A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology
And happy June! Summer vacation starts for many kids today. For those still planning a family vacation, many think Tuesday is the best day to book, but it’s actually Sunday.
This newsletter is an effort to highlight notable examples of like-minded people and organizations, inspired by new technology and eager to help people with it.
Helping the Blind 'See'
Researchers programmed a Microsoft HoloLens to spatially map out a room and provide audio cues guiding them towards or around objects. Participants completed common tasks up to eight times faster as a result.
Andrew’s Take: Augmented Reality has mostly remained in the novelty category, but if it crosses over into enabling the disabled, we could see mass adoption, particularly with a growing elderly population.
Darius’s Take: This thing is really cool! I can’t wait to see the next iteration, where you can integrate with maps and also provide navigation as well as object recognition.
Machine Learning is Transforming Healthcare
Bessemer Venture Partners announced a new fund for startups applying machine learning to health. Areas of interest include digital diagnostics, workflow automation, predictive tools, and drug discovery.
Andrew’s Take: Last week we saw British PM Theresa May pledge to do more to use AI to fight cancer. This week we see a new seed fund for startups applying machine learning to health. Young entrepreneurs take note – there is a whole lot of opportunity to solve problems in this area.
Darius’s Take: This is really starting to look like the next big thing. We’ll be paying more attention to it, and so are investors. Their first investment is a great use of new technology – reducing scan time (and thus radiation exposure) by 4X just by enhancing images with machine learning. Those are real and immediate benefits.
Avoiding the War of Words
A new machine learning system sets out to predict when a conversation might take a turn for the worse before it actually does.
Andrew’s Take: Practically, this could help curb cyber bullying and improve customer support. But what if it can eventually help people realize when they’ve unknowingly hurt somebody’s feelings, or ticked off a colleague in an email? Think of it as an EQ sidekick.
Darius’s Take: It’s nice in theory, but if you look closer, the results weren’t great in terms of machine learning accuracy. Humans are still much better at this. Also, could this have a chilling effect on healthy debate?
One Heads Up Thing
The E. coli outbreak in the US continues. Avoid romaine lettuce and wash your hands regularly.
Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week.
-Andrew and Darius