A Minister for Artificial Intelligence

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the first nation with a government minister dedicated to AI. As tech companies begin to center their business models around AI, the UAE want to be at the forefront of this development. Dubai, for example, plans to put robot cops on the streets by 2030 and they’ve been pushing to get autonomous vehicles on the city’s roads and in its skies. https://futurism.com/dubai-just-appointed-a-state-minister-for-artificial-intelligence/

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Reduce waste by recovering value

The Renewal Workshop is an innovative startup that can make clothes and textiles as good as new by repairing them and cleaning them in liquified carbon dioxide. Clothes can be recycled and sheets can get a new home in say, an Airbnb. The Renewal Workshop partners with brands and retailers to renew returned clothes and sheets so they can be resold through online stores. www.renewalworkshop.com

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Rice grown in seawater

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Rice grown on a commercial scale in diluted seawater has, for the first time, made it into the rice bowls of ordinary Chinese people after a breakthrough in food production following more than four decades of efforts by farmers, researchers, government agencies and businesses. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2115250/chinese-scientists-put-rice-grown-seawater-nations-tables

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Next generation AI

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In May this year. Google revealed its AutoML project; artificial intelligence (AI) designed to help them create other AIs. Recently Google announced that AutoML has beaten the human AI engineers at their own game by building machine-learning software that’s more efficient and powerful than the best human-designed systems. http://www.sciencealert.com/google-s-machine-learning-software-has-learned-to-replicate-itself?

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Shark spotting drone voted top idea at boardroom lunch

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Three ideas from IdeaSpies were presented at the Ashurst October 2017 boardroom lunch addressed by Adam Creighton of The Australian. The idea receiving the most votes was a drone equipped with artificial intelligence that can help identify and warn swimmers and surfers of nearby sharks, developed by Westpac Little Ripper Lifesavers with UTS researchers. This idea now goes to the final at the December boardroom lunch to select the top idea for the year. http://littleripper.com/world-first-for-shark-spotting-algorithm/

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Making It Easy To Help Our Communities in Need

Making It Easy To Help Our Communities in Need

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Offshore wind farms

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Since the government ruled out new onshore wind farms in England – a promise in its 2015 manifesto – energy companies have been forced offshore, making the UK the world’s offshore leader. Allowed to develop beyond the vision of land-dwellers who see wind farms as a blot on the countryside, the turbines have grown steadily larger, as have the farms to which they belong. Over time, the diameter of the blades have enlarged. A turbine commissioned in 2002 swept 80 metres; in 2011 it was 120 metres. By 2020, it will be 180 metres. Wind energy costs less, and will go on costing less, because the turbines are growing taller and the blades longer. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/wild-is-the-wind-the-resource-that-could-power-the-world?

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Natural solutions to climate change

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An international study has found that natural solutions to mitigate climate change, such as reforestation, could have the same effect globally as taking 1.5 billion cars off the road. The top three land management solutions identified – reforestation, avoiding further forest losses and improved forestry practices – could cost-effectively remove seven billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere annually. CSIRO collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and 14 other institutions on the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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A VR exhibit that helps you see what it’s like to be a refugee.

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Forced From Home is a free, interactive, outdoor educational exhibition presented by Doctors Without Borders in the US to raise public awareness about the experience of the world’s more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced people. With an experienced aid worker as your guide, you can learn about the many challenges people on the move encounter and the work Doctors Without Borders does to address their basic medical needs. Using a combination of 360-degree video and virtual reality Forced from Home involves you in the journey of a refugee, from their life in their home country, through the route they travel and obstacles they face along it. http://www.forcedfromhome.com/

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A tax on sugary drinks to improve health

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New modelling in a study published in the latest Nutrients journal shows a 30 per cent reduction in kilojoules in all sugar-sweetened drinks would not only reverse Australia’s obesity crisis, but drastically reduce the number of people succumbing to obesity-related diseases such as stroke, diabetes and kidney cancer. Two-thirds of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the US Boulder in Colorado, four cities in California (San Francisco, Oakland, Albany and Berkeley), Seattle and Philadelphia have managed to introduce a tax on soft drinks. Philladelphia’s proceeds go directly into an educational fund paying for pre-kindergarten and community schools leading to heavy support for the tax by families. http://www.opc.org.au/

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