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Showing posts from September, 2016

The countries where cash is on the verge of extinction

The countries where cash is on the verge of extinction Is going cash-free really ‘cleaner’ or ‘safer’?
By Lauren Comiteau 29 September 2016
My dad, a former Wall Street trader always advised me “cash is king” and to “hold on to it” when the economy gets tough.
But in the Netherlands, cash is definitely not getting the royal treatment. In so many places, it has simply ceased to be recognised as legal tender. More and more Dutch stores, from upscale health-food store Marqt to my local baker and bagel shop, take pin — or debit — cards exclusively. Some retailers even describe going cash-free as “cleaner” or “safer”.
Tucking my debit card firmly away, I decide to see how far a bundle of cash will get me. Not far. The big-ticket items are strictly cashless affairs: my rent and my telephone bill among them.
I meet with baffled expressions and some resistance. “I can’t remember the last time we received a cash payment,” says Marielle Groentjes, an administrator with the company that manages…

Facebook artificial intelligence chief developed SURVEILLANCE systems

SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE Facebook artificial intelligence chief developed SURVEILLANCE systems
Social media tech guru helped to devise techniques which could allow computers to spy on humans more effectively
BY JASPER HAMILL  29th September 2016, 12:25 pm
Facebook’s artificial intelligence chief worked on the development of systems which could one day help computers automatically spy on humans, The Sun Online has learned.
Yann LeCun, leader of Mark Zuckerberg’s AI research division, contributed to academic papers exploring the creation of software which would serve as a “key component” in an automated surveillance network.
CCTV cameras could soon be able to work out who and what they are looking at, enabling the creation of a terrifyingly Orwellian surveillance network Computer surveillance is likely to become hugely controversial in the coming years, as it will allow cops, spooks and even private companies to track individual people’s movements.
Eventually, CCTV cameras will be able to w…

Facebook must ban abusive content, says German Justice Minister Maas

Facebook must ban abusive content, says German Justice Minister Maas
Heiko Maas wants Facebook to better enforce its community standards to rein in abusive users. Given the recent rise in anti-migrant and xenophobic posts, he has called for a meeting with Facebook's European managers.
By Nicole Goebel Date 27.08.2015
In an open letter seen by German daily "Tagesspiegel," which he links to on his Twitter account, Maas tells Facebook that "we need to talk."
 Follow  Heiko Maas ✔ @HeikoMaas Liebes Team von @facebook, wir müssen mal reden. #hatespeech http://www.tagesspiegel.de/medien/brief-von-heiko-maas-an-facebook-minister-haelt-gemeinschaftsstandards-fuer-unzureichend/12238614.html … 8:25 PM - 26 Aug 2015
In the letter, which he sent to Facebook's European head office in Dublin as well as to its German subsidiary, he says the social media site's community standards needed to be more efficient and transparent.
In the wake of the recent openly xenophobic…

Uber launches global assault on food delivery market

Uber launches global assault on food delivery market
By Eric Auchard September 27, 2016
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Uber is making an aggressive drive into meal delivery, backed by a wave of staff recruitment, with the U.S. tech heavyweight gearing up to enter at least 22 new countries and take on local rivals.
In a measure of rising ambition beyond its taxi business, Uber will begin delivering meals in Amsterdam on Thursday just as Dutch market leader Takeaway.com, begins trading on the city's stock market.
And according to current job listings on Uber and other recruiting sites - for about 150 roles ranging from general managers and sales staff to bike couriers - UberEats is planning to enter at least 22 new countries across the world in the near future. That is on top of the six countries where it already operates.
As recently as May, Uber executives were signalling that UberEats' international ambitions were a modest extension of its core business of transporting people. But it…

Uber plans self-flying drone taxis to beat city traffic

Uber plans self-flying drone taxis to beat city traffic
The Ehang 184, a passenger drone CREDIT: EHANG By James Titcomb  26 SEPTEMBER 2016 • 10:32AM
If you summon an Uber in 10 years’ time, you will probably get a car that drives itself. But then again, you may not be travelling in a car at all.
The taxi-hailing app is working on technology that would allow airborne passenger drones to fly its users short distances around cities, it has emerged, raising the prospect of a future in which skylines are dotted with Uber aircraft shuttling commuters back and forth.
Jeff Holden, Uber’s head of product, told technology website Recode that the company is researching “vertical takeoff and landing” (VTOL) technology. Instead of the helicopter-style rotor blade drones, VTOL aircraft have fixed wings like planes, enabling them to fly silently, while taking off and landing vertically.
Amazon’s delivery drones, currently being tested in Cambridgeshire, use a similar technology to cut down on noise…

