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Showing posts from February, 2017

San Francisco university lays off IT workers, jobs head to India

San Francisco university lays off IT workers, jobs head to India
By Rory Carroll February 28, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The University of California, San Francisco on Tuesday laid off 49 information technology (IT) employees and outsourced their work to a company based in India, ending a year-long process that has brought the public university under fire.
The university announced the plan last July as a way to save $30 million over five years. The University of California system, which includes health care and research-focused UCSF, has been struggling to raise revenue and cut expenses.
Globalization and outsourcing have become hot-button political issues in the United States, as more employers cut costs by farming out work to low-cost workers in far-flung parts of the world. President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to restore lost U.S. jobs and to penalize companies that move factories overseas.
This was the University of California's first outsourcing, said a spokeswo…

In Video, Uber CEO Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares with Uber Driver

In Video, Uber CEO Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares
Travis Kalanick tells a driver to take responsibility for his problems and boasts about a tough culture.
by Eric Newcomer February 28, 2017, 12:39 PM PST
When Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick takes an Uber, he prefers a black car, the high-end service his company introduced in 2010. On this particular night in early February—Super Bowl Sunday—Kalanick is perched in the middle seat, flanked by two female friends. Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know” plays, and Kalanick shimmies. He clutches his smartphone as the three make awkward conversation. The two women ask when his birthday is, and marvel that he’s a Leo. One of his companions appears to say, somewhat inaudibly, that she’s heard that Uber is having a hard year. Kalanick retorts, “I make sure every year is a hard year.” He continues, “That’s kind of how I roll. I make sure every year is a hard year. If it’s easy I’m not pushing hard enough.”
There’s no question that it…

Boston Dynamics unveils 'nightmare-inducing' hybrid robot

Boston Dynamics unveils 'nightmare-inducing' hybrid robot
Meet Handle, the two-wheeled, four-legged creation from the Google-owned robotics firm that even company founder Marc Raibert says is frightening
Tuesday 28 February 2017 04.58 EST Last modified on Tuesday 28 February 2017 06.09 EST
Google-owned robotics firm and “nightmare” factory Boston Dynamics has released video of its latest creation: a two-wheeled, four-legged hybrid robot named Handle.
The robot can stand on four legs, like Boston Dynamics’ previous creations such as BigDog and Spot. But at the end of its back two legs are two stabilised wheels, which let it stand up vertically and roll around at speeds of up to nine miles per hour. Think “Terminator riding on a hoverboard” and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the impression Handle gives off.
Boston Dynamics says the reason for the hybrid design is the simplicity it affords: rather than needing the complex joints of the fully-quadrupedal bots, Handle’s wheels …

Amazon's cloud-hosting service suffers East Coast Failures in Internet Services

AMAZON CLOUD STORAGE FAILURE CAUSES WIDESPREAD OUTAGES Feb 28, 5:58 PM EST
NEW YORK (AP) -- Amazon's cloud-hosting service Amazon Web Services is experiencing problems in its eastern U.S. region, causing widespread problems for websites and apps.
Amazon's service site states that its customers are experiencing "increased error rates" and notes that it is working on the problem. Affected sites including Trello, Scribd and IFTTT appear to be down. The Associated Press' own photos, webfeeds and other online services are affected.
Amazon provides cloud computing services to hundreds of thousands of companies across a wide variety of areas.
The Seattle company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/APFN_US_AMAZON_OUTAGES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-02-28-17-58-07

Minimum Wage Massacre: Wendy's Unleashes 1,000 Robots To Counter Higher Labor Costs

