Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.
First up, a Glasgow-based start-up whose apps are designed to help people affected by dementia live more independent lives has been selected to join a renowned tech accelerator programme in New York. MindMate was one of only 15 early-stage companies selected for the Techstars project out of 1,500 applicants. Its four co-founders will receive mentoring from leading tech entrepreneurs over three months. Founded in March 2015, MindMate now has more than 20,000 monthly active users and is partnered with every dementia society in the UK. According to Techstars, more than 90% of firms accepted onto its accelerator programme go on to receive more than $2m in follow-on funding.
Using tech to manage healthcare
Next, community physiotherapy teams, orthopaedic wards and the Scottish Prison Service are to adopt a remote digital physio service. A web-based platform will deliver video rehabilitation programmes via tablet or PC. A pilot in Lanarkshire showed that it increased people’s ability to manage their own care, cut down on travel time and cost, and enabled programmes to begin without delay. Users could also easily contact staff to provide feedback or ask questions. “We need to think that technology can enhance what we do and improve our reach,” said anie Thomson, head of physiotherapy at NHS Lanarkshire. “We do not need to be face-to-face. Technology can be complementary and if we do not move with the time, it’s very difficult to improve on outcomes.”
Internet vs the EU
Wired magazine has an interesting insight into the future of artificial intelligence and how EU legislation may block its development in Europe (setting aside, for the moment, the result of the recent referendum on membership). Neural networks are changing the internet. Inspired by the networks of neurons inside the human brain, these deep mathematical models can learn discrete tasks by analysing enormous amounts of data. They’ve learned to recognise faces in photos, identify spoken commands, and translate text from one language to another. And that’s just a start. They’re also moving into the heart of tech giants like Google and Facebook. They’re helping to choose what you see when you query the Google search engine or visit your Facebook News Feed. All this is sharpening the behavior of online services. But it also means the Internet is poised for an ideological confrontation with the European Union, the world’s single largest online market.
And finally…Pizza Hut in Edinburgh’s Hanover Street is celebrating World Emoji Day by replacing its traditional menu with one that has substituted emojis for words.