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Lexar first with 256GB SDXC Card

Lexar first with 256GB SDXC Card | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Lexar Media says its industry-first 256GB SDXC UHS-I memory card provides the largest capacity for capturing, storing, and transferring high-quality images, as well as extended lengths of 1080p HD and 3D video content.


The UHS-I technology enables 60 megabytes per second minimum guaranteed sustained read transfer speed.

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Les nouvelles technologies : vers une évolution culturelle et cognitive - Cité de la Réussite à La Sorbonne

Les nouvelles technologies : vers une évolution culturelle et cognitive - Cité de la Réussite à La Sorbonne | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Voici la vidéo du débat sur "Les nouvelles technologies : vers une évolution culturelle et cognitive" auquel je représentais Leonard à la Sorbonne dans le cadre de la Cité de la Réussite aux côtés d'Anne Lalou (Web School Factory) et Sophie Stanton (IBM), modérés par Annabelle Laurent d'Uzbek & Rica

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Merci à l’auditoire de l’Amphi Richelieu de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne d’avoir porté ce débat à la Cité de la réussite 2017 avec Anne LALOU-SCHNEIDER et Sophie Stanton ! Bravo aux étudiants pour la préparation des questions et à Annabelle Laurent pour sa patiente modération.

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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies starts building its first full-scale system in Toulouse, France

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies starts building its first full-scale system in Toulouse, France | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has delivered the first tubes to its research center in the southwest of France as it begins construction on its first Hyperloop network to carry people and freight.

 

The company expects to complete a 320-meter system that will go into operation later this year, and it will build out another 1-km network in 2019.

 

HyperloopTT announced last year that it was opening a European research center in Toulouse, France. Toulouse is the country’s fourth-largest city but also home to a number of transportation and aerospace giants, including Airbus. HyperloopTT began moving the tubes in yesterday, which created a buzz among spectators and local press.

 

“Five years ago, we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems: efficiency, comfort, and speed. Today, we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal,” said HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn in a statement. “Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”

 

Founded in 2013, HyperloopTT now has a team of 800 engineers and 40 corporate and university partners. The company is based in Los Angeles and uses an open collaboration model. People can “join” HTT and be compensated for their work with stock options. So far, HTT has raised $31.8 million, and it had 30 salaried employees as of last year.

 

In addition to Toulouse, the company has offices in several regions around the world where it has signed agreements for development and trial of Hyperloop systems.

 

The tubes being installed in Toulouse have a diameter of 4.0 meters, which means the system can be adapted for both passenger pods and shipping containers. The company hopes to have the passenger capsule — which is being built in Carbures, Spain — later this summer.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

This is the "Bibop Effect"

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SiFive, a San Francisco based provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, raised a $50.6m Series C round

SiFive, a San Francisco based provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, raised a $50.6m Series C round | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

SiFive, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, raised $50.6m in Series C funding.

The round, which brings total funding to $64.1m, was led by existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital and Osage University Partners alongside new investor Chengwei Capital, and strategic investors including Huami, SK Telecom and Western Digital and other companies.

Led by Naveed Sherwani, CEO, SiFive provides processor core IP based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture.

The company intends to use the funds to bring its technologies to the marketplace.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Looks like RISC-V processor architecture is getting closer ; would it be a candidate for replacing Intel in Macs, as Apple did with ARM-based Ax chips for iDevices ?

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IBM working on ‘world’s smallest computer’ to attach to just about everything

IBM working on ‘world’s smallest computer’ to attach to just about everything | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

IBM is hard at work on the problem of ubiquitous computing, and its approach, understandably enough, is to make a computer small enough that you might mistake it for a grain of sand. Eventually these omnipresent tiny computers could help authenticate products, track medications and more.

 

It’s an evolution of IBM’s “crypto anchor” program, which uses a variety of methods to create what amounts to high-tech watermarks for products that verify they’re, for example, from the factory the distributor claims they are, and not counterfeits mixed in with genuine items.

 

The “world’s smallest computer,” as IBM continually refers to it, is meant to bring blockchain capability into this; the security advantages of blockchain-based logistics and tracking could be brought to something as benign as a bottle of wine or box of cereal.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Towards Smart Dust ? IBM's smallest computer design may be mistaken for a grain of sand ...

