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World-Wide-Web: Rise of technology needs to be balanced with vigilance

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By Gaurav Sharma

The world-wide-web (www), a revolutionary technology that defines our present-day-life, celebrates its silver jubilee today.

Whether we are at home or on the move, at work or on vacation, the Internet has become our new family friend. From easing communication, providing interactive education, speedy and efficient public administration, to increasing our visibility in social circles, the wings of Internet’s penetrating power span across every sphere of life.

Birth

Tim Berners Lee, an English computer scientist, invented the Internet as World Wide Web on 6th August 1991 while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as an independent contractor.

Berners-Lee devised a project based on a hypertext wherein physicists could share information across the globe without using hardware or software. The first proposal having failed, Lee’s proposal for a Hypertext Project succeeded in grabbing the assent of the researchers.

After battling titles such ‘The Information mesh’ and the ‘Mine of Information’, the proposal was christened World Wide Web. In 1990, while working for NeXT Computers (the company where Steve Jobs worked after being thrown out of Apple), Berners-Lee developed the web browser software whose prototype would be run on the CERN server a year later.

Since the users were largely unaware and therefore inept at using the new technology, a user manual was issued to educate them on its proper use.

tim
Tim-Berners Lee, the father of the Internet

Evolution

The novel technology soon started taking giant strides towards growth. In 1992, Berners-Lee uploaded the first picture on the World Wide Web, an image of Les Horribles Cernettes (a French parodic rock group).

A year later, an epic announcement — that of making the Internet free for everyone to use and develop — was made. This emancipating feature has led to a sea change in the way we look at the world today.

In line with the free availability and accessibility of the World Wide Web, a number of free commercial browsers were also developed, the first one being Netscape Navigator. However, it was Mosaic which brought the non-scientist population on to the web through the launch of Internet Explorer (Compuserve also performed a similar job).

While the web initially consisted of a network of static HTML pages, it has now evolved into a dynamic system wherein media and pages can be streamed real-time.

microsoft-discloses-zero-day-in-all-versions-of-internet-explorer
Internet Explorer, previously one of the most popular web-browsers

Future

The internet is a constantly evolving organism which is exceeding its expectations (if it had one) every day. IT technology is undergoing a sea change with information rapidly moving onto the cloud. The transforming digital environment implies that companies have to be abreast with newer technologies such as the cloud, mobile automation, and the Internet of Things.

Internet of things basically means connecting daily-use appliances and systems digitally. By enabling physical objects to transfer information from the real world to the digital plane, the Internet of things has brought Artificial Intelligence a step closer to reality.

Trains are able to tell their arrival and departure time to our smartphone, imaging has become more precise, and traffic data can be accessed by our smartphones at the click of a button or through vocal instructions. Semantic Web wherein metadata is read by machines rather than by humans will also become a reality.

Indeed, life has become comfortable and convenient because of the internet. Still, the developments do not give a complete picture of the stupendous power the Internet exercises over our lives.

Like a shadow of the bright side, we are becoming precariously dependent on the internet for simple activities. Music, movies, adventure, and travel, among a host of other outdoor activities have become an online entertaining online experience. People read on Kindle, date on Tinder, and marry on Shaddi.com. One’s rise to the corporate ladder is determined by how glossy his profile is on Linkedin.

Networking no longer involves personal physical contact but an exchange of photo-shopped copies of one’s scarred existence. Language itself has become an abbreviated caricature of slangs and acronyms. Interpersonal aesthetics have radically altered.

One wonders if human relationships will now become an online rendezvous whereby gentle gestures such as shaking hands and a warm hug will now take a back-seat to exchange of mechanical whatsup’s. And then there is the ‘extraordinary’ chance of a young child experiencing the entire cosmos in his iPad. By the time he turns 20, there is hardly anything exciting to look forward to. Boredom becomes his companion. Psychological problems are also bound to spiral-up when the number of likes on Facebook start determining our self-esteem.

Not ones to leave behind the dark-side of internet, criminals have also begun working in novel fashions. Social media scams are increasingly being utilized maliciously by cyber-criminals to use people’s inherent trust in the content that friends share on Facebook and other social networking sites.

