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Tech Team

Who let the dog out? [Reuters] 

Singapore¬†is¬†using a¬†‚Äúrobodog‚Ä̬†named SPOT¬†to remind¬†joggers and cyclists to¬†respect social distancing¬†to¬†help reduce the number of COVID-19related¬†infections.¬†With¬†5.7 million¬†inhabitants,¬†the country¬†is one of the most impacted Asian countries with¬†already¬†more than 21,000 cases. This is mostly¬†due to mass infections among migrant workers¬†who¬†live¬†in¬†overcrowded¬†dormitories.¬†In addition to¬†broadcasting¬†recorded¬†messages,¬†SPOT‚Äôs¬†board¬†cameras and analytics tools¬†can¬†estimate the number of people in the park.¬†After¬†drones in the air,¬†robodogs on¬†land, should we¬†expect¬†shark-bots¬†that¬†play the role of¬†lifeguards¬†at¬†the seaside?¬†

(Robo)dogs are suddenly welcome in hospitals [Wall Street Journal] 

Not only are ‚Äúrobodogs‚ÄĚ in parks ‚Äď they‚Äôre also in hospitals helping healthcare workers assess patients while avoiding contact with them.¬†Also called¬†Spot, Boston Dynamic‚Äôs robodog is being used at a US hospital to assess patients with less-severe¬†COVID-19 cases¬†using thermal imaging to track body temperature and respiration rate. An iPad mounted on Spot allows doctors to still have face-to-face communication¬†with the patient. Beyond robodogs ‚Äď other hospitals are using AI and machine learning to track patient vitals and health information from outside the room to reduce in-person contact and reduce the¬†number¬†of¬†masks¬†needed. These innovative solutions to the current health crisis are great to see ‚Äď and who knows, maybe Spot will stay employed at the hospital even after the pandemic.¬†¬†

AI Eurovision song contest  [The Verge] 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the¬†Eurovision Song Context¬†was cancelled for the first time¬†since 1956¬†to¬†many fans despair.¬†A¬†Dutch broadcaster¬†decided to¬†launch an¬†unofficial¬†AI version. Thirteen¬†teams entered songs¬†that were‚ÄĮlive-streamed‚ÄĮearlier this week.¬†Machine learning was used to generate some elements of the songs, but it was¬†mostly up to humans to arrange and perform the final tracks.¬†Australia¬†(that was accepted to join the¬†Eurovision club¬†in 2015¬†because¬†they¬†love¬†it so much)¬†won the¬†contest. It used¬†a neural network trained on noises made by¬†downunder‚Äôs¬†favorite¬†pets¬†‚Ästfluffy¬†koalas,¬†laughing¬†kookaburras, and¬†the¬†naturally¬†good-looking¬†Tasmanian¬†devil.¬†How could¬†they¬†not win?¬†¬†

Can we filter out the pandemic too please? [The Atlantic] 

If only we could, but no. However, filters are becoming the status symbol on social media platforms and online calls. Where once lifestyle and travel bloggers would soar the Instagram skies, the coders creating the funniest filters are now king. From a filter that replaces your eyelashes with tiny fingers to one that has baby arms coming out of your ears, people are trying to brighten up their confined days with some virtual dress-up. Even after the crisis, we’ll still have those silly pictures of our heads turning into sharks to remember this time. 

In case you haven’t had enough… 

The lockdown live-streaming numbers are out, and they’re huge (The Verge) 

This ugly t-shirt makes you invisible to facial recognition tech (WIRED) 

Facebook Removes 2.5 Million Posts Selling Masks, Covid Kits (Bloomberg) 

Chips are down for artificial intelligence (Financial Times)