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NASA designs ape-like robot for disasters

NASA designs ape-like robot for disasters

      When we imagine the robots of the future, they often look and move like humans, standing up on two legs and using a pair of arms to grab and move objects. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a different kind of robot for disaster response that's designed to move like an ape.  

Headless but covered with seven cameras that act as "eyes," the RobotSimian has four identical limbs that do double duty as arms and legs. Together, they ably move the robot across rough terrain and rubble but can also pick up and manipulate objects. It has wheels it can coast on if the surface is smooth enough.

     

The RoboSimian is JPL's final entry into the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a 27-month-long competition among some of the world's top robotic talent to create an emergency response robot. In situations such as a nuclear disaster, one of these robots could go into environments too dangerous for human rescue workers and execute simple tasks such as lifting debris off survivors or turning off a valve.

In June, RoboSimian and up to 18 other finalists will have to make their way through an obstacle course that simulates eight common scenarios. Each robot will attempt to drive a car, move across rubble, use a tool and climb stairs, all without a human controlling it. DARPA says the final competitors should be as competent as a 2-year-old child. The winning team will receive a $2 million prize.

   

JPL used leftover parts from RoboSimian to create another robot called Surrogate. The more traditional upright robot has a flexible spine, head and two arms. While better at manipulating objects, Surrogate ran on tracks and wasn't as adept at traversing the complicated terrain that is common in a disaster. After considering both candidates, the team decided to take RoboSimian to the finals.

One trade-off is that RoboSiman is slower than many other competitors. JPL's team is working with the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Caltech to increase the robot's walking speed.

     

"It is intentionally the tortoise relative to the other hares in the competition. We feel that a very stable and deliberate approach suites our technical strengths and provides a model for one vital element of the 'ecosystem' of robots that we expect to be deployed to disaster scenarios in the future," said JPL's Brett Kennedy, who is supervisor of the Robotic Vehicles and Manipulators Group.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is most known for designing robotics for space exploration, such as the Mars rovers. But the DARPA competition was an opportunity for the JPL group to take its existing robotics research and compare approaches directly to other talented teams.

NASA also has a long history of taking technology developed for space exploration and using it here on Earth.

RoboSimian software was influenced by programs used to control the Mars rovers. In both cases, the system is designed to let the robots work as autonomously as possible when communication with a human operator is dropped. Spotty communications are common in disaster scenarios (and on Mars).

     

The team has thought hard about all aspects of RoboSimian's design, even making sure it has the right look.

"We included industrial designers in the team in an effort to create a robot that looked professional rather than either threatening or overly cute," said Kennedy. "Basically, we wanted the perceptual equivalent of a St. Bernard."

While JPL is focused on perfecting the ape-like design for Earth-bound applications for now, this is just one stop in the circular life of NASA technology.

"We intend to spin the technologies developed for the terrestrial RoboSimian back out to applications in space," said Kennedy.

"These tasks include assembly and maintenance of orbital structures; exploration of low-gravity bodies like asteroids, comets, and moons; exploration of caves and cliffs on Mars or our moon; and even preconstruction of habitats wherever humans care to venture in the solar system."

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Internet Explorer must die

If you think Microsoft should just kill off Internet Explorer already, you might just get your wish.

