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Showing posts from January, 2016

Bill Gates has revealed how he was "disruptive" as a teenager, forcing his parents to send him to a psychologist

Bill Gates: My parents took me to a child psychologist
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has revealed how he was "disruptive" as a teenager, forcing his parents to send him to a psychologist.
PUBLISHED: January 31, 2016 12:10 am
Speaking on Desert Island Discs Gates said his parents taught him the value of "giving back" to society, a lesson developed into a philanthropic philosophy culminating in he and his wife Melinda setting aside much of their vast fortune to help the world's poor.
The 60 year old also opened up to presenter Kirsty Young on the BBC Radio 4 show about how "fanatical" he was in the early days of Microsoft, and the relationship he had with Apple founder Steve Jobs that was both competitive and mutually supportive.
Talking about his relationship with his parents - his father was a successful lawyer, his mother a teacher who sat on a number of corporate boards - he said: "They set a very good example of being engaged in giving back…

Study: College Kids Spend A Fifth Of Class On Phones Instead Of Learning

Study: College Kids Spend A Fifth Of Class On Phones Instead Of Learning January 28, 2016 11:17 AM
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – According to a new study, college students are spending one-fifth of their time in class on their cell phones or digital devices when they should be learning.
The study was done by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Researchers say the main culprit is texting.
Almost nine out of 10 students reported that texting was their main diversion during class.
About three-quarters say they emailed or checked the time on their phones.
70-percent reported checking social media, such as Facebook.
Nearly half reported surfing the web, and one in 10 spent class time playing games.
The study is published in the January issue of the Journal of Media Education.
Researchers polled 675 students attending colleges and universities across 26 states during 2015 to get the results.
In an interview with Health Day, the study’s author, Bar…

Driverless Cars in London THIS SUMMER...

London's first driverless cars based on Heathrow 'pods'
By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter 29 January 2016
The first driverless cars to be tested on the streets of London will resemble the electric passenger shuttles currently in use at Heathrow Airport.
The group behind the project is currently adapting the pods for use on the roads.
It has yet to unveil the exact design but confirmed that the adapted vehicles will not run on dedicated tracks.
Greenwich is one of four places in the UK where driverless pods and public reaction to them are being tested.
Trials will also take place in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes. The £8m project is jointly funded by government agency Innovate UK and industry.
The Greenwich Automated Transport Environment project - or Gateway - will see seven driverless pods tested on the pavements around the Greenwich Peninsula, where the O2 Arena is based, from July.
Routes are still being worked out but are likely to include residential areas, …

Apple builds secret team to kick-start virtual reality effort

Apple builds secret team to kick-start virtual reality effort
By Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco January 29, 2016 5:27 pm
Apple has assembled a large team of experts in virtual and augmented reality and built prototypes of headsets that could one day rival Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Microsoft’s Hololens, as it seeks new sources of growth beyond the iPhone.
The secret research unit includes hundreds of staff from a series of carefully targeted acquisitions, as well as employees poached from companies that are working on next-generation headset technologies including Microsoft and camera start-up Lytro, according to people familiar with the initiative.
The company’s latest acquisition in the area is Flyby Media, an augmented reality start-up that lets mobile devices “see” the world around them. Flyby’s team worked closely with Google in developing software for its 3D positioning technology Project Tango.
Apple has been building prototypes of possible headset configurations for several mon…

New Technique Allows Scientists to Read Minds at Nearly the Speed of Thought

New Technique Allows Scientists to Read Minds at Nearly the Speed of Thought
By George Dvorsky January 29, 2016 12:16pm
New Technique Allows Scientists to Read Minds at Nearly the Speed of Thought
An experiment by University of Washington researchers is setting the stage for advances in mind reading technology. Using brain implants and sophisticated software, researchers can now predict what their subjects are seeing with startling speed and accuracy.
The ability to view a two-dimensional image on a page or computer screen, and then transform that image into something our minds can immediately recognize, is a neurological process that remains mysterious to scientists. To learn more about how our brains perform this task—and to see if computers can collect and predict what a person is seeing in real time—a research team led by University of Washington neuroscientist Rajesh Rao and neurosurgeon Jeff Ojermann demonstrated that it’s possible to decode human brain signals at nearly the s…

The world's first robot-run farm will harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce daily

The world's first robot-run farm will harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce daily
By Leanna Garfield
12h   17,810  12
The Japanese lettuce production company Spread believes the farmers of the future will be robots.
So much so that Spread is creating the world's first farm manned entirely by robots. Instead of relying on human farmers, the indoor Vegetable Factory will employ robots that can harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce every day.
Don't expect a bunch of humanoid robots to roam the halls, however; the robots look more like conveyor belts with arms. They'll plant seeds, water plants, and trim lettuce heads after harvest in the Kyoto, Japan farm.
"The use of machines and technology has been improving agriculture in this way throughout human history," J.J. Price, a spokesperson at Spread, tells Tech Insider. "With the introduction of plant factories and their controlled environment, we are now able to provide the ideal environment for the crops."
The V…

World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee: Free the Internet!