Minimum Wage Massacre: Wendy's Unleashes 1,000 Robots To Counter Higher Labor CostsbyTyler DurdenFeb 28, 2017 5:05 AM
In yet another awkwardlyrationalresponse to government intervention in deciding what's "fair", theblowback from minimum wage demanding fast food workers has struck again. Wendy's plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores -16% of its locations nationwide.
"Last year was tough — 5 percent wage inflation," said Bob Wright, Wendy's chief operating officer,during his presentation to investors and analysts last week. He added that the company expects wages to rise 4 percent in 2017. "But the real question is what are we doing about it?"
Wright noted that over the past two years,Wendy's has figured out how to eliminate 31 hours of labor per week from its restaurants and is now working to use technology, such as kiosks, to increase efficiency.
Wendy's chief information officer, David Trimm, said the kiosks ar…

UK: Tech giants must tackle cyberbullies or face curbs

Tech giants must tackle cyberbullies or face curbs Francis Elliott, Political Editor | Mark Bridge, Technology Correspondent February 27 2017, 12:01am, The Times
Social media and technology companies face sanctions unless they do more to curb cyberbullying, sexting and trolling, as part of a new internet safety strategy.
Ministers are to summon Facebook, Twitter, Apple and others to Whitehall and will demand that they develop new technological solutions similar to those used to thwart paedophiles and terrorists.
The call will be backed by the threat of legislation, with a green paper promised in the summer. Theresa May will commit today to making Britain the safest place in the world for children to be online.
Fears about sexting have superseded parental worries over drinking and drug-taking. A study for the NSPCC and the children’s commissioner found that 13 per cent of those aged between 11 and 16 had taken topless “selfies”.
More than a tenth of young people reported that they had…

EU lawmakers, in unusual move, pull the plug on "racist" talk

EU lawmakers, in unusual move, pull the plug on racist talk By LORNE COOK Feb. 26, 2017 3:04 AM EST
BRUSSELS (AP) — With the specter of populism looming over a critical election year in Europe, the European Parliament has taken an unusual step to crack down on racism and hate speech in its own house.
In an unprecedented move, lawmakers have granted special powers to the president to pull the plug on live broadcasts of parliamentary debate in cases of racist speech or acts and the ability to purge any offending video or audio material from the system.
Trouble is, the rules on what is considered offensive are none too clear. Some are concerned about manipulation. Others are crying censorship.
"This undermines the reliability of the Parliament's archives at a moment where the suspicion of 'fake news' and manipulation threatens the credibility of the media and the politicians," said Tom Weingaertner, president of the Brussels-based International Press Association.
A…

Revenge of the Deep State - The unseen government within the government has so much data on Americans that it can reward or punish at its own discretion

Revenge of the Deep State
The unseen government within the government has so much data on Americans that it can reward or punish at its own discretion.
By Andrew Napolitano Feb. 23, 2017 12:01 am
Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.
Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety — each one lying on top of a predecessor — eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.
Here is the back story.
In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants …

Electric carmakers on battery alert after hedge funds stockpile cobalt

Electric carmakers on battery alert after funds stockpile cobalt February 24, 2017
Suppliers to Tesla and different electrical carmakers are scrambling to safe shipments of the important battery materials cobalt after a gaggle of hedge funds amassed a big stockpile of the scarce steel.
In a daring wager on larger costs, half a dozen funds, together with Swiss-based Pala Investments and China’s Shanghai Chaos, have bought and saved an estimated 6,000 tonnes of cobalt, value as a lot as $280m, based on the traders, merchants and analysts.
The stockpile is equal to 17 per cent of final 12 months’s international manufacturing of the steel.
Increasing use of batteries containing chemical types of the steel by Chinese electrical carmakers, alongside formidable plans by the likes of Elon Musk’s Tesla, have created a fertile backdrop for speculators hoping to revenue from swelling urge for food for cobalt, which boosts the power of lithium-ion batteries.
They are betting that demand for elec…

