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Ask an Expert: Is the "AI Moratorium" too far reaching?

Recent responses to chatGPT have featured eminent technologists calling for a six-month moratorium on the development of “AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.” Dr. Jeremy Kedziora, PieperPower Endowed Chair in Artificial Intelligence at Milwaukee School of Engineering, supports a middle ground approach between unregulated development and a pause. He says, "I do not agree with a moratorium, but I would call for government action to develop regulatory guidelines for AI use, particularly for endowing AIs with actions." Dr. Kedziora is available as a subject matter expert on the recent "AI moratorium" that was issued by tech leaders. According to Dr. Kedziora: There are good reasons to call for additional oversight of AI creation: Large deep or reinforcement learning systems encode complicated relationships that are difficult for users to predict and understand. Integrating them into daily use by billions of people implies some sort of complex adaptive system in which it is even more difficult for planners to anticipate, predict, and plan. This is likely fertile ground for unintended – and bad – outcomes. Rather than outright replacement, a very real possibility is that AI-enabled workers will have sufficiently high productivity that we’ll need less workers to accomplish tasks. The implication is that there won’t be enough jobs for those who want them. This means that governments will need to seriously consider proposals for UBI and work to limit economic displacement, work which will require time and political bargaining. I do not think it is controversial that we would not want a research group at MIT or CalTech, or anywhere developing an unregulated nuclear weapon. Given the difficulty in predicting its impact, AI may well be in the same category of powerful, suggesting that its creation should be subject to the democratic process. At the same time, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding chatGPT-like AI systems that suggest there are inherent limits to their impact: Though chatGPT may appear–at times–to pass the famous Turing test, this does not imply these systems ’think,’ or are ’self-aware,’ or are ’alive.’ The Turing test aims to avoid answering these questions altogether by simply asking if a machine can be distinguished from a human by another human. At the end of the day, chatGPT is nothing more than a bunch of weights! Contemporary AIs–chatGPT included–have very limited levers to pull. They simply can’t take many actions. Indeed, chatGPT’s only action is to create text in response to a prompt. It cannot do anything independently. Its effects, for now, are limited to passing through the hands of humans and to the social changes it could thereby create. The call for a moratorium emphasizes ‘control’ over AI. It is worth asking just what this control means. Take chatGPT as an example–can its makers control responses to prompts? Probably only in a limited fashion at best, with less and less ability as more people use it. There simply aren’t resources to police its responses. Can chatGPT’s makers ‘flip the off switch?’ Absolutely – restricting access to the API would effectively turn chatGPT off. In that sense, it is certainly under the same kind of control humans subjected to government are. Keep in mind that there are coordination problems – just because there is an AI moratorium in the US does not mean that other countries–particularly US adversaries– will stop development. And as others have said: “as long as AI systems have objectives set by humans, most ethics concerns related to artificial intelligence come from the ethics of the countries wielding them.” There are definitional problems with this sort of moratorium – who would be subject to it? Industry actors? Academics? The criterion those who call for the moratorium use is “AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.” What does “powerful” mean? Enforcement requires drawing boundaries around which AI development is subject to a moratorium – without those boundaries how would such a policy be enforced? It might already be too late – some already claim that they’ve recreated chatGPT. There are two major groups to think about when looking for develop regulatory solutions for AI: academia and industry. There may already be good vehicles for regulating academic research, for example oversight of grant funding. Oversight of AI development in industry is an area that requires attention and application of expertise. If you're a journalist covering Artificial Intelligence, then let us help. Dr. Kedziora is a respected expert in Data Science, Machine Learning, Statistical Modeling, Bayesian Inference, Game Theory and things AI. He's available to speak with the media - simply click on the icon now to arrange an interview today.

