London (U.K.). July 30 (Canadian-Media): The artificial cells could be used to sense changes in the body and respond by releasing drug molecules, or to sense and remove harmful metals in the environment, Phys.org reports said.
Building a synthetic pathway. Credit: Imperial College London
Responding to chemical changes is a crucial function of biological cells. For example, cells can respond to chemicals by creating certain proteins, boosting energy production, or self-destructing. Chemicals are also used by cells to communicate with each other and coordinate a response or send a signal, such as a pain impulse.
However, in natural cells these chemical responses can be very complex, involving multiple steps. This makes them difficult to engineer, for example if researchers wanted to make natural cells produce something useful, like a drug molecule.
Instead, the Imperial researchers are creating artificial cells that mimic these chemical responses in a much simpler way, allowing them to be more easily engineered.
Now, the team have created the first artificial cells that can sense and respond to an external chemical signal through activation of an artificial signalling pathway. They created cells that sense calcium ions and respond by fluorescing (glowing). Their results are published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
First author James Hindley, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial, said: "These systems could be developed for use across biotechnology. For example, we could envisage creating artificial cells that can sense cancer markers and synthesise a drug within the body, or artificial cells that can sense dangerous heavy metals in the environment and release selective sponges to clean them up."
The team created an artificial cell that has smaller cells ('vesicles') inside. The edge of the cell is formed of a membrane that contains pores, which allow calcium ions to enter. Inside the cell, the calcium ions activate enzymes that cause the vesicles to release particles that fluoresce.
James added: "Biology has evolved to be robust by using complex metabolic and regulatory networks. This can make editing cells difficult, as many existing chemical response pathways are extremely complicated to copy or engineer.
"Instead, we created a truncated version of a pathway found in nature, using artificial cells and elements from different natural systems to make a shorter, more efficient pathway that produces the same results."
The researchers' system is simpler because it doesn't need to account for many of the things cells need to get around in natural systems—such as by-products that are toxic to the cell.
Within the system, the membrane pores and the enzymes activated by calcium are from existing biological systems—the enzyme is taken from bee venom for example—but they would not be found in the same environment in nature.
The researchers say this is the strength of using artificial cells to create chemical responses—they can more easily mix elements found apart in nature than they can add an external element into an existing biological system.
#Machinelearningtechnology; ComputersCanStudyHumanEmotions; #EmoNet
Colorado (U.S.), July 28 (Canadian-Media): Could a computer, at a glance, tell the difference between a joyful image and a depressing one? Could it distinguish, in a few milliseconds, a romantic comedy from a horror film? Yes, and so can your brain, according to research published this week by CU Boulder neuroscientists, Medical X Press reports said.
Researchers use fMRI brain imaging technology at CU Boulder. Credit: Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder
"Machine learning technology is getting really good at recognizing the content of images—of deciphering what kind of object it is," said senior author Tor Wager, who worked on the study while a professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder. "We wanted to ask: Could it do the same with emotions? The answer is yes."
Part machine-learning innovation, part human brain-imaging study, the paper, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, marks an important step forward in the application of "neural networks"—computer systems modeled after the human brain—to the study of emotion.
It also sheds a new, different light on how and where images are represented in the human brain, suggesting that what we see—even briefly—could have a greater, more swift impact on our emotions than we might assume.
"A lot of people assume that humans evaluate their environment in a certain way and emotions follow from specific, ancestrally older brain systems like the limbic system," said lead author Philip Kragel, a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute of Cognitive Science. "We found that the visual cortex itself also plays an important role in the processing and perception of emotion."
Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder
The birth of EmoNet
For the study, Kragel started with an existing neural network, called AlexNet, which enables computers to recognize objects. Using prior research that identified stereotypical emotional responses to images, he retooled the network to predict how a person would feel when they see a certain image.
He then "showed" the new network, dubbed EmoNet, 25,000 images ranging from erotic photos to nature scenes and asked it to categorize them into 20 categories such as craving, sexual desire, horror, awe and surprise.
EmoNet could accurately and consistently categorize 11 of the emotion types. But it was better at recognizing some than others. For instance, it identified photos that evoke craving or sexual desire with more than 95 percent accuracy. But it had a harder time with more nuanced emotions like confusion, awe and surprise.
Even a simple color elicited a prediction of an emotion: When EmoNet saw a black screen, it registered anxiety. Red conjured craving. Puppies evoked amusement. If there were two of them, it picked romance. EmoNet was also able to reliably rate the intensity of images, identifying not only the emotion it might illicit but how strong it might be.
