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Photo: Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

For a month, two disabled veterans in Texas labeled photos taken by drones, drawing lines around objects and identifying them. Their work will be used to train artificial intelligence systems.

Why it matters: Physical disabilities or a mental health condition like PTSD can make it difficult for a veteran to work in a traditional office or work site. But data labeling can be done on a computer from home.

What's happening: A software company, a defense contractor and two nonprofits are behind a project to provide AI training work for veterans.

  • Working hours are flexible, which benefits veterans whose disability status prevents them from working full time, says Lindsay Box, executive director of IAM23, a veterans’ services organization.
  • "It gives them a sense of meaning," says Box. "It gives them something to wake up for in the morning."

The drone-image project is for a large defense contractor. Machine vision systems need a lot of annotated data in order to learn to automatically identify objects.

  • Nathaniel Gates, CEO of Alegion — the company that created the software the veterans used — wouldn’t say which contractor was involved.
  • DEWIT, an Austin nonprofit that helped arrange the pilot program, hopes to sign on more than a dozen veterans for a second project.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
10 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

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