The news: A pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human being for the first time. David Bennett Sr., a man with terminal heart disease, received the genetically modified heart during an eight-hour operation on Friday January 7 at the University of Maryland Medical Center, which issued a statement last night. The operation was a last-ditch effort on behalf of Bennett, 57, who had been deemed ineligible for a conventional heart transplant. He had been in the hospital for more than six weeks before the procedure with life-threatening arrhythmia. “It was either die or do this transplant,” he said in the press statement. “I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice.”
Surgeon Bartley P. Griffith (left) and patient, David Bennett
The technique: Ten genes in the donor pig were altered before the transplant could take place. Three of these genes cause human bodies to reject pig organs, so these were knocked out. Six genes were inserted to help control immune acceptance of the pig heart, and one additional gene was knocked out to stop excessive growth of the pig heart tissue.
The Maryland team also used an experimental drug to suppress the immune system and prevent rejection, and a new machine that pushed fluid through the tissue to make sure the pig’s heart remained viable until the procedure. The FDA gave emergency go-ahead for the procedure on New Year’s Eve, according to the New York Times.
What’s next: The demand for organs is vast, with nearly 107,000 people on the US transplant waiting list; 17 of them die every day, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal agency.
Early results look promising for Bennett, who is expected to come off the heart-lung bypass machine he’d been relying on to keep him alive today (January 11). He will be very closely monitored over the coming days and weeks for any signs of rejection or infection.
New frontier: While xenotransplantation, the process of transplanting animal organs or tissues into humans, has a long and often unsuccessful history, new gene-editing technologies are making it more viable. The gene-edited pig in last week’s operation was supplied by Revivicor, one of several biotech companies working to develop pig organs to transplant into humans.
Revivicor was also behind a successful transplantation of a pig’s kidney into a human patient last October, which was a major milestone in proving the viability of its techniques. As well as Revivicor, Harvard scientist George Church cofounded a company, eGensisis, that is working on using CRISPR gene editing to make animal organs viable for human transplant, although his ambitious proposed time scale has fallen off track.
By: Charlotte Jee
Title: A gene-edited pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/01/11/1043374/gene-edited-pigs-heart-transplant/
Published Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2022 11:47:25 +0000
Sustainability starts with the data center
When asked why he targeted banks, notorious criminal Willie Sutton reportedly answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” Similarly, when thoughtful organizations target sustainability, they look to their data centers—because that’s where the carbon emissions are.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) attributes about 1.5% of total global electricity use to data centers and data transmission networks. This figure is much higher, however, in countries with booming data storage sectors: in Ireland, 18% of electricity consumption was attributable to data centers in 2022, and in Denmark, it is projected to reach 15% by 2030. And while there have been encouraging shifts toward green-energy sources and increased deployment of energy-efficient hardware and software, organizations need to accelerate their data center sustainability efforts to meet ambitious net-zero targets.
For data center operators, options for boosting sustainability include shifting energy sources, upgrading physical infrastructure and hardware, improving and automating workflows, and updating the software that manages data center storage. Hitachi Vantara estimates that emissions attributable to data storage infrastructure can be reduced as much as 96% by using a combination of these approaches.
Critics might counter that, though data center decarbonization is a worthy social goal, it also imposes expenses that a company focused on its bottom line can ill afford. This, however, is a shortsighted view.
Data center decarbonization initiatives can provide an impetus that enables organizations to modernize, optimize, and automate their data centers. This leads directly to improved performance of mission-critical applications, as well as a smaller, denser, more efficient data center footprint—which then creates savings via reduced energy costs. And modern data storage and management solutions, beyond supporting sustainability, also create a unified platform for innovation and new business models through advanced data analytics, machine learning, and AI.
Dave Pearson, research vice president at IDC, says, “Decarbonization and the more efficient energy utilization of the data center are supported by the same technologies that support data center modernization. Modernization has sustainability goals, but obviously it provides all kinds of business benefits, including enabling data analytics and better business processes.”
Download the full report.
This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.
By: MIT Technology Review Insights
Title: Sustainability starts with the data center
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/11/30/1083909/sustainability-starts-with-the-data-center/
Published Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023 15:03:00 +0000
The Download: the year’s most-read climate stories, and Amazon’s chatbot
This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
A look back at the year’s most-read climate stories
2023 has been a big year for climate news. Wildfires, floods and heatwaves displaced and killed thousands of people across the world as extreme weather events worsened, and scientists have concluded the past 12 months were the hottest since records began.
But it’s not exclusively bad news. Our climate experts James Temple and Casey Crownhart have been covering the most promising technologies that could make a difference. Take a look back over some of MIT Technology Review’s most-read climate stories of the year—and make sure you keep up-to-date with all the latest news by subscribing to The Spark, our weekly climate and energy tech newsletter.
+ This geothermal startup showed its wells can be used like a giant underground battery. If Fervo Energy’s field results work at commercial scale, it could become cheaper and easier to green the grid. Read the full story.
+ Helion Energy, a startup backed by Sam Altman, says its first fusion plant is five years away. Experts aren’t so sure.
+ Check out our handy explainer of how heat pumps work—and how they could save you money in the process.
+ Spraying iron particles above the ocean could help to fight climate change. But scientists say far more research still needs to be done. Read the full story.
+ Yes, we have enough materials to power the world with renewable energy. We won’t run out of key ingredients for climate action, but mining comes with social and environmental ramifications. Read the full story.
+ Nonprofits and academic groups are working to help climate-vulnerable regions take part in the high-stakes global debate over solar geoengineering.
