Showing posts from February, 2018

California Gives Green Light To Completely Driverless Car Testing

California Gives Green Light To Completely Driverless Car Testing By Kiet DoFebruary 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm LOS ANGELES (KPIX 5/AP) — Driverless cars will be tested on California roads for the first time without a human being behind a steering wheel under new rules for the fast-developing technology. The regulations approved Monday are a major step toward getting autonomous vehicles onto the streets of California. Until now, driverless cars could only be tested with human backup drivers who could take over in an emergency. One of the few places you can see an autonomous car with no human operator inside, is at Waymo’s secret private test track in the Central Valley town of Atwater. But the California DMV has officially laid out the ground rules for the next phase of autonomous car testing. Manufacturers can apply for permits allowing driverless testing when the regulations go into effect April 2. The rules approved by California’s Office of Administrative Law

YouTube's New Moderators "Mistakenly" Pull Right-Wing Channels

YouTube's New Moderators Mistakenly Pull Right-Wing Channels Video site’s human screening stumbles in a major early test Episode shows challenge of spotting and removing content By Mark Bergen February 28, 2018, 12:12 PM PST YouTube’s new moderators, brought in to spot fake, misleading and extreme videos, stumbled in one of their first major tests, mistakenly removing some clips and channels in the midst of a nationwide debate on gun control. The Google division said in December it would assign more than 10,000 people to moderate content after a year of scandals over fake and inappropriate content on the world’s largest video site. In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some YouTube moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some channels from right-wing, pro-gun video producers and outlets. On Tuesday, some YouTube channels began complaining about their accounts being pulled entirely. That would have marked a sweeping policy

Pentagon’s $1 Billion Cloud Deal May Signal New Era in Government Buying

Pentagon’s $1 Billion Cloud Deal May Signal New Era in Government Buying BLACKBOARD/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM By Frank Konkel, Executive Editor FEBRUARY 27, 2018 Congress wants the Defense Department to buy technology faster. Now it's beginning to do just that. In early February, a small Virginia-based company—REAN Cloud—that partners with Amazon Web Services announced a nearly $1 billion deal to provide cloud computing services for the Defense Department. The contract caught many industry players by surprise, in part due to the $950 million value and partly because it was awarded without a traditional government procurement. This deal may be a harbinger for how the Defense Department plans to purchase certain technologies moving forward. Using buying powers quietly imbued by Congress over the past three years, U.S. Transportation Command made the award to REAN Cloud under an other transaction production contract based on a prototype project last year to migrate mi

2018 W4 Form - Just Released

Robots cleaning schools...Hospitals

Norman Regional lends out cleaning robot to schools By Meg Wingerter by Meg Wingerter   Published: February 27, 2018 5:00 AM CDT Updated: February 27, 2018 5:00 AM CDT A robot lent by Norman Regional Health System disinfects a classroom at Roosevelt Elementary School in Norman with ultraviolet light on Tuesday. [Photo provided by Norman Regional] Oklahoma City — Moore Public Schools got a temporary addition to their cleaning staff last week when Norman Regional Health System lent out a robot to “zap” germs. The schools already have a robust cleaning system, with a well-trained custodial staff and their own robots that spray a chlorine mist, Superintendent Robert Romines said. But an extra layer of protection was worthwhile in buildings that have had high absence rates due to illness. “Anything that it can contribute to killing germs at the sites we're using it is beneficial,” he said. The hospital is lending the robots as part of an outreach program, sai

AI apocalypse where robots take over and ‘treat humans like guinea pigs’ could become reality, say experts

