Business
149
Sports
246

Students around the world march against inaction on climate change

With coordinated "school strikes" in more than 100 countries, young people protest inefficient policies to protect the Earth's climate for future generations
Load more
Go to source
unread news (Demo user)
unread news (Demo user)
Google announces a new $999 Glass augmented reality headset
Google has announced a new version of its business-focused Glass augmented reality headset, which it’s now designating an official Google product instead of an experiment. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2 costs $999, although, like its predecessor, it’s not being sold directly to consumers. It’s got a new processor, an improved camera, a USB-C port for faster charging, and a variety of other updates. Google still isn’t positioning Glass as a mainstream product. But it seems to be expecting greater sales of the Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The device has been moved out of the Google X “moonshot factory” and into the main Google family of products, letting Google “meet the demands of the growing market for wearables in the workplace,” according to a blog post. The headset is still aimed at businesses The basic Glass design hasn’t changed much. It’s still a relatively simple heads-up display, not a Microsoft HoloLens-style mixed reality headset. But it’s gotten a processing boost with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip, which is designed for augmented and virtual reality. Google says that with the XR1’s power, the new Glass headset can incorporate “computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities.” Google has already released a consumer-focused computer vision tool called Lens, which offers features like sign translation and restaurant recommendations. Google is also adding new safety frames to Glass in partnership with Smith Optics, plus a bigger battery and other upgraded components. Glass also now runs on Android, with support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2’s existence leaked months ago, complete with news that it would likely be moving to Android. But we haven’t gotten a full picture of Google’s plans for it until now. Glass was originally billed as a mass-market augmented reality headset, but after complaints about privacy and functionality, Google reinvented it as a tool for surgeons, factory workers, and other professionals. Google boasts that businesses have reported “faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs” by using Glass for hands-free computing or troubleshooting. The original “Explorer Edition” cost $1,500, so while the Enterprise Edition 2’s $999 cost isn’t cheap, it’s still significantly more accessible. Several other companies are also working on business-focused augmented reality glasses, including Microsoft, Vuzix, and Epson. Meanwhile, consumer-focused AR hasn’t gotten very far, despite the existence of smart glasses like the North Focals. Moving Glass out of the X program seems like a vote of confidence from Google — but for now, there’s no sign that it’s coming to a broader audience.
The Verge
Google trained its AI to predict lung cancer
Of all cancers worldwide, lung cancer is the deadliest. It takes more than 1.7 million lives per year -- more than breast, prostate and colorectal cancer combined. Part of the problem is that the majority of cancers aren't caught until later stages,...
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Eiffel Tower shuts down while intruder climbs the monument
Paris police said a climbing specialist was on the scene and in touch with the intruder, whose motivations remain unclear.        
USATODAY - News Top Stories
2019's biggest summer music tours
This summer’s major festivals include Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Firefly in Delaware, and Outside Lands in San Francisco.        
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Colbert questions Trump's sanity
From Trump to Clinton to Kushner, the comics take a look at all things politics. Vote for your favorite joke at usatoday.com/opinion.        
USATODAY - News Top Stories
U.S. blacklisting of Huawei slams chip stocks
Shares of U.S. and European chipmakers got hammered Monday amid worries the suppliers of Huawei Technologies may suspend shipments to the Chinese telecom giant. Fred Katayama reports.
REUTERS
TikTok's owner launches chat app with a focus on communities
TikTok's owner, ByteDance, has jumped into the wide world of messaging apps. The company has released Flipchat (aka Feiliao), an "interest-based social app" for Android and iOS that combines the usual chats and video calls with a social network-styl...
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Stunning 'iceberg alley' pictures show colossal bergs passing by Canada's coast
Remarkable images show gigantic icebergs as they pass by Canada’s Cape Bonavista.
