Kiwis in the bigger cities can now do their Christmas grocery shopping from the bus stop.
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When IBM announced a $3 billion commitment to even tinier semiconductor chips that no longer depended on silicon on Wednesday, the big news was that IBM’s putting a lot of money into a future for chips where Moore’s Law no longer applies. But on second glance, the move to spend [...]
Belinda Suvaal's insight:
Moore's law, nanodust and beyond? It will be interesting, Google Search in the air you breath. Information will no longer have logistical boundaries and it will be timeless?
Economic theorist and author Jeremy Rifkin explains his concept of The Internet of Things. Rifkin's latest book is The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism (http://goo.gl/4estV2).
Early Facebook investor and noted Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel thinks that too many Americans have mistakenly blamed technology for rising inequality. “Technology is an easy scapegoat,” he argued, in a big-think discussion put on by political lobby, FWD.us.
While globalization has flooded the low-skilled job market with ultra-cheap outsourced labor, technology has relieved the beleaguered middle-class with services in health, education and leisure that were once the exclusive domain of the wealthy, Thiel asserts.
“I wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes if I could do anything I wanted to do with the rest of the money, which I’m largely restricted in what I can do, from the FDA on down to the San Francisco zoning department.”
The privacy concerns surrounding Google Glass may get even worse now that an app has been unveiled that gives users access to “instant dossiers” on people they meet.
For better or worse, it’s happening. Italian researchers are building a network of connected "cyborg" plants (plantborgs? cyplants? cyberflora?) to use as organic biosensors. The plants are embedded with a tiny electronic device to monitor things like pollution levels, overuse of chemicals, temperature, parasites, acid rain, and communicate the data through a wireless network back to the lab.
The rather ambitious idea is rooted in the fact that plants are remarkably intelligent (though justhow smart is still a matter of debate). Researchers believe it’s possible to harness that natural intelligence by "listening" to what plants know about their natural surroundings. Think: The exotic talking trees in Avatar, if humans joined in the conversation. If possible, that could tap into a massive amount of data about the environment.
Those roots sprawling out through the ground and branches reaching up into the sky are plants' eyes and ears, constantly monitoring natural chemical and physical stimuli to survive—that intelligence is why plants have been able to adapt and evolve on Earth for so many millennia, Vitaletti explains. Plants give off an electrical signal when they interact with environmental stimuli, and now scientists want to analyze those signals to glean insights from the cybernetic flora.
Bijna één op de drie webwinkeliers heeft nog nooit een euro winst gemaakt. De helft van de webwinkels haalt een jaaromzet van minder dan 10.000 euro.
Dit concludeert de expertgroep Online Ondernemen van Shopping2020 in zijn eindrapport. Daaruit komt een weinig rooskleurig beeld naar voren van de verdiensten van webwinkels. Zo’n 80 procent van de online ondernemers heeft nog nooit een modaal inkomen verdiend met de webwinkel.
De overlevingskansen voor webwinkeliers zijn verhoudingsgewijs klein. Na vier jaar bestaat nog 41 procent van de gestarte online ondernemers, voor het gehele bedrijfsleven ligt dit percentage op 59 procent. Jesse Weltevreden, lector Online Ondernemen van de Hogeschool van Amsterdam en voorzitter van de expertgroep: ‘Vooral webwinkels jonger dan drie jaar zijn niet winstgevend; het is dan ook niet verwonderlijk dat een groot aantal het binnen vier jaar voor gezien houdt.’
Google will buy London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind. The Informationreports that the acquisition price was more than $500 million, and that Facebook was also in talks to buy the startup late last year. We’ve emailed Google and DeepMind for comment. The acquisition was originally confirmed by Google to Re/code.
Google’s hiring of DeepMind will help it compete against other major tech companies as they all try to gain business advantages by focusing on deep learning. For example, Facebook recently hired NYU professor Yann LeCunn to lead its new artificial intelligence lab, IBM’s Watson supercomputer is now working on deep learning, and Yahoo recently acquired photo analysis startup LookFlow to lead its new deep learning group.
DeepMind was founded by neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, a former child prodigy in chess, Skype and Kazaa developer Jaan Tallin, and researcher Shane Legg.
This is the latest move by Google to fill out its roster of artificial intelligence experts and, according to Re/code, the acquisition was reportedly led by Google CEO Larry Page. If all three of DeepMind’s founders work for Google, they will join inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who was hired in 2012 as a director of engineering focused on machine learning and language processing.
Kurzweil has said that he wants to build a search engine so advanced that it could act like a “cybernetic friend.”