World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee: Free the Internet! 1.26.16 6:26 AM ET
The British genius who invented the World Wide Web opens up about the state of the Internet, and its future.
Sundance festivalgoers on the lookout for famous celebrities this week most likely had zero idea that the cheerful Brit walking down Main Street on Monday was Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the tech pioneer who was knighted for shaping the way we live and breathe online. Quite modest and unassuming, he’s the guy who built the very first Web browser in 1989 and made http://, a thing that people see all day, every day, even if they don’t know what the heck it means. 
Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, watched sympathetically as I sank into an awkwardly angled basket chair inside a lounge hosted by crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The setting was appropriate, seeing as what inspired Berners-Lee to create the web in the first place back in 1989 was a desire to facilitate connections—which he’s now he…

Terrifying IoT Search Engine Lets You Spy On Strangers' Webcams

Terrifying IoT Search Engine Lets You Spy On Strangers' Webcams
It's called Shodan and it just got much easier to use
By Jennings Brown and Adi Cohen on Jan 25, 2016 at 12:27 PM
Think of the millions of devices with video feeds—maybe the baby monitor perched over your kid’s crib or a security camera looking out over your back porch. A new feature on the most popular search engine for the Internet of Things just made it a lot easier to find such feeds. And it’s even creepier than you can imagine.
Shodan is a website that scans the internet for publicly accessible devices and captures their IP addresses—creating a searchable index that includes everything from in-home surveillance cameras to traffic lights to fetal heart monitors to power switches for hospitals. Essentially any of the so-called Internet of Things that doesn’t have a password is up for grabs, and that’s more devices than you’d think.
Programmer John Matherly developed the site in 2009 when he was a teenager, and…

How An Artificial Intelligence Algorithm Can Write Political Speeches

AI Politics: How An Artificial Intelligence Algorithm Can Write Political Speeches By Menchie Mendoza, Tech Times | January 26, 5:43
Soon, the speeches that we hear from political figures may be the product of an AI machine that has been specifically designed to write political discourses.
There seems to be a formula to writing speeches. For instance, political speeches sound similar and tend to have a standard format. Arguments in these political discourses seem to be repeated as well. Speeches also seem to use familiar phrases that show the speaker's certain political affiliation or ideology.
Valentin Kassarnig of the University of Massachusetts Amherst took all of these into consideration and made an AI machine to rival human speech writers.
"In this report we present a system that can generate political speeches for a desired political party," wrote Kassarnig. "Furthermore, the system allows to specify whether a speech should hold a supportive or opposing opini…

It's too late! Artificial intelligence is already everywhere

It's too late! Artificial intelligence is already everywhere In the past two years, near-$700 million has been invested in A.I. start-ups. By Julia Boorstin
Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have warned about the potential dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence.
The geniuses have had some help from Hollywood films, going all the way back to the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" and all the way up to last year's "Ex Machina."
But this may be even more frightening: A.I. is already part of the operations within many companies we interact with every day, from Apple's Siri to how Uber dispatches drivers to the way Facebook arranges its Newsfeed. In fact, Facebook is making research into A.I. a priority, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stating that one of his goals this year is to "code" a personal assistant to "help run his life."
Or take it over?
As CNBC begins the process of selecting the 50 start-ups best positioned to…

Backlash builds against Google UK tax deal

Backlash builds against Google tax deal
By George Parker and Vanessa Houlder in London January 25, 2016 7:52 pm
Downing Street distanced itself on Monday from George Osborne’s claim that the tax deal with Google represented “a major success”, amid growing criticism of the settlement.
Google’s agreement to pay £130m in back taxes to the UK government has reignited a controversy that pushed tax avoidance to the top of the international agenda three years ago.
The deal ended a decade-long probe by tax authorities into whether the tech group had skirted its tax bill by allocating profits earned in the UK — its second biggest market — to its European base in Ireland, where tax rates are lower.
Conservative MPs — led by Boris Johnson, London mayor — have lined up to criticise what they said was a “derisory” payment by the US multinational.
Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons treasury committee, announced an inquiry into corporate taxation saying that fundamental reforms would “probably…

Europe’s Top Digital-Privacy Watchdog Zeros In on U.S. Tech Giants

Europe’s Top Digital-Privacy Watchdog Zeros In on U.S. Tech Giants By MARK SCOTT JAN. 24, 2016
PARIS — The latest standoff between Europe and American tech companies runs through a quiet street just north of the Louvre Museum, past chic cafes and part of the French national library, to the ornate office of Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.
From here, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has emerged as one of the most important watchdogs for how companies like Facebook and Google handle the billions of digital bits of personal data — like names, dates and contacts — routinely collected on Europeans. Since 2011, she has been France’s top privacy regulator, and for the last two years, she has led a group of European data-protection officials. In those posts, Ms. Falque-Pierrotin has regularly agitated companies to better safeguard people’s data.
Her role will come into even sharper focus in the coming weeks. Ms. Falque-Pierrotin, empowered by Europe’s highest court, will be at the heart of efforts to police h…