When the researchers showed EmoNet brief movie clips and asked it to categorize them as romantic comedies, action films or horror movies, it got it right three-quarters of the time.
What you see is how you feel
To further test and refine EmoNet, the researchers then brought in 18 human subjects.
CU Boulder postdoctoral researcher Philip Kragel. Credit: Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder
As a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine measured their brain activity, they were shown 4-second flashes of 112 images. EmoNet saw the same pictures, essentially serving as the 19th subject.
When activity in the neural network was compared to that in the subjects' brains, the patterns matched up.
"We found a correspondence between patterns of brain activity in the occipital lobe and units in EmoNet that code for specific emotions. This means that EmoNet learned to represent emotions in a way that is biologically plausible, even though we did not explicitly train it to do so," said Kragel.
The brain imaging itself also yielded some surprising findings. Even a brief, basic image—an object or a face—could ignite emotion-related activity in the visual cortex of the brain. And different kinds of emotions lit up different regions.
"This shows that emotions are not just add-ons that happen later in different areas of the brain," said Wager, now a professor at Dartmouth College. "Our brains are recognizing them, categorizing them and responding to them very early on."
Ultimately, the researchers say, neural networks like EmoNet could be used in technologies to help people digitally screen out negative images or find positive ones. It could also be applied to improve computer-human interactions and help advance emotion research.
The takeaway for now, says Kragel:
"What you see and what your surroundings are can make a big difference in your emotional life."
Lucan (Ontario), July 23 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made today by Ontario Premier Doug Ford joined by Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure; Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture; and Monte McNaughton, Member of Provincial Parliament for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and Minister of Labour that province's first-ever, $315 million plan to improve and expand service to help people in rural and remote communities with better connectivity, media reports said.
"Our government committed to help businesses, families, and farms stay connected - no matter where they live," said Ford. "Open for Business has to mean Open for Everybody...get infrastructure built, and get people and business connected. With our plan, businesses, families and workers can count on an Ontario that will move faster than ever before."
The plan includes a $150 million commitment for a new broadband fund and is expected to generate up to $1 billion in total investment over five years, resulting in new connections for up to 220,000 homes and businesses for their social and economic benefits.
Ontario has committed $71 million toward the $213 million Eastern Ontario Regional Network project, to support the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project in Southwestern Ontario, the Niagara Region and the Town of Caledon, and also maximizing the use of existing government assets and programs and modernizing government to cut red tape to encourage broadband and cellular expansion.
Montreal (Quebec), Jul 10 (Canadian-Media): Mary Ng, Federal Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion announced today an investment, through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, of up to $3.2 million in the École des entrepreneurs du Québec, an organization that develops entrepreneurial skills by providing an accessible, innovative and collaborative learning environment, media reports said.
Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, joined by local women entrepreneurs, business leaders and representatives of the WES Québec celebrated today women’s entrepreneurship in Canada and complements Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality, including pay equity, more affordable child care and putting an end to gender-based violence with the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do...a strategy that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by increasing their access to financing, networks and advice. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return,” said Mary Ng.
WES will help our government achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.
“We are committed to supporting women in business and ensuring their full and equal participation in our economy...Today’s investments will help women-owned and women-led businesses here in Montréal and all across Quebec grow, innovate and export to new markets,” said Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for Outremont.
#AI; #UN: #intractable problems; #UNCTAD; #SDG
United Nations, May 14 (Canadian-Media/UN): Frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can, if properly harnessed, help solve the world’s most intractable problems, said speakers at the opening session of the United Nations (UN)’ top forum on science and technology for development on 13 May, UN reports said.
The twenty-second annual session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) started with experts discussing the pace, challenges and promises offered by rapid technological change.
“We need to ensure science, technology and innovation (STIs) contribute to sustainable and inclusive development,” said UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant, while opening the event held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Instead, the machines would ‘learn’ from examples and generate solutions, which would have a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, Mr. Schmidhuber said.
He said through “active AI” machines could learn just about anything, like babies do, and develop their own solutions to many problems.
Though currently expensive, AI would gradually become more affordable people, said Mr. Schmidhuber, citing the example of mobile phones, which had become cheaper over time.
“In the long run, AI will be very cheap and democratic. We are going to see the ideas and techniques that make robots smart spreading. Everyone will benefit,” Mr. Schmidhuber said.
However, in the transition period, there would be winners and losers, he warned, necessitating measures to soften the blows of rapid technological change.
The other “great mind”, Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, said when the internet was created 30 years ago, greater focus was laid on its positive impact – the democratization of knowledge.
