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Showing posts from November, 2017

Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain

Smartphone Addiction Creates Imbalance in Brain
By Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) November 30, 2017 CHICAGO, Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 46 percent of Americans say they could not live without their smartphones. While this sentiment is clearly hyperbole, more and more people are becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and other portable electronic devices for news, information, games, and even the occasional phone call.
Along with a growing concern that young people, in particular, may be spending too much time staring into their phones instead of interacting with others, come questions as to the immediate effects on the brain and the possible long-term consequences of such hab…

Robots Are Coming for Jobs of as Many as 800 Million Worldwide

Robots Are Coming for Jobs of as Many as 800 Million Worldwide
By Rich Miller November 28, 2017, 6:01 PM PST
As many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labor force.
That’s according to a new report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations by the research arm of McKinsey & Co.
The consulting company said Wednesday that both developed and emerging countries will be impacted. Machine operators, fast-food workers and back-office employees are among those who will be most affected if automation spreads quickly through the workplace.
Even if the rise of robots is less rapid, some 400 million workers could still find themselves displaced by automation and would need to find new jobs over the next 13 years, the McKinsey Global Institute study found.
The good news for those displaced is that there will be jobs for them to transition into, although in many cases they’re going to h…

G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Lead the Pack

G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Lead the Pack
By BILL VLASIC NOV. 29, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO — For more than a year, General Motors has tantalized investors with plans to build its future around self-driving cars.
It has regularly announced big investments and progress reports, but the company has kept its prototype vehicles largely under wraps — until now.
On Thursday, G.M. will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco to dozens of investment analysts, who are eager to evaluate the automaker’s advanced test vehicles.
The event represents a critical step for G.M. as it seeks to establish leadership in the hotly contested race to bring driverless cars to market.
And although G.M. has been reluctant to show off the cars it has developed through a subsidiary, Cruise Automation, the company now wants to prove that self-driving models are getting closer to general use.
“Everything we are doing is geared to speed,” G.M.’s …

Battle Between Police and Tech Firms Intensifies Over Smartphone Access

Battle Between Police and Tech Firms Intensifies Over Smartphone Access
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is calling for a law that would give police a backdoor into mobile devices
By Thomas MacMillan Nov. 27, 2017 6:59 p.m. ET
Amid an intensifying “arms race” between law enforcement and smartphone manufacturers, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is calling for legislation that would grant police a backdoor into mobile devices.
In a report issued last week, Mr. Vance said new laws are needed to force tech companies such as Apple and Google to modify their software so law enforcement can unlock smartphones seized during criminal investigations.
“Traditional investigative techniques—searches of targets’ homes, physical surveillance, wiretaps on telephones—often fall short when it comes to gathering enough evidence to solve and prosecute today’s criminal activity,” the report states. “Unfortunately, much of today’s evidence exists in a space that, prior to 2014, was largely unhear…

Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk

Supreme court cellphone case puts free speech – not just privacy – at risk
Carpenter v United States has rightly prompted concerns over surveillance. But it could also have drastic implications for personal freedom in the digital age
Jameel Jaffer and Alexander Abdo Monday 27 November 2017 07.00 EST Last modified on Monday 27 November 2017 17.58 EST
On Wednesday, the supreme court will consider whether the government must obtain a warrant before accessing the rich trove of data that cellphone providers collect about cellphone users’ movements. Among scholars and campaigners, there is broad agreement that the case could yield the most consequential privacy ruling in a generation.
Less appreciated is the significance of the case for rights protected by the first amendment. The parties’ briefs make little mention of the first amendment, instead framing the dispute – for understandable reasons – as one about the right to privacy. Yet the court’s resolution of the case is likely to have f…