Zuckerberg downplays Facebook advertising deception

Zuckerberg downplays Facebook advertising screwup
By James Covert September 24, 2016 | 2:26am
Facebook insists it’s no big deal that it inflated numbers on viewership of its video ads — but some advertisers aren’t buying it.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social-networking giant apologized Friday as it admitted that, for the past two years, it has overestimated the amount of time users spent watching video ads by as much as 60 to 80 percent.
Specifically, Facebook said it had only included video views of 3 seconds or longer when calculating the average length of a video views it showed to advertisers, leaving out shorter times that would have brought down the averages.
The “discrepancy,” as Facebook called it, distorted its numbers to its advantage as the company ramped up a fierce battle with Google’s YouTube division for video ads — the most lucrative segment of internet advertising.
Facebook claimed the screwup didn’t affect its “billing” because technically its ad rates are based on the numbe…

Yahoo Says Hackers Stole Data on 500 Million Users in 2014

Yahoo Says Hackers Stole Data on 500 Million Users in 2014
By NICOLE PERLROTH SEPT. 22, 2016
The announcement of the breach at Yahoo comes as Verizon Communications moves forward with its $4.8 billion acquisition of the company.
SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo announced on Thursday that the account information for at least 500 million users was stolen by hackers two years ago, in the biggest known intrusion of one company’s computer network.
In a statement, Yahoo said user information — including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, security questions — was compromised in 2014 by what it believed was a “state-sponsored actor.”
While Yahoo did not name the country involved, how the company discovered the hack nearly two years after the fact offered a glimpse at the complicated and mysterious world of the underground web.
The hack of Yahoo, still one of the internet’s busiest sites with one billion monthly users, also has far-reaching im…

Cyber attacks on satellites could spark global catastrophe, experts warn

Cyber attacks on satellites could spark global catastrophe, experts warn
The world is unprepared for how vulnerable it is to attack from the skies, argues a major new paper from Chatham House
By Andrew Griffin September 22, 2016
The world is dangerously unprepared for a global disaster sparked by cyber attacks on space infrastructure, experts have warned.
Authorities are not doing nearly enough to stop space assets being hacked and used maliciously, according to a warning from security experts. The consequences of such a hack could be disastrous – anything from damage to trade and financial services to terrorists taking over strategic weapons.
Much of the world’s infrastructure is dependent on space machinery – almost every important business or technology on the ground is powered by space assets. And while governments have done a great deal in looking to secure those technologies on Earth, they could easily be threatened from space.
Those weaknesses could be exploited by people and …

Microsoft will 'solve' cancer within 10 years by 'reprogramming' diseased cells

Microsoft will 'solve' cancer within 10 years by 'reprogramming' diseased cells
By Sarah Knapton, science editor  20 SEPTEMBER 2016 • 4:02PM
Microsoft has vowed to “solve the problem of cancer” within a decade by using ground-breaking computer science to crack the code of diseased cells so they can be reprogrammed back to a healthy state.
In a dramatic change of direction for the technology giant, the company has assembled a “small army” of the world’s best biologists, programmers and engineers who are tackling cancer as if it were a bug in a computer system.
This summer Microsoft opened its first wet laboratory where it will test out the findings of its computer scientists who are creating huge maps of the internal workings of cell networks.
The researchers are even working on a computer made from DNA which could live inside cells and look for faults in bodily networks, like cancer. If it spotted cancerous chances it would reboot the system and clear out the diseased…

Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government - Federal guidelines Issued

Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government By CECILIA KANG SEPT. 19, 2016
Uber, the ride-hailing giant, began trials in Pittsburgh last week using driverless technology. The government’s new guidelines for autonomous driving will speed up the rollout of self-driving cars, experts said. Credit Angelo Merendino/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Federal auto safety regulators on Monday made it official: They are betting the nation’s highways will be safer with more cars driven by machines and not people.
In long-awaited guidelines for the booming industry of automated vehicles, the Obama administration promised strong safety oversight, but sent a clear signal to automakers that the door was wide open for driverless cars.
“We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, adding that highly automate…

