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Showing posts from April, 2016

The government wants your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Should that be allowed?

The government wants your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Should that be allowed?
By Matt Hamilton and Richard Winton
As the world watched the FBI spar with Apple this winter in an attempt to hack into a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, federal officials were quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom.
There, authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. The phone contained Apple's fingerprint identification system for unlocking, and prosecutors wanted access to the data inside it.
It marked a rare time that prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to open a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common as cracking digital security becomes a larger part of law enforcement work.
The Glendale case and others like it are forcing courts to address a basic question: How far can the gover…

Target's New Robot that tracks inventory on store shelves

Target's New Robot Helper Is Busy At Work On Aisle 3
by  Jonathan Vanian  @JonathanVanian  APRIL 28, 2016, 7:53 PM EDT
The retail giant is testing robots in a San Francisco department store.
Target is testing robots that track inventory on its store shelves including shampoo and laundry detergent.
The retail giant is conducting a one-week trial at one of its department stores in downtown San Francisco, according to a source familiar with the matter and confirmed by three store clerks.
Simbe Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup, built the robot called Tally that it says can roll autonomously around the store while scanning products to determine if they have been misplaced, mispriced, or are low in stock.
Three Target store clerks in San Francisco told Fortune that the robot trial has been running for the past week. One of the clerks said Target was hoping to see how well the robots could detect and recognize items. Another clerk said that the robot seemed slow.
In September, Fortune…

US to deploy robot combat strategists

April 27, 2016 1:37 pm
US to deploy robot combat strategists The Pentagon believes technology can give soldiers the edge with detailed and up to date information
By Geoff Dyer in Washington
The Pentagon believes technology can give soldiers the edge with detailed and up to date information
The US military’s use of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will not include creating Terminator-style robots, the Pentagon’s second-in-command has said, as concerns increase over the role AI should play in modern warfare.
Military planners were looking at ways for machines to help humans make quicker decisions on the battlefield, said Robert Work, deputy secretary of defence.
“We will use artificial intelligence in the sense that it makes human decisions better,” Mr Work said. “Human-machine collaboration will give humans better information upon which to help make decisions.”
The Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar investments in high-tech weapons have put it at the centre of a global debate…

A Federal Judge Stops Google From Googling Jurors

A Federal Judge Stops Google From Googling The search giant agrees to pick jurors the old-fashioned way.
By Peter Blumberg  April 28, 2016 — 10:55 AM PDT
A federal judge who frowns on litigants Googling personal information on prospective jurors would like lawyers to give up the habit. He’s found an unlikely guinea pig for an experiment in barring online searches during jury selection: Google. The search company is scheduled to go to trial on May 9 in a $9 billion case brought by Oracle, which alleges that Google’s Android mobile operating software infringed on copyrights for its Java software. With some shrewd tactics, including a threat to make attorneys tell jurors about any online vetting they planned to do, U.S. District Judge William Alsup got both companies to agree to his old-school rules ahead of the trial.
In written exchanges with attorneys, Alsup, a 70-year-old Harvard-trained judge who’s overseen the Google-Oracle proceeding since 2010, insisted that the private lives of…

China Is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers - Millions of humans replaced...

Robotics
China Is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers Can China reboot its manufacturing industry—and the global economy—by replacing millions of workers with machines?
by Will Knight  April 26, 2016
Above: A robot arm moves circuit boards around for testing inside CIG’s factory in Shanghai. Previously the work was done by hand.
Inside a large, windowless room in an electronics factory in south Shanghai, about 15 workers are eyeing a small robot arm with frustration. Near the end of the production line where optical networking equipment is being packed into boxes for shipping, the robot sits motionless.

“The system is down,” explains Nie Juan, a woman in her early 20s who is responsible for quality control. Her team has been testing the robot for the past week. The machine is meant to place stickers on the boxes containing new routers, and it seemed to have mastered the task quite nicely. But then it suddenly stopped working. “The robot does save labor,” Nie tells me, her brow fur…

The future of TV is arriving faster than anyone predicted

The future of TV is arriving faster than anyone predicted
By Larry Downes April 25
The cord cutters guide to when you should ditch cable

Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide.

The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt.

As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees.

Many in the industry have long p…

Google Gets Beaten to the Punch by AT&T on Super-Fast Broadband

Google Gets Beaten to the Punch by AT&T on Super-Fast Broadband
By Olga Kharif
April 25, 2016 — 2:00 AM PDT

Google Fiber has yet to bring its super-fast broadband service to the city of Atlanta. But Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. know it’s coming, and they’re offering the 1 gigabit Internet speed Google promised -- and signing up new customers.

It’s been six years since Google announced it would lay a fiber network to compete with cable providers and telephone companies. Although it’s now in only four markets, competitors are lowering rates and building faster lines to keep customers from defecting to the technology giant. Because Google needs consumers to have robust Internet speed in order to sell more expensive ads on its search engine, that may be what it had in mind all along.