  The browser has become synonymous with bugs, security problems and outdated technology. Even as Internet Explorer has improved dramatically in recent years, it continues to lose serious ground to rival browsers.  
Once the most-used Web browser, Internet Explorer had been on a steady downward trajectory for years. Its share of the browser market fell below the 50% threshold in 2010 and sank below 20% in October, according to browser usage tracker StatCounter. Google's (GOOGL, Tech30) Chrome is currently the browser leader, commanding a 48% share of the market.   This summer, Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) promised big, upcoming changes for Internet Explorer. Now, it appears those changes could include the once-unthinkable: Replacing IE with a new browser.   ZDNet reported this week that Microsoft would introduce a new, stripped down browser that has been codenamed "Spartan." It would debut with Windows 10 next year, and it would function similarly to Chrome and Firefox.   Internet Explorer must die 2015, 2014             Microsoft declined to comment. The Spartan browser will be built on a different software platform from IE, so it won't be backwards-compatible, ZDNet reported. That means Microsoft will continue to ship IE with Windows to ensure that corporate apps continue to function properly. Company IT departments and governments tend to be very slow to adopt new browser versions, particularly if they build custom applications for them. That's why the most-used version of Internet Explorer stubbornly remains IE 8, which debuted in 2009. South Korea even passed a law in 1999 requiring that banks and retailers use digital certificates -- created by Microsoft, and available exclusively on Internet Explorer. So IE won't go away just yet. But this could be the beginning of the end. Related: Microsoft considering new name for Internet Explorer     Microsoft has acknowledged the steep hill it has to climb to regain consumers' trust. In an August "Ask Me Anything" chat on Reddit, engineers from Microsoft's Internet Explorer team said that the company had been thinking about ways to revitalize Internet Explorer -- including a new name for the browser. If Microsoft ultimately decided to send IE off into the sunset, it would mark the end for one of the most reviled software applications of all time.   Internet Explorer debuted in 1995 as part of Windows 95 and became an instant hit. It successfully killed off Netscape Navigator, and it achieved a virtual monopoly in the early 2000s. At its 2002 peak, Internet Explorer commanding 95% of the browser market.   But Microsoft failed to innovate, essentially leaving Internet Explorer 6 alone to gather dust and cobwebs for five years. That frustrated customers and sent them fleeing for greener pastures. Microsoft finally released IE7 in 2006, but the damage was done -- Microsoft paved the way for Firefox and then Chrome to surpass it.   It wasn't until the release of Internet Explorer 9 in 2011 that Microsoft released a truly modern browser. Still, to this day, IE still doesn't support extensions, it isn't available on non-Windows devices, and it doesn't sync with other devices by default -- all mainstays of Chrome and Firefox. It seems like Microsoft has finally woken up, and just wants to kill the thing altogether. A fresh start makes sense.   Ironically, Microsoft allowed IT departments to dig a hole so deep that it might be years before Internet Explorer will die once and for all.    
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Gmail access appears to be blocked in China

Gmail activity has flat-lined in China, raising suspicions about further government censorship of the Internet.

    Gmail traffic in China tumbled to near zero on Dec. 26 and hasn't budged since, according to Google's transparency report.   Dyn Research, a group of scientists that reports on Internet issues, tweeted that the Chinese government had deliberately blocked Gmail in China, according to its analysis. The research group also said that "blocks" of Google served from Hong Kong have shut down throughout the country.   Google (GOOGL, Tech30) and China have had a testy relationship since 2010, when Google pulled its business out of the country. Google's websites are no longer served in China; instead, its servers reside in Hong Kong, which is not subject to the same censorship laws that the rest of China is.     [caption id="attachment_1144" align="alignleft" width="295"]Gmail access blocked in China 2014 2015 Google Gmail access blocked in China 2014[/caption]                 Google's move to Hong Kong forces China to actively censor or block Google content for its citizens -- something Google said it was no longer willing to do four years ago. Google search, YouTube, photos and maps have all experienced major outages and service disruptions this year, according to Google's transparency report.   This could be latest sign of China's ruling Communist Party exerting its influence on Hong Kong. In recent months, Hong Kong erupted into violent pro-democracy protests.   Related: Why North Korea's economy can't live without China China's ruling Communist Party has for decades operated a massive censorship project called the Great Firewall of China. Social media platforms including Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) are banned, and thousands of websites cannot be accessed from inside China. Internet stability in the region has been a bit shaky. China's neighbor North Korea lost its Internet connection and went dark on Dec. 22. It was unclear whether the country suffered a massive power outage, or got unplugged by an outside entity. That came after the FBI accused the North Korean government of hacking Sony Pictures for revenge over its movie "The Interview," which depicts the fictional assassination of Kim Jong Un. The North Korean government denied the allegations.
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Google Unveils ‘Complete’ Driverless Car

Google Unveils 'Complete' Driverless Car

Google has built its first fully functioning self-driving vehicle and it will be driving the streets of California in the New Year.

