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Showing posts from 2019

Grubhub’s Struggles Could Chill Food Delivery Hype

Grubhub’s Struggles Could Chill Food Delivery Hype Public investors favor profits over growth, but company isn’t delivering much of either By Laura Forman Oct. 20, 2019 10:00 am ET News flash: Making money suddenly matters in tech. That is bad news for any company competing in a sector filled with rivals desperate to gain scale, such as food delivery, and could leave Grubhubinvestors with a bitter aftertaste. Venture capitalists have, in a matter of months, gone from trumpeting growth at all costs to evangelizing a new ethos that includes terms including “discipline,” “unit economics” and, perhaps most important, “profitability.” The dramatic change in tune has come in the midst of an icy reception from public investors to cash-burning companies like Uber, Lyft, WeWork and Peloton, which were all hotly anticipated by public investors just months ago. Grubhub has shed 53% of its market value over the past year and 26% over the past three months alone. Those losses have come as a direc…

Machine Beats Man - "We are living at a time when the rate of change has never been this fast and will never be this slow again,”

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Machine Beats Man - Meet the super robots that are about to lap the world's fastest humans.
By David WilsonOct 16, 2019
You probably picture robots as clodhoppers: ponderous, clunky, even doddery droids that need caffeine, badly. But robots are on the brink of making giant strides. Just ask Columbia University engineering professor Hod Lipson, who writes in Nature that “young animals gallop across fields, climb trees, and immediately find their feet with grace after they fall”—and robots are set to follow suit. Lipson is right. A new breed of speedy robots promises to eventually outdo the runners at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Notable cybernetic contenders include MIT’s dominant Cheetah, Boston Dynamics’ Petman and Handle, Michigan Robotics’ MABEL, and—further afield in South Africa—the University of Cape Town’s Baleka. Plus, that efficiency-geared Florida University powerhouse, the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC), fields a smart, sensor-free biped plainly called Plana…

Army researchers test human-like robots

Army researchers test human-like robots
By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public AffairsOctober 18, 2019
ADELPHI, Md. -- Army researchers recently tested ground robots performing military-style exercises, much like Soldier counterparts, at a robotics testing site in Pennsylvania recently as part of a 10-year research project designed to push the research boundaries in robotics and autonomy.
RoMan, short for Robotic Manipulator, is a tracked robot that is easily recognized by its robotic arms and hands -- necessary appendages to remove heavy objects and other road debris from military vehicles' paths. What's harder to detect is the amount of effort that went into programming the robot to manipulate complex environments.

The exercise was one of several recent integration events involving a decade of research led by scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory who teamed with counterparts from the NASA/Jet…

Google affiliate begins drone deliveries in Virginia town

Google affiliate begins drone deliveries in Virginia townBy RACHEL LERMAN October 18, 2019
A Google affiliate started using drones Friday to deliver customers’ Walgreens and FedEx purchases in a test being run in a Virginia town. Wing, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, received federal approval earlier this year to make commercial deliveries by drone. It was the first drone company to receive the approval in the U.S., beating out Amazon’s Prime Air, which revealed its drone plans in 2013. Earlier this month, UPS also got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly delivery drones. The company has been running delivery tests with WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Wing partnered with Walgreens, FedEx and local gift shop Sugar Magnolia to perform the tests in Christiansburg, Virginia. Walgreens customers in the town will be able to order from a list of more than 100 items and get them delivered to their doors by drones. The first Walgreens drone delive…

The voice from our Nest camera threatened to steal our baby

The voice from our Nest camera threatened to steal our babyA father Googled “Nest + camera + hacked” and found out that this happens frequentlyBy JACK NEWCOMBE October 18, 2019 at 6:18 am
It was an unremarkable Wednesday afternoon when our nanny texted my wife and me asking if we were speaking through one of the Nest cameras in our house. We both replied that we were not. Then the nanny texted that a voice was coming through the kitchen camera and using bad words. I immediately pulled up the video feed and began reviewing:
I hear the familiar chime, which means someone is about to talk through the camera. Then, to my horror, a female voice that I don’t recognize starts talking to my 18-month-old son. He looks around the room and then at the ceiling, wondering who’s there.

It feels as though my heart is about to beat through my chest. The blood rushes to my face. I am completely helpless. The voice is laughing when it chimes in. She says we have a nice house and encourages the nanny to respo…

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defends refusal to take down some content

Facebook CEO defends refusal to take down some contentBy MARCY GORDON October 17, 2019
WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended the social media platform’s refusal to take down content it considers newsworthy “even if it goes against our standards.” But while he promoted free expression, limitations were place on coverage of his remarks at Georgetown University. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions — only students were given that chance, filtered by a moderator. Facebook and Georgetown barred news organizations from filming. Instead organizers provided a livestream on Georgetown’s social media site and made available video shot by Facebook. “It’s quite ironic,” said Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute and a former state prosecutor. More generally, she said of Facebook, “The key to free expression is to not have one company control the flow of speech to more than 2 billion people, using algorithms that amplify dis…