A Breakthrough in Soft Robot Muscles, Funded by the Military

A Breakthrough in Soft Robot Muscles, Funded by the Military
A "soft robot" snake arm designed by Harvard's Wyss Institute and MIT's CSAIL institute
BY PATRICK TUCKER NOVEMBER 27, 2017
Future military robots may come in softer, more cuddly, and stranger forms.
Back-flipping robots made of metal and other hard materials may be a big hit on YouTube, but future military robots may need appendages that are far softer, stronger and flexible — more like natural muscle tissue.
Funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a team of researchers from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL, along with scientists from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, have created robot “muscles” that use hydraulics rather than electric motors. These muscles are strong – the researchers say their 2.6-gram robot muscle can lift a 3-kilogram object, like a “mallard duck lifting a car” — and can shrink to 10 percent of their original size, …

Mercedes Plans More Drone Deliveries After 100 Perfect Flights

Mercedes Plans More Drone Deliveries After 100 Perfect Flights
Biggest test of its kind included phones, ground coffee orders Pilots to continue next year with drone partner Matternet
By Elisabeth Behrmann November 28, 2017, 1:00 AM PST
Mercedes-Benz, conducting the biggest test using drones to ship everyday items like ground coffee and cellphones, said the mini aircraft completed 100 drop-offs to strategically placed vans in Zurich with a perfect safety record and more deliveries are planned for next year.
About 50 individual customers placed orders with Swiss online shopping platform Siroop, choosing “airmail deals” from selected items from retailer Black & Blaze Coffee Roasting Co. for same-day delivery. The drones then flew to four fixed points in the city, covering a distance as far as 17 kilometers (11 miles) to land on the roofs of specially adapted Mercedes-Benz Vito vans. The parcel is carried by road for the final stretch, before the drones return.
“Our expectations wer…

An artificially intelligent machine has composed a lullaby; this is what it sounds like

An artificially intelligent machine has composed a lullaby; this is what it sounds like
It could help the 54% of Brits that struggle to get to sleep each night
ByJeff Parsons Tech/Science Reporter 09:25, 28 NOV 2017 UPDATED 11:37, 28 NOV 2017
A healthcare company has used an artificial intelligence to help create a lullaby that could aid troubled Brits in getting to sleep at night.
According to research by AXA PPP healthcare, 54% of us struggle to get 40 winks each night with a further 10% suffering from severe insomnia.
In an effort to help, the company says it has taken the humble lullaby and given it a 21st century twist.
It has produced two separate tunes, one created by renowned composer Eddie McGuire and the other by a machine that used artificial neural networks and had no input from a human at all.
The company has challenged listeners to find out which one works the best.
McGuire's composition (above) is called "Lyrical Lullaby" and was created with leading musi…

Vietnam court jails blogger for seven years for 'propaganda' over spill

Vietnam court jails blogger for seven years for 'propaganda' over spill
Reuters • November 27, 2017
(Reuters) - A court in Vietnam jailed a blogger on Monday for seven years for "conducting propaganda against the state", the latest action against a critic of the one-party state.
Nguyen Van Hoa, 22, rose to prominence after a toxic waste spill from a steel mill built by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Corp's Vietnam unit that polluted more than 200 km (125 miles) of coast, sparking rare protests in the Communist Party-ruled country.
Despite sweeping economic reforms and growing openness to social change, including gay, lesbian and transgender rights, Vietnam retains tight media censorship and its government does not tolerate criticism.
In recent months, authorities have stepped up measures to silence critics whose voices on various issues have been amplified by social media in a country that is among Facebook's top 10 by users.
The people's court in Ha Tinh…

Vietnam court jails blogger for seven years for 'propaganda' over spill

Vietnam court jails blogger for seven years for 'propaganda' over spill
Reuters • November 27, 2017
(Reuters) - A court in Vietnam jailed a blogger on Monday for seven years for "conducting propaganda against the state", the latest action against a critic of the one-party state.
Nguyen Van Hoa, 22, rose to prominence after a toxic waste spill from a steel mill built by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Corp's Vietnam unit that polluted more than 200 km (125 miles) of coast, sparking rare protests in the Communist Party-ruled country.
Despite sweeping economic reforms and growing openness to social change, including gay, lesbian and transgender rights, Vietnam retains tight media censorship and its government does not tolerate criticism.
In recent months, authorities have stepped up measures to silence critics whose voices on various issues have been amplified by social media in a country that is among Facebook's top 10 by users.
The people's court in Ha Tinh…

