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A.I. helps in early detection of ovarian cancer, says CEO of health tech firm

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping oncologists in the U.K. detect ovarian cancer in patients much earlier than was previously possible, according to the CEO of TPP, a company that provides health-care related software to doctors and nurses.

“So, our AI can now spot (ovarian cancer) in more than 50% of cases up to two years before the doctor,” Frank Hester told CNBC’s Christine Tan at the East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China. “The average doctor in a 40-year career sees four or five cases of ovarian cancer.”

By the time a woman finds out she has ovarian cancer, it is usually too late, but late detection can now be eliminated thanks to advancement in health care technology, according to Hester, whose company works with the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) which provides majority of health care in England.

TPP has access to more than 50 million medical records of NHS patients. Using that data, the company has built AI programs and the first of it focuses on early detection of ovarian cancer, Hester said.

The Horsforth-based company shares patients’ medical records electronically with doctors and nurses, Hester said, highlighting that they have checks and balances in place to cover for cyber security breaches.

“We pay companies to attack us every year. We actually pay… in every country that we’re working in,” Hester said, referring to ethical hackers — sometimes called “white hats” — who are hired by companies to help boost their defenses against hackers and keep their networks secure.

Countries around the world are relying on digital medical records of patients and using AI in health care for early detection and accuracy of diagnosis, or for administrative tasks such as scheduling patients appointments and staffing tasks, according to a global study done in Singapore by Royal Philips’ annual Future Health Index.

According to the study, health care professionals in China are significantly more likely to recommend patients use digital health technology or mobile health apps to track key health indicators.

“China is absolutely leading the world in AI,” said Hester. “I’ve seen a change over the past 5 years… it’s almost the policy now to do business with foreigners, which is great,” Hester said.

TPP’s health care technology has been used in China since 2013, he added.

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The EU announces its first ever plan to regulate cryptocurrencies

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Nikola shares fall to new low on Wedbush downgrade

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Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite announced, start at $30

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Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

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Amazon announced two new Fire TV products during its big online hardware event on Thursday. Amazon’s Fire TV gadgets compete directly with Roku and Apple TV, offering people access to popular apps like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu and more. 

Amazon says people are spending more time in front of TVs than ever before due to the spread of coronavirus. It sees the TV as a the center of the household and wants to get even more features in front of users to keep them coming back. The new features may help it compete more aggressively against Roku, which still has a 50% market share of global connected TV streaming hours with strong growth opportunities, according to an analyst note from Deutsche Bank in August.

The new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite will be the first of Amazon’s streaming gadgets to offer a redesigned home screen when they launch next week, although the changes will come to existing Fire TV devices beginning in the first quarter of 2020, too.

Here’s what you need to know.

Easier to find stuff to watch, new user profiles

The new Amazon Fire TV interface, which includes user profiles.

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Amazon’s vice president and general manager of Fire TV, Sandeep Gupta, told CNBC that Amazon received feedback from users suggesting the home screen was too cluttered. Amazon worked on a redesign to make it easier to find stuff to watch and to quickly jump into live TV.

“Today, you can search for comedies, or stuff by Tom Cruise, but we’ve tried to make a landing spot for when you don’t know what you want to watch. This shows you stuff that’s free, movies and TV shows, broader categories, apps and more,” Gupta said. Gupta said the quick access to a TV guide will provide a familiar experience for people transitioning from cable TV to streaming.

The new software supports up to six user profiles. That means you can log into your profile and see the shows and movies Amazon recommends to you, while your significant other can use a separate account for their own personalized recommendations. You can also create profiles for children that will only show kid-friendly content you’ve approved. Previously, you’d have to switch profiles inside each app, like Netflix or Hulu, to see content recommended to you inside those apps.

The latest software provides a new option to see your Ring or Alexa-ready video cameras on your TV through picture-in-picture — kind of like seeing a small window on your screen — while you’re watching movies or TV show. 

Finally, Amazon is expanding its Alexa voice assistant on Fire TV. Gupta told CNBC that there are billions of requests to Alexa and that it has seen an 80% growth in requests on Fire TV over the last year, although he did not provide specific figures.

“It’s a good indication people like Alexa and are using it more to manage shopping routines, recipes, whatever it is, in a centralized place,” he said. Alexa’s responses now pop up and cover just a small part of the screen so you can keep watching or doing what you were without being interrupted.

Video chat for Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Amazon Fire TV Cube

Amazon

Separately from the Fire TV sticks, though still part of the new software that will roll out to other Amazon Fire TV gadgets during the first quarter of 2020, is new video chat support.

People who own the second-generation Fire TV Cube will soon be able to add a Logitech webcam for video chat through Fire TV. It’ll support Alexa video calls and, later, Zoom. It won’t work on the Fire TV sticks since it requires a USB port that’s only found on the Fire TV Cube.

New Amazon Fire TV Sticks price and release date

The new Amazon Fire TV Stick

Amazon

The Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick are relatively similar. They’ll cost $39.99 and $29.99, respectively. The Fire TV Stick offers support for newer technologies, like HDR and Dolby Atmos if your TV and speakers support them. Neither support 4K video and are capped at 1080p, so, don’t buy them if you have a 4K TV and want the best quality possible.

If you need 4K, look at the Fire TV Stick 4K, which costs $49.99 but doesn’t ship with the new software. The Fire TV Stick Lite is more basic without Dolby Atmos and some of the more advanced Wi-Fi support for more stable streaming. Both are said to be 50% faster than the last-generation Fire TV Stick, however, and both come with voice remotes that you can use to speak with Alexa to open movies, TV shows, apps and more.

Pre-orders for the new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite begin on Thursday and they’ll begin arriving to customers on Sept. 30.

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