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Fighting Food Poisoning In Las Vegas With Machine Learning 59

aarondubrow writes: Computer science researchers from the University of Rochester developed an app for health departments that uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to identify likely food poisoning hot spots. Las Vegas health officials recently used the app, called nEmesis, to improve the city's inspection protocols and found it was 63% more effective at identifying problematic venues than the current state of the art. The researchers estimate that if every inspection in Las Vegas became adaptive, it could prevent over 9,000 cases of foodborne illness and 557 hospitalizations annually. The team presented the results at the 30th Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference in February.
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Fighting Food Poisoning In Las Vegas With Machine Learning

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It ruins the experience if I can't let the world know.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @04:22PM (#51655039) Homepage
    How dare they use complaints to find and shut down the business of hard working food poisoners!
  • The cruise ships [] should get some benefits from this though.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      I am not aware of any norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship that was tied to the food. Norovirus is spread by two groups of idiots: those who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom, and those who don't wash their hands prior to eating. You would not believe the number of people who not only pass by the hand sanitizer they offer at the entry to dining rooms, but also REFUSE to use it even when requested by a crew member.

      • Anti-bacterial hand sanitizers are not the way to go. You just get more resistant bacteria. And I believe it goes much deeper than just washing your hands. These ships are floating cesspools and fire hazards. Even the ventilation system is suspect.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        Dude, I had norovirus within the past month. There is no way hand washing prevents its spread.

        Noro happens in ANY environment where lots of people share space. Hell one investigation found that a person puking in one section of a resteraunt was responsible for another person across the room to get sick. It is, effectively, and airborn disease the moment someone vomits; which, in my experience, is often quite sudden and violent.

        Additionally, it comes on so fast, its nearly impossible to self isolate unless y

        • by umghhh ( 965931 )
          Human norovirus is special in that minimum necessary number of these things needed for infection is 10-100. It is also quite long living - in carpet it can survive up to two weeks.
          They obviously did a good job in this lab where it was developed...
  • 9000 cases of food poisoning probably generates about 4.5 million dollars worth of direct economic activity. Employers would probably spend a few million more for hiring the temps. If this is not stopped they will go and find every thing that creates economic activity in the name of improving efficiency, quality of life and other touchy feely metrics.

    We must all unite and fight this.

    • Couldn't you create a lot more of the same kind of "direct economic activity" just by going around breaking people's legs? (Ok, you're being sarcastic)
    • by plover ( 150551 )

      In other words, if you take away the sources of food poisoning, you're taking away my opportunity to enjoy projectile vomiting.

      They call that the "ruptured intestine fallacy []"

  • I remember the University of Rochester was known for having one of the leading AI and optics research departments in the US . Kudos to them here.
  • Emesis (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2016 @04:28PM (#51655081) Homepage Journal

    called nEmesis

    emesis /emsis/ noun technical the action or process of vomiting.

    Someone has a sense of humor at the University of Rochester!

  • It's las vegas. Everyone there believes they can beat the odds. Come on, try the suchi. What are the odds you'll get sick? Are you chicken, Colonel Sanders?
  • >The most important distinction, however, is between
    restaurants with minor violations (grades A and B) and those
    posing considerable health risks (grade C and worse). nEme-
    sis uncovers 11 venues in the latter category, whereas control
    finds only 7, a 64% improvement.

    They found 4 (count 'em FOUR) more restaurants than the control and conclude

    >Given the ambiguity of online data, it may appear hope-
    less to identify problematic restaurants fully automatically.
    However, we demonstrate that nEmesis u

  • Wouldn't this all be much simpler if we just made the hotels and casinos pay the affected guests' hospital bills? And if necessary add punitive fines so that poisoning guests is more expensive that just paying kitchen workers a decent living wage, keeping the kitchens clean, and following basic food safety rules.

  • "...uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to identify likely food poisoning hot spots."

    I don't need an app for that. It's the free buffets in casinos and strip clubs where people touch the serving utensils with their (unwashed after bathroom use) hands and where droplets of sniffles, coughs and sneezes are spread over the food.

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