“There’s a lot more bark than bite” behind Google’s strategy, said Roger Entner, an analyst with Recon Analytics LLC.

When Google first announced its plans, 1 gigabit speed was a novelty. With the fast…

China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert

China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert
By Matthew J. Belvedere 6 Hours Ago CNBC.com

Apple may find itself eventually shut out of China, a leading expert on global political risk to corporations said Monday.

"It's very possible," Ian Bremmer, founder and president of the Eurasia Group, told CNBC's "Squawk Box," a day before the tech giant was scheduled to release quarterly earnings.

"I'd be very surprised in five years' time if we see Apple having the kind of access to the Chinese consumer that they presently enjoy," he said.

Bremmer said he could foresee a scenario with Apple having "the kind of issues Facebook presently has in China." Facebook is banned there.

"I think people misunderstand the nature of the Chinese tech involvement," Bremmer said, citing the closures in China earlier this month of Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies, just about six months after they were launched.

The New Yo…

Women's Safety Spurs India to Require Mobile-Phone Panic Button

Women's Safety Spurs India to Require Mobile-Phone Panic Button
By Vrishti Beniwal

April 25, 2016 — 9:00 AM PDT

India said mobile phones must include a panic-button feature from the start of next year and incorporate satellite-based navigation technology from 2018 as officials try to make the nation a safer place for women.

The emergency button would be activated when a designated key is pressed, for instance by holding it down for a certain length of time, according to a statement from the telecommunications ministry in New Delhi. All manufacturers, including companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., would need to comply.

India is among the fastest-growing smartphone markets and has about one billion mobile-phone users. That’s stoked demand for technology-based security assistance in a nation with an average of four rapes an hour and one of the world’s lowest police-to-citizen ratios.

"Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than …

Apple is outdated says Chinese Billionaire

LeEco CEO Jia Yueting says Apple is outdated
Eunice Yoon| Nyshka Chandran
10 Hours Ago CNBC.com

Apple is "outdated" and losing momentum in China, billionaire entrepreneur Jia Yueting told CNBC in his first international television interview.

Jia is chief executive and chairman of Chinese conglomerate LeEco (formerly LeTV), which is best known for being the "Netflix of China," but has a product range that includes smartphones, televisions, mountain bikes and, most recently, electric vehicles.

Last week LeEco launched the self-driving, smart LeSEE supercar, designed to rival Tesla's Model S. In the latest evolution of the "LeEco ecosystem," Jia hopes to sell content, including movies, TV shows and music to LeSEE drivers.

Speaking at a meeting of the China Entrepreneur Club, an exclusive summit of business leaders, 43-year old Jia explained why foreign rivals did not worry him, particularly Apple, which is also expanding its ecosystem beyond consumer tec…

Goldman Sachs opens to the masses - $1 online savings accounts...

April 24, 2016 4:47 pm
Goldman Sachs opens to the masses
By Ben McLannahan in New York

For almost 150 years Goldman Sachs has been the go-to bank of the rich and powerful. But now the Wall Street titan is opening up to the masses on Main Street by offering online savings accounts for as little as $1 on deposit.

Goldman’s shift down market comes as the bank is under pressure to develop new streams of funding. Weak first-quarter results from the big US banks have highlighted the challenges faced by their investment banking units, under pressure from volatile markets and tight regulations.

Analysts last week fired a barrage of questions at the US banks, and at Goldman in particular, wondering why they were not doing more to reboot their businesses. Goldman posted the lowest quarterly return on equity — just 6.4 per cent, on an annualised basis — of the past four years.

The bank last week launched GSBank.com, a platform it inherited via the acquisition of a $16bn book of deposits from GE …

Overstimulation leading to 'constant boredom'...'Goldfish level attention spans'...

Why are we so bored?
We live in a world of constant entertainment – but is too much stimulation boring?

By Sandi Mann Sunday 24 April 2016 06.00 BST

It amazes me when people proclaim that they are bored. Actually, it amazes me that I am ever bored, or that any of us are. With so much to occupy us these days, boredom should be a relic of a bygone age – an age devoid of the internet, social media, multi-channel TV, 24-hour shopping, multiplex cinemas, game consoles, texting and whatever other myriad possibilities are available these days to entertain us.

