Alexa Learns to Talk Like a Human With Whispers, Pauses, and Emotion

TechCrunch/MSN, 4/29/2017

Amazon is furthering the humanization of its virtual assistant Alexa by equipping it with more emotion functionality. Developers can use a markup language called Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) that allows for the coding of Alexa’s intonation, emphasis, and region-specific responses. This opens up new possibilities for app companies and how their virtual assistants are used in the world.

Elon Musk on Mission to Link Human Brains With Computers in Four Years: Report

MSN/Reuters, 4/22/2017

Neuralink Corporation hopes to develop a micron-sized device that could connect the human brain and a machine interface. The initial goal is to help those with severe brain injuries, then to explore use by people without disabilities. For example, if each person had a device, then two people could (theoretically) communicate concepts brain-to-brain. The long-term goal is to integrate human brains and artificial intelligence (AI), so humans will not be left behind (see Alternative Article below).

Robots Could Soon Cooperate on Surveillance

Engadget, 4/14/17

Security robots could soon be able to communicate with other devices to identify and track objects and people, using a system currently being designed by Cornell scientists. The robots would collect information by sharing images and data through a central unit, so objects of interest could be identified and tracked. Such a system could provide added surveillance in the U.S. and be used by the U.S. armed forces in other countries.

Improving Traffic Safety With a Crowdsourced Traffic Violation Reporting App

KAIST, 4/10/2017

Professor Uichin Lee and a research team at KAIST have developed and tested an app called Mobile Roadwatch. Mobile Roadwatch is a crowdsourced app that helps drivers record traffic violations with their phones and report them to the police. Professor Lee and his team aim to provide a safer way to capture and report traffic violations while operating a vehicle, in hopes that the reports will improve public safety.

Cyborgs at Work: Employees Get Implanted With Microchips

CBS News/AP, 4/3/2017

Epicenter, a Swedish startup, is implanting microchips into their employees as replacements for swipe cards. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), the microchips provide identifying data to devices such as printers and doors, providing more convenience to employees. This technology has never before used for such a broad group of people; demonstrating that it can be beneficial in the workplace suggests that it may quickly become more widely used, despite security and privacy risks.

Paralysed Man Moves Arm Using Power of Thought in World First

The Guardian, 3/29/2017

Lead author Dr. Bolu Ajiboye and a team at Case Western Reserve University developed an experimental procedure that re-enables motor function in a paralyzed patient’s arm. This procedure translates activity in the patient’s motor cortex into a signal that activates the arm muscles to perform the desired action, with help from a prosthetic. The research is still in the developmental phase, but they hope it can become a normal procedure to help people with paralysis.

As Congress Repeals Internet Privacy Rules, Putting Your Options in Perspective

National Public Radio, 3/28/2017

Rules made in October by the Federal Commercial Commission (FCC) are expected to be overturned by Congress and President Trump. These rules would have regulated how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) collected and used data from users, by giving users more control over what information ISPs collect. This rule set would not apply to websites and app providers, like Facebook or Google. However, critics of the overturn argue that it is much more difficult for users to choose to avoid ISPs if they do not wish to be tracked.

Scanners Can Be Hijacked to Perpetrate Cyberattacks

Ben-Gurion University, 3/28/2017

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University demonstrated the ability to communicate with and potentially activate malware on a computer by directing pulsing lights to a typical office scanner that was left open on the same network. These exploits exemplify how seemingly secure devices could be a potential security threat to other networked machines.

Startup Matroid Uses AI to Pluck Images From Streams of Video

MSN/Bloomberg News, 3/26/2017

Reza Zadeh, a professor at Stanford University, has begun an artificial intelligence (AI) startup called Matroid whose software can detect specific people or objects in video streams. The user specifies what they are looking for, using example images and video or preset options, and the algorithms find corresponding people or objects in different videos. This approach could prove useful for businesses, law enforcement, and political and social science.

Protecting Web Users’ Privacy

MIT News, 3/23/2017

MIT and Stanford University researchers are developing Splinter, an encryption system that hides online database queries. Splinter splits up and encrypts the request for data, sending subparts of the query to different database servers. The user’s computer organizes the returned data to determine the answer. The researchers seek to protect a user’s sensitive information as it travels through the Internet, and in some cases to keep the database systems themselves from knowing who’s searching for what.

Offline AI Revolution Awaits Smartphones

Phys.org/AFP, 2/27/2017

Phone manufacturers are attempting to make handsets operate offline by using artificial intelligence (AI) and faster processors. This could let handsets use data already stored to operate. Some companies are focusing on AI technologies that let handsets perform tasks before the user does. For example, Neura, a startup from┬áCalifornia uses an AI that takes data from user’s routine behaviors and then makes predictions on what the users next steps are. Handsets that operate offline and perform tasks before the user does become more helpful and user interactive.

1 2 3 4