Ubiquitous computing means that what we saw yet no longer understood (hence the Intel pink characters on TV ads a while ago) won't be visible any longer.

Will it also imply that future computing power increases will come from a combination of Moore's Law and a huge increase in volumes produced ? Power will migrate in any case towards the edge of the network, making centralized computing a thing of the past ultimately, with the exception of a few cloud behemoths that will try to leverage the data they manage.

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Her Code Got Humans on the Moon — And Invented Software Itself

Her Code Got Humans on the Moon — And Invented Software Itself | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Margaret Hamilton wasn’t supposed to invent the modern concept of software and land men on the moon. It was 1960, not a time when women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work. Hamilton, a 24-year-old with an undergrad degree in mathematics, had gotten a job as a programmer at MIT, and the plan was for her to support her husband through his three-year stint at Harvard Law. After that, it would be her turn—she wanted a graduate degree in math.

But the Apollo space program came along. And Hamilton stayed in the lab to lead an epic feat of engineering that would help change the future of what was humanly—and digitally—possible.

As a working mother in the 1960s, Hamilton was unusual; but as a spaceship programmer, Hamilton was positively radical. Hamilton would bring her daughter Lauren by the lab on weekends and evenings. While 4-year-old Lauren slept on the floor of the office overlooking the Charles River, her mother programmed away, creating routines that would ultimately be added to the Apollo’s command module computer.

“People used to say to me, ‘How can you leave your daughter? How can you do this?’” Hamilton remembers. But she loved the arcane novelty of her job. She liked the camaraderie—the after-work drinks at the MIT faculty club; the geek jokes, like saying she was “going to branch left minus” around the hallway. Outsiders didn’t have a clue. But at the lab, she says, “I was one of the guys.”

Then, as now, “the guys” dominated tech and engineering. Like female coders in today’s diversity-challenged tech industry, Hamilton was an outlier. It might surprise today’s software makers that one of the founding fathers of their boys’ club was, in fact, a mother—and that should give them pause as they consider why the gender inequality of the Mad Men era persists to this day.

‘When I first got into it, nobody knew what it was that we were doing. It was like the Wild West.’ — Margaret Hamilton

As Hamilton’s career got under way, the software world was on the verge of a giant leap, thanks to the Apollo program launched by John F. Kennedy in 1961. At the MIT Instrumentation Lab where Hamilton worked, she and her colleagues were inventing core ideas in computer programming as they wrote the code for the world’s first portable computer. She became an expert in systems programming and won important technical arguments. “When I first got into it, nobody knew what it was that we were doing. It was like the Wild West. There was no course in it. They didn’t teach it,” Hamilton says.

This was a decade before Microsoft and nearly 50 years before Marc Andreessen would observe that software is, in fact, “eating the world.” The world didn’t think much at all about software back in the early Apollo days. The original document laying out the engineering requirements of the Apollo mission didn’t even mention the word software, MIT aeronautics professor David Mindell writes in his book Digital Apollo. “Software was not included in the schedule, and it was not included in the budget.” Not at first, anyhow.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

This Wired feature from 2015 tells a must read story for any tech or space fan, and reminds us that

1/ Tech History is key to apprehend Tech

2/ There have been women in tech and engineering, some of them being defining characters : Margaret Hamilton is one of them, along with Ada Lovelace and so many others who deserve a much better recognition.

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Apple confirms it uses Google cloud for iCloud

Apple confirms it uses Google cloud for iCloud | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it's relying on Google's public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services.

The disclosure is fresh evidence that Google's cloud has been picking up usage as it looks to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business.

Some media outlets reported on Google's iCloud win in 2016, but Apple never provided confirmation.

Apple periodically publishes new versions of a PDF called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft's Azure.

But in the latest version, the Microsoft Azure reference is gone, and in its place is Google Cloud Platform. Before the January update, Apple most recently updated the iOS Security Guide in March.

The latest update doesn't indicate whether Apple is using any Google cloud services other than core storage of "objects" like photos and videos. The document also doesn't make it clear when Apple started storing data in Google's cloud. Microsoft declined to comment. Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Looks like there are no places left where Google is not, while remembering that the cloud means "my files on someone else's computer"...

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25 Shocking Predictions about the Coming Driverless Car Era in the U.S.

