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Flipboard makes one hell of an update – go revisit if you forgot the app exists

(TECH NEWS) Don’t worry, Flipboard isn’t going to curl up on the sofa with a cup of oolong and attempt to navigate the labyrinth of your soul. There are algorithms for that.

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Information overload

I’m constantly amazed at my ability to be completely ignored in the middle of a conversation. I mean I get it, it’s the information age. Who am I to contend with the sum of all human knowledge? And as a knowledge-based society, information is all around us. Literally. As you read this it is flowing through wires under your feet, above your head, beaming through the atmosphere where it is deposited onto screens all across the globe.

The sheer volume of it can be daunting. There is so much content available on so many subjects within all possible genres, settling on a topic that really grabs you can amount to a real challenge. A predicament I like to call, paralysis by analysis. Flipboard, a popular news aggregate app, has unveiled some interesting changes in its latest update that aim to tackle that very problem.

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The problem

Unlike the old days of slow-moving information heinously limited in volume and scope, nowadays, virtually anything that happens anywhere in the world is broadcast to the masses almost instantly. With so much content so readily available, consumers are afforded the luxury of cherry picking articles and snippets based on their own interests. Great, right? Sort of. The problem is that this requires wading through a significant quantity of completely irrelevant content with zero personal value.

Enter Flipboard 4.0.

Flipboard was designed to take current and trending news and entertainment articles from other publications and bring them to a singular digital space where users could read and interact with them. Seems legit. But with the brand new “Smart Magazine” update, magazines will be generated for the user based on ultra-specific personal tastes and interests, like scubadiving or cross country skiing.

“The goal is to give people a highly personalized magazine around the thing that they are incredibly passionate about,” says Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.

Don’t worry, Flipboard isn’t going to curl up on the sofa with a cup of oolong and attempt to navigate the labyrinth of your soul, there are algorithms for that.

The power of algorithms

As you may recall, Facebook ran into some trouble recently over their use of algorithms designed to build content around its users’ interests. This, some have said, resulted in skewed real world perceptions and a false sense of consensus among users that may or may not have had an effect on the recent election. But this is not that.

Flipboard CEO Mike McCue says that not all the curated content will be selected using algorithms. “When people look at technology news, they want to know what the whole industry thinks are top stories,” McCue says, “It’s not what’s trending.” The top stories in six of the most popular categories (news, business, politics, sports, entertainment and tech) will be hand-picked by Flipboard’s editors. “There’s no real good algorithm for ‘insightful’,” McCue says. I couldn’t agree more.

#Flipboard

Staff Writer, AJ Jimenez is a science fiction writer, first responder, entrepreneur, and home schooling dad living in the Monterey Bay area. He enjoys old timey artifacts, tide pools, and adventure travel.

Tech News

A look into why AI couldn’t save the world from COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) AI is only as powerful and intelligent as the teams building it, but we just don’t have the data yet. So perhaps, we just aren’t there quite yet.

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COVID-19 AI

Even in the best of times, the human race can hardly be defined by our patience in the face of uncertainty. COVID-19 has rocked our feelings of safety and security. Hospitals have struggled to keep up with demand for care, and researchers are working tirelessly to create a vaccine. Early on in the fight against this virus, some looked to artificial intelligence technology to lead the pack in finding a solution to the global health crisis, but science takes time and AI is no different.

Over two months ago, when COVID-19 was still most prevalent in China, researchers were already attempting to use AI to fight the virus’ spread. As Wired reports, researchers in Wuhan, China attempted to screen for COVID-19 by programming an AI to analyze chest CTs of patients with pneumonia.

The AI would then decipher if the patient’s pneumonia stemmed from COVID-19 or something less insidious. This plan failed for the same reason many pursuits do – a lack of time and data to pull it off.

The United Nations and the World Health Organization examined the lung CT tool, but it was deemed unfit for widespread use. The lung CT tool, and all other AI driven projects, are limited by the humans designing and operating them.

We have struggled to collect and synthesize data in relation to COVID-19, and as a result tools, like the lung CT scans, cannot hope to succeed. AI is only as powerful and intelligent as the teams building it, so perhaps, we just aren’t there quite yet. Our tenacity and optimism continue to drive AI forward, but progress can only be sped up so much.

