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Tech Team

Making robots (more) fun [Fast Company] 

Robots have hundreds of important tasks, many where they don’t interact with humans at all. But how can you make sure that a robot intended to interact with, and aid, humans does its job effectively when people are skeptical of using it? Apparently, you add googly eyes. That’s what Oodi Library in Helsinki did when it’s robot that helps patrons navigate the library and returns books did when people were ignoring it. They found that if they made the robot more interactive – with googly eyes that move in the robot’s direction of travel, and fun sounds – people were more inclined to use it properly, instead of ignoring it. Sometimes problems have the simplest solutions. 

AI is about to revolutionise health care in Israel [Wall Street Journal] 

Is it possible to get cheap but effective medicine? In Israel, healthcare operators already use digitalised health data for their patients. Now the government wants to take it further by combining those millions of records into one big single unified system. The goal? Making the data more useful for researchers and healthcare companies to make medical care cheaper, more effective and better tailored to individuals. Could the incoming EU Commission take inspiration from the Israeli example? 

Tech advancements in flirt decoding [Wired] 

Last week we reported on Facebook’s new dating service – and this week we’re writing to tell you that you can now analyse your chats with the Mei app to figure out who’s actually flirting with you. The app analyses WhatsApp conversations based on five principles taken from the Meyers-Briggs test and gives you a likelihood that the person you’re talking to is interested in you. You can also give it more information about you and your conversation partner to make the app more accurate. This raises the obvious privacy concerns – but it does seem that the app is transparent in how it stores the data you upload, and it does give the option for users to remove their data from the app’s servers. So what are you waiting for? You’re only 9€ (the price to analyse one conversation) away from finding out if the person you’ve been chatting to is your soulmate! 

Archiving the internet [Financial Times] 

Back in the olden days when someone said something you thought was incorrect, you could look up the correct answer in a book, encyclopedia etc. Nowadays finding accurate answers to our questions online is much more difficult and we often have to wade through some misinformation before we get to the correct information. That’s where the Internet Archive comes in. The non-profit set up at 1996 catalogs the billions of web pages on the internet (as well as Trump’s tweets) and saves them for posterity. This especially comes in handy with the rise of deep fakes. Algorithms can scour through the archived videos and spot real videos or those that have been taken out of context. As the number of webpages increase, it will be interesting to see how the Archive keeps up. 

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In case you haven’t had enough…

Start-ups to grab $280 billion in banking payments revenues by 2025, study says [Reuters]  

Hearing Aids Are Getting Smarter [Wall Street Journal] 

Will artificial intelligence destroy poker? [Financial Times]