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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In the 1950s, 400–500 Americans died every year from measles and another 100 from chicken pox. In the last major outbreak of rubella — in 1964–65 — some 11,000 pregnant American women lost their babies and 2,100 newborns died.
"What changed is that society changed," Jeremy Farrar, an expert on infectious disease and director of the U.K.-based Wellcome Trust, tells Axios.
The big picture: For 2019, U.S. officials have confirmed 481 measles cases in 16 states as of Saturday, according to the website Precision Vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control confirms 151 cases of mumps for January and February in 30 states and the District of Columbia. And Kentucky alone has an outbreak of 32 cases of chickenpox as of last week.
Europe, too, has had a surge of mumps, pertussis, rubella and tetanus over the last two years, reports the World Health Organization. Measles killed 72 people in Europe last year, according to the agency.
But the revival of these once-unavoidable, disfiguring and sometimes deadly diseases is only part of the new age of epidemics. They are a component of the general breakdown of the decades-old political and social order.
What's next: Farrar is pressing for governments to create a commercial impetus for companies to figure out how to navigate the new age. But to get started, says Peter Hotez, dean at Baylor College of Medicine and author of “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism,” they need to separate out the various factors.
A driverless car's view of the road. Photo: David McNew/Getty
Once crowdsourced for pennies on platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, labeling data for AI is swiftly becoming a hugely lucrative market — with much of the work done in places with cheap labor like China, India and Malaysia.
Kaveh writes: It's a necessary step for algorithms that learn from enormous troves of examples. A system that's seen a million cat photos, hand labeled as such, will be able to identify the million-and-first.
Details: The global market for AI data labeling is predicted to explode from $150 million in 2018 to more than $1 billion by the end of 2023, according to research company Cognilytica.
Shanghai's Yangshan Port. Photo: Qian Cheng/VCG via Getty
If you needed any further evidence of where global business is going, take a look at cargo traffic in the world's ports:
The only other U.S. ports in the top 50 are Long Beach (22) NY/New Jersey (23), Savannah (42) and Seattle (43). Even if you add all five of those U.S. ports, they fall short of both of the top two (Shanghai and Singapore).
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The #MeOnly society (Roger Blitz — FT) (video)
Playing God with driverless cars (Joann Muller — Axios)
After 12 years in prison, Jeff Skilling's next act (Christopher Matthews, Katherine Blunt — WSJ)
The real story of the insectageddon (The Economist)
The geography of billionaires (Jeff Desjardins — Visual Capitalist)
The circles blooming and shrinking in the clip above are part of a new robotics system developed at MIT, Columbia, Cornell and Harvard.
Kaveh writes: Each individual "particle" is extremely simple. It can only expand and contract, and it is ringed by magnets so it can grab onto its neighbors.
The particle robotics system is a departure from traditional robots, where a part failure generally breaks the entire thing. Instead, it's inspired by biological cells.