FOX News - powered by FeedBurner
Game of Game of Thrones: season 8, episode 6, The Iron Throne
Promotions, demotions, a death, and the end of the journey Continue reading…
The Verge
Microsoft’s Edge for Mac browser now available in preview
Microsoft teased its Edge browser for macOS earlier this month, and now the company is officially allowing Mac users to download a preview version. While Edge for Mac leaked a little early during Microsoft’s Build conference, the company is officially supporting the daily Canary builds of Edge for Mac now for macOS 10.12 and above. Microsoft says the weekly Dev channel builds will be available “very soon” and you’ll be able to run both side by side. Microsoft has been working to support Mac keyboard shortcuts, and the company is also adding in Touch Bar support, with options for media control sliders and the ability to switch tabs from the Touch Bar. Rounded corners for tabs are also available in the macOS Edge version, and Microsoft is planning to bring this same UI to the Windows version. Microsoft also announced new privacy controls for Edge Chromium and a new Collections feature for collecting images, text, and general notes from the web. These new features aren’t available in the Mac or Windows versions of Edge just yet, but they will start to be available for testing in the coming weeks. You can download the preview of Edge for Mac over at Microsoft’s Edge site.
The Verge
'Game of Thrones' finale blocked in China due to trade war
The Game of Thrones finale may have aired last night but the show isn't over yet -- at least in China, where the episode has yet to air. Tencent Video, the streaming platform that controls the rights of HBO's series in China, didn't broadcast the sho...
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Writer James Vlahos explains how voice computing will change the way we live
Voice is what makes artificial intelligence come to life, says writer James Vlahos. It’s an “imagination-stirring” aspect of technology, one that has been part of stories and science-fiction for a long time. And now, Vlahos argues, it’s poised to change everything. Vlahos is the author of Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). It’s already the case that home assistants can talk and show personality — and as this technology develops, it’ll bring a host of questions that we haven’t reckoned with before. The Verge spoke to Vlahos about the science of voice computing, which people will benefit most, and what this means for the power of Big Tech. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. What exactly is happening when you talk to a gadget like Alexa and it talks back? Photo: Barbara Butkus Photography. James Vlahos If you’re just used to talking to Siri or Alexa and you say something and hear something back, it feels like one process is taking place. But you should really think about it as multiple things, each of which is complex to pull off. First, the sound waves of your voice have to be converted into words, so that’s automatic speech recognition, or ASR. Those words then have to be interpreted by the computer to figure out the meaning, and that’s NLU, or natural language understanding. If the meaning has been understood in some way, then the computer has to figure out something to say back, so that’s NLG, or natural language generation. Once this response has been formulated, there’s speech synthesis, so that’s taking words inside a computer and converting them back into sound. Each of these things is very difficult. It’s not as simple as the computer looking up a word in a dictionary and figuring things out. The computer has to get some things about how the world and people work to be able to respond. Are there any really exciting advances in this area that piqued your curiosity? There’s a lot of really interesting work being done in natural language generation where neural networks are crafting original things for the computer to say. They’re not just grabbing prescripted words, they’re doing so after being trained on huge volumes of human speech — movie subtitles and Reddit threads and such. They’re learning the style of how people communicate and the types of things person B might say after person A. So, the computer being creative to a degree, that got my attention. What’s the ultimate goal of this? What will it look like when voice computing is ubiquitous? The big opportunity is for the computers and phones that we’re using now to really fade in their primacy and importance in our technological lives, and for computers to sort of disappear. You have a need for information and want to get something done, you just speak and computers do your bidding. That’s a huge shift. We’ve always been toolmakers and tool users. There are always things we hold or grab or touch or swipe. So when you imagine that all just fading away and your computing power is effectively invisible because we’re speaking to tiny embedded microphones in the environment that are connected to the cloud — that’s a profound shift. A second big one is that we are starting to have relationships with computers. People like their phones, but you don’t treat it as a person, per se. We’re in the era where we start to treat computers as beings. They exhibit emotions to a degree and they have personalities. They have dislikes, we look to them for companionship. These are new types of things you don’t expect from your toaster oven or microwave or smartphone. Who might benefit the most from the rise of voice assistants? The elderly is one group that we often hear about — especially because they can have poor eyesight and find it easier to talk. Who else? The elderly and kids are really the guinea pigs for voice computing and personified AI. Elderly people have the issue often of being alone a lot, so they are the ones that might be more likely to turn to chitchat with Alexa. There are also applications out there where voice AI is used almost as a babysitter, giving medication reminders or letting family