Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
AI’s DNA Breakthrough
Google’s AI firm, DeepMind, has used artificial intelligence to identify potentially disease-causing mutations in human DNA. The cutting-edge technology has reportedly identified 89% of key mutations, a result that will lead to faster diagnoses and aid the search for effective treatments. Prof Ewan Birney, of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, said the breakthrough would direct clinical researchers to potential disease-causing regions which could then be looked at to find better treatments for patients.
DeepMind’s system, named AlphaMissense, checks DNA component orders. Last year, the same AI learned to recognise human body protein shapes. AlphaMissense determines if DNA sequences produce the correct protein shapes, with any anomalies potentially indicating diseases. Previously, only 0.1% of DNA mutations were classified; the 89% achieved by DeepMind’s system represents a significant step forward for medicine. The new tool has already been trialled by Genomics England in collaboration with the NHS and is expected to bring immediate benefits to the health sector. The NHS is set to be one of the first services to take advantage.
The National Trust has employed a robotic dog to inspect two Cold War-era weapons testing facilities at Orford Ness, Suffolk. Previously a military testing location, the site now functions as a nature reserve. Unfortunately, the now defunct testing sites, which were constructed in 1960, remain off-limits to staff and visitors due to safety concerns. Their primary purpose was to simulate the conditions that atomic bombs might undergo before detonation. While no nuclear substances were ever used at Orford Ness, there may still be unexploded ordnance at the site which makes it unsafe for human visitors.
Instead of risking human inspectors, the National Trust has used the services of the robotic dog, Spot, created by Boston Dynamics, together with drones, to survey the buildings safely. Able to traverse various terrains and equipped with sensors, the robot can record intricate details, providing data that will assist in virtually recreating the structures, offering an inside look for the public.
IT Talent Snub
New research from Gartner reveals that IT job seekers are increasingly demanding more benefits and incentives. Over the past year, 50% of candidates who accepted job offers withdrew before commencing, claiming that employers didn’t meet their expectations. The survey showed that 35% received four or more offers in their recent job hunt, and almost half still remained open to other offers after accepting a new post. Flexibility benefits were a key factor for 59% of applicants who initially accepted roles.
The research highlighted the changing expectations, with 90% of candidates abandoning the hiring process due to being dissatisfied with aspects such as salary, flexibility, career growth, team diversity and managerial style. Furthermore, 68% of job seekers sought specific salary information in job listings, and 75% of seekers who can work remotely prefer the option to do it for more than half their working hours.
Server Maintenance Issues
Production at 14 Toyota manufacturing sites in Japan came to a standstill this month due to a server maintenance error. During routine maintenance insufficient disk space triggered a system error, bringing operations to a grinding halt. Further complications arose when backup servers, operating on the same system, faced similar issues, blocking a system switchover. The issue kept systems offline for over a day until data was shifted to a larger-capacity server. Following the incident, Toyota now plans a comprehensive review of its server maintenance procedures.
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AI Sonic Identity
The advertising industry is now starting to use AI to help brands create a competitive ‘sonic identity’ amidst the proliferation of sounds in the modern world. According to advertising entrepreneur Michele Arnese, a brand’s sound needs to adapt according to the customer’s experience, and only AI can achieve this dynamism. Arnese’s company, Amp, founded in 2009, uses AI to design various sounds for brands. These range from short noises when an app opens to full-length compositions for podcasts. Arnese’s team creates a unique 90-second track for each of its clients, what he calls the brand’s Sonic DNA. AI then checks its uniqueness and impact, and subsequently, generates countless remixes suitable for various digital media. This AI-driven approach ensures brand consistency, cost-effectiveness and scalability.
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