Science and Technology links (February 29th 2020)

  1. No one really understands how planes fly. This puts a dent in the model whereas inventions follows theory.
  2. Physician salaries and diagnostic tests account for 4% of GDP in the US.
  3. A supplement (NMN) available to human beings has been used in mice: it restores fertility in old female mice.
  4. The investment firm Andreesen Horowitz is critical of artificial intelligence start-ups. It finds that they have low margins due to the cost of training models using many computers on the cloud. They may fail to scale due to the difficulty of generalizing use cases. And they are subject to commodification. That is, “artificial intelligence” as a business proposition may be far less profitable than typical “software” ventures.
  5. The most profitable businesses tend to be started by older people who have lots of experience in a specific industry.
  6. Dog can detect heat sources far away (1.6 meters) with their nose.
  7. Cancer patients received genetically edited immune cells (using CRISPR). It turned out well.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

One thought on “Science and Technology links (February 29th 2020)”

  1. Many traditional engineering innovations are based on empirically derived data, including the lift data that started with Otto Lilienthal:

    Lilienthal’s research was well known to the Wright brothers, and they credited him as a major inspiration for their decision to pursue manned flight. However, they abandoned his aeronautical data after two seasons of gliding and began using their own wind tunnel data.

    The Wright Flyer was perhaps the greatest example of simultaneous engineering innovation required to solve a single problem: heavier than air flight. Perhaps as a society we underestimate the applied sciences and underemphasize the importance of empirical breakthroughs. The Wright Brothers’ wind tunnel data was “good enough” in the classic refrain of engineers everywhere. It is a fantastic story and it is mostly mistold.

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