“Little did we know it would be used to launch attacks on our democracy,” said Ms. Hall, who co-founded the Web Science Trust with Sir Tim Berners Lee and others. “We have to work on how to fix the negative impacts of our technologies.”
Ms. Hall said lessons could be learned from mistakes made in the past to minimize the potential negative impacts of frontier technologies.
“This is a live experiment we have done over the last 30 years,” said Ms. Hall, who helped develop the United Kingdom’s AI strategy review.
She said discussions taking place at the Commission could help guide the development of policies to ensure such technologies are safely deployed.
“We have to look at the ethics of what we are developing. We have to lay the groundwork now,” Ms. Hall said.
For instance, she said people creating AI software needed to be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture, race, religion, age and accessibility. “If AI isn’t diverse, it is not ethical,” underlined Ms. Hall.
Equally important was developing skills in developing countries to spread the benefits of AI and other frontier technologies, Ms. Hall said.
Ms. Hall also noted the importance of maintaining a human presence in the design and deployment of frontier technologies.
“Imagine when machines go wrong, for example, in an old age home. Who fixes them?” posed Ms. Hall. “Or when we put something in our home and the company that build it goes out of business?”
New technologies also presented the means to face the climate challenge and reduce the ever-rising emissions of carbon dioxide, said Carlo Rubbia, the third “great mind.”
“Elimination of carbon dioxide emissions is of importance to the future of mankind,” said Mr. Rubbia, a former director-general of CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, and joint Nobel prize winner in physics for his contributions to particle physics, which led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z.
Renewable energy was one the most effective tools in the fight against climate change, as it could help in reducing emissions from fossil fuels, Mr. Rubbia said.
Mr. Rubbia noted that science had been become international, with countries such as China creating technological solutions in areas previously dominated by Europe and the United States.
The “great minds” discussion was moderated by award-winning journalist Didi Akinyuelure.
In a video message to the attendees, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Inga Rhonda King said STIs were cross-cutting and pertinent to all SDGs.
The Commission is taking place from 13 to 17 May. It is a subsidiary body of the ECOSOC and provides the General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues.
UNCTAD is responsible for the substantive servicing of the Commission.
Ms. Durant said the CSTD could be a catalyst for closer collaboration to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to address development challenges.
The role of technologies in fostering sustainable development was undeniable, but they also presented issues whose solutions required inclusive dialogue, Ms. Durant noted.
For instance, rapid technological change could exacerbate inequalities within and between countries, slowing down progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We need a global dialogue on harnessing technology while at the same time protecting our social and economic well-being,” Ms. Durant said.
Conversation with great minds
Three distinguished scientists shared their perspectives in a session entitled “A Conversation with Great Minds”, livestreamed on Facebook.
AI, which involves using technology to solve problems that used to require human intelligence, will shape our future in ways not seen before, said Jürgen Schmidhuber, one of the “great minds”.
“We will see the rise of machines that don’t slavishly imitate,” said Mr. Schmidhuber, director and professor at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA and co-founder and chief scientist at the AI research company NNAISENCE.
#UNCSTD; #EconomicandSocialCouncil; #STI; #WorldSummitontheInformationSociety;
United Nations, May 14 (Canadian-Media): The twenty-second session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) will be held at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 to 17 May 2019, United Nations (UN) reports said.
CSTD/Image Credit: UN
The CSTD is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations focal point for science, technology and innovation (STI) for development, in analyzing how STI, including information and communications technologies (ICTs), serve as enablers of the 2030 Agenda.
It acts as a forum for strategic planning, sharing lessons learned and best practices, providing foresight about critical trends in STI in key sectors of the economy, the environment and society, and drawing attention to emerging and disruptive technologies.
Every year, the Commission has two priority themes. This year these are:
The twenty-second session will also review the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
In addition, the Commission will hear presentations on national science, technology and innovation policy reviews (STIP Reviews).
Participants will include ministers and representatives of governments, civil society, the business community, academia and international and regional organizations. Most member States will be represented by high-level delegations.
The opening of the session will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13 May 2019.
The first day will consist of an opening ceremony followed by a special segment devoted to A Conversation with Great Minds – a dialogue between eminent thinkers in science and technology, which will be moderated by an award-winning journalist. It will continue with two high-level roundtables:
#UNCommissiononScienceandTechnologyforDevelopment; #inclusiveness; #SDGs; #multi-stakeholderinvolvement; #artificialintelligence;
United Nations, May 14 (Canadian-Media/UN): Today, more than ever before, a wealth of opportunities are within reach to provide solutions to many of the global challenges that have for far too long impeded sustainable pathways to development – thanks to the rapid advances made in technology, United Nations (UN) reports said.