RISE OF THE MACHINES AI apocalypse where robots take over and ‘treat humans like guinea pigs’ could become reality, say experts The very real dangers posed by technology include rampaging robots and a super-intelligent AI that could turn against its masters By Saqib Shah 26th February 2018, 3:21 pm Updated: 26th February 2018, 5:35 pm SCI-FI movies have long portrayed a frightening world where robots take over and use humans as slaves. But the bleak dystopian vision seen in movies such as I, Robot and The Terminator may not be as far-fetched as it first appears, according to a string of experts. The rapid acceleration of AI means more safeguards are needed, say experts Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson told The Sun: "We'll have trained it to be like us, trained it to feel emotions like us, but it won't be like us. It will be a bit like aliens off Star Trek – smarter and more calculated in its actions. "It will be insensitive to humans, viewing us

Amazon reports $5.6 billion in US profits last year but paid NOTHING in federal income taxes

Amazon reports $5.6billion in US profits last year but paid NOTHING in federal income taxes - as it projects $789million windfall due to Trump's corporate tax law Jeff Bezos' online retail giant reported it made $5.6billion in US profits in 2017 But the company's financial filing shows it paid nothing in federal income tax Amazon is projecting $789million windfall due to Republican corporate tax law   By Khaleda Rahman For PUBLISHED: 04:17 EST, 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:29 EST, 27 February 2018 Amazon made $5.6 billion in US profits last year – but reportedly paid absolutely nothing in federal income taxes. The online retail giant's latest financial statement suggests that various tax credits and tax breaks for executive stock options are the reason behind the company paying zero tax in 2017, the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) reports. According to ITEP, Amazon reportedly US profits of $8.2 billion but p

How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health - People touch phones 2,617 times -- per day!

How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health An emerging field, digital phenotyping, tries to assess people’s well-being based on their interactions with digital devices. By NATASHA SINGER FEB. 25, 2018 Your digital footprint — how often you post on social media, how quickly you scroll through your contacts, how frequently you check your phone late at night — could hold clues to your physical and mental health. That at least is the theory behind an emerging field, digital phenotyping, that is trying to assess people’s well-being based on their interactions with digital devices. Researchers and technology companies are tracking users’ social media posts, calls, scrolls and clicks in search of behavior changes that could correlate with disease symptoms. Some of these services are opt-in. At least one is not. People typically touch their phones 2,617 per day, according to one study — leaving a particularly enticing trail of data to mine. “Our i

Forty-eight percent of Americans now support a universal basic income

More Americans now support a universal basic income Forty-eight percent of Americans support a universal basic income. Longtime advocates say we're closer than ever to adopting the program. By Annie Nova Published February 26, 2018 Political philosopher and economist Karl Widerquist, an associate professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, remembers a poll from 10 years ago that showed just 12 percent of Americans approved of a universal basic income. That's changed — and quickly. Today, 48 percent of Americans support it, according to a new Northeastern University/Gallup survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults. "It represents an enormous increase in support," said Widerquist, who is a well-known advocate for a universal basic income. "It's really promising." Proposals for universal basic income programs vary, but the most common one is a system in which the federal government sends out regular checks to everyone, rega

Samsung launches new S9 phone with augmented reality features

Samsung launches new S9 phone with augmented reality features       Erwan LUCAS AFP • February 25, 2018 Barcelona (AFP) - Samsung unveiled its new flagship smartphone on Sunday with a focus on augmented reality features as it seeks to keep its title as the world's biggest smartphone maker. The South Korean firm showcased the Galaxy S9 on the eve of the official start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which comes after a year of flat smartphone sales. With no other major handset maker using the annual event, the world's largest phone show, to launch a new flagship device this year, Samsung had the opportunity to grab the spotlight. The S9 features essentially the same design as last year's previous flagship, with the full screen and curved glass edge of the S8, which was followed by Apple's iPhone X and others. But it includes louder sound, a faster processor and software that turns selfies into animated emojis, which will appeal to con