The search engine giant posted a picture of the bubble-shaped car on its website with the message: "The vehicle we unveiled in May was an early mockup - it didn’t even have real headlights! "Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car - for example, the typical "car" parts like steering and braking, as well as the "self-driving" parts like the computer and sensors. "We've now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle - our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving." The company added that the car will be driven over the Christmas period on a test track before heading out onto the roads of northern California.       A safety driver will be onboard to "oversee the vehicle for a while longer, using temporary manual controls as needed". In May, Google announced that it would begin developing and building its own vehicles after adapting existing models with its self-driving technology. Lexus SUVs and Toyota Prius cars have driven hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads using the special equipment.         Google says it plans to make 100 prototype cars that are operated using two simple buttons - go and stop - and navigate using GPS, sensors and camera data. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in May: "The main reason we wanted to develop this prototype vehicle is that we can do a better job than we can do with an existing vehicle. "The experience feels different. You're just sitting there, no steering wheel, no pedals - for me it was very relaxing. In about 10 seconds after getting in, I forgot I was there. It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable."    
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North Korea’s Internet

So, North Korea's Internet went down. What is it like anyway?

    For most North Koreans, it's nonexistent. There are only 1,024 known IP addresses in the entire country. The Internet is typically reserved for government officials, a few foreign ambassadors and outside assistance groups, according to a North Korean defector-turned-journalist. By comparison, the United States has 1.5 billion IP addresses. It's important to note that it's not one IP address per device, so there could be thousands of devices hooked up to the Internet in North Korea. Still, it has one of the smallest Internet presences in the world. All sorts of devices are hooked up to the Internet there, however. There are a few Sony PlayStations and XBoxes, and some of those ubiquitous voice-over-IP office phones, too. Researchers have even spotted a MacBook -- one single Macbook -- connected to the world-facing Internet. Companies like Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) aren't permitted to sell to North Korea, so these devices are probably bought by third parties, said HP security research director Ted Ross. Still despite these details, little is known about all the devices in North Korea connected to the Internet. The country is notoriously secretive and isolated. What we know is that Internet access there is small and tightly controlled.     Some clues are offered by security researchers at HP (HPQ, Tech30). Others come from an anonymous person who claims to have mapped some of North Korea's computer network and provided unique data to prove it. Nearly all of the country's Internet traffic is routed through China. Firms that monitor that traffic say it is comparable to only about 1,000 high-speed homes in the United States.
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Google now displays song lyrics in search results

Google is starting to show the full text of song lyrics in search results.

It's a clean and quick solution to the current messy method of looking up lyrics. Song lyric sites are notoriously slow, and they inundate you with pop-up ads. The feature, which rolled out last week, seems to be in testing mode. Google doesn't display text for most songs. For instance, it only works with 4 of the top 10 classic rock songs considered the best of all time: "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," "Freebird," "Layla" and "Stairway to Heaven." Google's song results also link back to Google Play, where you can buy and download the song. By displaying the full text of songs, Google could doom sites like azlyrics.com and metrolyrics.com. A Google (GOOG) spokesman provided an enigmatic comment about its new feature -- a reference to Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven." "There's a feeling you get when you turn to a song and you know that the words have two meanings. Well it's whispered that now if you go search the tune, maybe Google will lead you to reason. Ooh, it makes you wonder..." None of the top lyric websites responded to requests for comment.
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Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook Says They Are Thinking About A Dislike Function

Mark Zuckerberg Says They Are Thinking About A Dislike Function

 

Facebook is thinking about adding a way to "dislike" posts on its site, founder Mark Zuckerberg has said.   Speaking at a Q&A session in California, he said it was one of the most requested features the social network receives from its users.   He said the site would need to find a way to make sure it did not become a way to demean people's posts.   According to Facebook's own figures, 4.5 billion "likes" are generated every day.     "A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Often people tell us that they don't feel comfortable pressing 'like' because 'like' isn't the appropriate sentiment.     Facebook thinking about 'dislike' function - ZuckerbergFacebook thinking about 'dislike' function - Zuckerberg.  Mark Zuckerberg Says They Are Thinking About A Dislike - Webcore Nigeria                 "Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, 'That thing isn't good.' That's not something that we think is good for the world.   "The thing that I think is very valuable is that there are more sentiments that people want to express."     Facebook thinking about 'dislike' function - Zuckerberg Facebook thinking about 'dislike' function - Zuckerberg.  Mark Zuckerberg Says They Are Thinking About A Dislike - Webcore Nigeria              

Fake likes

  Facebook's Like button has been criticised as being a method by which the social network collects data on its users' browsing habits.   The system has also come under fire due to a high volume of "fake likes" - when the popularity of a brand or piece of content is inflated artificially.   Facebook has moved to combat the trade of so-called "like farming" - businesses that, for a price, will provide a huge number of likes quickly. This will be via automated robots, or by a network of humans paid a tiny sum for each click.

