Tech Chatter: AI Doctors, Food Physics, and BIG LASERS

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12:09 AM HKT, Thu July 5, 2018 2 mins read

Nothing like a trade war to get the State-backed tech PR machines humming. Let’s see, what do we have here…

“AI beats human doctors in neuroimaging recognition contest”

Says Xinhua:

An artificial intelligence (AI) system scored 2:0 against elite human physicians Saturday in two rounds of competitions in diagnosing brain tumors and predicting hematoma expansion in Beijing.

The BioMind AI system, developed by the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre for Neurological Disorders at the Beijing Tiantan Hospital and a research team from the Capital Medical University, made correct diagnoses in 87 percent of 225 cases in about 15 minutes, while a team of 15 senior doctors only achieved 66-percent accuracy.

China Daily throws some water on this breakthrough, quoting Antwerp University Hospital radiology chair Dr. Paul Parizel as saying: “it will be the doctor who ultimately decides, as there are a number of factors that a machine cannot take into consideration, such as a patient’s state of health and family situation.”

ai chatter tech bio

“China brings Star Wars to life with ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets a kilometre away”

Breaking out the big guns. Literally. Per the South China Morning Post:

China has developed a new portable laser weapon that can zap a target from nearly a kilometre away, according to researchers involved in the project. […]

Researchers stress that scientists in this field generally agree it would be inhumane to use more powerful weapons that could “carbonise” a living person.

I think we can all generally agree to generally agree on that point. The SCMP‘s report is worth reading in full, but here’s another salient bit:

Instead the document lays stress on the non-lethal applications of the technology.

For instance it says law enforcement could counter “illegal protests” by setting fire to banners from a long distance.

It also says protest leaders could be targeted by setting fire to their clothing or hair which, the document says, would mean they lose “the rhythms of their speech and powers of persuasion”.

Pew pew (source)

Though Hong Kong-based SCMP is not a government-affiliated publication (unlike Xinhua and China Daily), this bombshell report is based on a document from a government-supported research agency out of Xi’an — which is building a mega-funded new science park, FYI — and thus should be taken with a grain of salt. US-based publication Task & Purpose — a military-focused site run by and for service-members and veterans — thinks this presser is “probably bullshit,” noting: “The author of the story refers to this boxy piece of shit as a ’15mm caliber weapon.’ I didn’t realize laser weapons had caliber? Oh wait, they don’t.”

Read their full rebuttal here. If you insist on being worried about recent developments in Chinese firepower, Task & Purpose is pretty impressed by the Chinese Navy’s new electromagnetic railgun.

“Boiling, steaming or rinsing? (physics of the Chinese cuisine)”

On a much softer and note: a researcher from Cornell University has just published a paper on the physics of Chinese food, and to our knowledge there has never been a more delicious academic abstract:

Some physical aspects of Chinese cuisine are discussed. We start from the cultural and historical particularities of the Chinese cuisine and technologies of food production. What is the difference between raw and boiled meat? What is the difference in the physical processes of heat transfer during steaming of dumplings and their cooking in boiling water? Why is it possible to cook meat stripes in a “hot pot” in ten seconds, while baking a turkey requires several hours? This article is devoted to discussion of these questions.

Download the paper here.

Images via Unsplash

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