions account also attracted attention from not … Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

Big Tech has a battle ahead over antitrust regulation — and it’s going to get messy

Lina Khan, who has been a strong advocate for breaking up Big Tech companies, was recently appointed as chair of the FTC. | Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Industry groups are ramping up their fight against regulation.

For several years now, Congress and regulatory agencies have warned that they could, in the future, try to break up Big Tech. In the past week, that threat got more real.

On June 11, Congress introduced a sweeping set of five antitrust bills with notable levels of bipartisan support that targeted the tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — and which could potentially break up their core businesses. On June 15, in a surprise move, the White House appointed Big Tech nemesis Lina Khan to be not just a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but the chair of the powerful federal agency that enforces antitrust laws.

“If I were … Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to create a new agency to deal with data privacy

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is giving her privacy agency bill another try. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The FTC currently enforces federal privacy laws. Gillibrand doesn’t think it’s enough.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is introducing a revamped version of her Data Protection Act, which would create a new government agency in charge of regulating and enforcing federal privacy laws — the ones we have now as well as any we might get in the future.

“Big Tech companies are free to sell individuals’ data to the highest bidder without fear of real consequences, posing a severe threat to modern-day privacy and civil rights,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “A data privacy crisis is looming over the everyday lives of Americans and we need to hold these bad actors accountable.”

The bill builds on her 2020 version in ways that seem to reflect the Biden administration’s agenda and the fact that Democrats … Read the rest

Read more

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

Read more

The problem with Facebook’s attempt to be more like Nextdoor

Facebook is expanding its reliance on community moderators. | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nextdoor’s approach to content moderation doesn’t always work.

Facebook is becoming a bit more like Nextdoor in an effort to boost its groups feature. The only problem is that Facebook appears to be borrowing one of Nextdoor’s more controversial concepts: giving more power to community moderators.

On Wednesday, the company announced it was making a major enhancement to the powers of its groups’ community moderators. Now, administrators can do a number of new things, like automatically block certain people from commenting in conversations based on factors like how long they’ve been a member of the group. Facebook says the new tools are meant to help “admins play a key role in helping maintain a safe and healthy culture.” The changes are part of Facebook’s broader shift toward relying more on unpaid community admins, who get … Read the rest

Read more