25 Shocking Predictions about the Coming Driverless Car Era in the U.S. | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Here is the list of 25 unusual predictions developed in this great post. They state that in the US : 

 

  1. Life expectancy of autonomous vehicles will be less than 1 year
  2. One Autonomous Car will Replace 30 Traditional Cars
  3. Less than 4 million autonomous cars will replace 50% of all commuter traffic in the U.S.
  4. Fleet owners will become the primary influencers on the design of new cars
  5. Driverless cars will be electric vehicles
  6. Electric vehicle range will exceed 1,000 miles per charge by 2027
  7. Noise levels in cities will be cut in half
  8. 80% of driverless cars will be one-passenger vehicles
  9. 40% of sales tax will disappear
  10. Over 10% of retail businesses will disappear
  11. Police departments will shrink by 80%
  12. U.S. will lose over $35 billion/year from gas taxes
  13. New York City will lose over $2 billion per year in traffic fines
  14. 41% of airport revenues will disappear
  15. Cities will lose over 50% of their revenue
  16. Healthcare industry will lose over $500 billion per year
  17. There will be 700,000 fewer stolen vehicles per year
  18. Auto insurance industry will lose over $150 billion a year
  19. Location no longer matters
  20. Remodeling garages in people’s homes will soon become a thriving industry
  21. Over 5 million acres of parking lots will suddenly come available for redevelopment
  22. Overall transportation costs will shrink by 50%
  23. Car ownership will soon become a very expensive hobby
  24. Overcrowding will officially come to an end
  25. Driverless technologies will cause 1 in 4 jobs to disappear
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Which of these 25 predictions did surprise you the most ?

(And by the way, did you know that 14% of Los Angeles is currently used for parking ?)

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Did you know that NASA's 1977 "Voyager Golden Record" — launched into space for potential alien listeners in 1977, is also available to human listeners ?

With sounds from Bach and Chuck Berry to humpback whales and a baby crying, an album used by NASA in the 1970s is set to be publicly released.

The phonograph album — known as "Voyager Golden Record" — originally was launched into space on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecrafts in 1977. NASA officials at the time hoped the record would be picked up by alien life.

 

The original album likely still is floating in space as it was made from copper and coated in gold to protect it from space conditions.

 

The soundtrack is available on SoundCloud, and a CD was released in the early 1990s. Through a Kickstarter campaign, record label Ozma Records gave album copies to those who helped to reach the $1.4 million goal. The album is expected to be released in January.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Of music, space and stars... when NASA launched Golden Records instead of being awarded them :-)

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Watch Boston Dynamics's Atlas giant Leap

Atlas was already heavy, strong, and capable of walking on unstable environments ; now it jumps !

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

This is a small leap for a robot, and a giant step for Softbank's recently acquired Boston Dynamics

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The State of Machine Learning and Data Science 2017

The State of Machine Learning and Data Science 2017 | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

This year, for the first time, we conducted an industry-wide survey to establish a comprehensive view of the state of data science and machine learning. We received over 16,000 responses and learned a ton about who is working with data, what’s happening at the cutting edge of machine learning across industries, and how new data scientists can best break into the field. The below report shares some of our key findings and includes interactive visualizations so you can easily cut the data to find out exactly what you want to know. Here are some sample takeaways:

  1. While Python may be the most commonly used tool overall, more Statisticians report using R.
  2. On average, data scientists are around 30 years old, but this value varies between countries. For instance, the average respondent from India was about 9 years younger than the average respondent from Australia.
  3. The highest percentage of our respondents obtained a Master’s degree, but those in the highest salary ranges ($150K+) are slightly more likely to have a doctoral degree.

We’ve shared the full, anonymized dataset on Kaggle for you to download and explore. To participate in the conversation, share your analyses and code alongside the data so together we can continue advancing the state of data science and machine learning. You can even win cash prizes for your work. Who is Kaggle?

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Very interesting Data Points on Data Science

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Imeo's curator insight, November 13, 2017 2:48 AM
Good Data Points
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Meet Power - Your Magical Home, by the author of Bitproof and Peter.AI  

Meet Power - Your Magical Home, by the author of Bitproof and Peter.AI   | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

From Louison Dumont's Facebook wall :

"The world is beating. Your heart is beating every X seconds, a flower takes Y days to flourish. If a tiger is running at you, your heart beats faster, if the flower receives more sun, it flourishes faster.