Jeremy Kedziora, Ph.D.
4 min. read

Aston University and asbestos consultancy to use AI to improve social housing maintenance

• Aston University and Thames Laboratories enter 30-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership • Will use machine-learning and AI to create a maintenance prioritisation system • Collaboration will reduce costs, emissions, enhance productivity and improve residents' satisfaction. Aston University is teaming up with asbestos consultancy, Thames Laboratories (TL) to improve efficiency of social housing repairs. There are over 1,600 registered social housing providers in England, managing in excess of 4.4 million homes. Each of these properties requires statutory inspections to check gas, asbestos and water hygiene, in addition to general upkeep. However, there is not currently a scheduling system available that offers integration between key maintenance and safety contractors, resulting in additional site visits and increased travel costs and re-work. Aston University computer scientists will use machine-learning and AI to create a maintenance prioritisation system that will centralise job requests and automatically allocate them to the relevant contractors. The collaboration is through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) - a collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly-qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate. This partnership builds on the outcomes of TL’s first collaboration with Aston University, by expanding the system developed for the company’s in-house use - which directs its field staff to jobs. The project team will improve the system developed during the current KTP to enable it to interact with client and contractor systems, by combining an input data processing unit, enhanced optimisation algorithms, customer enhancements and third-party add-ons into a single dynamic system. The Aston University team will be led by Aniko Ekart, professor of artificial intelligence. She said: “It is a privilege to be involved in the creation of this system, which will select the best contractor for each job based on their skill set, availability and location and be reactive to changing priorities of jobs." TL, based in Fenstanton, just outside Cambridge, provides asbestos consultancy, project management and training to businesses, local authorities, social housing and education facilities, using a fleet of mobile engineers across the UK. John Richards, managing director at Thames Laboratories, said: “This partnership will allow us to adopt the latest research and expertise from a world-leading academic institute to develop an original solution to improving the efficiency of social housing repairs, maintenance and improvements to better meet the needs of social housing residents.” Professor Ekart will be joined by Dr Alina Patelli as academic supervisor. Dr Patelli brings experience of software development in the commercial sector as well as expertise in applying optimisation techniques with focus on urban systems. She said: “This is a great opportunity to enhance state-of-the-art optimisation and machine learning in order to fit the needs of the commercial sector and deliver meaningful impact to Thames Laboratories.”

2 min. read
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Ruling blocking Obamacare's preventative care mandate will 'severely set back' fight against cancer, HIV

Preventative care may be more difficult to obtain after a federal judge blocked an Obamacare mandate that required insurance companies to offer services such as cancer screenings and pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV (PrEP).  Kristefer Stojanovski, a Tulane University epidemiologist who studies health policy and the impact of structural influences on LGBTQ+ health, said the ruling "will severely set back our national goals in fighting cancer, and diabetes and ending the HIV epidemic." "Insurance companies are still able to offer these services, voluntarily, but are currently no longer required to do so," Stojanovski said. "As of now, we will have to wait and see how the appeals process unfolds, and the case may ultimately end up before the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, this ruling will cause anxiety for the millions of Americans who rely on preventative services to keep themselves, and their families healthy.” The ruling could affect more than 150 million Americans who have private health insurance that covers preventive services under the Affordable Care Act. Screenings for depression and and diabetes also fall into the category of preventative care. The ruling comes after a group of Texas business owners argued that the mandates made them complicit in "facilitating homosexual behavior, drug use, and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman." Stojanovski said this is "logical fallacy."  "In no way shape or form has any research shown that HIV and STI preventative services facilitate homosexual behavior, drug use, or sexual activity outside of marriage," Stojanovski said. "Rather than simply not utilize the services or engage in the behaviors they abhor, the Plaintiffs sued and have now thrown into jeopardy the millions of Americans' ability to protect themselves against HIV and STIs." Stojanovski is available to speak on this ruling and its ramifications. He has also written about challenges to the preventative care mandate in the past.  For interviews, contact Tulane University assistant director of public relations Andrew Yawn at ayawn@tulane.edu.

