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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

The whole point of artificial-intelligence systems is that they can learn — but they still have to start somewhere. And the nascent field of health care AI is still focused on those early building blocks.

Where it stands: Google already has a leg up on some of its competitors, because of the data it already collects through search and Gmail, NPR reports.

What they're saying: "As companies like Google and other traditional consumer-oriented companies start moving into this space, it is certainly clear that they bring the capability of taking much of the information they have about us and be able to apply it," said Reed Tuckson, a member of the advisory board for Verily, Alphabet's health care arm.

What else: On top of that, Google is working with researchers at Duke and Stanford to recruit volunteers — the goal is to get 10,000 of them — who contribute far more data.

  • Participants fill out regular health surveys, use a tool that tracks their sleep, and wear a watch that monitors their heart rate and steps (although the watch seems to not work perfectly).
  • "It's sort of a way of donating your body while it's still alive," one participant told NPR.

Go deeper: Adversarial attacks are a blind spot for medical AI

Go deeper

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.