United Nations/ facebook
The global community is faced with unprecedented possibilities to eliminate hunger, poverty, ignorance, disease, environmental degradation, and thereby accelerate progress towards the 2030 Development Agenda.
Yet the rapid and accelerating speed of technological progress sometimes outpaces the ability of societies to adapt to the ensuing social and economic changes. It’s in retrospect that we find that technological change leads to unintended consequences that we could never have anticipated.
“This is not an issue of only understanding the designs, characteristics, and functions of specific scientific and technological applications,” says Shamika Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics.
“Rather, it involves analysing how frontier technologies are adopted, adapted, and implicated in complex social, political, and environmental settings,” she says.
The twenty-second annual session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), convening from 13 to 17 May in Geneva, addresses some profound questions on the implications of rapid technological change for sustainable development.
While frontier technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to transform the practice, implementation and monitoring of sustainable development, they also pose considerable normative questions.
For example, social media platforms were designed to connect us not only to those with whom we share existing affiliations but also to others whose locations, perspectives, and ideas differed from our own. Instead, these platforms are being manipulated to further divide communities and to make it difficult for different stakeholders to find common ground.
Ground-breaking advances in gene editing holds the promise to improve human, animal and plant health. But unsafe applications without regulatory oversight could unexpectedly harm the health of humanity and the environment.
And arguably one of the most transformative technological developments of our time – artificial intelligence – could be used to help identify solutions to our most intractable economic, social and environmental challenges. However, its applications in public and private sectors could counterintuitively scale inequality and make the world less secure.
As we begin to grasp the multifaceted nature of rapid technological progress, it calls into question how we can shape global mechanisms and platforms to better understand how technology evolves and impacts our world.
Technological change and innovation cannot be understood and harnessed any longer using national frameworks only. Frontier technologies are created and deployed through global networks and their implications quickly extend far beyond the regions where they originally emerge.
“We need to develop tools that all countries can use to understand how technological change is relevant for their own development and assess its economic and social benefits, consequences and feedbacks,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant says.
The supranational implications of technologies have to be considered by technology assessments, and must involve multiple stakeholders, and assist national policymakers in developed and developing countries to enhance their capacities to make sense of rapid technological change.
Beyond understanding innovation and its potential impacts, the international community needs to define the shared values that define the direction in which rapid technological should proceed.
There has been a proliferation of initiatives to address the normative dimensions of various new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, gene editing, and other transformative and disruptive technologies.
The principles of inclusiveness
This bottom-up emergence of values, standards and norms points to the need for a global discussion and consensus on how to promote innovation while protecting our health, the environment, and our economic, social, and political institutions.
The principles of inclusiveness and multi-stakeholder involvement must be embedded at the heart of any global discourse on technological change, to ensure coherence between multiple initiatives and their consistence with the international community’s development agenda.
Developing countries, especially least developed countries, not engaged in the development of frontier technologies but likely to be affected by their consequences, need to be part of this global discourse.
#Toronto, #World'sAICapital; #MaRSDiscoveryDistrict; #Collision; AIEcosystem; #MonaSiddiqui, HichamOudghiri, #DaphneKoller, #StephenWolfram, #Enigma; #U.S.DepartmentofHealthandHumanServices; #Coursera; #WolframResearch
Toronto, May 1 (Canadian-Media): Computing power caught up to their mathematics by a small group of researchers from Toronto led by Geoffrey Hinton worked at MaRS Discovery District (MaRSDD) and the world woke up to the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and made Toronto as the worlds's AI capital, MaRSDD reports said.
Image Credit: MaRsDD/Toronto Abstract
With the booming of this industry, talent and expertise built up in this region over years have made Toronto a top destination for companies to find a competitive edge. Major investments in AI labs here have been made by Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, Uber, Intel, LG, General Motors and Thomson Reuters. Innovative AI-based products for sectors ranging from security and advanced manufacturing to farming and financial services are being delivered by Toronto’s thriving startup ecosystem, the fastest growing in North America.
That also makes Toronto a natural home for Collision, the fastest-growing tech conference in North America, now in its fifth year. The conference, taking place at the Enercare Centre, Toronto this May, is expected to draw 25,000 attendees and is a major event for North American startups, investors, corporates and scientists.
Citing Toronto’s flourishing AI ecosystem, Collision CEO Paddy Cosgrave has decided to stage the conference here for the next three years.
