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A new study shows what it might take to make AI useful in health care

Early studies of ICU patients have shown that movement can accelerate healing, reduce delirium, and prevent muscle atrophy, but the scope of those studies has been limited by the challenges of monitoring patients at scale.

Depth sensors were installed in seven individual patient rooms and collected three-dimensional silhouette data 24 hours a day over the course of two months.

The results showed preliminary success: on average, the algorithm for detecting mobility activities correctly identified the activities a patient was performing 87% of the time.

For example, through discussions with the nurses and other hospital staff, the AI researchers concluded that using depth sensors rather than regular cameras would protect the privacy of patients and personnel.

“The clinicians I worked with—we discussed computer vision and AI for years,” says Serena Yeung, one of the lead authors on the paper, who will become an assistant professor of biomedical data science at Stanford this fall.

The approach meant the study went slowly: it took time to get buy-in from all levels of the hospital, and it was technically complex to analyze the hectic, messy environment of the ICU while using only silhouette data.

But taking this time was absolutely critical to design a safe, effective prototype of a system that will one day be genuinely beneficial to the patients and care staff, says Yeung.

The pressure to move fast and publish quickly leads researchers to avoid projects that don’t produce immediate results, and the privatization of a lot of AI funding hurts projects without clear commercialization opportunities.

“It is rare to see people working on an end-to-end system in the real world, and also spending the many years that it takes and doing the grunt work that is required to do this type of impactful work,” says Timnit Gebru, co-lead of the Ethical AI Team at Google, who was not involved in the research.

It’s still 2017 for one crypto exchange

Much of the blockchain world might be feeling crypto winter’s bite, but one of the world’s most popular exchanges seems to have its own weather system.

(The Launchpad ICOs have not been available to investors in the US.) Token sales open to regular investors, and not just wealthy people and financial institutions, have ground to a halt in many countries amid increased scrutiny from government officials that enforce investor protection laws in securities markets.

During an investor panel last weekend at South by Southwest, Kyle Samani,co-founder of crypto hedge fund Multicoin Capital (which has invested in Binance), ventured that it might be too late for regulators to rein in the company: “You can say it’s illegal, and maybe you try and block IP addresses—that’s not clear if that will work in a meaningful way.

It’s unlikely that the leadership goes to jail, because they’re probably not in a country where anyone can arrest them.” Samani called Binance “the most important company in crypto.” There’s no denying that Binance has already become influential on the world stage.

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