A world without work is coming – it could be utopia or it could be hell

Opinion
A world without work is coming – it could be utopia or it could be hell
Robots will eventually do all our jobs, but we need to start planning to avert social collapse
By Ryan Avent Monday 19 September 2016 01.00 EDT
Most of us have wondered what we might do if we didn’t need to work – if we woke up one morning to discover we had won the lottery, say. We entertain ourselves with visions of multiple homes, trips around the world or the players we would sign after buying Arsenal. For many of us, the most tantalising aspect of such visions is the freedom it would bring: to do what one wants, when one wants and how one wants.
But imagine how that vision might change if such freedom were extended to everyone. Some day, probably not in our lifetimes but perhaps not long after, machines will be able to do most of the tasks that people can. At that point, a truly workless world should be possible. If everyone, not just the rich, had robots at their beck and call, then such powerful te…

Lyft's co-founder Within Five years a majority rides will be in self-driving cars.. and personal car ownership will come to an end

EXEC: MOST LYFT RIDES WILL BE IN AUTONOMOUS CARS IN 5 YEARS BY TOM KRISHER AP AUTO WRITER Sep 18, 6:45 PM EDT
DETROIT (AP) -- Within five years, a majority of ride-hailing company Lyft's rides will be in self-driving cars, the company's co-founder and president predicted on Sunday.
John Zimmer also said that personal car ownership will come to an end because autonomous rides will become a cheaper way to travel than owning an automobile. He made the predictions in an essay on the future of transportation in urban areas.
Technology, auto and ride-hailing companies are moving quickly toward self-driving vehicles. San Francisco-based Lyft is testing autonomous cars on the streets of San Francisco and Phoenix in partnership with General Motors. Its main competitor Uber is starting to carry passengers around Pittsburgh in autonomous cars with a human backup driver.
Zimmer said autonomous cars will start out giving rides at low speeds, around 25 miles per hour, in limited areas with…

Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 - govt official

Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 - govt official
By Gayatri Suroyo and Eveline Danubrata September 19, 2016
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to pursue Alphabet Inc's Google for five years of back taxes, and the search giant could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided payments, a senior tax official said.
Muhammad Hanif, head of the tax office's special cases branch, told Reuters its investigators went to Google's local office in Indonesia on Monday.
The tax office alleges PT Google Indonesia paid less than 0.1 percent of the total income and value-added taxes it owed last year.
Asked to respond to Hanif's comments, Google Indonesia reiterated a statement made last week in which it said it continues to cooperate with local authorities and has paid all applicable taxes.
If found guilty, Google could have to pay fines of up to four times the amount it owed, bringing the maximum tax bill to 5.5 …

YELP WARNS CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT COULD SCRUB CRITICAL REVIEWS

Sep 17, 10:29 AM EDT
YELP WARNS CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT COULD SCRUB CRITICAL REVIEWS BY SUDHIN THANAWALA ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yelp.com is warning that a California lawsuit targeting critical posts about a law firm could lead to the removal of negative reviews and leave consumers with a skewed assessment of restaurants and other businesses.
Lawyer Dawn Hassell said the business review website is exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort, which aims only to remove from Yelp lies, not just negative statements, that damaged the reputation of her law firm.
Though its impact is in dispute, the case is getting attention from some of the biggest Internet companies in the world, which say a ruling against Yelp could stifle free speech online and effectively gut other websites whose main function is offering consumers reviews of services and businesses.
A San Francisco judge determined the posts were defamatory and ordered the company to remove them two years ago, which a second…

The genetic advantage of the (other) 1 percenters

The genetic advantage of the (other) 1 percenters By Anjana Ahuja September 14, 2016 6:29 pm
The science suggests that we are not born blank slates, however much we wish it were otherwise
Society has various names for them: the 1 per cent, the outliers, the geniuses, the super-smart and the gifted and talented. They are the kids who impressively outperform their peers in school tests.
Several “talent-spotting” university programmes in the US have been tracking where high-achieving teenagers end up — and the results challenge the fashionable notion that greatness comes merely through dedication and practice. Instead of the evidence showing that those who succeed are made not born, it suggests the upper tiers of society are stuffed with achievers who were born then made. This points to success as the result of hard work built on a nugget of early cognitive advantage.
One of the longest-running longitudinal studies of clever children is the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, init…