Innovation Watch

By David Forrest | THE FUTURE IS HERE innovationwatch.com

A mysterious botnet has hijacked 300,000 devices, but nobody knows why

Researchers know what the botnet is capable of — but they don't seem to know what it'll actually do.<p>A botnet discovered late last year has ballooned …

Infosec

Apple might compete with SpaceX in an unexpected business

Investors already know that Apple is actively searching for its next big hit, be it autonomous electric cars, augmented reality, or a toaster-refrigerator. There's now a clue of another possible idea floating around Cupertino: space internet.<p>Bloomberg reported on Friday that Apple has poached two …

Apple

We need to rethink growth and sustainability. Here's why

Our economy and society ultimately depend on natural resources: land, water, material (such as metals) and energy. But some scientists have …

Sustainability

Why the US isn't ready for the arrival of the robots

Economists have long argued that automation, not trade, is responsible for the bulk of the six million jobs shed by the manufacturing sector over the …

Robots

Ready for take-off? China's answer to Boeing now just needs to sell

SHANGHAI/PARIS (Reuters) - When China unveiled an historic order for its first large commercial jetliner at a national air show in 2010, Western journalists were kept away, and only local media were allowed to witness a major turning point in China's aviation ambitions.<p>The COMAC C919 jet is …

China

Inside China’s Plans for World Robot Domination - Bloomberg

Scenes from China’s quest to dominate the robotic future: At startup E-Deodar, a human-looking droid serves coffee to employees who are building …

China

Speech-imitating algorithm can steal your voice in 60 seconds

Machine learning algorithm can mimic other peoples' voices or create new ones from scratch.<p>A Canadian start-up has developed a voice imitation …

Machine Learning

More people than ever before are single—and that’s a good thing

The 21st century is the age of living single.<p>Today, the number of single adults in the US—and many other nations around the world—is unprecedented. And the numbers don’t just say people are staying single longer before settling down. More are staying single for life. A 2014 Pew Report estimates …

Marriage

US retailers are on pace to close more stores in 2017 than in the 2008 Great Recession

US bricks-and-mortar retailers are bleeding badly. E-commerce is gobbling up a growing share of sales, store productivity has dwindled, consumer shopping habits are shifting toward fast, cheap fashion—or away from stuff entirely—and it all seems to be coming to a head this year.<p>Analysts at Credit …

eCommerce

Amazon is quietly exploring ways to use self-driving vehicles to deliver packages

Amazon has quietly formed a team to explore how it can best use driverless technology, the Wall Street Journal first reported Monday.<p>The 12-person team, formed over a year ago, isn't building self-driving vehicles but is exploring how the tech can be used to improve package delivery, according to …

Logistics

The very hungry caterpillar: these plastic-eating wax worms could solve our pollution problem

The discovery could dramatically reduce the amount of pollution caused by plastic<p>Researchers have discovered that a caterpillar usually bred for use …

Recycling
Cities

The Race To Build An AI Chip For Everything Just Got Real

Yann LeCun once built an AI chip called ANNA. But he was 25 years ahead of his time.<p>The year was 1992, and LeCun was a researcher at Bell Labs, the …

Deep Learning

Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand

The new availability of huge amounts of data, along with the statistical tools to crunch these numbers, offers a whole new way of understanding the …

Machine Learning

The next generation of jobs won’t be made up of professions

To prepare for the future, we need to shift from thinking about jobs and careers to thinking about challenges and problems, reports Alina Dizik.<p>When Jean-Philippe Michel, a Toronto-based career coach, works with secondary school students, he doesn’t use the word profession. Neither does he focus on …

Return on Investment

Google’s New Chip Is a Stepping Stone to Quantum Computing Supremacy

John Martinis has given himself just a few months to reach a milestone in the history of computing.<p>He’s leader of the Google research group working …

Quantum Mechanics

How Western civilisation could collapse

Some possible precipitating factors are already in place. How the West reacts to them will determine the world’s future, says Rachel Nuwer.<p>The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should …

Geography

Silicon Valley’s finest are finally developing a code of ethics

Resistance begins at home. For Silicon Valley, that means transforming an unprecedented protest movement against US President Donald Trump’s young presidency into something more than signs and slogans.<p>To do so, software engineers and executives in the Valley are writing a set of civic values they …

Silicon Valley

Toyota just unveiled a massive, hydrogen-powered truck — here's what we know about it

When it comes to hydrogen-powered vehicles, Toyota is thinking big.<p>Toyota officially unveiled a massive, hydrogen-powered truck on Wednesday that will transport cargo within the Port of Los Angeles. The 18-wheeler is part of a larger feasibly study that will assess how the emerging technology …

Hydrogen

Tomorrow's Cities: Singapore's plans for a smart nation

<b>Singapore is aiming to be the world's first Smart Nation - but what does that actually entail?</b><p>You know what it's like. You're waiting for the bus on your way to work and inevitably, you're late. Enter Singapore's Smart Nation solution, which aims to merge technology into every aspect of life on the …

Cities

Louisiana's Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Disappearing Coastline

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline.<p>It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects.<p>"Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising …

Climate

Are 'machine values' replacing our principles?

"We are losing empathy, compassion, truth-telling, fairness, and responsibility and replacing them with all these machine values," says Michael …

Science

Walmart Wants To Cut 1 Billion Tons Of Emissions Out Of Its Supply Chain

Project Gigaton aims to help the retail giant’s vast supply chain be more sustainable. And when Walmart says jump, the companies it works with tend to ask: “how high?”<p>For better and worse, Walmart shapes the world. The mega-retailer has 11,695 stores internationally, more than 100,000 suppliers, …

Sustainability

As the U.S. retreats, China is taking the lead on green energy

Donald Trump's "let's go with coal" strategy is giving China a massive opening in the future of electricity<p>Finance ministers from across the world will converge on Washington this week for the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF.<p>At last year’s annual meetings, these ministers pledged to …

Climate

A Chinese car startup trying to take on Tesla just unveiled a stunning electric SUV

Electric car startup Nio just made a huge move to challenge Tesla in China, which is rapidly becoming the most important market for companies pursuing battery-powered vehicles.<p>Nio unveiled its electric SUV, the Nio ES8, at the Shanghai motor show on Wednesday. The startup said the vehicle will go …

Tesla

Shanghai is getting an entire ‘farming district’ with towering vertical farms and seed libraries

Shanghai may be known for its towering skyscrapers, but a large part of the city will soon have towering vertical farms that grow fruit and vegetables.<p>The city is planning a 250-acre agricultural district, which will function as a space to work, live, shop, and farm food. Called Sunqiao Shanghai, …

Urban Planning

Mark Zuckerberg just signed the death warrant for the smartphone

It's no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook's prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat's signature camera filters.<p>At this year's F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company's ambitious …

Augmented Reality

The Silent Crisis of Retail Employment

What to do when department-store jobs—or mining and manufacturing jobs—go away<p>Brick-and-mortar retail is having a meltdown, and economists are starting to see the effects in the job market.<p>Overall retail employment has fallen every month this year. Department stores, including Macy’s and JC Penney, …

Sociology

How the ‘Internet of Things’ is creating smart cities around the world

Image: Shutterstock/PKphotograph<p>Image: Shutterstock/PKphotograph<p>WHETHER IT’S THE INTRODUCTION of free (albeit patchy) Wifi on otherwise …