3 things direct from the future

3rd Edition

Once every 2 weeks I will deliver “3 things direct from the future”. A 2 minute read that will always give you:

  • one thing that can help,
  • one thing to be wary of, and
  • one thing to amaze.

If this sounds interesting to you then please subscribe.


1. One thing that can help

Neural networks are accurately predicting up to two-thirds of all hospital re-admissions for heart failure – so doctors know who is likely to come back in. That’s amazing in itself but the major benefit comes with the information of what risk-factors were most common in those who needed to be readmitted. That’s life changing stuff.

Neural networks

Neural networks (inspired by your amazing biological neural network) are a collection of algorithms designed to be efficient at recognising patterns.

This “attention-based” approach https://bit.ly/3heUMwC is allowing doctors a window into the reasons why a machine-learning algorithm came up with the result it did. “Hey Daniel, your heart failed but if you do X and Y, and avoid A and B, you will most likely not need to be readmitted”. I’m down with that.


2. One thing to be wary of

The US Secret Service is now a paying client of a company called Babel Street and their new product Locate X. Locate X uses the location data from popular apps and allows their clients to access data including what devices were active in a particular location at a particular time. Because this information does not need to be requested from the source company, it skirts around the need for a warrant.

Do we care? This is yet another case of technology being awesome or evil, depending on how us humans use it. It is in such early days that questions like:

  • how reliable is this information?
  • can it be used in a court of law?
  • what are the restictions around use?
  • can it be sold to governements / marketers / police / ex-husbands/wives?

OK, so I realise this is sounding a bit conspiratorial but as we venture into the new world, these are questions that will be asked with increasing frequency.


3. One thing to amaze

Who doesn’t love a good rocket launch? And this one was amazing!

The reusable Falcon 9 rocket went into space for the 6th time, taking a further 58 Starlink satellites into orbit with the goal of providing reliable, low-cost and most importantly – global – internet access from space. Make sure you watch to (or skip to) the end to see the amazing landing on a ship in the ocean.

Have a great week.

Daniel J McKinnon

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