European scientists from six institutes and two universities have developed an online platform where robots can learn new skills from each other worldwide — a kind of “Wikipedia for robots.” The objective is to help develop robots better at helping elders with caring and household tasks. “The problem right now is that robots are often developed specifically for one task”, says René van de Molengraft, TU/e researcher and RoboEarth project leader.
“RoboEarth simply lets robots learn new tasks and situations from each other. All their knowledge and experience are shared worldwide on a central, online database.” In addition, some computing and “thinking” tasks can be carried out by the system’s “cloud engine,” he said, “so the robot doesn’t need to have as much computing or battery power on‑board.”
For example, a robot can image a hospital room and upload the resulting map to RoboEarth. Another robot, which doesn’t know the room, can use that map on RoboEarth to locate a glass of water immediately, without having to search for it endlessly. In the same way a task like opening a box of pills can be shared on RoboEarth, so other robots can also do it without having to be programmed for that specific type of box.
RoboEarth is based on four years of research by a team of scientists from six European research institutes (TU/e, Philips, ETH Zürich, TU München and the universities of Zaragoza and Stuttgart).
Robots learn from each other on 'Wiki for robots'
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
New 3D Printer can build a House in just 24 hours
The potential applications of this technology are far reaching including in emergency, low-income, and commercial housing.
"Our research also addresses the application of Contour Crafting in building habitats on other planets.
The chief advantages of the Contour Crafting process over existing technologies are the superior surface finish that is realised and the greatly enhanced speed of fabrication, according to the project website.
Security experts have come up with a novel way to ensure your laptop or tablet hasn't been tampered with and your data compromised - glitter nail polish.
Physical tampering with devices to steal data, or install malware for monitoring purposes, is becoming an increasing problem, especially when travelling, where border officials can easily confiscate devices for ‘inspection’.
Problems with hardware interference and data theft have been particularly reported by business travellers to China. The UK government meanwhile has the right to suck all the data from a device and store it when people enter and leave the country.
Many people do fit tamper-proof seals over ports and screws, but these can easily be opened cleanly or replicated in minutes by anyone with minimal training, security researchers Eric Michaud and Ryan Lackey said, while presenting at the Chaos Communication Congress, reports Wired magazine.
The pair’s answer - create a seal that cannot be copied. Glitter nail polish is the perfect candidate for making the seal, the pair added, as a completely random pattern is created, unlike with standard paint or a sticker.
If you are competing with the plumbing company across town—or a startup across the world—you now have the same capabilities as the world’s largest corporations at your beck and call.
Brands are Becoming Platforms: Brands are important assets, usuallyaccounting for the majority of the value of a business. So it shouldn’t be surprising that brands have historically been jealously guarded and protected. Yet now, rather than sterile assets to be leveraged brands are becoming platforms for innovation and co-creation.
Apple, Intuit and Kareo have thousands of developers working to enhance their products and it doesn’t cost them a penny. By opening up its Watson system, IBM seeks to increase revenues at its consulting division and atSoftlayer, which it recently acquired. The company is also exploring a variety of revenue sharing models.
What’s becoming clear is that the age of the stand-alone brand is over. You’re either connected or you’re dead.
Google heeft een missie: alle robotics bedrijven van omvang opkopen. Boston Dynamics mag zich onder de gelukkigen rekenen ;)
artikel van Techcrunch:
Google announced that they’ve acquired Boston Dynamics, creators of quad- and bi-pedal robots like Big Dog and PETMAN. This is Google’s eighth robotics acquisition.
The company did not disclose the details of the sale.
The announcement appeared in the New York Times where Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert said they would honor their DARPA military contracts although Google will not officially be a military contractor.
The company, founded in 1992, has been working on standalone, gas powered robots for the past decade. The robots are self-righting and very resilient. Robots like Big Dog can throw cinder blocks, handle rocky terrain, and run at 16 mph.
A few months ago, Andy Rubin, the engineer who spearheaded the development of Android at Google, initiated a new robotics effort at the company. Rubin, who is personally interested in robots, now wants Google to have a major role in making new kinds of robotics happen. Not just robotic cars, but actual real robots. A recent article in the New York Times has revealed more about Google's plans. According to the article, Google is funding a major new robotics group, and that includes acquiring a bunch of robotics startups:
Among the companies are Schaft, a small team of Japanese roboticists who recently left Tokyo University to develop a humanoid robot, and Industrial Perception, a start-up here that has developed computer vision systems and robot arms for loading and unloading trucks. Also acquired were Meka and Redwood Robotics, makers of humanoid robots and robot arms in San Francisco, and Bot & Dolly, a maker of robotic camera systems that were recently used to create special effects in the movie “Gravity.” A related firm, Autofuss, which focuses on advertising and design, and Holomni, a small design firm that makes high-tech wheels, were acquired as well.