Computers so far have been like calculators. You would enter the commands, and get the result. Some fundamental commands got installed in every computer so that humans could enter higher level commands that would then execute lower level commands and produce astonishing outputs with little input.


What has been lacking however, is a synchronization between the computer's beating and the human's beating.


Of course, there is some synchronization already happening, using if trees and sometimes machine learning. But the synchronization is still so superficial that today's computers are basically blind, they force you to get out of your way to enter commands, they aren't aware of what is truly happening.

The future of computers is when they actually understand you, when they understand what humanity cares about.

 

This is why I started Power. We put chips inside bricks.

 

Because bricks are everywhere, bricks are where people spend most of their life. If we can turn on the bricks, we can turn on the people, and we can create the infrastructure required for the next wave of technological revolution to happen. With a new mesh of human-machine interactions and brick-to-brick (building-to-building) communication, we can create the future of Internet, decentralized and benefiting from a core understanding of human experience."

 
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Louison Dumont is back from his blockchain and AI ventures, and it seems he dropped the (his) chains to keep and combine Blocks and AI. Intriguing.

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Delphi acquires autonomous vehicle software supplier NuTonomy in $450 million deal

Delphi acquires autonomous vehicle software supplier NuTonomy in $450 million deal | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Delphi Automotive said it plans to acquire Boston-based autonomous vehicle software supplier NuTonomy in a deal that could be valued at $450 million.The acquisition, which is expected to close before the end of this year, will nearly double Delphi's 100-plus automated driving team with NuTonomy's 100 employees, including 70 engineers and scientists, the company said in a news release.NuTonomy will continue to operate in Boston, alongside Delphi's team in Boston, as well as in Delphi offices in Singapore; Pittsburgh; Santa Monica, Calif.; and in Silicon Valley in California.Glen De Vos, chief technology officer for Delphi, said the acquisition of NuTonomy allows Delphi access to the commercial truck market."We think this is the tip of the spear for automated driving," De Vos said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "This dramatically accelerates our penetration in this marketplace."
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Meanwhile, in Europe, ...
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Self-driving cars are coming, but US roads aren't ready for the change

Self-driving cars are coming, but US roads aren't ready for the change | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Many US Roads Need To Be Drastically Improved In Order For Self-Driving Cars To Have The Widespread Impact That Many Are Currently Predicting, Argues 3M Global Government Affairs Manager Dan Veoni In A Recent Op-Ed In The Hill.States And Localities Aren’t Making The Investments To Solve This Problem, And The Federal Government Isn’t Stepping In.Public-Private Partnerships Could Provide The Necessary Funding, But They Won’t Spring Up Overnight.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
It will all be about the dialog between vehicles and the infrastructure which supports them
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How often do we touch our phones? Oh, only about 2,617 times a day.

How often do we touch our phones? Oh, only about 2,617 times a day. | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

We all know life hasn’t been the same since Apple launched the iPhone nearly ten years ago. That little screen is always nearby—in our pocket or backpack, on the nightstand or under the pillow—beckoning us.

Each of us feels the pull, and it’s hard to dimensionalize. How much are we really attached to our phones physically, cognitively… emotionally? As people nerds, the dscout research team exists to understand that pull.

When we first dug in, what we discovered was a dearth of good data. Pundits have long tossed about statistics for how often we use our phones, but pretty much everyone references the same 2013 Kleiner Perkins report citing 150 mobile sessions a day—and often that number, now three years old, is taken out of context.

We decided to dig for some data of our own. 

dscout’s web-based research platform pairs with a smartphone app to capture in-the-moment behaviors. For this study, we recruited a demographically diverse sample of 94 Android users from our pool of more than 100,000 participants. Then we built a supplementary smartphone tool to track every user’s interaction across 5 days, 24 hours a day.

And by every interaction, we mean every tap, type, swipe and click. We’re calling them touches.

Like a Greek tragedy, what we learned was simultaneously expected and astonishing—and a little bit sad. What follows are insights to help you better understand the intensity of the mobile life your users live, so your brand, products and strategies can become part of it.

 

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Pretty much everyone references the same 2013 Kleiner Perkins report citing 150 mobile sessions a day—and often that number, now 5 years old, is taken out of context. This fascinating and documented study takes a different approach.

