AI Trends in 2020, AI algorithm to sniff out disease, and more!

Last Week in AI #106

Mini Briefs

The 2021 AI Index: Major Growth Despite the Pandemic

Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence published the 2021 AI Index report, outlining recent AI trends and developments in 2020. Among their findings are significant increases in private AI R&D, especially in biotech and drug design, the share of AI PhDs going into industry continues to increase over those staying in academia, and advances in generative models are making synthetic media (text, speech, images) more realistic than ever. Covid-19 does not seem to have had a negative effect on AI hiring and investments, and attendance in AI research conferences might have actually gone up due to the accessibility of virtual presentations. The full report, although long, has many insights and interesting data visualizations - would recommend a skim!

AI System Can Sniff Out Disease as Well as Dogs Do

Dogs have long been trained to sniff out diseases from smells. While they can be highly accurate, dogs can get bored and tired, and they can't produce diagnoses consistently. Motivated by this, a recent study developed a system that developed an AI system to diagnose prostate cancer from the smell of urine samples. This is done by training a neural network to map observations from Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry to known positive and negative samples. The system was able to identify positive cases 71% of the time, and negative cases around 70% of the time. While a promising first step, the researchers note the accuracies are not high enough for the system to be used in diagnosis. In the future, they hope to improve the system's performance and integrate it with hand-held smell detection devices.

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