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The Download: oyster aquaculture, and trusting AI with our bodies

Carol Friend has taken on a difficult job. She is one of the 10 people in Delaware currently trying to make it as a cultivated oyster farmer.

Her Salty Witch Oyster Company holds a lease to grow the mollusks as part of the state’s new program for aquaculture, launched in 2017. It has sputtered despite its obvious promise.

Five years after the first farmed oysters went into the Inland Bays, the aquaculture industry remains in a larval stage. Oysters themselves are almost mythical in their ability to clean and filter water. But human willpower, investment, and flexibility are all required to allow the oysters to simply do their thing—particularly when developers start to object. Read the full story.

—Anna Kramer

Are we ready to trust AI with our bodies?

Artificial intelligence is marching deeper and deeper into our lives. We’re already used to tracking our bodies through wearables like smart watches. Getting a pep talk from an AI avatar doesn’t feel like much of a stretch.

That’s exactly what’s going on at Lumin Fitness: a gym in Texas staffed pretty much entirely by virtual AI coaches designed to guide gym goers through workouts. 

In a way, it makes sense. AI could help to encourage people who feel intimidated or unmotivated to work out, and make it easier to track progress over time. But as the tech enters ever-more sensitive areas, we need to keep our wits about us and remember it has lots of limitations. Read the full story.

Melissa’s story is from The Algorithm, our weekly AI newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

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