Alphabet’s Waymo Sues Uber Over Self-Driving Car Secrets

Alphabet’s Waymo Sues Uber Over Self-Driving Car Secrets
Suit accuses former Waymo employees of downloading information and leaving to join Uber’s Otto
By TIM HIGGINS and  JACK NICAS Updated Feb. 23, 2017 9:11 p.m. ET
Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s heated rivalry with Uber Technologies Inc. over self-driving cars has spilled into the courthouse, after the internet giant sued the ride-hailing company for allegedly stealing trade secrets to jump-start its own autonomous vehicle program.
Anthony Levandowski, a former key manager in the Google self-driving car project, is accused of secretly downloading 14,000 files in December 2015 before departing Alphabet last year to create Otto, a self-driving truck maker acquired last year by Uber.
This information was allegedly used by Uber to develop a laser sensor for self-driving navigation, according to the lawsuit filed by Alphabet’s Waymo LLC unit on Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
“We take the allegations made against Otto …

Robots poised to take over wide range of military jobs

Focus Robots poised to take over wide range of military jobs
Although killer drones and automated tanks grab the headlines, robots also are poised to take jobs once reserved for blue collar workers in the rear.
Low skill, repetitive positions will be most affected by automation
By Carl Prine Reporter February 20, 2017 11:00 AM
The wave of automation that swept away tens of thousands of American manufacturing and office jobs during the past two decades is now washing over the armed forces, putting both rear-echelon and front-line positions in jeopardy.
“Just as in the civilian economy, automation will likely have a big impact on military organizations in logistics and manufacturing,” said Michael Horowitz, a University of Pennsylvania professor and one of the globe’s foremost experts on weaponized robots. 
“The U.S. military is very likely to pursue forms of automation that reduce ‘back-office’ costs over time, as well as remove soldiers from non-combat deployments where they might f…

Bold claims for AI are hard to compute for economists

Bold claims for AI are hard to compute for economists
A new ‘virtual workforce’ is enhancing the productivity of human intelligence
FEBRUARY 20, 2017 by: John Thornhill
Talk to a bunch of economists and they will doubtless tell you that poor productivity growth is the scourge of our age.
Lounge in the back of a limo with some chief executives, on the other hand, and they will enthuse about how new technologies are transforming corporate productivity.
Track down some experts in artificial intelligence and they may well babble on about standing on the brink of a productivity revolution. If we ever reach the point of technological singularity — when computers outsmart humans — productivity growth will accelerate exponentially.
From that moment, a computer superintelligence will rapidly discover everything left to discover. This Master Algorithm, as the author — a computer science professor at the University of Washington — Pedro Domingos calls it, will be the last invention that man ma…

Study reveals bot-on-bot editing wars raging on Wikipedia's pages

Study reveals bot-on-bot editing wars raging on Wikipedia's pages
Over time, the encyclopedia’s software robots can become locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing links, say researchers
Ian Sample Science editor Thursday 23 February 2017 14.00 EST Last modified on Thursday 23 February 2017 14.01 EST
For many it is no more than the first port of call when a niggling question raises its head. Found on its pages are answers to mysteries from the fate of male anglerfish, the joys of dorodango, and the improbable death of Aeschylus.
But beneath the surface of Wikipedia lies a murky world of enduring conflict. A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years.
Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots”, that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks.
In the ear…

AI guides your daily life, but is it liberal or conservative?

AI guides your daily life, but is it liberal or conservative?
Recommender systems influence our cultural, social and political lives, but are they agents of diversity or conservative guardians?
Intelligent software guides your daily choices, but is it biased?
Martin Robbins Friday 26 August 2016 06.24 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 22 February 2017 12.45 EST
Imagine you’re a billionaire, with your own film studio. You’re sitting there on your golden throne, eating peeled grapes off Channing Tatum’s abs. Your assistant has just handed you the script for The Expendables 7 or yet another Spider-Man reboot. You yawn theatrically in his face. Surely, you think yourself, in this data-driven age there has to be a better way. Couldn’t we use machine learning to design the optimum new film? Something guaranteed to be a box office hit?
So you toss the grapes and get to work on some code. You write a fancy algorithm, and you feed it the scripts and the box office takings of every film ever mad…