Author Archives: Clefos Maxim

Smart Mirror

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Smart devices are everywhere today gathering and analyzing passive data that improves our everyday life (smart watches, smart homes etc.). An emerging intelligent house device like a smart mirror that provides reminders, information and entertainment could also monitor our health. With the computing power that we have today, we could track the changes in our health, response to treatment and many other things that would benefit our well-being.

With the hardware and software available today, an ordinary mirror can be modified “by placing a semi-transparent sheet of glass over a digital screen and connecting this hardware to a computer with incoming data and a camera”. Displaying information like weather, email, and calendars is the first version (version 1.0) of a smart mirror. Version 2.0 uses monitoring systems with personalized information and computer vision to aid in improving the healthcare of the user. Communicating with the cloud and multiple sources of data, the smart mirror version 2.0 uses multimodal sensors-multiple cameras, motion detection, lasers, microphones, speakers to collect and then analyze the data so it can be applied to our well-being. Can smart mirrors provide information for health enthusiasts and patients? Two fields, ophthalmology (diagnosis and treatment of eye disorder) and dermatology (diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders), could use home monitoring to reduce the traditional patient-physician interaction and constantly check the patient’s condition. Two other health fields are anthropometry (the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body) and functional movement. Smart mirrors could become personal trainer assistants in gyms by checking the form and condition of your body and communicating that information to a smart watch and smartphone, creating an ecosystem that can track your progress and keep you motivated. It is a very promising technology that would provide great health assistance, but it comes with its challenges. Developing software that we can trust with our health is something that should be carefully looked at. As we rely more on AI technology to perform tasks, inaccurate data might create the wrong decision and put our health in danger.  As the smart mirror is constantly collecting data, privacy is another issue to evaluate. With all its benefits and challenges, a smart mirror could improve the lives of many. Considering the current circumstances in which people have to distance themselves and work from home, having a smart mirror could definitely benefit and help hospitals and clinics check and monitor our health.

My personal opinion is that such technology is with its great advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I would feel uncomfortable being monitored all the time, knowing that the technology today is not focused on security and privacy. On the other hand, it does offer something that could help those that need the medical assistance and constant checkups. It could even be implemented within the hospitals to be used as a quick checkup to offload some of the work done by doctors or nurses.  A smart mirror could detect symptoms that can prevent an individual from risking their health or in some cases save a life. That is a good enough reason to embrace the challenges and tackle them one by one, moving forward to a safer and healthier future.,%E2%80%9Chealth%20and%20fitness%E2%80%9D%20application.&text=An%20AI%2Dleveraged%20smart%20mirror,easy%20monitoring%20and%20data%20collection

The Protein Folding Problem

Reading Time: 2 minutesClose to 50 years ago, researchers started working through ways to predict how proteins reach their three-dimensional structure. In 1990, the experiment CASP (Critical Assessment of Protein Structure Prediction) was created, confronting scientists to come up with a system to predict protein folding. Proteins are the most important element in any living organism. Understanding the shapes/structures of proteins means understanding the functions they have. This is particularly important for the field of medicine, especially in drug designing and treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. Predicting protein structure can also be useful in many other fields.


DeepMind is one of the top artificial intelligence research companies in the world. It was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Seluyman in 2010. They built the well-known model, “AlphaGo”, and many others using deep reinforcement learning. In 2016, DeepMind shifted its attention to the “protein folding problem” (aka Protein Structure Prediction). In 2018, DeepMind stood out with its artificial intelligence program AlphaFold. They managed to successfully predict 25 out of 43 proteins. This year, they got a prediction of about 90 GDT (Global Distance Test) with a model trained on approximately 170,000 samples . These results are almost at the same level of accuracy as the determining of protein shapes in a scientific lab.


AlphaFold is most likely going to reshape the way living things are being studied. The enormous costs of having high quality equipment in labs will be reduced. Time will not be spent on tedious lab tasks, instead, scientists will be focused on the questions that need to be asked and answered. To put it in the words of Andrei Lupas (evolutionary biologist at the Max Plank Institute of Biology in Tubingen, Germany); “This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything”. AlphaFold has already helped Mr. Lupas find the structure of a protein.


I think what makes it unique is that AlphaFold made exponential progress since 2018. Additionally, the model performed really well considering the number of samples. Not many were expecting to have an AI as accurate as AlphaFold this soon. Such accurate results in solving the protein folding problem is a big leap forward for the science community and many other fields. This is a huge contribution for humankind on behalf of DeepMind. In the right hands and with the right intentions, AlphaFold will without a doubt propel us into a safer future.




Tech Ventures

Reading Time: 3 minutesAfter relentless searches on what to write about as a blog post, I noticed something that interested me. It was not only the high number of new tech startups, but also the capital they are raising. The sums are staggering, I cannot help but wonder if this is in any way related to all that is going on in the tech industry. The tech companies nowadays are valued at an insane amount of money; some are worth their value, but, in my opinion, most of them are way overvalued. Why do I think they are overvalued?  For me, the answer lies in the investors. Not many whales (big investors), or long-term investors are jumping onboard to bet their money on these new ventures, and if they do, it is far from the capital they possess for investing. I think it is because while these new companies are appealing and somewhat promising, there is still a lot of uncertainty on how their future might be. Nevertheless, let us try to evaluate the big picture.

