Digital Exhaust #177
Designer hospital gowns, Apple Ring, and a vibrating pill for constipation
First Digital Exhaust of the year…Happy New Year to y’all. Welcome to new subscribers. This is my weekly roundup of interesting stuff.
Here are a few things I found this week. I hope you enjoy…
Apple Ring | Apple files a new patent
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple concerning a wearable ring used to sense physiological conditions like heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and blood pressure.
I’ve always said that if Apple made an Apple Hat, I’d buy it. Looks like I’ll be in line for this.
How Lincoln changed the funeral industry
Fascinating: Embalming had gained traction during the Civil War as a way to preserve dead soldiers long enough to send them home to families from the battlefields. But for many Americans, Lincoln’s death was the first time they’d ever seen an embalmed body. The idea took off among the public, and the train tour proved to be a key turning point for burial practices in the United States.
Bob Dylan in the Wall Street Journal
Dylan was one human an AI could never model. His thoughts on serendipity:
If I go looking for something, I usually don’t find it. In fact, I never find it. I walk into things intuitively when I’m most likely not looking for anything.
On frictionless access to music:
Streaming has made music: too smooth and painless. Everything’s too easy. Just one stroke of the ring finger, middle finger, one little click, that’s all it takes. We’ve dropped the coin right into the slot. We’re pill poppers, cube heads and day trippers, hanging in, hanging out, gobbling blue devils, black mollies, anything we can get our hands on. Not to mention the nose candy and ganga grass. It’s all too easy, too democratic. You need a solar X-ray detector just to find somebody’s heart, see if they still have one.
It’s not how you feel, it’s how you look
Japanese clothing brand Lifte claims that dressing well is one important way to relieve stress as a hospital patient. So they have created a designer ‘Johnny’. You may not have your health, but that’s no reason not to dress nice.
The current state of AI in endoscopic image analysis
Interesting overview of AI image analysis in several domains of endoscopic surgery. There has always been the debate about training endoscopy to non-gastroenterologists. The argument has always been, ‘sure you can teach the mechanics, but what about judging what they see?’ I suspect AI may level that argument at some point in the generation ahead — and that’s coming from a gastroenterologist.
Twitter as a failed research community
An analysis of 1.1 million links to scholarly articles posted on Twitter found that 50% of those posts drew zero clicks to the underlying research, whereas 22% received only 1 or 2 clicks.
In short, 72% received virtually no real engagement.
I don't think I'm surprised by this. The contemplation necessary to understand and deliberate research findings just doesn't exist or is rare on Twitter. More reaction than response.
The limits of influence and how to outfox AI as a creator
Kevin Kelly is one of Silicon Valley’s OGs. Founder of Wired magazine and maybe one of the sharpest seers of technology, progress and the future.
From Kevin Kelly on Twitter.
A worthy goal in life might be to become influential without being easy to model. You say things that matter but Als have trouble imitating or predicting you.
This is from Kelly in Wired responding to artists claiming that their art was hijacked to train AI. It’s just brilliant.
Some artists want assurances that their own work not be used to train the AIs… But the algorithms are exposed to 6 billion images with attendant text. If you are not an influential artist, removing your work makes zero difference. A generated picture will look exactly the same with or without your work in the training set. But even if you are an influential artist, removing your images still won’t matter. Because your style has affected the work of others—the definition of influence—your influence will remain even if your images are removed. Imagine if we removed all of Van Gogh’s pictures from the training set. The style of Van Gogh would still be embedded in the vast ocean of images created by those who have imitated or been influenced by him.
What’s more, lines of influence are famously blurred, ephemeral, and imprecise. We are all influenced by everything around us, to degrees we are not aware of and certainly can’t quantify. When we write a memo or snap a picture with our phone, to what extent have we been influenced—directly or indirectly—by Ernest Hemingway or Dorothea Lange? It’s impossible to unravel our influences when we create something. It is likewise impossible to unravel the strands of influence in the AI image universe.
The politics of pain
Medical science can only tell us so much. To understand pain, we need the cultural tools of history, philosophy and art. A really nice essay on the complexity of pain and its evolving definition.
Patient and medical authorities each read from invisible cultural scripts how to navigate and negotiate an instance of pain, the experience of which is being mediated precisely by and through those scripts. The politics of diagnosis, the logics of prescription, the cultural fabric that underwrites medical validation and dismissal – all this is typically invisible, or apparently natural, in the encounter of the person in pain with someone else, be they doctor, friend or stranger.
How AI will keep you from being cancelled by Marc Andreessen
AI is being coded with the exact set of byzantine rules that characterize our present American hyper-educated upper-middle-class elite Year Zero ethos. This is actually great, as if you only ever use AI to express yourself from now on, you will never be cancelled. -- Marc Andreessen
Not The Onion: Say 'American' or 'you guys' and you could find yourself with a one way ticket off the Stanford campus. The Stanford comms team was busy over the holidays walkin’ this one back.
Alot of buzz about this. A vibrating pill for constipation.
How hearables are disrupting the hearing health sector.
A study shows that some Swiss hospitals still rely on a medieval prayer known as ‘The Secret’ to protect patients from bleeding after surgeries.
Just in time for Christmas, the NHS mistakenly tells thousands they have cancer. An errant first text told recipients they had "aggressive lung cancer with metastases.” It directed patients to fill out a DS1500 form, which allows people with terminal diseases to claim certain benefits. However, about an hour later people received a second text telling them it was an error and it was meant to wish them a merry Christmas instead.
Thank you for reading. As usual, please pass this along to a friend who might be interested.
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