The #WrapUps are posts that summarize the ins and outs of the startup & innovation and tech ecosystem. Stay tuned for more news on our blog!


Who Will Build the Health-Care Blockchain?

There are 26 different electronic medical records systems used in the city of Boston, each with its own language for representing and sharing data. Critical information is often scattered across multiple facilities, and sometimes it isn’t accessible when it is needed most—a situation that plays out every day around the U.S., costing money and sometimes even lives. But it’s also a problem that looks tailor-made for a blockchain to solve, says John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Imagine that when a doctor sees a patient or writes a new prescription, the patient agrees to have a reference or “pointer” added to a blockchain—a decentralized digital ledger like the one underlying Bitcoin. Instead of payments, this blockchain would record critical medical information in a virtually incorruptible cryptographic database, maintained by a network of computers, that is accessible to anyone running the software (see “Why Bitcoin Could Be Much More Than a Currency”). Every pointer a doctor logs on the blockchain would become part of a patient’s record, no matter which electronic system the doctor was using—so any caregiver could use it without worrying about incompatibility issues, Halamka says.

Source: MIT Technology Review

AI Is Taking Over the Cloud!

Cloud storage company Box announced today that it is adding computer-vision technology from Google to its platform. Users will be able to search through photos, images, and other documents using their visual components, instead of by file name or tag. “As more and more data goes into the cloud, we’re seeing they need more powerful ways to organize and understand their content,” says CEO Aaron Levie.

Computer-vision technology has improved remarkably over the past few years thanks to a machine-learning approach known as deep learning. A deep neural network—loosely inspired by the way neurons process and store information—can learn to recognize categories of objects, such as a “red sweater” or a “pickup truck.” Ongoing research, including work from Google’s researchers, is improving the ability of algorithms to describe what’s happening in images. Box’s computer-vision feature could be a good way for companies to dip their toes into AI and machine learning. It removes the need to manually annotate thousands of images, and it will make it possible to search through older files in ways that might not have occurred to anyone during tagging.

Source: MIT Technology Review

How Blockchain Is Kickstarting the Financial Lives of Refugees

For a refugee in a new country, identity—at least in the official sense—can be among the hardest things to recover. And without an official ID it is nearly impossible to advance in society.

Finland, which like many European nations has recently seen a large influx of asylum seekers, is using a cryptographic ledger called blockchain to help them get on their feet faster.

For two years the Finnish Immigration Service has been giving asylum seekers who don’t have bank accounts prepaid Mastercards instead of the traditional cash disbursements, and today the program has several thousand active cardholders. Developed by the Helsinki-based startup MONI, the card is also linked to a unique digital identity stored on a blockchain, the same technology that underpins the digital currency Bitcoin.

Source: MIT Technology Review

This New Squad of Internet Experts Will Try to Bring Order to Global Cyber Conflict

As interference in foreign elections and attacks on civilian infrastructure push the limits of what states can get away with in cyberspace, a newly formed team of lawyers, academics, executives, and government officials is scrambling to develop some simple rules of the road in an effort to prevent the rising tide of cyber attacks from leading to outright war.

The Global Commission for Stability in Cyberspace, as it’s called, is looking to succeed where the United Nations has stumbled. Tasked with defining how existing international law should apply in cyberspace, a U.N. body debated the issue but reached a stalemate earlier this year, prompting calls for action outside the international body. The need for establishing such guidelines is urgent. Governments across the globe are racing to build and use digital tools for everything from distributing propaganda to carrying out attacks that look a lot like conventional acts of war. As events like election meddling in the U.S. and Europe and recent attacks on Ukraine’s power grid show, international cyber conflict is increasingly spilling over into the physical world. But “cyberspace is not a jungle,” the new commission’s chair, Marina Kaljurand, told an audience at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas last month. “International law applies; the question today is how international law applies.”

Source: MIT Technology Review

A Smart Watch to Help Blind People Navigate

Fernando Albertorio is legally blind, which can make it tricky to navigate busy sidewalks without bumping into things. He’s got a sort of superpower to help him, though: he can sense objects—people, doorways, trash cans, lamp posts—well before he touches them.

Recommended for You Giant Mining Trucks and Buses Are Smashing Electric Vehicle Records Wireless Gadget Charging Just Got a Range Boost Facial Recognition Is Only the Beginning: Here’s What to Expect Next in Biometrics on Your Phone Who Will Build the Health-Care Blockchain? The UN Says the Global Digital Divide Could Become a Yawning Chasm Albertorio, cofounder of a company called Sunu, doesn’t actually have a sixth sense that alerts him to obstacles in his path. But he does have a wrist-worn gadget he and two cofounders developed, which uses a sonar sensor and subtle vibrations to do exactly that. The band, which he wears daily, emits a high-frequency ultrasound wave that bounces off objects he encounters. The band considers the strength of this reflection and produces a vibration that’s stronger or weaker depending on how close or far away the object is. “I feel much more confident moving around these spaces where normally, instead of walking faster, I’d be like, ‘Uh, where am I going?’” Albertorio said earlier this week while traversing the busy streets of downtown Mountain View, California, at lunchtime.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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