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ITU’s Sofia put on an impressive display at the AI for Global Good Conference but it raises an Important Question, Should we humanize AI?

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Humanize AI

Artificial intelligence. The concept has fascinated science fiction writers and scientists for decades. With some hailing advancements in AI as the dawn for a new era of man and others believing that an advanced AI could spell the end of our species. There is a lot out there about the benefits and potential pitfalls of AI but a video at the AI for Good conference of ITU’s Sofia raises the question; should we humanize AI?

Sofia is undoubtedly impressive, even if there are shades of uncanny valley. It is responding in real time, to random questions from the facebook audience. On top of that it can make recognizable facial expressions and with the addition of hair and some refinement it would look almost human. The question is why ITU is interested in making Sofia appear so human.

There have been a few attempts to create human-like robots and there are good reasons for doing so. Many believe that we can use these kinds of robots to plug the growing gaps in our social care systems, especially in light of increasingly aging populations in nations like the USA, Japan. The belief is that if we humanize AI and robots they will make better carers. After all, nobody wants to be taken care of by some terrifying metal contraption.

Humanize AI

The idea of human-like AI has been the centerpiece of a lot of fiction, such as the TV show Battlestar Galactica

AI has already proven its use in a number of fields. Scientists have used it to help identify cancer and there have been trials at using a robot to replace a doctor. Dr Nao have proven that patients are willing to trust a robotic doctor but his role would likely be mostly to provide support for overburdened staff.

There are clear applications for robots and AIs in roles that we would traditionally consider human. Given that fact, why should we be concerned about humanizing AI? There are the traditional concerns for jobs and livelihoods but there are also deeper ethical concerns. Let’s take the example given to one user by ITU’s facebook feed, using robots like Sofia in caregiver roles.

Humanize AI

The care gap is a huge problem in most Western societies. As populations age and the family unit increasingly fragments care for the elderly is going to become more expensive and more difficult. It is tempting to think that we can give them a human-like Robot like Sofia to look after them but it would bring its own problems with it. While Sofia and AI like her would look and appear human they wouldn’t be human.

By putting robots in the role of carer we are making them more human but we risk robotizing the vulnerable people in its care. In essence we are saying that they are another commodity to be managed, rather than individuals with specific needs.

AI excels at many things and it has already proven that it is an invaluable supporting tool for human scientists and professionals. It is capable of sifting through vast amounts of data at speeds humans could only dream of but I do not believe that we can view it as the panacea  for all ills. We need to remember that while we can humanize AI that doesn’t make it human and that doesn’t mean that it can replace contact with another human being.

AI and robots are invaluable when it comes to supporting us but do we want them to take over certain roles in our society? It is certainly true that robots can fulfill roles like caregivers, teachers and doctors but I think we need to stop and ask the question.

Does humanizing AI risk robotizing the people it is supposed to help?

You'll find me wandering around the Science sections mostly, excitedly waving my arms around while jumping up and down about the latest science and tech news. I am also occasionally found in the gaming section, trying to convince everyone else that linux is the future of the computer gaming.

Medicine and Health

Your Chance Of Contracting This Rare Eye Infection More Than Triples If You Wear Reusable Contact Lenses

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If you wear soft reusable contact lenses instead of soft disposable ones, your chance of getting an uncommon eye infection rises by almost four times. These sobering conclusions come from study conducted by the University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, which looked at what variables could make someone more likely to get Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK).

“In recent years we have seen an increase of Acanthamoeba keratitis in the UK and Europe, and while the infection is still rare, it is preventable and warrants a public health response,” said lead researcher Professor John Dart in a statement.

“Contact lenses are generally very safe but are associated with a small risk of microbial keratitis, most commonly caused by bacteria, and which is the only sight threatening complication of their use. Given that an estimated 300 million people across the globe wear contact lenses, it is important that people know how to minimise their risks for developing keratitis.”

Over 200 patients were recruited by Dart and colleagues, 83 of them had AK and the remaining 122 were taken to the Moorfields Eye Hospital for various ailments. The second served as a control group so that the researchers could determine what risk factors made someone more likely to develop the corneal infection.

According to their findings, people who wear reusable soft contact lenses had a 3.8-times higher risk of acquiring AK than people who wear daily disposable lenses. Wearing lenses while sleeping and taking a shower raised risk by 3.9 and 3.3 times, respectively. According to the researchers’ calculations, switching to daily disposable lenses might avoid 30-62 percent of AK cases in the UK, and this may hold true for other nations as well.

“Previous studies have linked AK to wearing contact lenses in hot tubs, swimming pools or lakes, and here we have added showers to that list, underlining that exposure to any water when wearing lenses should be avoided,” said first author, Associate Professor Nicole Carnt of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital. “Public pools and coastal authorities could help reduce this risk by advising against swimming in contact lenses.”

Even though sight loss from AK is uncommon, it can occur in extreme cases, which is why the researchers decided to further explore potential risk factors. The team is working to find ways to reduce the annual incidence of AK, which is estimated to affect 1 in 20,000 contact lens wearers in the UK.

Opthalmology published the paper.

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Android

Top Rated Dentist Apps for 2018

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Looking at today’s technology it is kind of hard to believe that 20 or 30 years ago we didn’t know what a smartphone was, right? Hell, most of us (kids and adults alike) didn’t even have a mobile phone! And those of us who had one were in complete awe over games like Snake or Pong!

