Digital Dystopia

By Simon Whitehead | Dark reflections on our addiction to technology. medium.com/digital-dystopia

Can you be hacked by the world around you?

A man takes part in a hacking contest during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on July 29, 2017. Steve Marcus, Reuters<p>You’ve …

Security

Mobile phone companies appear to be providing your number and location to anyone who pays

You may remember that last year, Verizon (which owns Oath, which owns TechCrunch) was punished by the FCC for injecting information into its subscribers’ traffic that allowed them to be tracked without their consent. That practice appears to be alive and well despite being disallowed in a ruling …

Privacy

Unsent text message accepted as valid will by Australian court

An unsent text has been accepted as an official will by a court in Queensland, Australia. The message, found in the drafts folder of a deceased man's phone, indicated he wanted all his possessions to go to his brother and nephew, instead of his wife and son. The 55-year-old composed the text before …

Text Messaging

Drone Video Shows Postal Worker Still Delivering Mail In Neighbourhood Ravaged By Wildfire

GIF Source. Douglas Thron Wildfires have consumed over 170,000 acres in California since Sunday and thousands have taken refuge in shelters as their …

Technology (Australia)

The giant robot battle of your dreams is actually happening

Yes, this is real. Two gigantic robots will battle each other <i>Gundam</i>-style for our amusement — and it will be streamed.<p>On Oct. 17, the colossal robots …

Robots

The robots of the future will hide in your garden under this pulsating silicone skin

Say goodbye to the garden gnome<p>The next generation of soft robots might be able to hide in plain sight, thanks to a newly developed, camouflaging skin that can rapidly transform from a flat silicone sheet to a 3D shape.<p>The new camouflage, described this week in the journal <i>Science</i><i>,</i> could help …

Robotics

Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they're colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.<p>The Associated Press has obtained a …

Cuba

Competitive Self-Play

We've found that self-play allows simulated AIs to discover physical skills like tackling, ducking, faking, kicking, catching, and diving for the …

Martial Arts

Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

Not great<p>Categorize this under “one of the worst possible PR nightmares for a Google smart speaker.” According to Artem Russakovskii at <i>Android Police</i>, the Google Home Mini he was reviewing was randomly and near-constantly recording sounds in his home and transmitting them to Google. The company …

Google

How an inmate hacker hid computers in the ceiling and turned his prison upside down

In the summer of 2015, Stan Transkiy was 16 years into a life sentence, and he had finally found a way to occupy his time. Inside the Marion Correctional Institution, which sits on green farmland off a series of quiet roads in rural Ohio, he had carved out a job running a recycling program, a gig …

Crime

The Race to Secure Voting Tech Gets an Urgent Jumpstart

Numerous electronic voting machines used in United States elections have critical exposures that could make them vulnerable to hacking. Security …

Security

What ever happened to the 15-hour work week predicted 87 years ago?

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological change and productivity improvements would eventually lead to a 15-hour work …

Economics

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention<p>Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned …

Silicon Valley

How To Make AI The Best Thing To Happen To Us

Many leading AI researchers think that in a matter of decades, artificial intelligence will be able to do not merely some of our jobs, but all of our jobs, forever transforming life on Earth.<p>The reason that many dismiss this as science fiction is that we've traditionally thought of intelligence as …

Artificial Intelligence

Why Facebook is in a hole over data mining

It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s business model that allows Facebook to be manipulated by political activists – no wonder he’s in denial about it<p>One of my favourite books is <i>The Education of Henry Adams</i> (published in 1918). It’s an extended meditation, written in old age by a scion of one of Boston’s elite …

Mark Zuckerberg

Warnings grow louder over cryptocurrency as valuations soar

With bitcoin and Ethereum gathering momentum among investors, some experts fear a bubble could soon burst<p>Joe Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, said he knew it was time to exit the stock market after a shoeshine boy gave him stock tips. If everyone thinks it’s time to buy, it’s time to sell, …

Bitcoin

Facebook created a faster, more accurate translation system using artificial intelligence

Tapping a neural network to translate text in chunks<p>Facebook’s billion-plus users speak a plethora of languages, and right now, the social network supports translation of over 45 different tongues. That means that if you’re an English speaker confronted with German, or a French speaker seeing …

Machine Learning

Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god

Way of the Future, a religious group founded by Anthony Levandowski, wants to create a deity based on artificial intelligence for the betterment of society<p>Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful …

Singularity

AI and VR will help students get more from a K-12 education

Technology is rapidly becoming an integral part of the classroom and our children’s education. Kids are increasingly using tablets and other digital appliances, and coding is becoming part of the standard curriculum around the world.<p>As we speak, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are …

Learning

Google's new AI can mimic human speech almost perfectly

Elocution Lessons<p>Last year, artificial intelligence (AI) research company DeepMind shared details on WaveNet, a deep neural network used to …

Artificial Intelligence

Mattel cancels AI babysitter after privacy complaints

The Aristotle was an AI assistant that would sing lullabies to babies and teach them their ABCs<p>Toymaker Mattel has shelved plans to build an “all-in-one voice-controlled smart baby monitor,” after complaints about the device were raised by privacy advocates and child psychologists. According to a …

Mattel

Uber app can silently record iPhone screens, researcher finds

Uber is thought to be the only third-party app that was given access to the private, undocumented feature.<p>Uber has said it will remove code from its …

Uber

Woman films her internet-connected camera whispering ‘Hola señorita’

This is not an episode of <i>Black Mirror</i>. A couple of months ago, Rilana Hamer from the Netherlands bought a small internet-connected camera from a local convenience store. She wanted to use the device to keep an eye on her puppy while away from the house. But it wasn’t only the puppy that was being …

Internet

How to Build a Self-Conscious Machine | Backchannel

The Coolest Thing in the Universe<p><b>The universe is full</b> of some very cool stuff: neutron stars that weigh a ton a teaspoon; supermassive black holes …

Machine Learning

Bionic Bonking Revolution: A quarter of men would have sex with a robot | Trusted Reviews

<b>24% of US men are up for some humanoid hanky-panky, according to a YouGov survey.</b><p>If that sounds like a lot, nearly half of Americans (49%) expect …

Robots

How Blade Runner got its name from a dystopian book about health care

Most fans of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film <i>Blade Runner</i> are aware that it’s based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, and that the book is not called <i>Blade Runner</i>. If you pick up Dick’s novel <i>Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?</i>, you’ll notice the term never appears in it. Even in the movie, “blade runner” is a …

Blade Runner

Sex robot molested, destroyed at electronics show

The past year has seen a proliferation of sex robots, with plenty of accompanying controversy.<p><i>Robots, drones, flying cars? How Americans feel about</i> …

Robots

https://t.co/tgLEnUiEMS

An elevator you can bribe

A paid alternative to the call button<p>Mr. Stumpton, welcome to your new job. We hope you’ll have a wonderful first day, we are so happy to have you …

Initial Coin Offering