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Sep 17, 2021

Neurologist Explores Link Between COVID and “Brain Fog,” Memory Loss and Dementia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience, policy

A new Rutgers study will examine how COVID-19 is affecting individuals in a number of cognitive-related areas, including memory loss, “brain fog,” and dementia.

“Many people who recover from mild or moderate COVID-19 notice slowed thinking or memory loss, and this motivated us to leverage our experience in studying cognitive issues related to Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and HIV to examine this phenomenon,” said Dr. William T. Hu, associate professor and chief of cognitive neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research.

A leading cognitive neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Hu is spearheading the characterization of cognitive impairment following mild-to-moderate COVID-19 at Rutgers.

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Sep 9, 2021

Department of Commerce establishes National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee

Posted by in categories: economics, government, law enforcement, policy, robotics/AI

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has announced that the Commerce Department has established a high-level committee to advise the President and other federal agencies on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). Working with the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department is now seeking to recruit top-level candidates to serve on the committee.

A formal notice describing the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) and the call for nominations for the committee and its Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement appears in the Federal Register published today.

“AI presents an enormous opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our time, strengthen our technological competitiveness, and be an engine for growth in nearly every sector of the economy,” said Secretary Raimondo. “But we must be thoughtful, creative, and wise in how we address the challenges that accompany these new technologies. That includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that President Biden’s comprehensive commitment to advancing equity and racial justice extends to our development and use of AI technology. This committee will help the federal government to do that by providing insights into a full range of issues raised by AI.”

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Sep 6, 2021

DeepMind Wants To Change How Reinforcement Learning ‘Collect & Infer’

Posted by in categories: information science, policy, robotics/AI

Reinforcement learning (RL) is the most widely used machine learning algorithm, besides supervised and unsupervised learning and the less common self-supervised and semi-supervised learning. RL focuses on the controlled learning process, where a machine learning algorithm is provided with a set of actions, parameters, and end values. It teaches the machine trial and error.

From a data efficiency perspective, several methods have been proposed, including online setting, reply buffer, storing experience in a transition memory, etc. In recent years, off-policy actor-critic algorithms have been gaining prominence, where RL algorithms can learn from limited data sets entirely without interaction (offline RL).

Sep 1, 2021

New gene therapies may soon treat dozens of rare diseases, but million-dollar price tags will put them out of reach for many

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, policy

Why not eradicate disease for everyone?


Zolgensma – which treats spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disease that damages nerve cells, leading to muscle decay – is currently the most expensive drug in the world. A one-time treatment of the life-saving drug for a young child costs US$2.1 million.

While Zolgensma’s exorbitant price is an outlier today, by the end of the decade there’ll be dozens of cell and gene therapies, costing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for a single dose. The Food and Drug Administration predicts that by2025it will be approving 10 to 20 cell and gene therapies every year.

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Aug 28, 2021

Amazon Just Announced a New Policy, and It’s Pure Genius

Posted by in category: policy

Whether you sell or buy on Amazon — or both — this is good news.

Aug 19, 2021

Maya Abi Chahine, Program Manager, University for Seniors, American University of Beirut

Posted by in categories: education, life extension, policy

“University Of The 3rd Age” — Seniors Staying Intellectually Challenged, Socially Engaged, And Physically And Mentally Healthy — Maya Abi Chahine, University for Seniors, American University of Beirut (AUB)


AUB (https://www.aub.edu.lb/seniors/Pages/default.aspx).

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Aug 17, 2021

Ashley Llorens — VP, Distinguished Scientist & Managing Director, Microsoft Research Outreach

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, policy, robotics/AI

Intelligent systems engineer, STEM advocate, hip-hop artist — ashley llorens, VP, distinguished scientist, managing director microsoft research, microsoft.


Ashley Llorens (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/people/allorens/) is Vice President, Distinguished Scientist & Managing Director, at Microsoft Research Outreach, where he leads a global team to amplify the impact of research at Microsoft and to advance the cause of science and technology research around the world. His team is responsible for driving strategy and execution for Microsoft Research engagement with the rest of Microsoft and with the broader science and technology community, and they invest in high-impact collaborative research projects on behalf of the company, create pipelines for diverse, world-class talent, and generate awareness of the current and envisioned future impact of science and technology research.

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Aug 11, 2021

Big Tech’s Stranglehold on Artificial Intelligence Must Be Regulated

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics, policy, robotics/AI

In other words, the mix of positives and negatives puts this potent new suite of technologies on a knife-edge. Do we have confidence that a handful of companies that have already lost public trust can take AI in the right direction? We should have ample reason for worry considering the business models driving their motivations. To advertising-driven companies like Google and Facebook, it’s clearly beneficial to elevate content that travels faster and draws more attention—and misinformation usually does —while micro-targeting that content by harvesting user data. Consumer product companies, such as Apple, will be motivated to prioritize AI applications that help differentiate and sell their most profitable products—hardly a way to maximize the beneficial impact of AI.

Yet another challenge is the prioritization of innovation resources. The shift online during the pandemic has led to outsized profits for these companies, and concentrated even more power in their hands. They can be expected to try to maintain that momentum by prioritizing those AI investments that are most aligned with their narrow commercial objectives while ignoring the myriad other possibilities. In addition, Big Tech operates in markets with economies of scale, so there is a tendency towards big bets that can waste tremendous resources. Who remembers IBM’s Watson initiative? It aspired to become the universal, go-to digital decision tool, especially in healthcare—and failed to live up to the hype, as did the trendy driverless car initiatives of Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. While failures, false starts, and pivots are a natural part of innovation, expensive big failures driven by a few enormously wealthy companies divert resources away from more diversified investments across a range of socially productive applications.

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Jul 26, 2021

Lisa Gable — Chief Executive Officer — Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, food, government, health, policy

Improving Quality Of Life & Health, For Hundreds Of Millions Globally, Suffering Food Allergies & Intolerances — Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)


Lisa Gable is the Chief Executive Officer, of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE — https://www.foodallergy.org), an organization with a mission to improve the quality of life and the health of 85 million Americans with food allergies and food intolerances, including 32 million of those are at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. To date FARE has turned over $100 million in donor gifts into ground-breaking research and has provided a voice for the community, advocating on its behalf and offering hope for a better tomorrow.

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Jul 25, 2021

With jobkeeper back on the table, it’s once again a good time to talk about how we should deal with welfare as a country

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, security

We hand out cash freely to some people, while we plague others with fraudulent debt notices that may cripple financially, with dire ultimate consequences.

There is a case to be made for a universal basic income (UBI) — an unconditional payment to everyone that ensures the basics of life are catered for. It may give people security to leave a bad situation, or freedom to pursue a new future. No conditions means no bureaucracy, which improves productivity and efficiency, and the universal nature of UBI means even conservatives can get on board.

But how to afford such a payment? Surely giving away free money would blow the budget?

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