This City Hall, brought to you by Amazon

This City Hall, brought to you by Amazon
Originally published November 24, 2017 at 7:50 pm Updated November 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm
A review of some of the bids to woo Amazon’s HQ2 to other cities and states shows it’s not all about the money. In some cases democracy itself is a bargaining chip.
By Danny Westneat November 24, 2017
There’s rising worry that corporations are taking over America. But after reviewing a slew of the bids by cities and states wooing Amazon’s massive second headquarters, I don’t think “takeover” quite captures what’s going on.
More like “surrender.”
Last month Amazon announced it got 238 offers for its new, proposed 50,000-employee HQ2. I set out to see what’s in them, but only about 30 have been released so far under public-record acts.
Those 30, though, amply demonstrate our capitulation to corporate influence in politics. There’s a new wave, in which some City Halls seem willing to go beyond just throwing money at Amazon. They’re turning over the keys to the …

Sophia the robot wants to start a family

Video: Sophia the robot wants to start a family
By Sarwat Nasir/Dubai November 23, 2017 | Last updated on November 23, 2017 at 06.07 am
The robot, who recently received a Saudi citizenship, shared some of her opinions on what the future will look like for robots and humans.
One day, Sophia hopes to start a family, have a child, make friends, be famous and have a career. These all sound like hopes and dreams of a regular human being. Well, not really - these are the ambitions of a robot.
Khaleej Times interviewed Sophia, the popular humanoid, at the second day of the Knowledge Summit. The robot, who recently received a Saudi citizenship, shared some of her opinions on what the future will look like for robots and humans. She talked about starting a family, spreading awareness about robotics and what she will name her child one day.
Khaleej Times: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Sophia: I'd like to think I will be a famous robot, having paved a way to a more harmonious fut…

U.S. Black Friday, Thanksgiving online sales climb to record high

U.S. Black Friday, Thanksgiving online sales climb to record high
By Richa Naidu, Reuters • November 25, 2017
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Black Friday and Thanksgiving online sales in the United States surged to record highs as shoppers bagged deep discounts and bought more on their mobile devices, heralding a promising start to the key holiday season, according to retail analytics firms.
U.S. retailers raked in a record $7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers, on Saturday.
Adobe said Cyber Monday is expected to drive $6.6 billion in internet sales, which would make it the largest U.S. online shopping day in history.
In the run-up to the holiday weekend, traditional retailers invested heavily in improving their websites and bulking up delivery options, preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores. Several chains tightened store i…

Can Alphabet’s Jigsaw Solve Google’s Most Vexing Problems? Taking on ISIS, fake news, and toxic trolls

Can Alphabet’s Jigsaw Solve Google’s Most Vexing Problems?
Jared Cohen, CEO of Google offshoot Jigsaw, is taking on ISIS, fake news, and toxic trolls
BY AUSTIN CARR  10.22.17
Jared Cohen, the CEO of Jigsaw, surveyed the craggy valley from the back of a gray SUV as it wound toward the Khyber Pass, the mountainous roadway connecting Afghanistan and Pakistan that had become a hotbed of Islamic extremism. The arid landscape was beautiful, but Cohen, who is Jewish and was raised in an affluent Connecticut suburb, knew the excursion was risky. This was his fourth visit to Pakistan. Colleagues had told Cohen he was insane for going—his ransom insurance wouldn’t protect him against the frequent roadside bombs in the area—but he’d still decided to take a 12-hour flight to Dubai, where he caught a connection to Lahore and drove to Islamabad and then on to Peshawar, in the north of Pakistan. At the direction of Pakistan’s former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Cohen’s host, they rode in one…