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Microsoft gambles on a quantum leap in computing derived from a mysterious Italian physicist's hypothesis in the 1930's

Microsoft gambles on a quantum leap in computing derived from a mysterious Italian physicist's hypothesis in the 1930's | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

A team combining Microsoft researchers and Niels Bohr Institute academics is confident that it has found the key to creating a quantum computer.

If they are right, then Microsoft will leap to the front of a race that has a tremendous prize - the power to solve problems that are beyond conventional computers.

In the lab are a series of white cylinders, which are fridges, cooled almost to absolute zero as part of the process of creating a qubit, the building block of a quantum computer.

"This is colder than deep space, it may be the coldest place in the universe," Prof Charlie Marcus tells me.

The team he leads is working in collaboration with other labs in the Netherlands, Australia and the United States in Microsoft's quantum research programme.

Right now, they are behind in the race - the likes of Google, IBM and a Silicon Valley start-up called Rigetti have already shown they can build systems with as many as 50 qubits. Microsoft has yet to demonstrate - in public at least - that it can build one.

But these scientists are going down a different route from their rivals, trying to create qubits using a subatomic particle, whose existence was first suggested back in the 1930s by an Italian physicist Ettore Majorana.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Ettore Marjorana was a fascinating Italian physicist whose story could inspire a great movie ; it turns out he might also, 90 years after his hypothesis of a very special particle, bring a significant posthumous contribution to quantum computing...

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The world’s largest SSD clocks in at 100TB

The world’s largest SSD clocks in at 100TB | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

The world has a new record holder for the largest SSD, and it comes in at 100TB. The Nimbus Data ExaDrive DC100 is a new, massive drive that is currently being tested with select customers and will be available to purchase this summer.

 

The company says the DC100 will utilize 3D NAND flash memory, which can provide enough capacity to store 20,000 HD movies, or 20 million songs, (if people still downloaded music), and is capable of read and write speeds of 500MB/s. Nimbus Data is also fully guaranteeing the drive for five years without restriction, so if your likely very costly drive kicks the bucket during that period you can get it replaced.

 

As usual with these massive drives, they aren’t targeted at consumers, but they do give a glimpse into a near future that may allow us to never think about clearing up storage space on our computers.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Drowning by numbers. World's largest digital trash can has arrived  : who has 20 millions songs or 20.000 HD movies to stuff in ?

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Google's ​quantum computing breakthrough: Our new chip might soon outperform a supercomputer

Google's ​quantum computing breakthrough: Our new chip might soon outperform a supercomputer | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

New Bristlecone processor could deliver 'quantum supremacy' over traditional computing, researchers hope.

 

Google's Quantum AI Lab has shown off a new 72-qubit quantum processor called 'Bristlecone', which it says could soon achieve 'quantum supremacy' by outperforming a classical supercomputer on some problems.

Quantum supremacy is a key milestone on the journey towards quantum computing. The idea is that if a quantum processor can be operated with low enough error rates, it could outperform a classical supercomputer on a well-defined computer science problem.

Quantum computers are an area of huge interest because, if they can be built at a large enough scale, they could rapidly solve problems that cannot be handled by traditional computers. That's why the biggest names in tech are racing ahead with quantum computing projects: in January Intel announced its own 49-qubit quantum chip, for example.

 

"We are cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved with Bristlecone," said Julian Kelly, a research scientist at the Quantum AI Lab.

"We believe the experimental demonstration of a quantum processor outperforming a supercomputer would be a watershed moment for our field, and remains one of our key objectives," Kelly said -- although he did not offer a timescale for this achievement.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Quantum Computing is happening. Google claims 72-qubit processor, while Europe has a 10 years / €1Bn plan that recently delivered ... a 150 pages roadmap. Not sure which one is the most desirable.

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Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology

Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

In May and June 2013, when New Orleans’ murder rate was the sixth-highest in the United States, the Orleans Parish district attorney handed down two landmark racketeering indictments against dozens of men accused of membership in two violent Central City drug trafficking gangs, 3NG and the 110ers. Members of both gangs stood accused of committing 25 murders as well as several attempted killings and armed robberies.

Subsequent investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local agencies produced further RICO indictments, including that of a 22-year-old man named Evans “Easy” Lewis, a member of a gang called the 39ers who was accused of participating in a drug distribution ring and several murders.

