Who let the dog out? [Reuters]
Singapore is using a “robodog” named SPOT to remind joggers and cyclists to respect social distancing to help reduce the number of COVID-19–related 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’s 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 “robodogs” in parks – they’re also in hospitals helping healthcare workers assess patients while avoiding contact with them. Also called Spot, Boston Dynamic’s 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 – 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 – 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 live-streamed earlier 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’s favorite pets – fluffy 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…
Chips are down for artificial intelligence (Financial Times)