members do remote check-ins. Though, and not to way overgeneralize, some older people have dementia and it’s a little bit harder to recognize that the computer is not actually alive. Similarly, for kids, their grasp of reality is not so firm so they are arguably more willing to engage with these personified AIs as if they were really alive in some way. You also see the voice AIs being used as virtual babysitters, like, I’m not at home but the AI can watch out. That’s not totally happening yet, but it seems to be close to happening in some ways. What will happen when we get virtual babysitters and such and all the technology fades into the background? The dark scenario is that we seek out human companionship less because we can turn to our digital friends instead. There’s already data pouring into Amazon that people are turning to Alexa for company and chat and small talk. But you can spin that in a positive way and I sometimes do. It’s a good thing that we’re making machines more human-like. Like it or not, we spend a lot of time in front of our computer. If that interaction becomes more natural and less about pointing and clicking and swiping, then we’re moving in the direction of being more authentic and human, versus us having to make ourselves like quasi-machines as we interact with devices. And I think we’re going to hand more centralized authority to Big Tech. Especially when it comes to something like internet search, we are less likely to browse around, find the information we want, synthesize it, open magazines, open books, whatever it is we do to get information versus just asking questions of our voice AI oracles. It’s really convenient to be able to do that, but also we give even greater trust and authority to a company like Google to tell us what is true. How different is that scenario from the current worry about “fake news” and misinformation? With voice assistants, it’s not practical or desirable for them to, when you ask them a question, give you the verbal equivalent of 10 blue links. So Google has to choose which answer to give you. Right there, they’re getting enormous gatekeeper power to select what information is presented, and history has shown that if you consolidate the control of information very highly in a single entity’s hands, that’s rarely good for democracy. Right now, the conversation is very centered on fake news. With voice assistants, we’re going to skew in a different direction. Google’s going to have to really focus on not presenting [fake news]. If you’re only presenting one answer, it better not be junk. I think the conversation is going to more turn toward censorship. Why do they get to choose what is deemed to be fact? How much should we worry about privacy and the types of analyses that can be done with voice? I am equally worried about privacy implications as I am with just smartphones in general. If tech companies are abusing that access to my home, they can do it equally with my computer as they can do it with Alexa sitting across the room, That’s not at all to play down privacy concerns. I think they’re very, very real. I think it’s unfair to single out voice devices as being worse. Though there is the sense that we’re using them in different settings, in the kitchen and living room. Switching topics a little bit, your book spends some time discussing the personalities of various voice assistants. How important is it to companies that their products have personality? Personality is important. That’s definitely key, otherwise why do voice at all? If you want pure efficiency, you might be better off with a phone or desktop. What hasn’t happened heavily yet is differentiation around the edges between Cortana, Alexa, Siri. We’re not seeing tech companies design vastly different personalities with an idea toward capturing different slices of the market. They’re not doing what cable television or Netflix do where you have all these different shows that are slicing and dicing the consumer landscape. “The big opportunity is for the computers and phones that we’re using now to really fade in their primacy and importance in our technological lives and for computers to sort of disappear.” My prediction is that we will do that in the future. Right now, Google and Amazon and Apple just want to be liked by the most number of people so they’re going pretty broad, but [I think they will develop] the technology so my assistant is not the same as your assistant is not the same as your co-worker’s assistant. I think they’ll do that because it would be appealing. With every other product in our lives we don’t have a one-size-fits-all, so I don’t see why we would do that with voice assistants. There’s some trickiness there, though, as we see in discussions around why assistants tend to have female voices. Is more of that in store? We’re seeing questions already about issues relating to gender. There’s been very little conversation about the issue of race or perceived race of virtual assistants, but I have a sense that that conversation is coming. It’s funny. When you press the big tech companies on this issue, except for Amazon who admits Alexa is female, everyone else is like “it’s an AI, it doesn’t have a gender.” That’s not going to stop people from perceiving clues about what sort of gender or race identity it’s going to have. All this to say, Big Tech is going to have to be really careful to negotiate those waters. They might want to specialize a little more, but they might get into dangerous waters where they do something that sounds like cultural appropriation, or something that is just off, or stereotypical.
The Verge
Ubisoft goes to great lengths to make its games more accessible
Ubisoft's accessibility project manager David Tisserand shared details on a new accessibility initiative during Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Here's what's to come in the future from the company. The post Ubisoft goes to great lengths to make its games more accessible appeared first on Digital Trends.
