In a press release yesterday, The Weather Company announced the launch of its new Facebook Messenger bot, which utilizes IBM’s Watson to deliver personalized weather-related news stories, current conditions, and forecasts for its users. The Weather Channel bot can be used in 39 languages, and can be accessed through The Weather Channel Facebook page or through the Messenger app. Its features include current conditions, notifications that alert users to severe weather or news items of interest, breaking news, and hourly, daily, and five-day forecasts. Users are able to customize their preferences for daily forecasts in order to be alerted at different times of the day, and the bot will learn users’ preferences for news items as users interact with it.
Last week, it emerged that Apple is in the process of building its own self-driving car in Silicon Valley, and is actively looking for locations near San Francisco to test drive it. [Read more…]
At the end of July, President Obama signed an executive order to set up the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) with the intention of building the world’s first exascale supercomputer by 2025. [Read more…]
The Moscow based Kaspersky Lab is one of the largest security companies in the world. It has 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients. [Read more…]
Dongguan city in Southern China hosts one of the world’s first almost entirely unmanned factories, run by Changying Precision Technology Company to produce parts for cell phones. [Read more…]
The Guardian newspaper reported today that Google has been testing its drone delivery program in US airspace and is planning additional testing over rural California after quietly striking a deal with NASA. [Read more…]
Monday brought with it an announcement from Google that it would be rebranding itself and forming a new holding company named Alphabet. Alphabet will manage a group of companies, the largest wholly owned subsidiary of which will be Google. [Read more…]
A self-powered video camera system is under development at Columbia University. Columbia University computer science professor, Shree Nayar, fashioned the self-powered camera with his colleague, research engineer Daniel Sims, plus Mikhail Fridberg, who founded ADSP Consulting in Sharon, Mass. The revolutionary research project is funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and could eventually result in battery-free cameras that never have to shut down. [Read more…]
A team of engineers from Harvard University and Seoul National University (SNU) has worked out how to build robotic insects that can jump on water. Many small creatures leverage water’s surface tension to move themselves around. One of the most complex ways of doing this is jumping on water, which is achieved by water striders that both skim over the water’s surface and generate enough upward thrust with their legs to launch themselves off the water. [Read more…]
95% of Android phones, including Google’s own line, are subject to a major security flaw. The flaw is a result of six critical vulnerabilities in the Android operating system. By simply sending a text message, a hacker can take control of any Android phone (version 2.2 and higher). The flaw directly affects the part of the Android operating system called Stagefright, which allows phones and tablets to display media content. [Read more…]
At a conference hosted this week by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Amazon outlined a plan for slicing U.S. airspace into segments for different groups of unmanned aircraft like the delivery drones the company is currently developing. Amazon’s top drone executive detailed its proposal for a “high-speed transit zone” from 200 to 400 feet above the ground exclusively for advanced unmanned aircraft that have five key capabilities, [Read more…]
Twitter recently tweeted about its acquisition of machine learning startup Whetlab. No immediate details were released about the motivation behind the move. Last year, Twitter acquired its first machine learning company, Madbits, specialists in visual intelligence technology. In foraying further into AI, Twitter is joining the ranks of Google and Facebook who are also increasingly using machine learning and AI in their work. [Read more…]
Google’s self-driving cars are experiencing trouble out on the roads near its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The self-driving cars have experienced five minor accidents in recent months – nearly ten times the national average for ‘property only’ fender benders (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
In the most recent incident earlier this month, a self-driving Lexus was hit from behind 17 seconds after it stopped at a traffic light. The other car, a Honda Accord, drove into the back of it. Other human driven vehicles that have similarly rear-ended the Google Lexus SUVs include a Toyota Camry, a Ford Expedition and a BMW S3. In each instance, the Google car was stationary or moving at less than five miles per hour, so couldn’t avoid impact. [Read more…]
On Monday, LastPass warned that it had detected “suspicious activity” on its computer system. It is of course ironic that a website which promises to help people keep multiple passwords secure should itself be subject to attack; however, LastPass was forced to admit that some users’ email addresses, password reminders and authentication hashes (encryption elements) had been compromised. [Read more…]
The recent Iranian nuclear talks were targeted by sophisticated spyware that was likely ‘state-sponsored’, according to the CEO of the Kaspersky Lab, the Russian company who discovered the hack this week. The spying was carried out via a powerful computer virus, known as Duqu 2.0. The virus was found in the networks of various European hotels and conference halls that hosted the P5+1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The talks involved the US, UK, Germany, France, China and Russia. [Read more…]