Yet despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored. Up to half of us are “often bored” at home or at school, while more than two- thirds of us are chronically bored at work. We are bored by paperwork, by the commute and by dull meetings. TV is boring, as is Facebook and other social media. We spend our weekends at dull parties, watching tedious films or listening to our spouses drone …

Japan's Next Generation of Farmers Could Be Robots

Japan's Next Generation of Farmers Could Be Robots
By Aya Takada April 22, 2016 — 5:00 PM PDT Updated on April 23, 2016 — 12:29 AM PDT
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has warned that left unchecked, aging farmers could threaten the ability to produce the food the world needs. The average age of growers in developed countries is now about 60, according to the United Nations. Japan plans to spend 4 billion yen ($36 million) in the year through March to promote farm automation and help develop 20 different types of robots, including one that separates over-ripe peaches when harvesting.
“There are no other options for farmers but to rely on technologies developed by companies if they want to raise productivity while they are graying,” said Makiko Tsugata, senior analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The government should help them adopt new technologies.”
Kobe Beef
The meeting will also be attended by ministers from other countries including Germany’s Christian Schmidt, …

Robots with human vision on the horizon after scientists crack brain's 'Enigma code'

Robots with human vision on the horizon after scientists crack brain's 'Enigma code' The new discovery finally reveals what the two parts of the brain say to each other when they process images 16:28, 22 APR 2016 UPDATED 18:29, 22 APR 2016 BY JESSICA HAWORTH
Scientists have cracked the brain's 'Enigma code' which could pave the way to create robots capable of human vision.
The code, compared to the secret Nazi encryption machines in the Second World War , details exactly what the two regions of the brain communicate when processing visual images.
Researchers hope the new discovery could lead to creating bots with the potential for human-like vision.
Until now, scientists have only been able to tell whether two parts of the brain communicate, not what they are saying.
The new discovery has been compared to the Enigma code, which was thought impossible until a team of scientists led by Alan Turing deciphered it.
This information could also enable scientists to i…

Musk's Secret Plan to Curb City Traffic With Self-Driving ‘Bus’

Musk's Secret Plan to Curb City Traffic With Self-Driving ‘Bus’ By Marie Mawad  Marie_a_Paris April 21, 2016 — 7:39 AM PDT
Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is working on a self-driving vehicle he says could replace buses and other public transport in order to reduce traffic in cities. But he’s keeping the development a secret.
“We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus but would solve the density problem for inner city situations,” Musk said Thursday at a transport conference in Norway. “Autonomous vehicles are key,” he said of the project, declining to disclose more. “I don’t want to talk too much about it. I have to be careful what I say.”
Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. has disrupted the transport industry with smarter software-packed electric cars and this month received 400,000 pre-orders for its latest product, a less costly model dubbed Model 3 aimed at the mass market. Meanwhile the billionaire is exploring Hyperloop to transport people between cities via…

Watchdog says press freedom in decline in 'new era of propaganda'

Watchdog says press freedom in decline in 'new era of propaganda'
By Fran Blandy April 20, 2016
Paris (AFP) - World press freedom deteriorated in 2015, especially in the Americas, advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday as it released its annual rankings, warning of "a new era of propaganda".
The World Press Freedom Index ranks 180 countries on indicators such as media independence, self-censorship, the rule of law, transparency and abuses.
This year's report warned of a climate of fear that has seen world leaders "developing a form of paranoia about legitimate journalism."
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the Paris-based group told AFP there had been a decline in all parts of the world, with Latin America of particular concern.
"All of the indicators show a deterioration. Numerous authorities are trying to regain control of their countries, fearing overly open public debate," he said.
"Today, it is increasingly e…

Why AI won't wipe out humanity ... yet

Why AI won't wipe out humanity ... yet Zack Guzman | @ZGuz 3 Hours Ago CNBC.com
The moment that humanity is forced to take the threat of artificial intelligence seriously might be fast approaching, according to futurist and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
In an interview with CNBC's "The Future of Us," Kaku drew concern from the earlier-than-expected victory Google's deep learning machine notched this past March, in which it was able to beat a human master of the ancient board game Go. Unlike chess, which features far fewer possible moves, Go allows for more moves than there are atoms in the universe, and thus cannot be mastered by the brute force of computer simulation.
"This machine had to have something different, because you can't calculate every known atom in the universe — it has learning capabilities," Kaku said. "That's what's novel about this machine, it learns a little bit, but still it has no self awareness ... so we have…

Google’s Android Targeted by EU Over Mobile Search Curbs

Google’s Android Targeted by EU Over Mobile Search Curbs By Aoife White
April 20, 2016 — 2:30 AM PDT Updated on April 20, 2016 — 7:11 AM PDT
Google was accused of wielding its power as the world’s leading phone software supplier to impose its search and Web programs on billions of mobile users as European Union regulators took another swipe at the U.S. technology giant.
The European Commission sent Google a formal antitrust complaint, accusing the company of striking restrictive contracts that require makers of tablets and phones to install its search and Web browser on new phones. The company also unfairly pays phone makers and telecom operators a share of advertising revenue if they agree to make Google’s search engine the default on devices, the EU said Wednesday.
"What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in Internet search" with unjustified restrictions and conditions on phone makers and carri…