2 min. read

Aston University scientist awarded ERC Advanced Grant to explore early interventions to prevent dementia onset

• Leading scientist wins €2.2 million ERC Advanced Grant • The five-year project will explore early dementia interventions through understanding how an aquaporin water channel regulates glymphatic clearance • ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive of the EU funding schemes. A world leading scientist in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University has been awarded a €2.2 million ERC Advanced Grant to understand how the movement of a protein known as aquaporin-4 in the brain can help slow cognitive decline. The FORTIFY project, which will run for five years, is led by Professor Roslyn Bill in the School of Biosciences. She will apply her discovery of the movement of aquaporin-4 to understand how the cleaning mechanism in the brain works during sleep. The research will focus on how aquaporin-4 controls the glymphatic system, which is the mechanism that allows us to clear waste products from our brains while we sleep. Her hypothesis is that the movement of aquaporin-4 in the brain changes the effectiveness of this cleansing mechanism - which lessens as people age. A greater understanding of this process could lead to an early intervention treatment that could slow the onset of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive of the EU funding schemes, providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. Professor Bill said: “Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia and there is no cure. I want to stop that from happening. By understanding the molecular mechanisms of brain waste clearance, we have an opportunity to develop medicines that can slow the onset of dementia, very much in the same way that statins are prescribed to control heart disease”. Roslyn Bill discovered that the water channel protein aquaporin-4 increases the permeability of brain cells to water after a brain or spinal cord injury. Around 60 million people a year suffer such injuries following falls or accidents. For example, after a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013, Michael Schumacher suffered a severe head injury. He was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent several surgeries to treat his injuries. Until now doctors have only been able to manage the symptoms of brain injury (swelling on the brain) through interventions that may require surgery. Professor Bill and her team are due to start clinical trials in summer 2023, to test a method to stop the swelling from happening in its tracks, building on her discoveries. Roslyn’s new ERC-funded project, FORTIFY, will focus on how aquaporin-4 controls fluid flow in the healthy, uninjured brain. In this round of Advanced Grants, the European Research Council (ERC) is awarding €544 million to 218 outstanding research leaders across Europe, as part of the Horizon Europe programme. The grants will support cutting edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to social sciences and humanities. The grant is awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track-record of significant research achievements over the past decade. The funding will enable the researchers to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “ERC grants are a top recognition and a significant commitment from our best researchers. The €544 million funding puts our 218 research leaders, together with their teams of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and research staff, in pole position to push back the boundaries of our knowledge, break new ground and build foundations for future growth and prosperity in Europe” Maria Leptin, ERC President, added: "These new ERC Advanced Grantees are a testament to the outstanding quality of research carried out across Europe. I am especially pleased to see such a high number of female researchers in this competition and that they are increasingly successful in securing funding. “We look forward to seeing the results of the new projects in the years to come, with many likely to lead to breakthroughs and new advances.”

Roslyn Bill
3 min. read

Expert comment available Powering up Britain new policy paper

Powering up Britain policy paper The government has this morning announced policy plans to improve the UK’s energy security, economic opportunities of the transition, and achieve its net zero commitments. Professor Patricia Thornley director of Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) is available to explain what this is and how it could affect our lives. Professor Thornley is an expert in the use of power bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (power BECCS). For further details contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7825 342091 or email: n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

