The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Yesterday Hampi, India

A massive genome-sequencing effort is coming to India

Singapore-based genomics company Global Gene Corp is partnering with biotech giant Regeneron to build the largest collection of DNA sequenced from people in India.

Why India? The lack of diversity in genomic data is a problem. Most of the worldwide genomic… Read more

Image credit:
  • Do

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A self-driving Uber has killed a pedestrian in Arizona

Uber has halted its self-driving trials across the US after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona. The accident may prove to be a defining moment for the autonomous-car industry.

More details: The accident… Read more

Image credit:
  • Uber

Editor's Pick

AI can spot signs of Alzheimer’s before your family does

When David Graham wakes up in the morning, the flat white box that’s Velcroed to the wall of his room in Robbie’s Place, an assisted living facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, begins recording his every movement.

It knows when he gets out of bed,...

Read the full story →
Yesterday Nerve fibres in a healthy adult human brain

A stem-cell treatment shows promise fighting multiple sclerosis

New results suggest that a technique called hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation may be effective, and safer than previously thought.

The method: Chemotherapy is used to destroy a patient’s faulty immune system. Then stem cells from the patient’s… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Zeynep M. Saygin, McGovern Institute, MIT | Wellcome Images

FedEx is embracing more robots, but that doesn’t mean people are getting fired (yet)

Machines in one of the shipping firm’s distribution centers are directly replacing human roles, but there are no pink slips in sight so far.

The news: The New York Times says that as part of a big bet on automation, the firm is using five autonomous… Read more


Accelerating the shift from fossil fuels could save 150 million lives

Keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5˚C, instead of the standard 2˚C goal, could reduce deaths due to ambient air pollution.

The news: A study in Nature Climate Change analyzed the health benefits of reduced exposure to particulate matter… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Nicolò Lazzati | Flickr
Mark Zuckerberg

Lawmakers want to probe Facebook’s huge new data scandal

The social network’s latest controversy could become a big legal headache.

Backstory: Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica from its network on Friday for failing to delete data about 270,000 people, acquired from an academic study. Then, on Saturday,… Read more

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  • Facebook

Editor's Pick

The US military wants AI to dream up weird new helicopters

AI can already dream up imaginary celebrities, so perhaps it can help the Army imagine revolutionary new engine parts or aircraft, too.

That’s the goal of a new project from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research wing of the...

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March 17, 2018

Facebook suspends the Trump campaign’s data-mining firm amid revelations of a major data breach

Facebook has blocked Cambridge Analytica, which provided data to the Trump election campaign

The news: In a blog post late on March 16, Facebook’s deputy general counsel said Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) and its political data arm, Cambridge… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Facebook
March 16, 2018 Mascots, not robots, outside Tencent's headquarters.

Tencent is putting a robot research lab in China’s manufacturing heartland

Tencent, the tech titan behind China’s biggest social networking and chat platform, WeChat, is about to bring its AI research to life by opening a robotics lab in the country’s center of manufacturing, Shenzhen. The move, announced at an AI event yesterday,… Read more

Image credit:
  • Dmitry Lysenko