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Facebook Uses AI To Predict If COVID-19 Patients Will Need More Care

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 21:02
Facebook is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to help doctors predict whether they will need more resources, such as extra oxygen to care for COVID-19 patients in hospitals. CNET reports: The social network said Friday it developed two AI models, one based on a single chest X-ray, and another from a series X-rays, that could help forecast if a patient infected by the coronavirus is likely to get worse. A third model predicts the amount of extra oxygen a COVID-19 patient might need. Facebook's AI models generally did a better job than a human when it came to forecasting up to four days in advance if a patient will need more intensive care resources. Partnering with with New York University Langone Health's Predictive Analytics Unit and Department of Radiology, Facebook's AI research is another example of how tech companies are trying to help the health industry battle COVID-19. [...] Facebook's models rely on a technique in which AI learns on its own rather than depending on data labelled by humans, which can be a time-consuming process. The social network and NYU are publishing their research and open sourcing the AI models.

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Amazon.com and 'Big Five' Publishers Accused of eBook Price-Fixing

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 20:25
Amazon.com and the "Big Five" publishers -- Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster -- have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago. The Guardian reports: The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers "co-conspirators." It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as "Most Favored Nations" (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com. The lawsuit claims that almost 90% of all ebooks sold in the US are sold on Amazon, in addition to over 50% of all print books. The suit alleges that ebook prices dropped in 2013 and 2014 after Apple and major publishers were successfully sued for conspiring to set ebook prices, but rose again after Amazon renegotiated their contracts in 2015. "In violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, Defendant and the Big Five Co-conspirators agreed to various anti-competitive MFNs and anti-competitive provisions that functioned the same as MFNs," the complaint states. "Amazon's agreement with its Co-conspirators is an unreasonable restraint of trade that prevents competitive pricing and causes Plaintiffs and other consumers to overpay when they purchase ebooks from the Big Five through an ebook retailer that competes with Amazon. That harm persists and will not abate unless Amazon and the Big Five are stopped." The suit seeks compensation for consumers who purchased ebooks through competitors, damages and injunctive relief that would require Amazon and the publishers to "stop enforcing anti-competitive price restraints."

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Apple Plans First iMac Desktop Redesign In Nearly a Decade

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 19:45
In addition to upgraded MacBook Pros, Bloomberg reports that Apple is also "planning the first redesign of its iMac all-in-one desktop computer since 2012," as it shifts away from Intel to its own silicon. From the report: The new models will slim down the thick black borders around the screen and do away with the sizable metal chin area in favor of a design similar to Apple's Pro Display XDR monitor. These iMacs will have a flat back, moving away from the curved rear of the current iMac. Apple is planning to launch two versions -- codenamed J456 and J457 -- to replace the existing 21.5-inch and 27-inch models later this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the products are not yet announced. The new models will use next-generation versions of Apple's Mac processors like the upcoming 2021 MacBook Pros. The iMac redesign will be one of the biggest visual updates to any Apple product this year, according to people familiar with the company's roadmap. Apple is also working on a pair of new Mac Pro desktop computers, its priciest Mac machines that don't come with a screen included, the people said. One version is a direct update to the current Mac Pro and will continue to use the same design as the version launched in 2019. Apple has discussed continuing to use Intel processors for that model rather than moving to its own chips. The second version, however, will use Apple's own processors and be less than half the size of the current Mac Pro. The design will feature a mostly aluminum exterior and could invoke nostalgia for the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived smaller version of the Power Mac, an earlier iteration of the Mac Pro. Apple has also reportedly started development of a cheaper external monitor to sell alongside the Pro Display XDR. "The cheaper monitor would feature a screen geared more for consumer than professional use and wouldn't have the brightness and contrast ratio of the top-tier offering," reports Bloomberg.

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