Patricia Thornley
1 min. read

ChristianaCare Will Open Neighborhood Hospital at Its West Grove Campus

Plans for emergency and inpatient care follow extensive planning and community listening sessions ChristianaCare today provided new details about its plans to restore needed health care services to the southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, community at its West Grove campus, formerly Jennersville Hospital. ChristianaCare will open a neighborhood hospital that includes 10 emergency department beds and 10 inpatient beds. The neighborhood hospital will offer emergency care and behavioral health emergency care and provide diagnostic capabilities including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), X-ray and laboratory services. The emergency department will treat common emergency care needs such as falls, injuries, heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, the hospital will benefit from access to ChristianaCare’s large network of specialists and support services — such as neurology and cardiology — through virtual consults. “We are excited to share our plans to restore important local health care resources to the southern Chester County community,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and CEO. “We are committed to our neighbors in southern Chester County for the long-term, serving them as expert, caring partners in their health.” ChristianaCare’s plans for a neighborhood hospital meet the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s requirements for a micro-hospital, which must have a minimum of 10 inpatient beds and 10 emergency department treatment rooms and offer imaging services on-site. “After listening to the needs of the community and an extensive review of historical and projected demographic data, we believe this neighborhood hospital model will provide the right mix of health care services for the West Grove campus in a way that is sustainable and meets the community’s most immediate needs today,” said Heather Farley, M.D., chief wellness officer for ChristianaCare and the clinical leader for the West Grove planning. “It also sets us up to grow in meeting more of the community’s needs in the future.” ChristianaCare anticipates an opening date in late 2024, although the date is subject to change due to the significant work that will be required to renovate the facility to bring it up to current standards, including the build-out of an entirely new information technology infrastructure. Last year, ChristianaCare received funding from Chester County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania totaling $5 million to assist in facility upgrades. ChristianaCare already serves residents of southern Chester County. Since 2020, ChristianaCare has provided primary care in three practices that are located in Jennersville, West Grove and Kennett Square. The West Grove practice has recently brought on additional providers and will soon begin offering virtual visits with ChristianaCare specialists. Combined, these three practices are now the “medical home” for 22,000 residents in these communities. ChristianaCare finalized the purchase of its West Grove campus from Tower Health in June 2022. The hospital has been closed since Dec. 31, 2021.

Heather Farley, M.D., MHCDS, FACEP
2 min. read

ChristianaCare Named one of Mogul’s Top 100 Companies with Inclusive Benefits

Recognition affirms ChristianaCare’s deep commitment to inclusion and diversity ChristianaCare has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Companies with Inclusive Benefits by Mogul, a diversity recruitment platform that partners with the world’s fastest-growing companies to attract and advance top diverse talent. ChristianaCare was recognized for both its “diverse hiring practices” and “progressive workplace resources.” “At ChristianaCare, we embrace diversity and show respect to everyone, and we reinforce these behaviors through purposeful actions that enable all our caregivers to serve our neighbors with love and excellence,” said Neil Jasani, M.D., MBA, FACEP, chief people officer at ChristianaCare. “By offering a wide array of inclusive benefits, we more fully support our caregivers in their commitment to being exceptional today and even better tomorrow.” The honor by Mogul is the latest recognition for ChristianaCare’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest private employer, has committed to being an anti-racism organization and works to ensure that this commitment is reflected through the organization’s policies, programs and practices. (Read more about ChristianaCare’s anti-racism commitment here.) ChristianaCare President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, has signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge. This pledge outlines a specific set of actions the signatory CEOs will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed and employees are empowered to have discussions about diversity and inclusion. More than 3,100 of ChristianaCare’s caregivers also have signed the pledge. ChristianaCare’s inclusion and diversity efforts feature 11 employee resource groups, which connect caregivers who have a common identity or bond with one another. Formed by employees across all demographics – including disability, race, military status, national origin and gender identity – these voluntary, grassroots groups work to improve inclusion and diversity at ChristianaCare. More than 1,350 caregivers participate. ChristianaCare has developed LeadershipDNA, a leadership development program that is specifically targeted to underrepresented caregivers early in their careers. ChristianaCare’s deep commitment to inclusion and diversity also includes: Providing $500,000 in scholarships to 10 high school students in Delaware who plan to pursue degrees in health care. Supporting Project Search, which is a nationally recognized program dedicated to providing education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participation in Project Hope, a partnership with external agencies that provides support to individuals who were involved with the criminal justice system. This program creates pathways to meaningful and sustainable employment within ChristianaCare. Participation in Project Veteran through career fairs that target veterans. Elimination of bias in hiring through biannual education for all hiring managers, along with leader demographic scorecards to support building a diverse workforce. Parental leave of 12 weeks for the bonding, care and wellbeing of a newborn, adopted children or foster care children. This policy applies to both birthing and non-birthing caregivers. Behavioral health services for employees that include access to professionals who specialize in mental health care and substance use disorder. A work life employee assistance program that provides free and confidential resources designed specifically for caregivers and their families. Coverage in employee health plans for gender affirmation surgery, which consists of medical and surgical treatments that change primary sex characteristics for individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Autism spectrum disorders benefits – such as diagnostic assessment and treatment – to the children of caregivers who are under 21 years of age. “Our commitment to inclusion and diversity touches all areas of our organization – including our benefits packages,” said Natalie Torres, director of Inclusion & Diversity at ChristianaCare. “We know that when we offer an inclusive benefits package that anticipates the needs of our caregivers, they can better support their families and provide better care to our community.”

