biochemistry-croppedGoogle’s AI Lab is Discovering New Drug Remedies

An AI lab has won the world’s top biochemistry competition, opening the door to a new era of drug discoveries led by artificial intelligence. 

“The contest, the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction, was not won by academics. It was won by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence lab owned by Google’s parent company,” writes Cade Metz of The New York Times. “A growing number of companies are applying similar methods to other parts of the long, enormously complex process that produces new medicines. These AI techniques can speed up many aspects of drug discovery and, in some cases, perform tasks typically handled by scientists.”

DeepMind’s amazing AI techniques won’t reduce the need for trained biochemists, but they will raise the bar for biochemical research. Instead of just studying biochemistry, drug researchers will need to learn the basics of artificial intelligence so they can use AI-powered assistants to help them plow data more effectively.

In many ways, the drug researchers are pioneering a method of work that will become common in the near future. Sooner, rather than later, most of us will have AI assistants helping us in our jobs.


space-croppedTesla Still in Orbit After a Year in Space

The Tesla roadster launched into space by Elon Musk’s crew at SpaceX is still in orbit, zooming around the sun at a velocity of slightly more than 48,000 miles per hour.

“As of Wednesday morning, the electric car is 226,423,581 miles (364,393,544 km) from Earth and 163,525,522 miles (263,168,899 km) from Mars,” writes Amanda Kooser of CNET. “Good luck getting any repairs done on the Roadster. It's exceeded its original 36,000-mile warranty more than 13,000 times over.”

Musk’s eventual goal is rocketing people to Mars, but the Tesla won’t be making the trip. It's most likely fate is crashing onto the Earth or colliding with Venus.


facial-recognition-croppedSurvey Indicates Americans Support Using Facial Recognition to Spot Stalkers

Here’s an interesting item: A survey shows that many Americans apparently support the idea of using facial recognition technology to crack down on stalkers. 

“According to a recent interview in Rolling Stone, the security team at a venue for a Taylor Swift concert last year created a kiosk that took photos of people as they watched videos and then used facial recognition technology to check to see if any of those concert-goers matched a database of hundreds of the pop star’s known stalkers,” writes Daniel Castro of the Center for Data Innovation

When privacy activists found out about the singer’s anti-stalking tactics, they raised their voices in opposition. But according to a new survey by the Center for Data Innovation few Americans appear especially worried.

From my perspective, using technology to improve the safety of a popular entertainer who has been the target of stalkers makes complete sense. I predict we will see facial recognition tech used more frequently, and in a wider variety of situations, over the next couple of years.