Free news gets scarcer as paywalls tighten

Free news gets scarcer as paywalls tighten Rob Lever • February 24, 2018 Washington (AFP) - For those looking for free news online, the search is becoming harder. Tougher restrictions on online content have boosted digital paid subscriptions at many news organizations, amid a growing trend keeping content behind a "paywall." Free news has by no means disappeared, but recent moves by media groups and Facebook and Google supporting paid subscriptions is forcing free-riders to scramble. For some analysts, the trend reflects a normalization of a situation that has existed since the early internet days that enabled consumers to get accustomed to the notion of free online content. "I think there is a definite trend for people to start paying for at least one news source," said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst who follows digital media for Kaleido Insights. Lieb said consumers have become more amenable to paying for digital services and that investiga

Google ‘bro culture’ led to violence, sexual harassment against female engineer, lawsuit alleges

Google ‘bro culture’ led to violence, sexual harassment against female engineer, lawsuit alleges By ETHAN BARON February 23, 2018 at 3:58 pm & February 24, 2018 at 2:43 pm MOUNTAIN VIEW — As a young, female software engineer at male-dominated Google, Loretta Lee was slapped, groped and even had a co-worker pop up from beneath her desk one night and tell her she’d never know what he’d been doing under there, according to a lawsuit filed against the Mountain View tech giant. The lawsuit comes as Silicon Valley’s tech industry, dominated by white men, has been roiled by a series of sexual-misconduct scandals and gender-related upheavals as the MeToo movement against sexual assault of women has prompted a nationwide cultural reckoning. Google has been the focus of considerable gender-related controversy. It fired engineer James Damore over his memo claiming a biological basis for the gender gap in tech. It sacked a transgender man who then sued the firm, claiming he w

Apple to Start Putting Sensitive Encryption Keys in China

Apple to Start Putting Sensitive Encryption Keys in China Codes for Chinese users of iCloud will be kept in a secure location, company says By Robert McMillan and Tripp Mickle Feb. 24, 2018 1:39 p.m. ET When Apple Inc. next week begins shifting the iCloud accounts of its China-based customers to a local partner’s servers, it also will take an unprecedented step for the company that alarms some privacy specialists: storing the encryption keys for those accounts in China. The keys are complex strings of random characters that can unlock the photos, notes and messages that users store in iCloud. Until now, Apple has stored the codes only in the U.S. for all global users, the company said, in keeping with its emphasis on customer privacy and security. While Apple says it will ensure that the keys are protected in China, some privacy experts and former Apple security employees worry that moving the keys to China makes them more vulnerable to seizure by a government wit

'Social media is causing a mental health crisis', says head of British university hit by seven student suicides

'Social media is causing a mental health crisis', says head of   British university hit by seven student suicides Pressure to appear perfect aided by social media, Bristol vice chancellor says Social media has become a 'burden' which forces students to appear 'happy' Seven students at Bristol University have killed themselves in past 18 months   By Eleanor Harding for the Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 18:40 EST, 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 02:01 EST, 23 February 2018 Social media is causing a global mental health crisis among young people, according to the chief of a university hit by suicides among students. Hugh Brady, vice-chancellor of Bristol, said the pressure to appear ‘perfect’ all the time online was causing anxiety and depression. He said social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram have become a ‘burden’ for youngsters, who feel they have to pretend to be ‘happy’ all the time. Seven students at Bristol have killed themse

Missouri case could test the definition of 'privacy' in the Smartphone era

Greitens case could test the definition of 'privacy' in the smartphone era By Kevin McDermott St. Louis Post-Dispatch   February 24, 2018 In 1994, officials in Buffalo, Mo., made a discovery that sent shock waves through the tiny town: The owner of a local tanning salon had hidden a camera in the latticework above a dressing area, and had videotaped more than 100 women and girls in various states of nudity. Then came the aftershock: Authorities initially said they couldn’t charge the man with any crime. There was nothing on Missouri’s books specifically prohibiting what he had done. That scandal helped create the law under which Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday. Because of the tanning salon case and others, it has been illegal in Missouri for more than 20 years to take a person’s photo without permission when that person is in a state of undress in a place where there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” If that picture is transmitted to a compute