Sankha Som

292 Flips | 18 Magazines | 2 Likes | 2 Following | 11 Followers | @sankhasom | Tech enthusiast. Blog at www.sankhasom.com

Elon Musk’s lab forced bots to create their own language

Have you ever experienced the dread of overhearing two people, speaking a language you don’t understand, begin laughing wildly? You just have to …

Google’s DeepMind pits AI against AI to see if they fight or cooperate

Unsurprisingly, they do both<p>In the future, it’s likely that many aspects of human society will be controlled — either partly or wholly — by artificial intelligence. AI computer agents could manage systems from the quotidian (e.g., traffic lights) to the complex (e.g., a nation’s whole economy), but …

Shelf-size stereo delivers massive sound from a tiny footprint

Now that we’re in the era of the portable Bluetooth speaker, it’s hard to justify spending money on a stereo that just sits on a shelf at home.<p>That perception is exactly what this tiny stereo system from German audio giant Thonet and Vander aims to fight, though. The Rätsel brings old-school stereo …

Audiophile

How Bitcoin’s Technology Could Soon Shed Light On How Products Are Made

The same tech that prevents fraud with Bitcoin also can provide a chain of custody for products.<p>When shopping online or at the mall, it’s easy to figure out a product’s price and the basic materials from which it’s made. It’s much harder to find out where it came from and how it was produced. …

Blockchain

British Gas buys AlertMe, the company behind its Hive thermostat

Although there's an abundance of companies now offering smart thermostats, it's British Gas' Hive product that holds the top spot in the UK. The controller, which has now been installed in over 150,000 homes, relies on automation algorithms and mobile apps to keep people warm, all with a little …

The future of driverless cars is being shaped by a modified Land Rover

There's no single blueprint for building a self-driving car. Certain components have become standard fare, such as laser-powered LIDAR sensors, but there's no definitive design just yet. We've seen some polished prototypes already, including the Lutz Pathfinder pod and Google's bubbly little motor, …

The Year Ahead (And Behind) in Robotics

The biggest trends, good and bad, shaping robotics right now<p>2014 was light on cool new robots. Or, to be more accurate, robots that actually did anything. The studious sort might point out that automation powered some of the biggest technology stories of the year, including the Chinese “Foxbots” …

Artificial Intelligence

Chaos Computer Club claims it can reproduce fingerprints from people’s public photos

Chaos Computer Club, Europe’s largest association of hackers, claims it can reproduce your fingerprints from a couple of photos that show your fingers. At the 31st annual Chaos Computer Club convention in Hamburg, Germany, Jan Krissler, also known by his alias “Starbug,” explained how he copied the …

Getting the most out of your Chromecast this Christmas

Google's Chromecast makes it easy to stream pretty much anything to your TV. Movies, TV shows, music, games, photos -- whatever you're interested in, there are plenty of smartphone and tablet apps equipped with Google's little Cast button. So, whether you have one hooked up to the main TV in your …

ISS astronaut needs a wrench, NASA successfully 'emails' him one

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station needed a socket wrench, so NASA engineers emailed him designs for 3D-printing one. What a world we're living in.<p>We're finally starting to see the benefits of having a 3D printer aboard the International Space Station, as NASA and Made in Space …

3D Printing

State surveillance is enabled by our own sloppy habits

One night last week, I had a conversation over dinner with a student who is as puzzled as I am about why people seem so unworried by online surveillance. What would it take, we wondered, to wake people up? If the Snowden revelations did not constitute a “Milly Dowler moment”, then what would?<p>The …

How Facebook's Crazy New Headset Will Change Life As We Know It

"Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home. This is really a new communication platform."<p>I finally got to try the latest version, "Crescent Bay," …

Virtual Reality

Khrushchev Visits IBM: A Strange Tale of Silicon Valley History

When the world’s most famous Communist saw one of the West’s greatest capitalist enterprises, he found much to admire–in its food.<p>In September of 1959, Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union and first secretary of its Communist Party, spent 12 days touring the United States. The …

