Science and Technology links (May 12th, 2017)

The Apple watch can be used to diagnose heart disease automatically. This is not marketing talk, but hard research. And, of course, there is no reason for this kind of work to be limited to Apple products. In the near future, many of us, beyond a certain age, will wear devices monitoring our health. It only makes sense.

Nvidia released new processors based on the Volta architecture. The new V100 card is made of 21 billion transistors and has hundreds of cores dedicated to deep learning (called tensor cores). It seems that Nvidia has no problem bumping up the performance of its chips year after year.

Could the industrial revolution have arisen in France? Howes points out that French scientists were said to be rather more concerned with abstract theorising than with applying their knowledge.

Apple is the first company to be worth $800 billion. Its main product is the iPhone, a product that did not exist 10 years ago.

Amazon is selling a $230 device (Echo Show) that you can talk to, use as a touchscreen and use to make video calls. Yes. $230.

Published in Nature: A chronic low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice. In other words, cannabis could rejuvenate your brain. Now that cannabis is being decriminalized in North America, we might get to learn a lot more about it is medical uses.

Kinsey reflects on the fact that current machine learning techniques require large budgets:

 many of the papers deemed most significant relied on massive compute resource that is usually unavailable to academics.

I would add that access to the data is also limited outside large corporations like Google. The fact that progress depends on large corporations is hardly new of course. It is not like academics can design new computer chips to compete with Intel.

North American Robotics Market Surges 32 Percent.

According to Nature: A fully organic retinal prosthesis restores vision in a rat model of degenerative blindness.

Again in Nature: Generation of inner ear organoids containing functional hair cells from human pluripotent stem cells.

Some researchers claimed to have figured out what causes our hair to turn gray with age: our findings reveal the identities of hair matrix progenitors that regulate hair growth and pigmentation. The interesting part of the story is that we don’t know what causes hair to become gray, though it is assuredly the result of uncontrolled oxidation. Whether these researchers have cracked the problem is another story.

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