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London A.I. Lab Claims Breakthrough That Could Accelerate Drug Discovery

  • An artificial intelligence lab in London has built a computer system to map out complex proteins in less than a few hours — a process that has previously taken years to do manually
  • DeepMind, a lab owned by the same parent company as Google, said on Monday that its system had solved what is known as “the protein folding problem.” Given the string of amino acids that make up a protein, the system can rapidly and reliably predict its three-dimensional shape.
  • The breakthrough arrives too late to make a significant impact on the coronavirus. But researchers believe DeepMind’s methods could accelerate the response to future pandemics. 
  • It is hoped this new AI can help scientists gain a better understanding of genetic diseases along the lines of Alzheimer’s or cystic fibrosis.

Government’s cut-price cyber defence leaves departments open to attack

  • John Davidson at The Fin writes:
  • Australian government departments are “making themselves easy targets for criminal and state-based hackers, a report has found.”
  • The report, based on a survey of many of Australia’s top Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs)
  • Australian government departments are under-investing in cyber security
  • Compared to private enterprise, government departments are investing less than half the money per employee on securing their technology and data.
  • Not surprisingly, The financial services sector was the top-spending industry, averaging $3038 per employee, the CISO Lens Benchmark 2020 report found.

ACCC consulting on Google’s pending FitBit acquisition

  • The ACCC is seeking an undertaking for Google’s acquisition of Fitbit
  • Under the proposed undertaking, Google has offered to not use certain user data collected through Fitbit and Google wearables for Google’s advertising purposes for 10 years. 
  • The search giant has also proposed that this ban could be extended by a further 10 years if the ACCC deemed it to be appropriate. 
  • ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said “Our decision to begin consultation should not be interpreted as a signal that the ACCC will ultimately accept the undertaking and approve the transaction,” 

Facebook Buys Customer-Service Software Maker Kustomer

  • Facebook Inc. has acquired Kustomer Inc., a New York-based software company that helps businesses manage customer conversations from multiple services on one dashboard.
  • The deal was valued at more than $1 billion, said a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the terms were private.
  • The social media giant made the deal to bolster efforts to monetize its messaging business, which is expanding to include customer-service products that help companies interact with people via chat apps, like WhatsApp and Messenger.