 

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Facebook is investing in artificial intelligence

Facebook Wants to Save You From Yourself and Your Drunk Selfies

  Facebook is investing in artificial intelligence research to a potentially creepy end: The social network's top minds want to build software that can do anything from read your status updates to warn you when you're about to upload an embarrassing picture. Put another way, Facebook wants to stop you from uploading drunk selfies.     Zuckerberg- Facebook is investing in artificial intelligence - Webcore Nigeria  

Let me just say that some of us like uploading drunk selfies. But a lot of users probably won't like the slightly dystopian future when Facebook's robots try to censor their content. The particular branch of AI research that would enable these kinds of features is known as "deep learning." It's an exciting field! However, Facebook's ideas for how it would use deep learning technology just sound a little off.

      Zuckerberg- Facebook is investing in artificial intelligence - Webcore Nigeria               "Imagine that you had an intelligent digital assistant which would mediate your interaction with your friends and also with content on Facebook," Yann LeCun, a pioneer of deep learning research and the head of Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research lab, told Wired recently. LeCun also suggested that Facebook might apply deep learning technology to Oculus Rift. It kind of sounds like he wants to apply deep learning technology to everything. "You need a machine to really understand content and understand people and be able to hold all that data," LeCun said. "That is an AI-complete problem."         Do we really need a machine to understand us? This sort of sounds like Stephen Hawking's worst nightmare, where AI destroys human kind as we know it. But on a more basic level, do you really want Facebook to censor you?
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Instagram now bigger than Twitter

Instagram hits 300m monthly users to take it ahead of Twitter

  Instagram has told Newsbeat it has the potential to "change the world" as it announced it has overtaken Twitter with 300 million users.   The company's CEO Kevin Systrom described the milestone as "exciting" and said the company would "continue to grow".   Twitter claims to have 284 million users accessing the network each month.   Facebook, which boasts 1.35 billion monthly active users, bought Instagram in 2012.   Speaking to Newsbeat ahead of the announcement, Kevin Systrom said: "Instagram is about seeing a live pulse of the world right now, it's not just about taking a photo of a cute baby or a cute dog."   Instagram is also introducing verified accounts similar to the blue tick symbols used by Facebook and Twitter.   [caption id="attachment_1090" align="alignleft" width="300"]Instagram now bigger than Twitter - Webcore Nigeria Kevin Systrom (CEO, co-founder) Kevin Systrom[/caption]                       "What we need to do is figure out how to take the fact that everyone's contributing in the world and broadcast that more globally.   "If you're interested in what's happening at the World Cup, you can peer in, see the football players and see what they're thinking and doing before they go onto the field.   "Those are the types of things that I want to enable over the next year."   Since it was set up by co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010, Instagram has grown rapidly.   In February 2013, the company announced it had reached 100 million active monthly users.   Recently Instagram introduced advertising, with "sponsored posts" allowing brands to reach the app's growing number of users.   "Early on I would review and approve every single ad before it went on," Kevin Systrom said.   [caption id="attachment_1091" align="alignleft" width="300"]Instagram now bigger than Twitter - Webcore Nigeria. Growth Instagram now bigger than Twitter[/caption]                       Although some users were not happy about seeing adverts on Instagram, he said that adverts were needed to allow the company to grow and cope with its increasing size.   "The reason why we're doing this is as a growth engine for Instagram.   "When you get to 300m users it's not cheap to run that service and you need to make sure to be able to hire more people."     [caption id="attachment_1092" align="alignleft" width="300"]Instagram now bigger than Twitter - Webcore Nigeria. Growth Instagram Growth[/caption]                         The company responded to Twitter's Vine app with a video-sharing feature of its own and introduced direct messaging to compete with rivals WhatsApp and Snapchat.   In June 2014 Instagram defended its rules on nudity as "fair" after criticism for removing photos of topless women.   Kevin Systrom told Newsbeat that Instagram's close relationship with Facebook had allowed it to learn from its mistakes.   "We're absolutely paying attention to the pitfalls companies have faced before and trying our best to avoid them."
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Inception Virus Hits European Governments