 

 

According to Ronal Serpas, the department’s chief at the time, one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir. The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim. As part of the discovery process in Lewis’ trial, the government turned over more than 60,000 pages of documents detailing evidence gathered against him from confidential informants, ballistics, and other sources — but they made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir, according to a source familiar with the 39ers trial.

The program began in 2012 as a partnership between New Orleans Police and Palantir Technologies, a data-mining firm founded with seed money from the CIA’s venture capital firm. According to interviews and documents obtained by The Verge,the initiative was essentially a predictive policing program, similar to the “heat list” in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence.

The partnership has been extended three times, with the third extension scheduled to expire on February 21st, 2018. The city of New Orleans and Palantir have not responded to questions about the program’s current status.

Predictive policing technology has proven highly controversial wherever it is implemented, but in New Orleans, the program escaped public notice, partly because Palantir established it as a philanthropic relationship with the city through Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s signature NOLA For Life program. Thanks to its philanthropic status, as well as New Orleans’ “strong mayor” model of government, the agreement never passed through a public procurement process.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Minority Report : Palantir deployed a predictive policing system in New Orleans that even city council members don’t know about. How much of the "findings" gp back to the Mothership ?

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Stealth space catapult startup SpinLaunch is raising $30M

Stealth space catapult startup SpinLaunch is raising $30M | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

What if instead of blasting cargo into space on a rocket, we could fling it into space using a catapult? That’s the big, possibly crazy, possibly genius idea behind SpinLaunch. It was secretly founded in 2014 by Jonathan Yaney, who built solar-powered drone startup Titan Aerospace and sold it to Google. Now TechCrunch has learned from three sources that SpinLaunch is raising a massive $30 million Series A to develop its catapult technology. And we’ve scored an interview with the founder after four years in stealth.

Sources who’ve spoken to the SpinLaunch team tell me the idea is to create a much cheaper and sustainable way to get things like satellites from earth into space without chemical propellant. Using a catapult would sidestep the heavy fuel and expensive booster rockets used by companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

 

SpinLaunch plans to use a centrifuge spinning at an incredible rate. All that momentum is then harnessed to catapult a payload into space at speeds one source said could be around 3,000 miles per hour. With enough momentum, objects could be flung into space on their own. Alternatively, the catapult could provide some of the power needed with cargo being equipped with supplemental rockets necessary to leave earth’s atmosphere.

 

After some hesitation about emerging from stealth, Yaney agreed to talk to TechCrunch about his secretive startup, and show us the render of SpinLaunch’s future launch site hangar seen above. “Since the dawn of space exploration, rockets have been the only way to access space. Yet in 70 years, the technology has only made small incremental advances,” Yaney tells me. “To truly commercialize and industrialize space, we need 10x tech improvement.”

 

Until recently, few details about SpinLaunch have been available. SpinLaunch’s website is password-protected, and some Sunnyvale, Calif. job listings merely refer to it as a “rapidly growing space launch startup.” But last month, a bill was proposed in the Hawaii state senate to issue $25 million in bonds to assist SpinLaunch with “constructing a portion of its electrical small satellite launch system.” Hawaii hopes to gain construction contracts and jobs, and meet government goals for expanding space accessibility, by helping SpinLaunch.

 

SEC documents show that Yaney raised $1 million in equity in 2014, the year SpinLaunch was founded, $2.9 million in equity in 2015, $2.2 million in debt in mid-2017 and another $2 million in debt in late 2017. Now Yaney confirms SpinLaunch has raised a total of $10 million to date, and that he’s personally an investor. As for the next $30 million, he says “The current status of our Series A raise is that we are still taking meetings with potential investors and have not yet received an executed offer.”

 

Yaney has been co-founding startups since 2000, including TriVance and Moretti Designs. But a passion for aeronautics led him to become a 1,000+ hour pilot, and start communications and imaging solar drone startup Titan Aerospace. It sold to Google in 2014 after receiving acquisition interest from Facebook, and Yaney began work on SpinLaunch to huck satellites into orbit.