Starting with the presidential election in the United States finishing with the crackdowns happening on the big tech players, one big question arises. Is everything that is happening a green light for the new guys to get their hand into the honey pot of the tech market?

You are probably asking what does the newly appointed president of the United States has to do with the tech market? Well, the United States is still a powerhouse in the today’s tech market, so anything happening there will have a global effect. President-elect Joe Biden has made some comments on what he plans to do concerning the big tech players, but to what extent we can only speculate. It’s become clear where he stands on corporate taxes, which let’s face it, would affect financially the big boys to a certain degree, but it wouldn’t stop them from abusing the power that they currently have in the industry. In an interview done by New York Times back in January Mr. Biden made his position clear on this matter, and I quote:

“From my perspective, I’ve been in the view that not only should we be worrying about the concentration of power and we should be worried about the lack of privacy and them being exempt.”

Based on the quote above, I believe he may support regulations that would limit that abuse and open the market to new players.

Meanwhile, the EU antitrust committee is forging new rules for the dominant companies of the tech market which includes up to 20 companies. Their intent is to have them change the way they conduct business; firstly, share the gathered data with their competitors, secondly, be more transparent on how they gather data. There have been numerous complaints about how they abuse their power and limit the market space for the smaller companies. It looks like we are at a crossing point where EU law meets the big tech giants.

China also took a swing at its tech sector by implementing new regulations. Although we can only speculate about the reason for what is happening, there are a few circulating theories. First, Jack Ma made a comment criticizing the Chinese financial system being outdated and unable to see the full picture right before Ant Group went to market. Following this comment, President Xi Jinping, was personally involved in stopping the much-anticipated IPO. Secondly, the government might be reevaluating its power grip on the tech market. Chinese government has been known for twisting the arm of its own big tech giants occasionally, even though it is not without their involvement that they dominate the home tech market.

From all off the above, I would say that the governments around the world are somewhat paving the way for already existing or emerging tech companies to enter the market. I think Europe could be the hotspot for the newer companies as they seem to be passing regulations that will most hinder the current tech leaders. In my mind, this could be in part to give the European companies a chance as the current dominant companies are from overseas. Nevertheless, this seems to be a good time to hop on a new venture in tech.

AI in the Education System

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AI in the Education System

Nowadays technology and education go hand in hand. The usage of such simple tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and many others have been crucial for delivering knowledge in the current times. Even though some educational institutions are still figuring out how to work with it, we would be lost without all the new and amazing technology available today.

It is great to see that companies like Microsoft are working hard on improving AI for educational institutions. Students will benefit from this technology by using it on a daily basis and it will maximize their preparedness for the future. Also, teachers could be relieved from some of the tedious tasks that are time consuming and give more attention to their students.  Overall, there are some innovative ideas on how to use AI to improve schooling.

But there is one important issue that all these great companies should pay more attention to: the increasing educational gap in the education system. While some are moving forward at an incredible pace, others are being left far behind.

We all know the importance of going to a good school and getting a good diploma to get a well-paid job.  For those of us who are fortunate enough to attend great schools, life will be much easier overall. But there is a great number of pupils who do not have this privilege. There have been numerous studies on how COVID has impacted the educational system. The low-income families and economically weak countries are among the victims that are struggling the most.


How can we use AI to narrow the gap between educational institutions and put everybody on equal footing?

Considering the vast amount of knowledge and finances that the big tech companies possess, I wonder if they could get more involved in the matter. It is likely that this wouldn’t be a top priority for any of them. But I think it is worth keeping in mind that poor education can be a devastating blow not only for the global economy but also the global community.

Now, I am not implying the progress should stop. On the contrary “full speed ahead”, give us more flexibility while studying online and for when we return to the classrooms. I just hope that the significant number of less fortunate will not be left behind.

Down below I have attached two links on the situation in UK and USA. But keep in mind that this is an issue for many other countries.




Emotion Recognition

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It’s fascinating to see the speed of progress in AI while improving our lives significantly.  There have been some major breakthroughs in the healthcare sector, travel sector, etc. But what is most noticeable is the increase of usage of AI for surveillance.

Certainly, there are benefits from using AI for surveillance, like an ambulance to be able to locate someone in case of an emergency or even retrace your steps (say you got food poisoning).It also could be used to track or keep an eye on a certain individual who’s been on a short leash with the law. The list could go on and on. But the main concern is how it is going to be used by certain governments and private groups.

Within a year NtechLab (a facial recognition company) is planning on deploying a fully operational surveillance AI “aggression detection”.  The purpose of this AI is detecting whether an individual leans towards committing a crime or not.

While this product could be beneficial in some way or the other, the main concern lies on where and how it is going to be used. Recently, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a mysterious Middle East partner injected an additional 15 million dollars into this program. These parties being involved is highly troublesome considering the actions taken by them in the past couple years and their stand on democracy. Multiple case studies had been made on similar products, and the results were worrisome.

I would like to say we should be worried, but it is too late. I guess all we can do now is hope that certain regulatory actions well be implemented while moving into the future.