Toronto prepares to welcome the AI community’s most brilliant minds. The four noteworthy speakers would be: Mona Siddiqui, chief data officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Hicham Oudghiri, co-founder and CEO, Enigma; Daphne Koller, co-founder and co-chairman, Coursera; Stephen Wolfram, founder and CEO, Wolfram Research.
#MolecularFoundry; #LawrenceBerkeleyNationalLaboratory; #nanoribbons
#electromagneticradiation; #NERSC; #nano-geometries,
Toronto, Apr 30 (Canadian-Media): When scientists are trying to make things better, they will often turn to a standard rule and try to disprove or disrupt it, United States' Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers said.
Image Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
A consortium of researchers using the unique Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) set out to do just that with Planck's Law.
Planck's Law, which forms the basis of quantum theory, states that electromagnetic radiation from heated bodies is distributed over a wide range of wavelengths and wide range of angles.
However, Max Planck himself noted that the emitting energy distribution would deviate significantly from his law if the characteristic size of the emitting object is smaller than the thermal wavelength (about 10 micrometers at room temperature). With the advent of micro- and nanotechnology, it is easy to fabricate materials where Planck's Law will not hold.
The researchers set out to determine the deviation from Planck's Law in order to understand this impact on technologies based on nano- and micro-structured geometries. Imagine a thermal storage material that converts electricity to heat and then radiates it to a photovoltaic cell to get the electricity back when desired. The radiative emitter from the thermal storage could be made from nanostructures to maximize the performance.
Another example is in the area of high temperature nano-geometry-based thermoelectrics, where high temperature waste heat is converted to electricity. It is important to understand the radiation from these nanoscale features, as radiation is the dominant source of heat leakage at high temperatures and will lead to reduction in heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency.
Research like this is what U.S. national laboratories focus on. Researchers ask the questions and do the experiments that industry may not be able to support early on.
Scientific user facilities such as the Molecular Foundry also aid in this type of research. The Molecular Foundry is a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded nanoscience research entity that provides users from around the world with access to cutting-edge expertise, instrumentation and modeling tools in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment.
In this case, researchers used the radiation models available in the Molecular Foundry to model the thermal radiation from rectangular nanoribbons of silica glass, a polar dielectric material. The modeling was performed using supercomputers in the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), another DOE user facility located at Berkeley Lab. The experiments were conducted by researchers at University of California, San Diego.
"Nobody has explored the relative behavior of nano-geometries, particularly anisotropic nano-geometries—nanostructures that are rectangular in cross-section—in this way," said Ravi Prasher, one of the researchers.
Practical applications for this early-stage energy conversion are important for many renewable energy applications, such as concentrated solar electricity production, water desalination, thermochemical reactions, water heating, and thermal storage.
The publication, "Far-field coherent thermal emission from polaritonic resonance in individual anisotropic nanoribbons," was published in Nature Communications in March 2019.
#detectionofhatespeech; #fakenews; #StaViCTA; #KostiantynKucher; #academicresearch; #businessintelligence; #socialmediatexts; #journalism; #artificialintelligence
Sweden, Apr 29 (Canadian-Media): How can you find and make sense of opinions and emotions in the vast amount of texts in social media? Kostiantyn Kucher's research helps visualise for instance public opinions on political issues in tweets over time. In the future, analysis and visualisation of sentiment and stance could contribute to such tasks as detection of hate speech and fake news, Sweden's Linnaeus University research said.
Our society relies on language and text to express our thoughts, exchange opinions, and gain new knowledge. But with so much text data being produced nowadays, in particular in social media, it's impossible to read everything manually. In his dissertation in computer science at Linnaeus University, Kostiantyn Kucher has looked for a solution to this problem.
"My research shows how one can investigate and make sense of opinions and emotions in collections of text data by combining computerised text mining methods and interactive visual representations, that is, special types of charts and graphs," says Kostiantyn Kucher.
As part of a research project called StaViCTA, Kostiantyn and colleagues have provided online survey browsers that are now used by researchers, practitioners, and students interested in text visualisation (http://textvis.lnu.se and http://sentimentvis.lnu.se). They have designed and implemented multiple visual analytics approaches that have helped their collaborators in linguistics and computational linguistics in their research on stance analysis.
The approaches presented in the dissertation can be applied in academic research, business intelligence, social media monitoring, and journalism. Besides social media texts, these approaches can also be used to visualise stance in books and business reports, for instance.
"In the future, analysis and visualisation of sentiment and stance could contribute to such tasks as detection of hate speech and fake news, improvement and adaptation of graphical user interfaces in software and web applications, and visual representation of the models used by artificial intelligence agents," concludes Kostiantyn Kucher.