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Deer and rabbit playing together resemble Disney's Bambi and Thumper
This adorable deer and rabbit playing will melt your heart reminding us of beloved Disney friends Bambi and Thumper.        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Common things you probably didn't know about breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is often referred to as a "natural" process, but there's still a lot about it that new moms are unaware of.        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Magic Johnson speaks out about tenure with Los Angeles Lakers, says he felt betrayed by GM Rob Pelinka
Magic Johnson said he abruptly left the Lakers last month as president of basketball operations in part because he felt betrayed by GM Rob Pelinka.         
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Va. town remembers the high price paid on D-Day
The 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy has a solemn significance for a small Virginia town. (May 20)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Biden rejects anger in call for national unity
His party may be enraged by Donald Trump's presidency, but Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden insisted Saturday that Democrats will not defeat the Republican president if they pick an angry nominee. (May 18)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Graduation speaker pledges to pay students' debt
A billionaire technology investor and philanthropist says he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College - an estimated $40 million. (May 19)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Pardons granted by President Donald Trump
President Trump’s pardons and commutations         
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
The New New World: As Huawei Loses Google, the U.S.-China Tech Cold War Gets Its Iron Curtain
The White House’s hard-line approach threatens to speed up the development of two technology worlds, further isolating one-fifth of internet users.
1 h
NYT > Home Page
DNA test reunites sons of American WWII soldier
A French man spent his whole life searching for his father who he knew only as an American solider without a name. 75 years later, a DNA test reunites him with his brother living in South Carolina, who never knew he existed. (May 20)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas attend glamorous Chopard party in Cannes
Power couple Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas walk the red carpet for Chopard party, along with Amber Heard, Elle Fanning, Julianne Moore and Richard Madden (May 18).        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Pork farmers in China hit hard by swine fever
Pork lovers worldwide are wincing at prices that have jumped up to 40 percent as African swine fever in China's vast pig herds sends shockwaves through global meat markets. (May 20)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
How Superbug Hunters Are Keeping Us Safe
There are trillions of bacteria living inside all of us. Why are we pretending they aren’t on our X-ray machines?
1 h
NYT > Home Page
GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates
General Motors is launching a new electrical architecture to support more tech features in its cars. The system debuts on the 2020 Cadillac CT5, and will roll out to most other GM models by 2023. The post GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates appeared first on Digital Trends.
1 h
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Space exploration indie ‘Outer Wilds’ hits Xbox One and PC May 30th
Open-world space exploration indie Outer Wilds will arrive on Xbox One and the Epic Games Store May 30th. It emerged last week the crowdfunded Mobius Digital title would be a timed exclusive for the Epic Store. Outer Wilds will arrive on other platfo...
2 h
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Google's next-gen Glass eyewear lasts longer and runs on Android
The third generation of Google Glass has arrived for tech-savvy workers. Google has introduced Glass Enterprise Edition 2 eyewear that largely sticks to the familiar formula on the outside, but should be far more powerful both in hardware and softwar...