'Inception' Virus Hits European Governments

Experts have said the spying bug was made by people with a "great deal to lose if their identities were made public".   An "extremely sophisticated" piece of malicious software has targeted embassies, financial institutions, oil companies and military bases across the globe.   Security Company Blue Coat says the virus, which the researchers have dubbed "Inception", began by targeting Russian organizations, but spread to nearby countries including Ukraine and Uzbekistan, before hitting Europe.   Companies and institutions in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium have been affected.   The software, which spans 60 mobile networks, is delivered by highly targeted phishing emails, contained in Trojan documents.   Experts named the virus after the 2010 movie with the same name - because of the many layers used in the software design.   Snorre Fagerland, senior principal security researcher at Blue Coat, told Sky News: "I would say it smacks of government intelligence gathering. Particularly since we know the guys have been trying to break into embassies and the UN."   Mr Fagerland went on to add that it was unlikely the malware originated from China or Eastern Europe.   The attack evolved to mobiles, targeting iOS, Android and Blackberry devices with phishing attacks.   The report says: "With the top three operators being Vodafone, TMobile and Proximus (Belgacom) it seems these apparent phishing attacks are less focused on the Russian sphere than the previously discussed malware."   Belgian operator Belgacom was also the target on the Regin spyware which facilitated spying on computer users between 2008 and 2013 and was thought to be the work of either British or US security services   Mr Fagerland said Belgacom - a leading provider for EU workers in Brussels - was "an interesting focus of the attackers".   The Android malware let the hackers record phone calls and extract them from a mobile, Mr Fagerland said.   He also told Sky News: "Another thing that is remarkable is the level of paranoia.   "They were not only hiding their identity, but planting false clues…This is made by people who would have a great deal to lose if their identities were made public."   The malware was created in late May 2014 and started operating in June.   Mr Fagerland said the attack was on a similar scale to the Red October malware.  
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Mutant Giant Spider Dog

YouTube's most popular video of 2014 was Mutant Giant Spider Dog

 

S.A. Wardega, a Polish actor, director and Web prankster, scored the top spot with "Mutant Giant Spider Dog," which had scared up more than 113 million views since he posted it in September.

In it, Wardega films people in everyday situations into which he unleashes his otherwise cute dog, Chica, wearing a costume that gives the pooch eight giant, creepy spider legs.

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It wasn't without a dose of controversy.

"Someone reported a SpiderDog video to the prosecution claiming that threatening (sic) endangered the life of the people who were there," Wardega, whose first name is Sylwester, wrote in September on his Facebook page. "I wonder who will go to jail? Me or Chica? Or maybe a spider costume?"

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Google for kids coming soon

New, kid-friendly versions of Google search and YouTube could be in the works for the tech giant.

 

A Google search for "train" brings up a link to the closest Amtrak station, but chances are that's not what an eight-year-old is searching for. Kids are probably more interested in Thomas the Tank Engine than the most up-to-date commuting schedule.

  That may be why Google is working on new, kid-friendly versions of some of its services. They could be new versions of search, Chrome and YouTube, according to a report by USA Today, but the company would not say definitively what products it is working on or when they would launch. Google will make them safe for children 12 years old and younger and give parents tools to oversee their kids' actions, Google's Pavni Diwanj told USA Today. She said the company expects some controversy over the change, but that kids are already using Google's non-kid-friendly technology. A Google spokesperson declined to comment further, but confirmed that the USA Today report was accurate.
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How to make your Wi-Fi faster

