Just for the tech of it: AI doctors, robot lawyers, headphones that get you high

Scientists are taking a clever new approach to fighting cancer. Instead of researching the disease on a biological level, they’re using an artificially intelligent software program to analyze millions upon millions of doctors’ notes. The idea is that by comparing these notes and analyzing relationships between symptoms, medical histories, doctor’s observations, and different courses of treatment, the program will be able to find connections and associations that doctors might not have have noticed before. Pretty smart, right? Find out more here.

Next up: Earlier this week, a company by the name of Nervana announced that it will soon release a pair of headphones that can supposedly make you feel high just from listening to music. The headphones, which are earbuds, are equipped with tiny little electrodes that send a low power electrical signal to your brain and stimulate the release of dopamine — a neurotransmitter that’s induces feelings of happiness, enjoyment, and mild euphoria. But instead of just randomly sending these electrical signals to your brain, the headphones actually sync up with the music you’re listening to and send out pulses that are modulated in relation to a song’s unique musical attributes. Considering how addictive music already is, this could turn out to be a slippery slope!

And finally, news broke late last week about a 19-year old kid from the UK who has developed a robotic lawyer that can give people legal advice online, and help them argue out of parking tickets. The program (which, unlike a real lawyer, is totally free to use) works a lot like a chat bot. It starts by asking standardized questions about the incident, which you then answer in normal, conversational language. From there, the bot’s conversation algorithm analyzes things like keywords, pronouns, sentence structure, and syntax to understand what your issue is.

By determining basic facts and identifying factors that might have contributed to the ticket, the program can actually put together an appeals letter that you can then print out and mail to the court. The program has only been online for a few months at this point, but in that short span of time, it’s already helped UK residents appeal their way out of more than $3 million in parking ticket fines. Check out the full story here.

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