Some brief highlights:
Schaft is one of the Track A teams participating in the DARPA Robotics Challenge with their own custom robot based on the HRP-2.Industrial Perception spun out of Willow Garage back in March of 2012; read our Startup Spotlight post on them here.Meka Robotics builds research robots with series elastic actuators in them; they're probably best known for the M1 humanoid (pictured above in front of the Google logo) and Dreamer, which you can read about here.Redwood Robotics is (was) a collaboration between Willow Garage, SRI, and Meka that was supposedly designing a very low cost robotic arm. We've been asking around and haven't heard much for the last year or so, maybe now we know why.And of course, there's Bot & Dolly, which uses robot arms for precise and repeatable camera control, making things way more awesome than "precise and repeatable camera control" probably makes you think of.
Obviously, we're curious about what other acquisitions Rubin is pursuing, and more generally, just what Google is actually working on. Fortunately for us, the Google robotics group will at least initially be based right here in Palo Alto, meaning that I'll get a chance to put my spy drones and ninja outfit to good use.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
As you might imagine, recreating the entire universe in a computer is a bit of a challenge, mainly because of the huge range of scales that relevant processes happen at. Astronomers need to simulate a chunk of the universe that’s about 330 million light-years across–large enough to contain all the important elements but not so large it crashes your supercomputer. But the movement of stars and gas (the smallest elements of cosmic structure) happens on scales generally around 3 light-years across, a difference of eight orders of magnitude. Getting all this detail is almost like creating a simulation of a person growing up that takes into account the action of every enzyme and DNA strand within their body.
To make things easier, most simulations have focused on dark matter and dark energy (which tend to operate on very large scales and make up 96 percent of the universe), mostly ignoring the contributions of ordinary matter. This produces a picture of the cosmic web, but is missing some important details.
The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer.
Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.
Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.
"Robo-journalism" is increasingly being used in newsrooms worldwide.
The LA Times is a pioneer in the technology which draws on trusted sources - such as the US Geological Survey - and places data into a pre-written template.
full article: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26614051
Belinda Suvaal's insight:
Voeg een robot toe aan je content- / online PR team.
“This is Social Media Week here in New York City, and yesterday, I spent one hour listening to four speakers in a panel about The Future of Publishing. The panel was hosted by Salon Media Group and led by Salon.com Editor in Chief, Dave Daley.”
Via Guillaume Decugis
3D printing can enhance product development, transform traditional production methods, enable direct digital manufacturing, and facilitate personal fabrication. In this video, Christopher Barnatt of ExplainingTheFuture.com highlights what this means for businesses, as well as offering some broader predictions.
Het W3C of World Wide Web Consortium (de groep die de open standaarden definieert voor het web), overweegt om ‘blending modes’ te introduceren in de opmaaktaal CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Deze innovatie zou webontwikkelaars toelaten om geavanceerde grafische manipulaties aan documenten toe te voegen en zou op termijn Photoshop overbodig kunnen maken.
Nuances als helderheid, tint, contrast en transparantie zouden in de nabije toekomst rechtstreeks in stijlbladen kunnen worden aangepast. Hoewel blending modes al in HTML5 geïntroduceerd werden via het canvas, heeft de voorgestelde vereenvoudiging ook verre implicaties voor niet-designers. Blending modes zijn immers de geheime ingrediënten in de kunst van de digitale fotografie en film en zouden onze internetervaring danig kunnen verbeteren.
Tegenwoordig kunnen ontwikkelaars en designers hun geavanceerde foto’s en afbeeldingen niet rechtstreeks uit Photoshop (of vergelijkbare grafische designprogramma’s zoals het gratis alternatief GIMP) aan een webpagina toevoegen en moeten ze die eerst overzetten naar een simpeler formaat dat werkt op het web (zoals JPEG). Dat betekent dat grafisch webdesign voorlopig nog niet zo geavanceerd is als het zou kunnen zijn.
Blending modes op het web kunnen daar verandering in brengen. Designers zouden de kleuren van individuele teksten, foto’s en data zorgvuldig kunnen aanpassen en ze op interactieve wijze wijzigen op basis van gebruikersinteracties. Volgens Nick Stockton van Quartz zou dat geheel nieuwe vormen van digital storytellingin het leven kunnen roepen. Zelfs Adobe, het bedrijf achter Photoshop, ziet genoeg potentieel in dit vooruitzicht om de nieuwe standaard van web blending modes officieel te steunen.
