Big Tech &
Google launches a new medical app—outside the United States (5 minute read)
Google is launching an app that will use image recognition algorithms to find possible skin conditions in uploaded photos. Machines have matched or outperformed expert doctors in spotting skin conditions in studies, but there are no AI analysis tools approved for use in the US. Google's new app hasn't been clinically validated yet. However, it has been approved as a Class I medical device in the EU and will be released in the region by the end of the year.
Virgin Galactic gets first official OK to fly passengers to edge of space (3 minute read)
Virgin Galactic has received approval to begin flying customers to the edge of space. The approval follows a successful test flight last month. It is valid through to July 2022 for missions launching from Spaceport America in New Mexico or the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Virgin Galactic is still planning three more test flights with its employees. Richard Branson plans to be onboard one of the test flights.
CRISPR injected into the blood treats a genetic disease for first time (4 minute read)
Medical researchers injected a CRISPR drug into the bloodstream of six people suffering from a genetic disease that causes fatal nerve and heart disease. After 28 days, three of the people showed a drop in harmful proteins on par or better than compared to the usually prescribed drug treatment. It could take months before the patients all see the effects of the treatment. There were few reported short-term side effects. The study paves the way for treating other liver diseases with CRISPR.
Blood test that finds 50 types of cancer is accurate enough to be rolled out (3 minute read)
A test developed by US-based company Grail can detect more than 50 types of cancer before any clinical signs or symptoms of the disease emerge. It is accurate enough to be rolled out as a screening test and will be piloted by NHS England in the autumn. The test looks for chemical changes in fragments of genetic code that leak from tumors into the bloodstream. It has an impressively high level of accuracy with a low false-positive rate.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Internet Pi (GitHub Repo)
Internet Pi is a Raspberry Pi configuration tool for internet connectivity. It features internet monitoring, Pi-hole, Shelly Plug monitoring, and Starlink monitoring.
igel (GitHub Repo)
igel is a machine learning tool that can train, fit, test, and use models without code. It features a GUI and support for most dataset types, all state-of-the-art machine learning models, different data preprocessing methods, and much more. A quick start guide is available in the repository.
El Salvador is giving away free Bitcoin to its citizens (2 minute read)
El Salvador will give $30 worth of Bitcoin to each adult citizen that downloads and registers on its new cryptocurrency app. President Nayib Bukele has introduced legislation that will make Bitcoin legal tender on September 7. The law is intended to generate employment and investments in the country. The app will be compatible with both US dollars and Bitcoin. Users can choose what currency they want to use on the app, but the gift will be in Bitcoin to promote its use. Bitcoin will not replace the dollar as the only legal tender in El Salvador.
Voice AI is scary good now. Video game actors hate it (6 minute read)
A game modder recently released a The Witcher 3 PC mod that uses AI to generate brand-new lines for the characters. Companies are increasing their use of AI voices in game development and it is making voice actors in the industry nervous. Game companies use AI voices for testing purposes and for scenarios where it is impossible to record in advance, for example, when the dialogue requires details generated from players' choices. The ethics of the technology are also complicated, as no one can prohibit synthesizing any voice. A two-minute video showing scenes from the fan-made mod is available in the article.