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The Alarming Increase Of Global Food Fraud

Food fraud has become a major issue around the globe. Consumers are losing faith in their food as the number of contaminant cases has increased exponentially.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, food fraud is a big problem and costs the industry over $40 billion a year. Not only is this issue causing an economic headache but is damaging people’s health.

“it has become almost impossible for food producers to guarantee the provenance of their products”

In 2009, the infamous case of a salmonella outbreak in pots of peanut butter, which led to the deaths of 9 Americans and 714 illnesses, highlighted the problem. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 10 people become ill every year from eating contaminated food and the problem is so widespread that drastic action needs to be taken to combat the issue.

According to Food Safety Tech, our food supply chain has grown so complex that “it has become almost impossible for food producers to guarantee the provenance of their products—meaning consumers can never entirely trust in the food they eat.”

The website writes that food trace-ability is in increasing demand from consumers. A survey found that “consumers want to see everything from a complete ingredient breakdown to sourcing information, with 94% of respondents saying they are likely to be more loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.”

One effective way of tracking food and ensuring that all stages of production are monitored to avoid food fraud is by using an innovative app which charts where food comes from.

The BBC writes that the Provenance app tracks the source of food using pioneering blockchain technology to monitor each stage of food production so that when a consumer goes to the supermarket to purchase their item they can follow its journey. Experts believe that using technology like this can reduce the number of food related incidents and will help the industry monitor and track methods used during food production to decrease risk to consumers.

Food scanners are already proving an effective measure. They can be used to scan foods at a molecular level for macro-nutrients and contaminants, and provide information on food fraud, food adulteration or food quality.Scanning food to detect quality - Food Fraud

Not only can the technology give users a complete breakdown of exactly what’s in the products they buy to avoid certain ingredients, but can give full breakdowns of exactly where it has come from.

Food Safety Tech says that this kind of consumer driven, high-quality information “opens up a world of possibilities for companies that recognize the significance of its demand. Brand protection, demand forecasting and consumer loyalty all becomes possible for early adapters who show themselves to be taking practical steps to guarantee the authenticity of their products.”

It also takes bold steps by policymakers to implement change to tackle the food fraud issues faced. Several steps have been made to legislation to allow for earlier prevention of food safety incidents occurring. Food safety has become many western government’s prime area of focus, whereas, until now, food fraud has taken a back seat because it’s harder and more expensive to tackle.

“consumers want to see everything from a complete ingredient breakdown to sourcing information”

Times are changing though as governments and leading organizations are realizing that food fraud should be tackled head on, and they are.

Calls for more stringent food labeling to be put in place have been made across America, and tighter legislation, leading to “significant punitive measures taken against actors found to be committing fraud” are a vital catalyst in ensuring that food in our supply chain is as secure as possible.

The growth of the global food supply chain has led to many challenges to face. Food fraud is now so great that it can’t be ignored. With the help of technological tools provided to both the food industry and consumers, along with several new measures implemented across the food industry board, the number of food related incidents should decrease over time. But, remember to be vigilant and keep a track of your own food sources to be 100% sure of its provenance.

Biggest Transportation Developments Of 2017 So Far

The transportation industry is pushing the envelope of development this year. As far as innovations go, there are several bold and radical ones which will be rolled out soon. Self-driving cars, rolling and flying delivery drones, Dubai’s flying drone taxis, and the much-awaited Hyperloop all promise to modernize and improve the world’s transportation systems. These are bold advancements that could very well change how people travel and affect the quality of their daily lives.

Long commutes can be eliminated, people will no longer need to drive for long stretches, and travelling to distant cities or states will be reduced to a fraction of an hour. People will no longer be uprooted from their homes just to be able to work somewhere far away. The good news is that there are more developments that push human ingenuity and creativity in the pipeline.

Popular ride sharing app Uber has announced plans to launch small, electric aircraft which take off vertically.

These flying cars will be flying out in the Dallas area by the year 2020. It aims to cut 45-minute commutes down to mere minutes, while keeping costs in the vicinity of Uber ride fares.

Jeff Holden, Chief Product Officer of Uber Technologies, described these flying taxis as :  “the pinnacle of urban mobility — the reduction of congestion and pollution from transportation, giving people their time back, freeing up real estate dedicated to parking and providing access to mobility in all corners of a city,” reported.

The small quadcopters are meant to carry packages while the larger planes were designed to ferry people. The beauty of vertical takeoffs and landings is that it eliminates the need for long runways in different parts of the city. Uber passengers can go to a “vertiport” to travel to a different city and immediately hop on to an Uber ride to get to their exact destination. Surprisingly, the fare is almost as cheap as a regular trip – $1.32 per passenger mile. This service is expected to roll out by 2020.

Transportation Developments Of 2017

Trends, Developments, and Projections

Supersonic flights will make a comeback with a startup company called Boom set to test flights by next year. Aerion Supersonic has also partnered with Airbus to create more fuel-efficient  supersonic planes and hopefully make the aircraft more popular than the Concorde. Both companies have worked out ways to get rid of sonic boom.

The space race has become more competitive with the bold innovation of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. The software and technology they are testing has allowed them to land and retrieve rocket components so they can be re-used on the landing pad. SpaceX’s goals though, isn’t confined to rocket launches for space probes. Their goal is to promote space tourism and ferry both cargo and people to and from planets and other celestial bodies. Musk is also planning to colonize Mars.

Autonomous cars and self-driving taxis are small-scale plans now. Autonomous software is being developed and tested to enable self-driving trucks and ships to ferry cargo and large shipments to different parts of the country or the world. Automated shipment will be run by robots and will be seen across trucks, trains and ships. This bold and futuristic development will bring down shipping costs and affect market prices of goods and other commodities.

