Science & Technology

The use and misuse of race in health care

In a Q&A, PIK Professor Sarah Tishkoff, the Perelman School of Medicine’s Giorgio Sirugo, and Case Western Reserve University’s Scott Williams shed light on the “quagmire” of race, ethnicity, genetic ancestry, and environmental factors and their contribution to health disparities.

Katherine Unger Baillie



In the News


MIT Technology Review

These creepy fake humans herald a new age in AI

Aaron Roth of the School of Engineering and Applied Science spoke about synthetic data and privacy concerns. “Just because the data is ‘synthetic’ and does not directly correspond to real user data does not mean that it does not encode sensitive information about real people,” he said.

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6ABC.com

Cyberattack temporarily shuts down JBS meat processing plants, including one in Montgomery County

Gary Althouse of the School of Veterinary Medicine commented on a ransomware attack that targeted one of the largest suppliers of beef, pork, and chicken in the U.S. “With food production, computerized systems are used in most aspects of it. We need to identify where these vulnerabilities are," he said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

These Penn scientists discovered how the brain engages in imagination

Joseph Kable of the School of Arts & Sciences and alumni Arthur Lee and Trishala Parthasarathi used MRI brain scans to study the neuroscience of imagination.

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Scientific American

A better way to cool ourselves

Dorit Aviv of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design and international collaborators wrote an opinion piece about their work developing a healthier and more sustainable alternative to air conditioning.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Pivoting to middle school teacher from bank teller to stay ahead of disruption

Dean Pam Grossman of the Graduate School of Education said technology has yet to significantly disrupt education or replace the need for teachers. “Teaching and learning are fundamentally relational processes, and without the relationship, it’s hard to engage learners, particularly those that aren’t motivated,” she said.

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6ABC.com

UPenn working on rapid COVID test that delivers results within minutes

César de la Fuente of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the rapid COVID-19 diagnostic test he and his team are developing. "This particular one is made out of cardboard, so it's recyclable and low cost," he said.

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The New York Times

Should Alexa read our moods?

Joseph Turow of the Annenberg School for Communication discussed his concerns about voice-profiling technologies and privacy. While there are some potentially useful applications, he said, “we have to outlaw voice profiling for the purpose of marketing. There is no utility for the public. We’re creating another set of data that people have no clue how it’s being used.”

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Marketplace (NPR)

Smart devices are listening to more than our words

Joseph Turow of the Annenberg School for Communication was interviewed about smart devices and the use of voice recognition in marketing. “For consumers, I want us to be wary, to realize that this is a kind of seductive surveillance,” he said.

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The Washington Post

Nevada vaccine website implants more trackers than any state

Matthew McCoy of the Perelman School of Medicine said people accessing Nevada’s COVID-19 vaccine information website may not understand how cookies work. “Most of them have no conception that when they log on to the page, they’re also giving information about themselves to this whole range of third parties,” he said.

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The New York Times

Grumpy dogs outperform the friendlies on some learning tests

Cynthia Otto of the School of Veterinary Medicine spoke about dog personality traits. At Penn’s Working Dog Center, she said, “we allow dogs to choose their careers and it’s based on their personalities and on their interactions and on their relationships.”

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