According to the Symantec Intelligence Report, India is the second most targeted country in the world for social media scams and the highest in Asia-Pacific region. In ransomware, a criminal act wherein a victim’s photos, files, and digital content is hijacked without revealing the attacker’s intention, India records an overwhelming 7 attacks per hour.

Attackers have surely changed the stealthy way of deceiving and duping netizens. As the Internet gets more sophisticated, newer possibilities will open-up, bringing forth both positive and negative consequences. Vigilance is the price we will have to pay for becoming more tech-savvy.

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Can Doctors Become Better With The Help Of Artificial Intelligence

The research now is on breast cancer, but doctors predict artificial intelligence will eventually make a difference in all forms of cancer and beyond.

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Liver Cancer, Cancer, Artificial Intelligece
A high-magnification image from a 2012 glioblastoma case is seen as an example in this College of American Pathologists image released from Northfield. VOA

Teacher Rishi Rawat has one student who is not human, but a machine.

Lessons take place at a lab inside the University of Southern California’s (USC) Clinical Science Center in Los Angeles, where Rawat teaches artificial intelligence, or AI.

To help the machine learn, Rawat feeds the computer samples of cancer cells.

“They’re like a computer brain, and you can put the data into them and they will learn the patterns and the pattern recognition that’s important to making decisions,” he explained.

AI may soon be a useful tool in health care and allow doctors to understand biology and diagnose disease in ways that were never humanly possible.

Cell Pattern, Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence through machine learning can detect complex patterns in cell arrangement that would be difficult for humans to recognize. VOA

Doctors not going away

“Machines are not going to take the place of doctors. Computers will not treat patients, but they will help make certain decisions and look for things that the human brain can’t recognize these patterns by itself,” said David Agus, USC’s professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, director at the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, and director at the university’s Center for Applied Molecular Medicine.

Rawat is part of a team of interdisciplinary scientists at USC who are researching how Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can identify complex patterns in cells and more accurately identify specific types of breast cancer tumors.

Once a confirmed cancerous tumor is removed, doctors still have to treat the patient to reduce the risk of recurrence. The type of treatment depends on the type of cancer and whether the tumor is driven by estrogen. Currently, pathologists would take a thin piece of tissue, put it on a slide, and stain with color to better see the cells.

“What the pathologist has to do is to count what percentage of the cells are brown and what percentage are not,” said Dan Ruderman, a physicist who is also assistant professor of research medicine at USC.

health, artificial Intelligence
Health would also not predict wealth as effectively as it does overall adoption and future readiness. Pixabay

The process could take days or even longer. Scientists say artificial intelligence can do something better than just count cells. Through machine learning, it can recognize complicated patterns on how the cells are arranged, with the hope, in the near future of making a quick and more reliable diagnosis that is free of human error.

“Are they disordered? Are they in a regular spacing? What’s going on exactly with the arrangement of the cells in the tissue,” described Ruderman of the types of patterns a machine can detect.

“We could do this instantaneously for almost no cost in the developing world,” Agus said.

Computing power improves

Scientists say the time is ripe for the marriage between computer science and cancer research.

“All of a sudden, we have the computing power to really do it in real time. We have the ability of scanning a slide to high enough resolution so that the computer can see every little feature of the cancer. So it’s a convergence of technology. We couldn’t have done this, we didn’t have the computing power to do this several years ago,” Agus said.

Cell Pattern, artificial Intelligence
High resolution slide scanners plus stronger computer power allows for the possibility for AI to help doctors more accurately figure out the subtype of breast cancer a patient has. VOA

Data is key to having a machine effectively do its job in medicine.

“Once you start to pool together tens and hundreds of thousands of patients and that data, you can actually [have] remarkable new insight, and so AI and machine learning is allowing that. It’s enabling us to go to the next level in medicine and really take that art to new heights,” Agus said.

Also Read: Researchers Develop Nano Technology That Offers Hope For Better Cancer Testing

Back at the lab, Rawat is not only feeding the computer more cell samples, he also designs and writes code to ensure that the algorithm has the ability to learn features unique to cancer cells.

The research now is on breast cancer, but doctors predict artificial intelligence will eventually make a difference in all forms of cancer and beyond. (VOA)