5 ways to make your Wi-Fi faster

  Tired of slow Wi-Fi? Fear not: Faster Wi-Fi speeds are possible Wi-Fi is a temperamental technology, and a simple oversight can negatively impact browsing speeds. Unfortunately, changing your router's settings is rarely fun. But many routers come with apps that take much of the head-scratching out of the process. If you're brave and determined enough, here are five tips to make your Wi-Fi faster.   1) Choose the right channel and frequency. Did you know that your Wi-Fi router has channels? Sometimes, just changing the channel on your router can make a world of difference, particularly if you live in an apartment building with lots of interference from other Wi-Fi signals. Other technologies like cordless phones and microwaves can interfere with Wi-Fi as well. Try channels 1, 6 or 11. If those don't work, go to 2 or 10 next. Hunt and peck until you feel like your speeds are improving. Modern Wi-Fi routers also broadcast in different frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Generally speaking, 2.4 GHz is better for bigger homes with multiple floors, because the signal travels farther and can more easily penetrate through walls. But for smaller rooms or homes, 5 GHz is the way to go: it offers much faster speeds, albeit in a shorter range.   2) Move your router to its ideal position. Think high and centrally located. A tall shelf in the middle of a room is the best place for your router. If your Wi-Fi router has antennas, and you need the signal to go through a wall, position the antennas in straight angles so they go right through the wall. Signals that travel through walls at an angle can severely reduce Wi-Fi speeds. Also, it's important to adapt to your surroundings -- ceiling height, room size and certain building materials can adversely affect Wi-Fi speeds. Keep your router away from thick walls made of brick or concrete. But the biggest enemies of Wi-Fi are water and windows. Nearby pipes and even plants (there's water in all those leaves) can slow Wi-Fi to a crawl. Reflective surfaces can make Wi-Fi signals bounce at strange angles.   3) Make sure your router is secure. Putting a password on your router or limiting which devices can access your network will keep Wi-Fi moochers from slowing down your network. Also, there are plenty of other good reasons to secure your router beyond faster Wi-Fi speeds.   4) Get a newer router. Are you using the Wi-Fi router your cable company gave you? Did you buy your router during the Bush administration? You probably aren't using the best technology. New routers have smart technology that can send signals directly to devices (instead of beaming signals randomly around a room). They offer faster speeds, multiple frequencies, and smart home technologies that know which of your gazillion connected devices to give priority to (i.e. whatever device you're streaming Netflix on).   5) Buy a network extender. Cheaper than a new router, but still somewhat expensive, network extenders can boost a signal in those hard-to-reach corners of your home. You can even use some old routers as a network extender if you have one lying around.      
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Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind

Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind

  Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain's pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.   He said:"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.   But others are less gloomy about AI's prospects. The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.   Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.   Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans. Stanley Kubrick's film 2001 and its murderous computer HAL encapsulate many people's fears of how AI could pose a threat to human                 "It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate," he said.   "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded." But others are less pessimistic. "I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realised," said Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot. Cleverbot's software learns from its past conversations, and has gained high scores in the Turing test, fooling a high proportion of people into believing they are talking to a human.   Rise of the robots   Mr Carpenter says we are a long way from having the computing power or developing the algorithms needed to achieve full artificial intelligence, but believes it will come in the next few decades.   "We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can't know if we'll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it," he says.   But he is betting that AI is going to be a positive force. Prof Hawking is not alone in fearing for the future.   In the short term, there are concerns that clever machines capable of undertaking tasks done by humans until now will swiftly destroy millions of jobs. Elon Musk has warned that AI is our biggest existential threat                 In the longer term, the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned that AI is "our biggest existential threat". Robotic voice   In his interview, Prof Hawking also talks of the benefits and dangers of the internet. He quotes the director of GCHQ's warning about the net becoming the command centre for terrorists: "More must be done by the internet companies to counter the threat, but the difficulty is to do this without sacrificing freedom and privacy." He has, however, been an enthusiastic early adopter of all kinds of communication technologies and is looking forward to being able to write much faster with his new system.   But one aspect of his own tech - his computer generated voice - has not changed in the latest update. Prof Hawking concedes that it's slightly robotic, but insists he didn't want a more natural voice. "It has become my trademark, and I wouldn't change it for a more natural voice with a British accent," he said. "I'm told that children who need a computer voice, want one like mine."
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FBI warns of hacking threat after Sony attack

FBI warns of hacking threat after Sony attack

  The five-page confidential warning was issued to US businesses on Monday, according to Reuters news agency. The warning follows a confirmation from the FBI that it is investigating last week's hack into Sony Pictures Entertainment's network. The FBI report did not name any victims in its latest warning, Reuters said. The software would make it impossible to recover any lost data, the FBI warned.
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Someone Made a Keyboard That Is Nothing but a #Hashtag

Someone Made a Keyboard That Is Nothing but a #Hashtag

 

No matter how insulting the hashtag is to the world’s language purists and social media skeptics, the little symbol is here to stay. And now it’s moving on up in the world, with its own Kickstarter project for a dedicated keyboard.