Therefore, I think that a quick look at how mobile games evolved over time is a true testament to the speed of technology. I mean, going from Snake played on a 1990 Nokia phone to a high-graphics game played on the latest Android or iOS smart device is a huge leap!

Even more, nowadays we can run complex apps on our mobile devices, and some are quite impressive. Let’s take apps designed for dentists and their patients – a simple search will reveal a plethora of options, so I chose only the top-rated ones as an example.

DDS GP

This is an app, for iOS users, that makes a dentist’s work with patients easier. The app is equipped with over 200 illustrations, images, and animations that showcase the effects of various dental conditions. This way, a dentist can literally illustrate how a specific disease will progress in time if not properly treated.

DDS GP can help explain some of the most common dental problems such s decay, cracks, or periodontal disease. Furthermore, it accepts edits and drawings which the user can save, and it helps to create individual treatment plans for each patient.

Now, since it’s such a well-detailed app, the price is a bit steep, but for those interested to learn, there are more options at healthyteeth.org (and for free).

iBracesHelp

If you have to wear braces or you’re planning on installing some in the near feature, this app may be of great use. The app provides useful information, videos, and pictures on how to care for braces and what to do if any problems would show up.

DentalNavi

Designed by a dentist for dentists everywhere, this free app for iOS provides users with animations and 3D video representations of various dental procedures. Given that some patients are new to the field and some may even be fearful of some treatment methods, DentalNavi is a fantastic way to illustrate what happens in a patient’s mouth while you’re working on it.

The app has several different modules such as implantology, interactive jaw movement, and checking for occlusions. Everything is highly graphical, which is why communication with your patients will be improved significantly.

My Dental Clinic

A free Android app that can help you manage the activity of an entire dental clinic – cool, right? You won’t have to deal with papers and difficult planners since everything will be readily accessible using your phone!

The app allows you to keep patients’ records such as personal information, notes, appointments, dental charts, and more. Furthermore, you have the possibility to call a patient directly from the app, and the appointments can be sent to your Android calendar.

Overall, this is a fantastic virtual planner for small to medium clinics, and most users seem happy with the features provided.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the world of mobile apps has evolved from low-graphics games to high-end graphics and advanced apps that can keep up with various services at once. Isn’t this advancement impressive?

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Medicine and Health

You Will Be Surprised By These Recent Developments in Mattress Technology

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The industry presents you such a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to mattresses than it ever did before. As a matter of fact, presently, you have mattresses that are estimated to last you another 40-years; that’s approximately the major part of your life or the rest of it! The flocking, however, comes with its own level of technical work for us; we have more work trying out all the new brands coming up by the day as we compile our information. All a worthy experience – some of these beds have you bewitched to them; you just don’t feel like getting up at all.

But what are these improvements that have come to change the face of the bed industry as we knew it? What are the technological advances made to beds that you probably haven’t heard of? Some of these leaps are present in the Top Mattress only; you need to be prepared to do some decision making for a change by the end of this article – be sure to buy yourself and loved ones the nights they deserve.

 

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The Memory Foam Treat

Originally, memory foam was only available and used by NASA to make their pilot’s uniform. But when it was released to the public in the late seventies, we had opportunists springing forth and making the first foam beds. Right now, different types of foams are being made for the best bed make. Organic foam and synthetic foam all find their way to the top beds in the market. Others are a hybrid make involving a mixture of latex and synthetic foam. All these provide different levels of firmness and response to pressure and temperatures.

Memory foam beds are usually preferable and recommended to the side and back sleepers at times. This is because the foam creates more depressions and contouring with the body preventing much pressure on the spine. Stomach sleepers and back sleepers (not majorly) need more firm options for a perfect spine alignment.

The Bed-In-A-Box Concept

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Most of you bought your custom beds which were shipped as they are; you had to ask for help as you ferried it from the door to your room. Now consider a whole queen-sized bed coming inside a box, and all you have to do is open the box once you reach your room! This is the technology that will wipe away all shipping charges from bed provider stores and bring about a cool convenience to the client. That’s about as cool as it can get.

Meet the Smart Mattress

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Need to sleep at angles? Easy, adjust it! Are you a snorer which is affecting your partner? Easy! Smart Motion technology literally has your back. The wireless remote controlled bed has a head and foot massage option due to its adjustability. The wonder bed also has an automatic alarm system that determines when the sleeper is in the light sleep stages and hence calculates when best to wake them up. This comes together with a customizable coach that collects your sleep data and offers better sleep recommendations upon comparing your data with people with your characteristics. The Sleeptrack app pre-installed is also designed to have meditative music to help you fall asleep faster. Can sleeping get any easier than that really?

Sleep Cool Beds

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Sweating during the night can be quite a bore – especially if you have the same issue during the day. Sleeping with the windows open or buying fans to cool the room doesn’t seem to work for you. Take it easy; you are not alone. Good news is, there is something for you out there.

The market now has beds popping up with a top layer infused with gel to allow for breathability, thus, one sleeps as cool as they want. No hot nights anymore – sleep as sound as you’ve always wanted.

There is absolutely no more need to go around complaining of a consistent back pain or shoulder pains as a result of your unfulfilling nights. You need a mattress upgrade that suits your preferences. Some of these beds are really pocket-friendly. You’ll, nevertheless, be needed to dig deeper if you want to access the best that the industry has to offer.

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