2 h
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Xbox chief Phil Spencer outlines plans for fighting toxicity in gaming
Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer says he’s acutely aware of the problems the gaming industry faces from a cultural perspective — issues like toxicity, abuse and harassment, and exclusionary attitudes that can keep gaming’s benefits from spreading beyond its most hardcore, traditional demographic. So today, Spencer says Microsoft is launching an industry-wide initiative to combat these issues by sharing solutions and technology and committing itself to aggressive enforcement. “First, gaming is for everyone. No one group ‘owns’ gaming. Instead, whether you’re new to gaming or are a diehard e-sports fan, you are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming. In this way, when everyone can play, the entire world wins,” Spencer writes in a blog post titled “Video Games: A Unifying Force for the World.” “Gaming is for everyone. No one group ‘owns’ gaming.” Spencer says he believes in what he calls two fundamental truths for gaming: that the medium is for everyone no matter your age, gender, nationality, orientation, or skin color. The other is that, for gaming’s benefits to be accessible to all people in the world, companies like Microsoft and others need to foster a safe gaming culture and online environment, both through policies and tools and through positive changes to the community and industry itself. “Gaming must be a safe environment. Creating community is shared work, and protecting community is essential work, so, we all carry part of the payload of community safety – game industry and gamers alike,” he writes. “Gaming is the gateway to these 21st century skills and to STEM. Just consider: teen girls who play video games are three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree. Among teenagers who play games online with others daily, 74 percent have made friends online and 37 percent have made more than five friends online.” Spencer says Microsoft will now commit itself to a series of new initiatives aimed at making gaming more accessible, less toxic, and safer. The first of those it announced earlier this month when Microsoft publicly updated its Community Standards, guiding what’s acceptable behavior on Xbox Live and how it enforces suspensions and bans. Going further, Microsoft says it will be expanding its safety team in the coming months to include more diverse voices and a wider-ranging set of solutions to common issues. “Our Xbox Safety team is nicknamed the ‘Defenders of Joy’ because we will defend you in every humanly and technologically possible way, so gaming remains fun,” Spencer says. “We will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly. We are also intent on expanding the composition of our safety team so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions.” Microsoft will share technology with others in the industry to combat toxicity Additionally, Spencer says Microsoft will be giving community managers on Xbox Live new moderation tools that help it better regulate behavior within the platform’s Club system. The company will also streamline the process of creating a child or teen account and says it will be giving resources to its 150,000-person Xbox Ambassadors program to help create an inviting and safe environment for all gamers.” Part of that will involve hosting family workshops at Microsoft Stores and providing information through its new “For Everyone” hub on Xbox.com, which is dedicated to educating players and parents on inclusivity, accessibility, and safety. Most importantly, however, is Spencer’s plan to share this knowledge, in the same way Microsoft shares knowledge to combat the worst forms of online abuse and online criminal activity. “Because we intend to protect all gamers, we will openly share safety innovations with our industry the same way Microsoft has made PhotoDNA technology universally available to everyone from the police to the tech industry to fight the spread of child pornography,” Spencer says. “Today, multiple teams working in areas like moderation, user research, data science, and others are already aligning with industry partners to share insights, and best practices in areas of safety, security and privacy.” Closing out his remarks, Spencer specifically calls out the promise of cloud gaming, and names services like Microsoft’s xCloud and Google Stadia, as bringing both new, exciting possibilities for expanding gaming to new audiences alongside new risks. “Our industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety,” Spencer concludes. “We invite everyone who plays games, and industry partners, to join us in following the principles to help unify the world and do our part: make gaming accessible for everyone and protect gamers, one and all.”
2 h
The Verge
Meet Doggo: Stanford’s cute open-source four-legged robot
Students from Stanford University have welcomed a new addition to their campus: Doggo, a four-legged robot that hopes to find a home in research labs around the world. Doggo follows similar designs to other small quadrupedal robots, but what makes it unique is its low cost and accessibility. While comparable bots can cost tens of thousands of dollars, the creators of Doggo — Stanford’s Extreme Mobility lab — estimate its total cost to be less than $3,000. What’s more, the design is completely open source, meaning anyone can print off the plans and assemble a Doggo of their very own. Open-source plans mean anyone can download and build Doggo for $3,000 “We had seen these other quadruped robots used in research, but they weren’t something that you could bring into your own lab and use for your own projects,” Nathan Kau, a mechanical engineering major and Extreme Mobility lead, said in a university news post. “We wanted Stanford Doggo to be this open source robot that you could build yourself on a relatively small budget.” Stanford’s Doggo can trot, flip, jump, and more. Although Doggo is cheap to produce, it actually performs better than pricier robots, thanks to improvements in the design of its leg mechanism and the use of more efficient motors. It has greater torque than Ghost Robotics’ similarly sized and shaped Minitaur robot (which costs upwards of $11,500) and a greater vertical jumping ability than MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot. Machines like Doggo are part of what some researchers think is a coming robotic revolution. Legged robots are becoming more capable, and companies like Boston Dynamics, Agility Robotics, and Anybotics are starting to position them as useful tools for jobs like site surveying, surveillance, security, and even package delivery. Cheap robotic platforms like Doggo allow researchers to rapidly improve on control systems, the same way cheap quadcopters led to a huge boost in aerial navigation. Right now, Doggo and its ilk are made for universities and labs, but pretty soon, they’ll be trotting out into the real world.
2 h
The Verge