 

Yaney explains that reaching orbital velocities typically “requires a rocket to carry massive quantities of propellant, leaving only a small fraction (a few percent) of the overall vehicle’s mass for ‘cargo.’ ” But SpinLaunch replaces rocket boosters with a kinetic launch system using principles “similar to those explored by several ground-based mass accelerators that date back to the 1960s. Modern adaptations include electromagnetic rail and coil guns, electrothermal-chemical guns, light gas guns, ram accelerators and blast wave accelerators.”

NASA has investigated the possibility of catapult-assisted launches that fire off a track instead of a centrifuge, but none have become cost-effective enough to successfully be used to commercially launch things into space.

 

Yaney’s method is different. He says “SpinLaunch employs a rotational acceleration method, harnessing angular momentum to gradually accelerate the vehicle to hypersonic speeds. This approach employs a dramatically lower cost architecture with much lower power.” SpinLaunch is targeting a per launch price of less than $500,000, while Yaney says “all existing rocket-based companies cost between $5 million and $100 million per launch.”

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Looks like #NewSpace is getting very creative these days even if 10x improvements are always welcome...

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DLD 2018 Conference wrapup in 9 mins

On January 20-22 2018, around 1000 innovators converged to the City of Munich for the 14th time to mingle and listen to an impressive lineup of speakers : entrepreneurs, scientists, media experts, politicians and artists.

 

This year's theme was "reconquer" : here are my highlights.
The most impressive talks in my personal view were Lilium, AI & Robotics, with a specific mention to Scott Galloway's now famous yearly slideshow.

 

While you wait for the complete set of videos that will show up on DLD YouTube channel , please enjoy these short videos and slide shots assembled on a famous German band's song.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

On January 20-22 2018, around 1000 innovators converged to the City of Munich for the 14th time to mingle and listen to an impressive lineup of speakers : entrepreneurs, scientists, media experts, politicians and artists.

 

Here are the highlights : beyond Scott Galloways now famous slideshow on Tech - 2017 rewind, a call for breaking up the four horsemen, and 2018 predictions - was an impressive talk about the future of air mobility featuring Lilium, as well as a demo of what happens when AI meets robotics.

 

Enjoy the show !

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Watch NASA's Autonomous Drone Race a Human Pilot

Watch NASA's Autonomous Drone Race a Human Pilot | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
NASA put its obstacle avoidance and vision-based research to the test, by racing an A.I.-In October, NASA’s California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory pitted a drone controlled by artificial intelligence against a professional human drone pilot named Ken Loo. According to NASA's press release, it had been researching autonomous drone technology for the past two years at that point, funded by Google and its interest in JPL’s vision-based navigation work. The race consisted of a time-trial where the lap times and behaviors of both the A.I.-operated drone and the manually-piloted drone were analyzed and compared. Let’s take a look at the results.NASA said in its release that the company developed three drones; Batman, Joker, and Nightwing. Researchers focused mostly on the intricate algorithms required to navigate efficiently through a race like this, namely obstacle avoidance and maximum speed through narrow environments. These algorithms were then combined with Google’s Tango technology, which JPL had a significant hand in as well. Task Manager of the JPL project, Rob Reid said, “We pitted our algorithms against a human, who flies a lot more by feel. You can actually see that the A.I. flies the drone smoothly around the course, whereas human pilots tend to accelerate aggressively, so their path is jerkier.” As it turned out, Loo’s speeds were much higher, and he was able to perform impressive aerial maneuvers to his benefit, but the A.I.-infused drones were more consistent, and never gave in to fatigue. “This is definitely the densest track I’ve ever flown,” said Loo. “One of my faults as a pilot is I get tired easily. When I get mentally fatigued, I start to get lost, even if I’ve flown the course 10 times.”Loo averaged 11.1 seconds per lap, while the autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles average 13.9 seconds. In other words, while Loo managed to reach higher speeds overall, the drones operating autonomously were more consistent, essentially flying a very similar lap and route each time. “Our autonomous drones can fly much faster,” said Reid. “One day you might see them racing professionally!” infused drone against a human opponent.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Race against the machine : human pilot still beats NASA’s AI by 20% when it comes to fly a drone
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Something is wrong on the internet

Something is wrong on the internet | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site. Please be advised: this essay describes disturbing things and links to disturbing graphic and video content. You don’t have to read it, and are advised to take caution exploring further.


As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways.