+ We were promised smaller nuclear reactors. Where are they? Small modular reactors could be quicker and cheaper to build. Now, they’ve reached a major milestone. Read the full story.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Amazon has launched a new AI chatbot called Q
Not to be confused with OpenAI’s rumored Q* AI model. (NYT $)
It’s designed to help code and manage cloud software for businesses. (Wired $)
2 Elon Musk boosted the dangerous pizzagate conspiracy theory
It’s the latest in a string of long-debunked theories he’s given oxygen to on X. (WP $)
It’s no wonder the platform can’t keep its advertisers. (Motherboard)
3 Apple is winding down its Goldman Sachs credit card partnership
But it’s unclear whether this spells the end of Apple’s foray into finance or not. (WSJ $)
4 There’s no evidence the internet is harming your mental health
Contrary to popular opinion. (FT $)
Your kid’s phone probably isn’t causing depression. (MIT Technology Review)
5 Amazon is disrupting rural mail services across America
Postal workers have been instructed to prioritize the retail giant’s package deliveries, and customers aren’t happy about it. (WP $)
6 High-profile women in AI don’t want to join OpenAI’s all-male board
The board reflects the wider problems within the AI industry. (Wired $)
A prominent female tech influencer’s accounts are run by a man. (404 Media)
Why can’t tech fix its gender problem? (MIT Technology Review)
7 America loves hydrogen
It’s an attractive green energy—but only if it can be made efficiently. (The Atlantic $)
When hydrogen will help climate change—and when it won’t. (MIT Technology Review)
8 US soldiers are sharing their horrific barracks on a new app
Hots&Cots is full of images of dirty lodgings and substandard living conditions. (Motherboard)
The future of military tech is heavily AI-based. (Vox)
9 The world’s first AI singer is no Taylor Swift
Her first release is deeply basic, to put it kindly. (Insider $)
10 Those Instagrammable offices aren’t fooling anyone
Workers don’t want to go back, and photogenic spaces won’t change that. (NYT $)
Quote of the day
“The list of abuses is endless…[X] has become a vast global sewer.”
—Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, explains why she’s leaving X after 14 years on the platform, Insider reports.
The big story
How robotic honeybees and hives could help the species fight back
Something was wrong, but Thomas Schmickl couldn’t put his finger on it. It was 2007, and the Austrian biologist was spending part of the year at East Tennessee State
By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: the year’s most-read climate stories, and Amazon’s chatbot
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/11/29/1084048/the-download-the-years-most-read-climate-stories-and-amazons-chatbot/
Published Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2023 13:10:00 +0000
Procurement in the age of AI
Procurement professionals face challenges more daunting than ever. Recent years’ supply chain disruptions and rising costs, deeply familiar to consumers, have had an outsize impact on business buying. At the same time, procurement teams are under increasing pressure to supply their businesses while also contributing to business growth and profitability.
Deloitte’s 2023 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey reveals that procurement teams are now being called upon to address a broader range of enterprise priorities. These range from driving operational efficiency (74% of respondents) and enhancing corporate social responsibility (72%) to improving margins via cost reduction (71%).
To meet these rising expectations, many procurement teams are turning to advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning (ML) to transform the way they make smart business buying decisions and create value for the organization.
New procurement capabilities unlocked by AI
AI and ML tools have long helped procurement teams automate mundane and manual procurement processes, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives. But recent advances in natural language processing (NLP), pattern recognition, cognitive analytics, and large language models (LLMs) are “opening up opportunities to make procurement more efficient and effective,” says Julie Scully, director of software development at Amazon Business.
The good news is procurement teams are already well-positioned to capitalize on these technological advances. Their access to rich data sources, ranging from contracts to invoices, enables AI/ML solutions that can illuminate the insights contained within this data. Acting on these insights unlocks new capabilities that can enhance decision-making and improve spending patterns across the organization.
Predicting supply chain disruptions. In an era of constant supply chain disruptions, procurement teams are often faced with inconsistent item availability, which can negatively impact employee and customer experience. Indeed, the Deloitte 2023 Global Chief Procurement Officer survey finds that only 25% of firms are able to identify supply disruptions promptly “to a large extent.”
AI tools can help address this issue by recognizing patterns that indicate an emerging supply shortage and automatically recommending two or three product alternatives to business buyers, thereby preventing supply disruptions. These predictive capabilities also empower procurement teams to establish buying policies that proactively account for items that are more likely to go out of stock.
Answering pressing questions quickly. Sifting through data to understand the cause of a supply chain disruption, product defect, or other risk is time-consuming for a procurement professional. LLM-powered chatbots can streamline these processes by understanding complex queries about orders and “putting together a nuanced answer,” says Scully. “AI can query a wide variety of sources to fully answer a question quickly and in a way that feels natural and understandable.” In addition to providing fast and accurate answers to pressing questions, AI promises to reduce the need to explain procurement issues eventually. Instead, it will proactively analyze orders, buying patterns, and the current situation to provide instant support.
Offering customized recommendations. As business buyers increasingly demand personalized experiences, procurement officers seek ways to customize their interactions with business procurement systems. Scully provides the example of an employee tasked with hosting a holiday party for 150 employees who needs help deciding what to order. An AI-based procurement tool posed that scenario, she says, could generate a proposed shopping cart, sifting through “millions and billions of data points to recommend and suggest items that the employee may not have even thought of.”
Better yet, she adds, “as we get into really large language models, AI/ML can help answer questions or help buy items you didn’t even know you needed by understanding your particular situation in a much more detailed way.”
Influencing compliance spend. Procurement professionals aim to balance employees’ freedom to purchase the items they need with minimal intervention. However, self-sufficiency should not come at the cost of proper spend
By: MIT Technology Review Insights
Title: Procurement in the age of AI
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/11/28/1083628/procurement-in-the-age-of-ai/
Published Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2023 16:00:00 +0000
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