Like all science, AI has its limitations, and we cannot expect it to be a miracle cure for all our problems. It requires data, experimentation, and testing just like any other scientific pursuit. There are many problems to unlock before AI can be a leader in the driving force for positive change, but its shortcomings do not outweigh its potential. AI couldn’t save us from COVID-19, but as researchers continue to learn from this global event, AI may still save us in the future.

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Tech News

Chrome can now group and color code your open tabs

(TECH NEWS) Do you have too many tabs, and can’t tell what’s what? Google has tab groups that make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

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Are you a tab collector? That’s Google’s name for people who have tabs upon tabs upon tabs open on their Google Chrome browser. And while third party apps are already available to help collectors manage tabs, Google is now stepping in with Tab Groups.

Tab Groups, try it here, allows users to color-code, group and add text or emoji labels to separate clusters of tabs in their browser.

Right-click on any tab and choose Add to New Group. A gray dot will appear to the left of the tab and outline it in the same color. Clicking on the dot lets users update the color, label and name the group. Once grouped together, the tab groups can be moved and reordered. They’re also saved when Chrome is closed and reopened.

Google said after testing Tab Groups for months, they noticed people usually arranged their tabs by topic and that appeared most common when people shopped or were working on a project.
“Others have been grouping their tabs by how urgent they are, “ASAP,” “this week” and “later.” Similarly, tab groups can help keep track of your progress on certain tasks: “haven’t started,” “in progress,” “need to follow up” and “completed.”

Of course, this new feature does nothing to dissuade users from opening too many tabs, despite research that says multitasking may change the structure of your brain and Chrome is notorious for using too much RAM. So now you can’t concentrate, and your computer is running hot and slowing down.

A solution? Use Chrome extensions such as The Great Suspender, which suspends tabs that have been inactive for a specific amount of time. Don’t worry, you can whitelist specific websites so if you always need a tab for Twitter open, it won’t be suspended.

Another tip is to focus on one task at a time using the Pomodoro Technique, breaking tasks and your workday into 25-minute bursts of productivity with five-minute breaks in between. FocusMe uses a timer and website blocker to reduce the risk of getting distracted. You’re on the internet, after all.

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Tech News

Quarantine bod got you down? AI trainer Artifit lifts you up

(TECH NEWS) If staying home has caused some unfortunate weight gain, Artifit can help you keep your home body fit during and way after quarantine is over.

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Mandatory lockdown’s have changed people’s routine’s in every conceivable way. From the way we work and cook to how we exercise. Home workout routines have been a hot topic in the last couple of months. People are trying to find a way to retain some sense of normalcy and maintain their healthy lifestyles We’ve all heard jokes about the so called “Quarantine 15” online and maybe you’ve even made a disparaging comment or two about your weight since gyms closed.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with a little weight gain the face of a global pandemic. The world is changing, your life is changing, and times are scary. Be gentle with yourself and those around you.

If you are looking for a way to get regular workouts back into your life and YouTube videos just aren’t cutting it, there is a high-tech solution. Artifit is an AI personal trainer designed to make your solo workouts safer and more effective. The app acts as your personal trainer by creating your workout plans, tracking progress, and providing posture corrections.

The app uses your phone’s camera to track your reps and spot errors in form while providing real time audio feedback. According to the app creators, [Artifit] recognizes 20 major joints movements via mobile camera, and we are constantly working on adding new joints and improving the algorithm.”

Beyond the workouts, Artifit taps into your competitive side by providing you with a score at the end of each work out that you can then share with friends. The app measures and analyze your progress over time and uses this data to create a workout plan that is best suited for you.

There are a ton of reasons you might be looking for a tech-driven approach to your workout routine. Most of us already rely on technology to track out movement in one way or another – think about the Health app on your phone or your Fitbit. Working out from home isn’t for everyone, but some are thriving under a more flexible schedule and want to keep it that way.

If you are not sure when you’re going to feel comfortable going to the gym again or you no longer want to fuss over scheduling appointments with a personal trainer, this could be the app for you. Artifit can help you keep your homebody tendencies intact way after quarantine is over.

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