Het enige nadeel aan deze mogelijke toekomstige uitbreiding van CSS is dat grafische designers die momenteel op Photoshop vertrouwen in de toekomst zullen moeten leren programmeren (als ze dat nu nog niet kunnen tenminste) om de definitieve overstap naar het web te maken. (via: Quartz)
An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from The MITRE Corporation and Harvard University have taken key steps toward ultra-small electronic computer systems that push beyond the imminent end of Moore's Law, which states that the device density and overall processing power for computers will double every two to three years. In a paper that will appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they designed and assembled, from the bottom up, a functioning, ultra-tiny control computer that is the densest nanoelectronic system ever built.
Samsung was early to market with asmartwatch in the Galaxy Gear, and now it looks like it might be one of the first in the mix with a glasses-based computing device. A new report from the Korea Times(via Verge) suggests that Samsung is currently developing a Google Glass competitor, which is in fact provisionally named “Galaxy Glass,” set for launch in September at the annual IFA tech conference.
Google has yet to put a firm timeline on the consumer launch of its own Google Glass wearable computer, which is available to developers and early adopters via Google’s ‘Explorer’ program. Some reports had suggested a general launch for late 2013, but then later information from Google revised the release timeline to sometime in 2014. Samsung could conceivably beat Google to the punch, but as we saw with the Galaxy Gear, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Amit Singhal is working on the missing links between today’s Google search and a true conversational machine. Check out these videos to find out more!
During Amit Singhal’s 13 years at Google, the company has been evolving the iconic search bar into a voice-controlled search engine that allows for a more natural, conversational search – à la Star Trek’s LCARS computer.
They aren’t there yet.
If you ask Google – using voice – who Bill Clinton is, and then ask who his (using the pronoun instead of his name) daughter is – Google can tell you. You can even follow that up by asking what her job is, and again, Google understands.
If however, you follow up your question about Bill Clinton with, “Who was the next president?” Google is stumped. Its ability to hold context means that it can only hold a conversation as long as you stick within some narrow parameters. Clearly search has not reached Her status – as envisioned by Spike Jonze. Most people are not in danger of mistaking Google for a love interest. Still, the system’s current competence is quite a feat considering it happens to be ‘conversing’ and interfacing with millions of people at once.
Amit Singhal, however, believes that the current situation is just a stepping-stone, and that natural, ‘frictionless’ conversation with a computer is an attainable goal.
Contact lenses that allow the wearer to see high-definition virtual screens are to be unveiled in Las Vegas next week.
Dubbed iOptik, the system allows the users to see projected digital information, such as driving directions and video calls.
The tiny 'screens', which are the invention of Washington-based group Innovega, sit directly on a users' eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses.
The iOptik system, developed by Washington-based group Innovega, allows the users to see digital information, such as driving directions and video calls.
In ruins today, Hadrian's Villa can only hint at its second-century glory. But a new digital archaeology project promises to transport computer users to the Roman emperor's opulent compound as it might have been nearly 2,000 years ago.
The demo videos for these Web players sort of look like "The Sims," as they take advantage of a "virtual world" gaming platform. The software will allow users to tour the building complexes of Hadrian's Villa through an avatar of a historical figure such as a Roman senator, courtier or a slave, project researchers said. [See Images of Hadrian's Villa Reconstructed]
Even if this discovery has been overstated doesn't mean that it doesn't capture something interesting about the way the world works.
"DNA As An App
On of the most startling things about the dual nature of the duons is that it makes us wonder what else could be hiding within those double helixes? The duons are like words or phrases within the “text” of our DNA that mean two different things, depending on context. And yet, as in human language, not all words have this double meaning. The Science paper suggests that these duons are “highly conserved” through evolution, which means that they are the Darwinian keepers. But as with puns and other figures of speech, the duons power also contains the danger of miscommunication since mutations within them are highly likely to lead to disease."....
The phone call came from a charming woman with a bright, engaging voice to the cell phone of a TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer. She wanted to offer a deal on health insurance, but something was fishy.
When Scherer asked point blank if she was a real person, or a computer-operated robot voice, she replied enthusiastically that she was real, with a charming laugh. But then she failed several other tests. When asked “What vegetable is found in tomato soup?” she said she did not understand the question. When asked multiple times what day of the week it was yesterday, she complained repeatedly of a bad connection.
Over the course of the next hour, several TIME reporters called her back, working to uncover the mystery of her bona fides. Her name, she said, was Samantha West, and she was definitely a robot, given the pitch perfect repetition of her answers. Her goal was to ask a series of questions about health coverage—”Are you on Medicare?” etc.—and then transfer the potential customer to a real person, who could close the sale. You can listen for yourself to some of the reporting here: