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SF AppWorksMay 25, 2018 12:53:00 AM2 min read

The Wonder - AI vs. Cancer & Paperwork Bots | SF AppWorks

A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology


Happy Friday!


GDPR goes into effect today (and Google/FB have already been hit with an $8B lawsuit). In case you missed it, companies now need to comply with Europe’s much stricter data protection laws. As an added bonus, GDPR emails are a great reminder of how many services we have signed up for over the years. Take some time and unsubscribe while it’s fresh.


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.


AI vs. Cancer




British PM Theresa May will unveil a new strategy to use AI as a weapon to combat cancer and to help older people remain healthy.


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Andrew’s Take: We’re edging closer from theory to practice when it comes to applying AI to healthcare. We know deaths caused by the late diagnoses of otherwise treatable diseases are avoidable, but how soon can we start seeing the results? Sooner than you think.    


Darius’s Take: There is no shortage of challenges that still need to be worked through: infrastructure, privacy, data collection. This works best if we can come up with a way to share data from hospital to hospital so that we can collectively analyze and predict outcomes.


Paperwork Bots




A little-known benefit offered by credit card companies refunded customers when they bought an item and subsequently found it for cheaper. Bots that manage the paperwork have led to an explosion in claims.


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Andrew’s Take: This seems topical, but ‘paperwork bots’ are popping up to fight traffic tickets, lobby politically, and do other tasks that, at scale, empower movements. Who builds these bots may determine the movement…


Darius’s Take: “Little known” or “hard to do” benefits are often just commercial stunts. With automation, it becomes easier to take advantage of them. The downside, with automation in place, is that these benefits will disappear altogether. The more reason to take advantage of them fast!


A Cure For Teenage Boredom?


Chatbot startup Hugging Face just raised $4M to build a ‘truly social artificial intelligence’ for teenagers.


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Andrew’s Take: Teenagers have it hard these days. Between the pressure to stay relevant on social media, cyberbullying, and what has become a fever pitch of digital distractions, I hope chatbots can provide a source of positive reinforcement. The trick will be in creating digital companions that ‘learn’ enough from their interactions to feel dynamic while still maintaining a positive feedback loop. Remember, Microsoft’s first social bot quickly became a racist asshole.  


Darius’s Take: Seems like there is a boom in these kind of bots. I’m rooting for them, but the interactions don’t feel real to me yet and something about it doesn’t sit right with me. 


One Fun Fact


Netflix is now as big as Disney.


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Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week. 

-Andrew and Darius

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