FCC accused of power grab on broadband

FCC accused of power grab on broadband
By David McCabe - 01/23/16 01:23 PM EST
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote next week on an annual report about the state of high-speed Internet deployment around the country, something that has become a magnet for debate.
A proposed draft of the congressionally mandated report finds that advanced telecommunications capability isn’t being deployed in a “reasonable and timely fashion” to all Americans. According to a fact sheet released by the agency, 34 million Americans do not have access to wired internet service that meets the FCC’s definition of broadband — download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps.
The commission also found that the divide between rural and urban Americans when it comes to broadband access persists. Thirty-nine percent of rural residents don’t have access to wired broadband, according to the report
“To maximize the benefits of broadband for the American people, we not only need to facilitate i…

Google: $185 Million in U.K. Tax Settlement

$185 Million in U.K. Tax Settlement By Brian Womack
January 22, 2016 — 2:25 PM PST Updated on January 22, 2016 — 3:03 PM PST
Google parent Alphabet Inc. has agreed to pay 130 million pounds ($185 million) in a tax settlement with U.K. authorities after the Web company came under scrutiny over how much it pays on its profits in Europe.
Google will adopt a new approach for U.K. taxes and the settlement covers taxes going back to 2005, the company said in an e-mailed statement Friday. Alphabet, which owns the Google search engine, has faced criticism for paying a fraction of the sales in taxes from the U.K. For example, the tech giant paid $16 million in U.K. corporation tax from 2006 and 2011 on $18 billion of revenue, according to a panel in 2013.
Alphabet has faced sharp rebukes from critics and regulators in Europe for using innovative tools to keep its tax rates lower in some regions. Separately, Apple Inc. is facing a European tax investigation that could force the iPhone maker to…

Tech companies use materials mined illegally by children in Africa

Tech companies use materials mined illegally by children in Africa
Published: Jan 22, 2016 10:59 a.m. ET
Apple says no quick fixes to complex challenges in supply chain
By JENNIFER BOOTON REPORTER
Illegal child labor runs rampant at mines in the Republic of Congo, where a key ingredient used in rechargeable batteries is often found in popular electronics made by Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., HP Inc. and Samsung Electronics, according to a recent report by Amnesty International.
The allegations are just the latest to showcase unfair labor practices in the sprawling supply chains of technology companies. Previous accusations have run the gamut from excessive overtime to unhealthy working conditions and unfair wages that have led to health problems and riots, even deaths.
There have been “marginal improvements” in these companies’ supply chains in recent years, said Eli Friedman, an advisor on Apple’s Academic Advisory Board on ethical working conditions for supply chain employees before…

Apple’s Cook lobbies EU antitrust chief over Irish back taxes of up to $8 to 17 Billion

Apple’s Cook lobbies EU antitrust chief over Irish back taxes By Christian Oliver in Brussels January 21, 2016 7:47 pm
Apple boss Tim Cook made a surprise visit to Brussels on Thursday to lobby the EU’s antitrust chief weeks before she is set to rule on a landmark case that could force the California-based technology company to pay billions in underpaid taxes to Ireland.
The EU’s probe into Apple’s Irish tax arrangements has become one of the most politically-charged cases pursued by Brussels since it took on Microsoft two decades ago. Coupled with its antitrust case against Google, it has sparked accusations in Washington that European commissioner Margrethe Vestager is unfairly targeting the US technology sector.
A spokesman for Ms Vestager confirmed she held a “private meeting” with Mr Cook, but gave no further details. Apple also declined to comment on what took place at the meeting.
Dublin is known to be angry about what it believes is unfair treatment of Apple, and its official…

Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on IPhone in 2014

Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on IPhone By Joel Rosenblatt & Adam Satariano January 21, 2016 — 4:34 PM PST
Google Inc. is paying Apple Inc. a hefty fee to keep its search bar on the iPhone.
Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.
Rumors about how much Google pays Apple to be on the iPhone have circulated for years, but the companies have never publicly disclosed it. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, and Google spokesman Aaron Stein both declined to comment on the information disclosed in court.
The revenue-sharing agreement reveals the lengths Google must go to keep people using its search tool on mobile devices. It also shows how A…

The human brain can store 10 TIMES as many memories as previously thought

The human brain can store 10 TIMES as many memories as previously thought, says study·Scientists found storage capacity of synapses by measuring their size ·They found, on average, a synapse can hold about 4.7 bits of information ·This means that the entire human brain has a capacity of one petabyte ·This is same as about 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text
ByELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR DAILYMAIL.COM PUBLISHED:18:04 EST, 20 January 2016|UPDATED:19:35 EST, 20 January 2016
The human brain has a capacity that is ten times greater than first thought.
This is according to US scientists who have measured the storage capacity of synapses - the brain connections that are responsible for storing memories.
They discovered that, on average, one synapse can hold about 4.7 bits of information. This means that the human brain has a capacity of one petabyte, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.
One petabyte is about the same as about 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text or abou…