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Showing posts from February, 2019

Facebook is trying to give AI 'common sense,' says chief scientist

Facebook is trying to give AI 'common sense,' says chief scientist
Marrian Zhou c/net1:31 pm PST, Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Facebook's chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, says the company is interested in developing a smart assistant that has a certain level of "common sense."
Facebook has its eyes on artificial intelligence chips.
In recent interviews, Facebook's chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, said the company is developing its own AI chips that could help it make more conversational digital assistants and monitor Facebook content in real time.
"In terms of new uses, one thing Facebook would be interested in is offering smart digital assistants — something that has a level of common sense," LeCun told the Financial Times. "They have background knowledge and you can have a discussion with them on any topic."
LeCun reportedly wants Facebook's digital assistant to be more like humans and to understand "what will happen when the world respon…

It Begins...... AI takes over Order Taking at Fast Food Drive Thru... operates without fatigue, breaks or compensation...Reduces Order Time

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At this fast food drive through, the person taking your order might not be a person at all
Peter Holley, The Washington Post Published 4:17 am PST, Friday, February 22, 2019
Artificially intelligent virtual assistants will take center stage as the year’s most important topic, with tech companies big and small expected to showcase voice-controlled devices like robot vacuums, alarm clocks, refrigerators and car accessories. (Glenn Harvey/The New York Times)

The drive through window is often considered the most harrowing assignment inside a fast-food restaurant.
A nonstop whirlwind of multitasking, the gig involves organizing multiple orders, communicating with the kitchen, counting money and negotiating with an endless stream of customers who range from polite and coherent to angry and inebriated -- all for a minimum wage reward.
If that juggling act wasn't hard enough, a giant timer hangs in many drive through kitchens, adding urgency to each task, former workers say.
Though the …

Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab
Scientists hope these mosquitoes could help eradicate malaria.
Pierre Kattar for NPR Heard on Morning Edition February 20, 20195:00 AM ET
Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.
For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.
"This will really be a breakthrough experiment," says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. "It's a historic moment."
The goal is to see if the mosquitoes could eventually provide a powerful new weapon to help eradicate malaria in Africa, where most cases occur.
"It's very exciting," Mueller says.

NPR health correspondent Rob Stein was the only journalist in the lab in Italy…

'Xi cult' app is China's red hot hit

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'Xi cult' app is China's red hot hit Poornima WEERASEKARA AFP News 20 February 2019 The 'Study Xi' app tracks the amount of time users spend browsing inspirational quotes and following his speeches and travels
A propaganda app that puts China's powerful President Xi Jinping in anyone's pockets has become a hit in the country -- with a helpful nudge from Communist Party officials.
Millions have downloaded the app, which tracks the amount of time users spend browsing inspirational quotes from the Chinese leader and watching short videos of his speeches and travels.
People are rewarded with points for sharing articles or answering quizzes on Communist heroes, and one day they may be able to redeem their scores for gifts such as pastries and tablets.
But it's not all fun and games. Some people say they felt pressured to download it, others hope it can help their careers, and local government officials have been heavily promoting it.
The app's name -- &…

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hackedMore and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built.·by Mike Orcutt February 19, 2019 · Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange going on in Ethereum Classic, one of the cryptocurrencies people can buy and sell using Coinbase’s popular exchange platform. Its blockchain, the history of all its transactions, was under attack.
An attacker had somehow gained control of more than half of the network’s computing power and was using it to rewrite the transaction history. That made it possible to spend the same cryptocurrency more than once—known as “double spends.” The attacker was spotted pulling this off to the tune of $1.1 million. Coinbase claims that no currency was actually stolen from any of its accounts. But a second popular exchange, Gate.io, has admitted it wasn’t so lucky, losing around $200,000 to the…

Machine learning is contributing to a “reproducibility crisis” within science

Machine learning is contributing to a “reproducibility crisis” within scienceScientific discoveries made using machine learning cannot be automatically trusted, a statistician from Rice University has warned.
A growing trend: Machine-learning systems are increasingly used by scientists across many disciplines to help refine and speed up data analysis. This accelerates their ability to make new discoveries—for example, uncovering new pharmaceutical compounds.
The problem? Genevera Allen, associate professor at Rice University, has warned that the adoption of machine learning techniques is contributing to a growing “reproducibility crisis” in science, where a worrying number of research findings cannot be repeated by other researchers, thus casting doubt on the validity of the initial results. “I would venture to argue that a huge part of that does come from the use of machine-learning techniques in science,” Allen told the BBC. In many situations, discoveries made this way shouldn’t be t…

EU countries back copyright reforms aimed at Google, Facebook

EU countries back copyright reforms aimed at Google, Facebook
Foo Yun Chee FEBRUARY 20, 2019 / 6:54 AM
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union countries on Wednesday endorsed an overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules which would force Google and Facebook Inc to pay publishers for news snippets and filter out copyright-protected content on YouTube or Instagram.
A majority of EU diplomats agreed to the revamp while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland refused to back the deal and two other EU countries abstained.
Negotiators from the EU countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission sealed a deal last week, two years after the EU executive proposed changes to protect the bloc’s cultural heritage and ensure that publishers, broadcasters and artists are remunerated fairly.
Romania, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a tweet that the copyright agreement had been approved by the EU Council.
The dissenting countries said the proposed chan…

Unanimous Supreme Court Curbs State Power to Levy Fines, Seize Property

Unanimous Supreme Court Curbs State Power to Levy Fines, Seize Property
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 11:04 AM
The U.S. Supreme Court curbed the power of cities and states to levy fines and seize property, siding with a man trying to keep his Land Rover after he pleaded guilty to selling drugs.
The unanimous ruling marks the first time the court has said that states and cities are bound by the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines, part of the Eighth Amendment.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had been away from the court for almost two months after undergoing lung cancer surgery, wrote the opinion and read a summary of it from the bench.
"The protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history," she wrote. "Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties."
The ruling puts new limits on what critics say is an increasingly common and abusive government practice of using fines and forfeitures to raise revenue.
The …

Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was 'never supposed to be a secret'

Google says the built-in microphone it never told Nest users about was 'never supposed to be a secret' ·In early February, Google announced that Assistant would work with its home security and alarm system, Nest Secure. ·The problem: Users didn't know a microphone existed on their Nest security devices to begin with. ·On Tuesday, a Google representative told Business Insider the company had made an "error." ·"The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs," the person said. "That was an error on our part." Nick Bastone February 20, 2019 In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant.
The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with.
The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, whic…

Digital advertising to surpass print, TV for the first time, report says

Digital advertising to surpass print, TV for the first time, report says
By Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post 9:12 am CST, Wednesday, February 20, 2019
This year, the money spent on digital advertising in the United States will surpass that on traditional ads for the first time, according to forecasts by eMarketer, representing a landmark inversion of how advertisers budget their resources and highlighting the rise of digital media as platforms to seek consumers' attention.
By the end of the year, eMarketer expects companies to spend nearly $130 billion on digital ads, compared with about $110 billion on traditional advertisements, or about 54.2 percent of the ad market vs. 46.8 percent, respectively. According to the research firm's projections, spending on digital ads will continue to outpace that of traditional ads. By 2023, digital ads will capture more than two-thirds of all ad spending, according to the estimates.
The increase in digital ad dollars will come, in part, …