This week’s roundup of tech tidbits to get you up to speed kicks off with some generally upbeat news about automation offering a helping hand (rather than a threat) in the workforce, 5G providing a boost to healthcare, an AI-driven alternative to frustrating political polls, and some tips from “an MIT-trained engineer, astronomy geek, and an adventurous foodie” who, in his spare time, is also Zinier’s CEO.

  1. Workplace automation – surging as companies respond to the pandemic – changes jobs more often than it threatens them. That’s one of the conclusions in this insightful (and insight-filled) analysis of the emerging hybrid workforce from Bryan Walsh at Axios.
  2. For those who might be growing increasingly weary with and skeptical about the value of political polling, a recent study published in IEEE Access suggests that sentiment analysis of social media data could ultimately become a more reliable indicator of how an electorate will vote. Researchers at the University of Granada analyzed 1.7 million tweets from the timeframe of the 2016 US Presidential election in an effort to create an AI-driven political forecasting system. (It may be hard to imagine, but apparently some people express political opinions on Twitter.)
  3. The complexity and scale of today’s burgeoning data sets means that AI and machine learning training sessions can consume vast amounts of energy. A pair of students at the University of Copenhagen are developing a tool to predict the carbon footprint of training and using various algorithms. The Carbontracker program assesses factors such as where and when the actual computing is taking place, as well as the energy efficiency of specific algorithms. (No word on the incremental carbon footprint added by running Carbontracker.)
  4. The pandemic has increased demand for telemedicine and other innovations in healthcare. The good news is that the rapid expansion of 5G is facilitating new capabilities, such as conveying real-time haptic and video/audio feedback that allow medical professionals to better diagnose and treat patients at remote facilities.
  5. With his own list of five key things to pay attention to, this profile of Zinier CEO Arka Dhar is the perfect way to close out this week’s Five for Friday.

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