Self-driving cars used to be a detail in sci-fi literature. Well, now it is here and Uber is back in court over self-driving cars. A judge decided two automated vehicle sector competitors couldn’t arbitrate theft of trade secrets. Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is suing Uber after accusing former employer Anthony Levandowski of stealing documents from Waymo before starting his own automated truck business. Levandowski launched his own company and then sold it to Uber for $680 million before eventually leading Uber’s self-driving team. Waymo hopes to stop Uber's self-driving team while trial and the judge might suggest a criminal investigation.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk is starting another company called Neuralink, which will specialize in developing implantable brain chips. Musk is the brain behind the all-electric car Tesla and the private space exploration company SpaceX. Neuralink will work on implanting tiny electrodes to treat brain disorders like epilepsy and depression. Rudimentary electrodes are already being used to treat Parkinson's disease. But Musk envisions these implants one day being used in healthy people's brains to combat what he sees as the potentially dangerous rise of artificial intelligence.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that two Russian intelligence agents and two other people were indicted on charges stemming from the hacking of at least half a billion Yahoo accounts. The defendants were able to gain information about "millions of subscribers" at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers late last year, according to the Justice Department. The two Russian Federal Security Service agents Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin allegedly paid co-conspirators to access email accounts.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in court as a part of the proceedings in an intellectual property case regarding the Oculus Rift VR headset. Games publisher ZeniMax is suing Oculus, claiming that ZeniMax property was misappropriated and company secrets are being used to further Oculus' technology. Zuckerberg definitively denied this claim at trial. “We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” he said. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”
How much privacy are we willing to give up with the Internet of Things?
1. Arkansas law enforcement officials are seeking information from Amazon in connection to a homicide. Bentonville police found the body of Victor Colins inside the home of James Andrew Bates in November. Upon discovering that the house was connected to several Internet of Things devices, police obtained a warrant to gain access to information gathered from Bates's Amazon Echo.
2. Amazon has refused to give up any information to Bentonville police. Amazon's smart home Echo devices are always listening, but the device only begins recording your voice when it hears the "wake word." Amazon doesn't have a lot of transparency in explaining how the device listens or what information is ultimately stored on its servers. These issues are likely to show up again, especially with the release of Google Home.
3. So, how much privacy are we willing to give up with new technology?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that New York City's 14,000 fleet of taxis could be replaced by 3,000 Uber or Lyft vehicles. Using data from 3 million New York City taxi rides, researchers created an algorithm that shows 3,000 four-person cars could serve 98 percent of the city's taxi rides. Riders would only have to wait an average of 2.3 minutes — but they would have to share. The algorithm "works in real-time to reroute cars based on incoming requests." Carpooling would be a necessity to making this theoretical system work. This algorithm also lends well to self-driving vehicles as they are easier to reroute quickly.
Does live streaming make us voyeurs in a crisis?
1. Keiana Herndon collapsed and died while streaming on Facebook Live. She was talking and signing to viewers from rural El Dorado, Arkansas when she fell off-screen and struggled to breathe. She was with her 1-year-old son, who began screaming at seeing his mother choking. Thousands of people were watching the stream, which lasted for 30 minutes after the collapse. A friend came in at that time and turned it off. Now, Keiana's father is criticizing the "friends" that didn't act to save his daughter.
2. Live streaming video is becoming ubiquitous in our culture. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have their own built-in live stream mechanisms. These tools are used to share just about anything, including the aftermath of a fatal police shooting. Live streams are mostly seen as a form of entertainment: a way to connect to and have a conversation with celebrities. Some people might have thought that Keiana's collapse wasn't authentic and was just a part of the show.
3. So, at what point do live stream viewers have a responsibility to act?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
President Obama has ordered a review of hacking by Russia aimed at influencing U.S. elections. The review will focus on hacks perpetrated during the 2016 campaign, but will also include malicious cyber activity going all the way back to 2008. Obama expects to receive a report before he leaves office on January 20. In response, Russia denied claims made by the U.S. and called for evidence of its involvement. In October, the Intelligence Community said it was "confident" that Russia was behind hacks of government and political entities.
For many years, Apple Maps has struggled to compete with its more successful competitor Google Maps. Now, as Bloomberg News reports, Apple is planning to use drones to gather more accurate maps and traffic data. Currently, the company is using a fleet of minivans with specialized cameras and sensors to collect data from cities all over the country. The drones would be used to capture real-time data and push updates to maps rapidly. To make this work, Apple would have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration's drone regulations. Apple has been releasing some improvements to its native maps app in recent months. In 2015, Apple finally released support for public transit in select cities. And this year, the app has an automatic feature that records where your car is parked based on Bluetooth connectivity as well as other small tweaks. But in directions, Apple Maps is still a little behind Google in accuracy and speed.
It's not your connection. Most of the internet was down Friday morning. Hackers unleashed a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on a major DNS host. Domain Name Servers (DNS) connect internet users to website servers. When you type in twitter.com, you're actually dialing up a specific server to access through your browser. If the DNS provider for a certain website is down, you'll probably have difficulty connecting. Many major websites were down or extremely slow Friday morning, including Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, CNN and others. Here's a full list of the websites affected by the attack.
Samsung has permanently discontinued the Galaxy Note 7 and all customers must return their devices for a refund or an exchange. These phones will never be repaired, refurbished or resold again. Samsung is working to dispose of the phones safely. But recycling smartphones isn't a perfect system. Out of the 50 elements inside smartphones like the Galaxy Note 7, only about a dozen can be recovered through recycling. The rest are just lost. About 165 pounds of minerals are mined to make one device that weighs less than a pound.
In an opinion piece published by CNN, President Obama wrote he wants to see manned missions to Mars by the 2030s. But getting there won't just be an endeavour by NASA. The President wants NASA to work with private companies to achieve this lofty goal. Last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk laid out his plan to establish a self-sustaining colony on Mars.