One of so-far hypothetical questions I ask myself frequently is how I would feel about my own children having the same kind of access to the internet today. And I find the question increasingly difficult to answer. I understand that this is a natural evolution of attitudes which happens with age, and at some point this question might be a lot less hypothetical. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it. I would want my kids to have the same opportunities to explore and grow and express themselves as I did. I would like them to have that choice. And this belief broadens into attitudes about the role of the internet in public life as whole.


I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.


But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.


Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring.


To begin: Kid’s YouTube is definitely and markedly weird. I’ve been aware of its weirdness for some time. Last year, there were a number of articles posted about the Surprise Egg craze. Surprise Eggs videos depict, often at excruciating length, the process of unwrapping Kinder and other egg toys. That’s it, but kids are captivated by them. There are thousands and thousands of these videos and thousands and thousands, if not millions, of children watching them.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Of machine generated content, video, children and complacency : a must read before leaving your kids alone with an iPad...

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This is a Rifle : Fooling Neural Networks in the Physical World

This is a Rifle : Fooling Neural Networks in the Physical World | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

We’ve developed an approach to generate 3D adversarial objects that reliably fool neural networks in the real world, no matter how the objects are looked at.

 

Neural network based classifiers reach near-human performance in many tasks, and they’re used in high risk, real world systems. Yet, these same neural networks are particularly vulnerable to adversarial examples, carefully perturbed inputs that cause targeted misclassificatio

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

The spirit of Magritte hides in neural networks : this team has been printing 3D objects that consistently fool machine vision object classifiers. A turtle becomes a rifle, while a cat is consistently recognized as guacamole.

This opens by the way a huge field in hide & seek and camouflage...

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Enrique Facundo Ruiz Blanco's curator insight, November 3, 2017 9:09 AM

Tenía que pasar: después de varios milenios perfeccionando nuestra habilidad para engañar a las personas, ahora nos divertimos engañando a las IAs.

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Top misconceptions of autonomous cars and self-driving vehicles

Top misconceptions of autonomous cars and self-driving vehicles | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Top misconceptions

  1. Driver assistance systems will evolve gradually into fully autonomous cars
  2. The first models of fully autonomous cars will be targeted to the consumer and will be available for purchase
  3. It will take decades until most of the vehicles on the road are capable of autonomous driving
  4. Self-driving cars are controlled by classical computer algorithms (if-then rules)
  5. Public demonstrations of self-driving cars provide an indication of their capabilities
  6. Self-driving cars need to make the right ethical judgements
  7. To convince us that they are safe, self-driving cars must drive hundreds of millions of miles
  8. Self-driving cars will increase congestion in cities
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Which of these misconceptions did you honestly have before reading ? And what is your biggest surprise afterwards ?

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Philippe J DEWOST's curator insight, November 7, 2017 12:57 AM

Which one did surprise you the most ?

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Facebook's consumer-hardware chief, Regina Dugan, is leaving Building 8 after less than 2 years

Facebook's consumer-hardware chief, Regina Dugan, is leaving Building 8 after less than 2 years | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Regina Dugan is leaving her position as the head of Facebook's fledgling consumer-hardware lab, Building 8, raising questions about the company's plans for ambitious initiatives like brain-reading technology and augmented-reality glasses.

Dugan said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that she was leaving to "focus on building and leading a new endeavor," though she didn't specify further.

Dugan joined Facebook 18 months ago from Google's advanced-projects division, which she famously described as a "band of pirates trying to do epic sh--." The move was celebrated at the time as a major coup for Facebook and a sign that the social network was getting serious about building hardware that would compete with Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Building 8 has yet to release a product, but the division is working on an unannounced video-chat device for the home code-named "Aloha" and expected to be released in May, Business Insider previously reported.

Building 8 has also teased more-futuristic work on brain-scanning technology that would allow people to type with their thoughts.

A Facebook spokesperson told BI that Bosworth would continue to lead Oculus and Building 8 but declined to say whether the company would seek a replacement for Dugan.

Dugan's time at the helm of Building 8 has not been smooth.

The group has seen several key departures in its short history, including its COO, Richard Wooldridge, its head of consumer experience, Donald Hicks, and its head of product management, Olivier Bartholot, according to people familiar with the matter.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Hardware is never soft nor easy , even when you have enormous ambitions and firepower #HardwareIsNotDead

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