Neil Jasani, M.D., MBA, FACEP
3 min. read

MEDIA RELEASE: CAA Worst Roads Campaign marks 20 Years of Driving Change in Ontario

The annual CAA Worst Roads advocacy campaign is marking its 20th year of influencing change. For the past two decades, the campaign has given decision-makers a snapshot of the roads that the public perceives as not meeting their expectations. “Our research tells us that 85 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the state of our roads,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president of government and community relations, CAA SCO. “Due to inflation, consumers are being more mindful of their purchases, and people are opting to hold on to their cars for longer instead of buying a new one. Funding for roadway improvements and proper infrastructure needs to be consistent to ensure that quality and safety are maintained.” CAA’s research also indicates that over half of CAA members (59 per cent) say Ontario’s roads have worsened. Drivers often alter their driving behaviour to accommodate road issues. Many of them – two-thirds (66 per cent) of Ontarians – are slowing down for bad spots on the road or swerving to avoid potholes. We also know that many people are frustrated with Ontario's roads (78 per cent) and often express their dissatisfaction to their loved ones or colleagues instead of government officials. The CAA Worst Roads campaign allows all road users in Ontario to vote for roads that they think need urgent repair. Since 2003, 114 roads in Ontario have appeared on the provincial Top 10 list, of which governments have prioritized some of the roads for repair. In 2022, Barton Street East in Hamilton, Ontario, secured the top spot on the provincial Worst Roads list. Shortly after the 2022 Worst Road reveal, the City of Hamilton announced a multi-year, multi-phase reconstruction of the beleaguered Hamilton route scheduled to begin late last year. Other roads, such as Plank Road in Sarnia, Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, Lauzon Parkway in Windsor, and Bell Farm Road in Barrie, have also undergone significant repairs after appearing on the provincial Top 10 Worst Roads list. “The campaign has demonstrated that decision-makers are paying attention to the results, which has prompted municipal officials to move up infrastructure projects in their communities,” says Di Felice. The CAA Worst Roads campaign calls on all Ontarians to vote for their Worst Road today and join the community of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians committed to improving Ontario’s roads. Ontarians can vote for their worst road at caaworstroads.com. Watch Teresa Di Felice, Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations for CAA SCO answers questions regarding the annual CAA Worst Roads Campaign: https://vimeo.com/user140657252/caawrl2023

Teresa Di Felice
2 min. read

How Teleradiology Improves ER Efficiency & Patient Care

Is your ER efficiency where you need it to be? Learn how radiology collaboration services from RealTime Medical have improved ER efficiency and patient care from Tabitha Kearney, VP Clinical Services, Deep River & District Hospital. Learn how radiology collaboration services have improved ER efficiency and patient experience from Tabitha Kearney, VP Clinical Services, Deep River & District Hospital. Learn more here: https://realtimemedical.com/radiology-services/ #radiology #teleradiology #diagnosticimaging

Nadine Koff
1 min. read