The London-based project was started by former community manager Ben Gomori, who — as his bio puts it — knows “how annoying it can be not having a hashtag key.”

The gadget, called HashKey, is simple. One end is a USB cable that plugs into the port of your laptop, and the other end is a single, suspiciously-Apple-inspired key with a hashtag on it. That’s it.

   
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Five-year-old boy passes Microsoft exam

 Five-year-old passes Microsoft exam

 

A boy from Coventry has become the youngest computer specialist in the world.

Ayan Qureshi is now a Microsoft Certified Professional after passing the tech giant's exam when he was just five years old. Ayan, now six, whose father is an IT consultant, has set up his own computer network at home.     He said he found the exam difficult but enjoyable, and hopes to set up a UK-based tech hub one day. "There were multiple choice questions, drag and drop questions, hotspot questions and scenario-based questions," he said     "The hardest challenge was explaining the language of the test to a five-year-old. But he seemed to pick it up and has a very good memory," explained Ayan's father Asim. Mr Qureshi introduced his son to computers when he was three years old. He let him play with his old computers, so he could understand hard drives and motherboards. "I found whatever I was telling him, the next day he'd remember everything I said, so I started to feed him more information," he explained. "Too much computing at this age can cause a negative effect, but in Ayan's case he has cached this opportunity."     Ayan has his own computer lab at his home in Coventry, containing a computer network which he built. He spends around two hours a day learning about the operating system and how to install programmes. When the boy arrived to take the Microsoft exam, the invigilators were concerned that he was too young to be a candidate. His father reassured them that Ayan would be all right on his own. The test is usually taken by people who want to become IT technicians.
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Instagram’s new tool allows users to edit photo captions

Caption Editing on Instagram

  Instagram has introduced a new tool for its iOS and Android users, allowing them to edit the caption of their pictures after posting them. The company said caption editing has been its most requested feature till now. Users can now edit the picture captions by clicking the "..." at the bottom right of the post and selecting "edit". The Facebook-owned app has also modified its search to find friends and photographers outside the usual circle of users. Instagram's "explore" tab that earlier looked like compass had been changed to a magnifying glass. Tapping the magnifying glass produces two feeds - photos and people. The people feed suggests various accounts that the user might like while photos feed display photos and videos that people may want to follow.
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How to get your Business found on Google

How to get your Business found on Google

    How do customers find your business when they're looking for the kind of product or service you sell? More often than not, they look to online search engines. Here's how you can be sure your business shows up in their search results.   Get yourself a website Once you've got your market and product, and you've nailed down your selling process, now you're ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone's attention--otherwise they're gone, never to be seen again.   Submit Your Site to Google Search engines crawl the web collecting information and indexing hundreds of millions of pages every day. While your site is likely to be discovered by Google without you doing anything in particular, you can hasten the process by submitting your site to Google. By re-submitting your site every time you make a change, you inform Google about updates, making sure the latest version of your site is indexed.   Use keywords on each of your website’s pages. This can include using keywords in the files names of each page, meta tags, and general insertion of keywords throughout each page. You should also create a sitemap. A site map file is a formatted file with an XML extension. After a sitemap is created, you need to submit it to Google for indexing. That will lead to your site on the path to becoming a Google favorite. Don’t necessarily resort just to Google, but try to submit sitemaps to any search engine you feel is worth investigating.   Link Your New Website to Your Social Profiles Your existing social profiles should support the mission of spreading the word out about your site. Add your site’s link to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ accounts and everywhere else you have an online presence. After you complete this, share a status update about your site on these networks. Since search crawlers get to sites via links, you increase your chance to get discovered faster, while sending social signals to search engines which also helps your search engine ranking.   Add Your Site to Local Directories The Internet allows us to get in touch with people and businesses across the globe. Still, the majority of us who go online actually search for things close to home. In fact, 1 in 3 of queries that people type into a standard Google search bar are about specific places. To make sure your site is found on local search, list your business in top business directories for location based marketing, get started with the group below: Google Places Bing Yahoo! Yelp LinkedIn Merchant Circle Foursquare YellowPages.com Whitepages Supermedia CitySearch Mapquest Local.com ThinkLocal       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4irUOu20Y3M
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