More importantly, these kinds of progress translate to a higher level of satisfaction among people. Development and innovations are perceived as markers for progress – both economic and cultural – and inspire people to do more and make the most out of life.

AI More Reliable At Predicting Heart Attacks Than Physicians

Doctors may have spent years long years studying and specializing to become cardiologists, but they haven’t come close to accurately predicting when a person will suffer from a heart attack. But now, a bold development using artificial intelligence has started predicting cardiac incidents with amazing accuracy. Could this be the life-saving technology that the world has been waiting for?

“scientists have shown that computers capable of teaching themselves can perform even better than standard medical guidelines, significantly increasing prediction rates”

Over 20 million people a year suffer from cardiac arrest, around 800,000 of these are Americans, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Additionally, one person in the US has a heart attack every 43 seconds. For the longest time, the medical community has accepted that heart attacks are almost impossible to predict given the different factors and confluence of situations that lead to it.

However, Science Magazine reports that computers equipped with artificial intelligence “can be trained” to recognize heart attack risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and age among other factors. “Now, scientists have shown that computers capable of teaching themselves can perform even better than standard medical guidelines, significantly increasing prediction rates. If implemented, the new method could save thousands or even millions of lives a year,” the article read.

But while this development is seen as a game changer in the medical world, it’s not surprising that it is met by experts with raised eyebrows. This is why Vascular Surgeon Elsie Ross from the Stanford University in Palo Alto, California is appealing to doctors to “start to embrace the use of artificial intelligence to assist us in care of patients.”

University of Nottingham Epidemiologist Stephen Weng explains that the human body is a complex interaction of biological systems and computer science explores these associations in order to come up with predictive tools. Weng’s program sorted through the medical record of 378,256 patients from the UK with the aim of finding patterns that could predict cardiovascular events.

AI Predicting Heart Attacks Better Than Physicians

After testing and creating base patterns, the AI algorithms were able to come up with predictions on which patients would experience cardiovascular events over the next 10 years. Since the data the computers were fed came from 2005, researchers were able to match and counter check if their predictions did come true. According to Weng, “the best one—neural networks—correctly predicted 7.6% more events than the ACC/AHA method, and it raised 1.6% fewer false alarms. In the test sample of about 83,000 records, that amounts to 355 additional patients whose lives could have been saved. That’s because prediction often leads to prevention.”

“the best one—neural networks—correctly predicted 7.6% more events than the ACC/AHA method, and it raised 1.6% fewer false alarms”

If more computing power and training data were allocated for similar programs, University of Manchester data scientist Evangelos Kontopantelis says Weng’s project could have achieved bigger gains. There are plans to refine the data and include more predictors in the algorithm such as lifestyle and genetic factors, including diabetes.

But before this technology is hailed as the bold discovery of the century, the data scientist noted that there is a big limitation to the use of Artificial Intelligence. He stressed that these machine learning algorithms can hardly be tweaked by humans. Kontopantelis explained that they can see the data that comes in and comes out, but scientists are left guessing what happens in between.

The medical world is slowly inching towards digitization and automation. The use of robots in the health profession has truly brought medicine to the next level. The ability to predict incidences such as heart attacks with a high degree of accuracy could save millions of lives through prevention. This certainly changes everything and leaves a profoundly deep impact in our quality of life.

Hyperloop One Launch is Now Pending After Test Runs

The Hyperloop is fast, it is cool and it is expensive. It is also struggling to come to life and become a reality after so many stories tracking its development. The most that has been done so far is a half-kilometer test track north of Las Vegas, and a traveling show soliciting for proposals for the first routes. Government officials and bureaucrats want it to work, in the hopes that it would improve transportation and infrastructure through private investment rather than through government funding.

A recent study by the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that it would require more than $2 trillion over the next ten years to improve infrastructure. President Trump has promised to allocate the money, as well as encouraging the private sector to get involved, or encouraging private-public partnerships (PPP). Perhaps Hyperloop One is hoping for a piece of that funding pie.  Despite no lack of private investment opportunities, maybe Hyperloop One is looking for more than just funding but regulation support.

The Hyperloop One team kicked off a roadshow in Washington. D.C. to raise awareness and get a read from government representatives. One aim of the event was to solicit ideas and plans for the Hyperloop One’s first implementation. Officials and planners from the U.S. and across the world attended and joined in the discussion about the best Hyperloop routes, The Verge reported.

Hyperloop One routes - transportation

The infrastructure for Hyperloop One does not yet exist, however, the theoretical basis of the bold technology has been in discussion since the 1970s and earlier. The main idea behind the 700 mile speeds is to have the vehicles or capsules to travel in a tunnel with a partial vacuum. In ideal conditions with as much vacuum as possible, you can transport an object inside an airless pipe or tunnel and it would zoom from one end to the other with almost no energy expenditure.

Although this has been proven in the lab with pipes and pingpong balls, it is another matter to scale up with vehicles the size of train cars. Underground tunnels would have to be dug, a low friction rail system set in place, and then a vacuum has to be maintained, in order to reach near supersonic speeds. In addition, vehicles have to withstand the stress of a quick acceleration and deceleration that the system will create. On top of that, the passenger safety factors have to be considered. Whiplash can be a regular occurrence.

The Hyperloop concept is clearly an expensive project that will need time and capital to bring to life in a heavily regulated infrastructure and transportation industry. However, it has not been lacking in private investments, which is where Hyperloop One needs to keep focusing. Waiting for financial support from the government will only bring higher costs and bigger barriers.  Bold Business encourages greater private sector involvement in infrastructure projects to get them moving more quickly and at lower costs, or further consideration into private-public partnerships (PPP).