The History of Digital Imaging Began With a Baby Picture

Could it have been any other way?<p>The first digital picture on a computer was, of course, a picture of a baby.<p>In 1957, Russell Kirsch was working at the National Bureau of Standards, which had something amazing—the first computer that could be programmed. Here's how Kirsch introduced it in a 2011 …

Engineer Sees Big Possibilities in Micro-robots, Including Programmable Bees

Robert Wood says that medicine and agriculture could be transformed by micro and "soft" robots.<p><i>Editor's note: Robert Wood is one of National Geographic's 2014 emerging explorers, part of a program that honors tomorrow's visionaries—those making discoveries, making a difference, and inspiring people</i> …

Unlocking Payment Opportunities

Wells Fargo

Meet The PayPal Mafia, The Richest Group Of Men In Silicon Valley

The company founded by Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Max Levchin has spawned three billionaires, many, many millionaires, and generation-defining companies. Here, we break down the key players from the most notorious group in Silicon Valley.<p>The picture above features some of the most poorly dressed …

The Investments In A Wearables Future

<b>Editor’s note:</b> <i>Matt Witheiler is a General Partner at</i> <i>Flybridge Capital Partners</i><i>. You can follow him on his blog</i><i>.</i><p>People may debate when the wearable first came into being or what industries will be most impacted by the technology, but there is no debating that startup activity in the wearable space …

THE SELECTS: More from the History of Silicon Valley

Google shows its deep-learning systems are doing just fine, thank you very much

Google may have recently lost artificial-intelligence luminary Andrew Ng to Chinese search company Baidu, but that hasn’t stopped the Mountain View, Calif.-based company from ratcheting up the wisdom of its computers.<p>Baidu and Microsoft have made progress on deep learning, which involves training …

Nuclear 'Command And Control': A History Of False Alarms And Near Catastrophes

Globally, there are thousands of nuclear weapons hidden away and ready to go, just awaiting the right electrical signal. They are, writes investigative reporter Eric Schlosser, a collective death wish — barely suppressed. Every one is an accident waiting to happen, a potential act of mass murder, …

China launches chopsticks that tell you if your food is safe to eat

From recycled cooking oil to fox meat and chemicals, a litany of food scandals has turned Chinese diners' stomachs, but a new "smart chopsticks" concept by search engine Baidu could be the answer.<p>The device, which the company says can tell consumers whether their meal is safe to eat, was born of an …

The First Trillion-Dollar Startup

<b>Editor’s note:</b> <i>Rhett Morris is the director of Endeavor Insight, the research arm of Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports more than 900 entrepreneurs in 20 countries. He edits a blog and monthly newsletter on entrepreneurship ecosystems here.</i><p>In 1957, eight entrepreneurs decided to do something that …

New Endeavor Insight Report Analyzes the Source of Silicon Valley's Development - Endeavor

<b>Endeavor Insight</b>, supported by <b>Omidyar Network</b>, has released a new report that analyzes the development of the world’s most well-known …

The story behind the first Photoshop image

"Jennifer in Paradise" was the software's first color test picture<p>When John Knoll took a photo of his topless girlfriend on a secluded beach in 1987, he didn't expect the picture to be pored over and manipulated by thousands of people. But John's brother Thomas was working on the software that …

The 9 Best Languages For Crunching Data

By Anna Nicolaou6 minute Read<p>The big data frenzy continues. It’s permeating nearly every industry, flooding companies with more and more information, …

Big Data

Rockin’ Out with XL4D: Acoustical Awesomeness for Your iPhone 5 & 5s

If there’s one thing the digital age has helped, it’s access to media—particularly music. If you’re anything like me, you carry your tunes with you on your iPhone so you can rock out whenever the need strikes. While it’s easy and convenient to just put all of your music on your phone, if you want …

Audiophile

GeekWire Radio: This 15-year-old iPhone stethoscope inventor is just getting started

It’s been a big month for Suman Mulumudi, 15-year-old inventor of the Steth IO smartphone-enabled stethoscope — with an appearance on The Tonight …