Blog article

Tencent and Chinese scientists use deep learning to predict fatal COVID-19 cases – TechCrunch

Tech firms around the world are in an overdrive to help battle the coronavirus pandemic. Research showed that 6.5% of COVID-19 patients can suddenly progress to serious illness, and among them the mortality rate can be as high as 49%. Therefore one of the key tasks for health authorities is to identify and treat patients who may develop severe or fatal syndromes early on.

That’s what has been underway at a research team jointly established by Tencent AI Lab and a group of Chinese public health scientists headed by Zhong Nanshan, the country’s senior medical advisor on COVID-19, since its inception in February.

This week, the team unveiled a deep learning-based model that can predict the risk of coronavirus patients developing critical illness. The details were published in Nature Communications, recounting how the the lab devised the model based on a cohort of 1590 patients from 575 medical centers

Read more

Gojek appoints Amazon, Microsoft veteran as its new chief technology officer – TechCrunch

Indonesia-based ride-hailing company and “super app” Gojek said today that it has named a new chief technology officer. Severan Rault, who previously held leadership positions at Amazon and Microsoft, takes over the role from Ajey Gore, who announced last month he was leaving for personal reasons.

In a statement, the company said Rault will oversee Gojek’s engineering teams in Southeast Asia and India and report to co-chief executive officer Kevin Aluwi.

Rault has a long history of leading engineering teams at large tech companies, as well as his own startups.

Before joining Gojek, Rault worked at Betawave, a virtual reality studio he founded in 2016. During his stint at Amazon, Rault was one of the founders of Prime Air, the company’s drone delivery program. At Microsoft, he was the principal architect of Bing, the company’s search engine. Rault’s other experience include founding Kikker Interactive, a wireless solutions provider that

Read more

China’s EV startup Xpeng pulls in $500 million Series C+ – TechCrunch

Xpeng, an electric vehicle startup run by former Alibaba executive He Xiaopeng, said Monday it has raised around $500 million in a Series C+ round to further develop models tailored to China’s tech-savvy middle-class consumers.

The announcement followed its Series C round of $400 million closed last November. A source told TechCrunch that the company’s valuation at the time had exceeded the 25 billion yuan ($3.57 billion) round raised in August 2018.

The new proceeds bring the five-year-old Chinese startup’s to-date fundings announced to $1.7 billion.

Investors in the latest round include Hong Kong-based private equity firm Aspex Management; the storied American tech hedge fund Coatue Management; China’s top private equity fund Hillhouse Capital; and Sequoia Capital China. The other existing big-name backers are Foxconn, Xiaomi, GGV Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, IDG Capital, and Primavera Capital.

Despite the sizable round, Xpeng is headed for a slew of challenges.

Read more

It’s time to build against pandemics – TechCrunch

We’re a few years out from the call to action Bill Gates made in his TED Talk on preparing for pandemics back in 2015, yet the state of scalable software for important workflows like data collection and contact-tracing has greatly lagged expectations during the current pandemic.

The Trump administration’s letter to health agencies regarding data-sharing guidelines asked for daily Excel uploads, and manual contact-tracing efforts without software have proven difficult given the scale of the current pandemic. 

Everything is being built right now. 

Research

Read more

New Horizons’ and the limits of today’s game economies – TechCrunch

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a bonafide wonder. The game has been setting new records for Nintendo, is adored by players and critics alike and provides millions of players a peaceful escape during these unprecedented times.

But there’s been something even more extraordinary happening on the fringe: Players are finding ways to augment the game experience through community-organized activities and tools. These include free weed-pulling services (tips welcome!) from virtual Samaritans, and custom-designed items for sale — for real-world money, via WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Well-known personalities and companies are also contributing, with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” scribe Gary Whitta hosting an A-list celebrity talk show using the game, and luxury fashion brand Marc Jacobs providing some of its popular clothing

Read more

Federal court rules WhatsApp and Facebook’s malware exploit case against NSO Group can proceed – TechCrunch

A U.S. federal court judge ruled on Thursday that WhatsApp and parent company Facebook’s lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance software company NSO Group can go forward. Phyllis Hamilton, Chief Judge of the United Stated District Court of the Northern District of California, denied most of the arguments NSO Group made when it filed a motion to dismiss the suit in April (a copy of her decision is embedded below).

Last October, WhatsApp and Facebook filed a complaint alleging that NSO Group exploited an audio-calling vulnerability in the messaging app to send malware to about 1,400 mobile devices, including ones that belonged to journalists, human rights activists, political dissidents, diplomats and senior government officials.

WhatsApp and Facebook also claim that NSO Group developed a data program called Pegasus that extracted data, including messages, browser history and contacts, from phones, and sold support services to customers including the Kingdom of Bahrain, United

Read more