VentureBeat: Google’s Translatotron 2 removes ability to deepfake voices

VentureBeat: Google’s Translatotron 2 removes ability to deepfake voices. “In 2019, Google released Translatotron, an AI system capable of directly translating a person’s voice into another language. The system could create synthesized translations of voices to keep the sound of the original speaker’s voice intact. But Translatotron could also be used to generate speech in a different voice, making it ripe for potential misuse in, for example, deepfakes.”

Notre Dame News: Artificial intelligence tool could increase patient health literacy, study shows

Notre Dame News: Artificial intelligence tool could increase patient health literacy, study shows. “University of Notre Dame researcher John Lalor, an assistant professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the Mendoza College of Business, is part of a team working on a web-based natural language processing system that could increase the health literacy of patients who access their records through a patient portal. NoteAid, a project based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, conveniently translates medical jargon for health care consumers.”

New York Times: Why People Are So Awful Online

New York Times: Why People Are So Awful Online. “Increasingly, I’ve felt that online engagement is fueled by the hopelessness many people feel when we consider the state of the world and the challenges we deal with in our day-to-day lives. Online spaces offer the hopeful fiction of a tangible cause and effect — an injustice answered by an immediate consequence. On Twitter, we can wield a small measure of power, avenge wrongs, punish villains, exalt the pure of heart. In our quest for this simulacrum of justice, however, we have lost all sense of proportion and scale.”

EurekAlert: Disagreement may be a way to make online content spread faster, further

EurekAlert: Disagreement may be a way to make online content spread faster, further. “Disagreement seems to spread online posts faster and further than agreement, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida. The finding comes from an examination of posts labeled controversial on social news aggregation site Reddit. To perform the study, the researchers analyzed more than 47,000 posts about cybersecurity in a Reddit dataset that was collected by the Computational Simulation of Online Social Behavior (SocialSim) program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.”

AFP: Google parent launches new ‘moonshot’ for robotics software

AFP: Google parent launches new ‘moonshot’ for robotics software. “Google’s parent Alphabet unveiled a new “moonshot” project to develop software for robotics which could be used in a wide range of industries. The new unit, dubbed Intrinsic, will ‘become an independent Alphabet company,’ and seek industrial partners to advance their work helping to make everything from solar panels to cars, the new unit’s chief, Wendy Tan-White, said in a blog post.”

CNN: Fingerprint found on 500-year-old statue may belong to Michelangelo

CNN: Fingerprint found on 500-year-old statue may belong to Michelangelo. “A small wax statue may have brought us closer than ever to Michelangelo, after museum experts found what they believe to be the Renaissance master’s fingerprint — or thumbprint — pressed into the material. Specialists at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) discovered the mark on a dark red figurine, which was an initial sketch model for a larger unfinished marble sculpture.”

Texas A&M: Big data-derived tool facilitates closer monitoring of recovery from natural disasters

Texas A&M: Big data-derived tool facilitates closer monitoring of recovery from natural disasters. “By analyzing peoples’ visitation patterns to essential establishments like pharmacies, religious centers and grocery stores during Hurricane Harvey, researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a framework to assess the recovery of communities after natural disasters in near real time. They said the information gleaned from their analysis would help federal agencies allocate resources equitably among communities ailing from a disaster.”

ScienceDaily: Wearable devices can reduce collision risk in blind and visually impaired people

ScienceDaily: Wearable devices can reduce collision risk in blind and visually impaired people. “A new randomized controlled trial shows wearing a vibrating collision device can reduce collisions in people who are blind and visually impaired, adding a potential new tool that can be used by these populations in addition to a long cane, to ensure independent travel safety.”

Southeastern US herbaria digitize three million specimens, now freely available online (Phys .org)

Phys .org: Southeastern US herbaria digitize three million specimens, now freely available online. “A network of over 100 herbaria spread out across the southeastern United States recently completed the herculean task of fully digitizing more than three million specimens collected by botanists and naturalists over a span of 200 years…. In a new study published in the journal Applications in Plant Sciences, researchers involved in the project analyzed the rate at which specimens could be reliably photographed, digitized, and databased to assess how much similar efforts might cost in the future.”

University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute: Huntsman Cancer Institute Study Shows Cancer Misinformation Common On Social Media Sites

University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute: Huntsman Cancer Institute Study Shows Cancer Misinformation Common On Social Media Sites. “A new study published online today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports that one third of the most popular cancer treatment articles on social media contain misinformation. Further, the vast majority of that misinformation has the potential to harm cancer patients by supporting approaches that could negatively impact the quality of their treatment and chances for survival. The study also showed that articles containing misinformation garner more attention and engagement than articles with evidence-based information.”

Tech Policy Press: Facebook, Google political ad bans not effective, researchers say

Tech Policy Press: Facebook, Google political ad bans not effective, researchers say. “Two researchers at the Duke University Center on Science and Technology Policy conclude that bans on political advertising put in place by the tech platforms just before and in the period after the November 2020 U.S. elections were not necessarily effective, and had a number of negative side effects.”

The Verge: The Day the Good Internet Died

The Verge: The Day the Good Internet Died. “Logging on feels like participating in the setup to a Yogi Berra 2.0 ‘terrible food, and such small portions!’–style joke—except that the punch line is about, like, public health statistics instead of prime rib. In the past week alone, the president of the United States and Facebook, each citing the tech company’s handling of pandemic info, have bickered publicly about, oh, just Facebook’s ratio of murderousness to societal benefit. (In other news, there’s a new Space Jam movie out with a villain who is an evil computer named ‘Al-G Rhythm.’)”

GeekWire: Interactive new tool using satellites and AI creates more precise wildfire maps for public, firefighters

GeekWire: Interactive new tool using satellites and AI creates more precise wildfire maps for public, firefighters. “The RADRFIRE tool uses infrared satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to create detailed wildfire maps to track and forecast fires. It was developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Eastern Washington, in consultation with numerous agencies responsible for battling the fires — a job that keeps getting harder with worsening droughts and climate change. The Bootleg Fire currently burning in Southern Oregon is so fierce that it’s generating its own weather.”