From Whatsapp's alleged backdoor to smarter Tesla cars, and AI to the Boring Company, we have a look at some of the latest developments in the world of technology.
AI will replace a number of jobs, specifically those that can be automated or predictable. But now AI is about to bite the hand that feeds it. Researchers at the Google Brain AI research group got their software to design a machine-learning system. The benchmark results showed that AI is more successful at designing AI systems than researchers themselves.
However, this is not bad news for AI researchers. Designing a machine learning system takes a long time. With a shortage of AI researchers, taking this burden off their shoulders will free them up to explore new ideas and be more productive. This development could accelerate artificial intelligence research. Guess who's going to be affected the most?
Good news, Star Trek fans! Amazon just added a new wake word for its popular Echo speaker. The device will respond to your input when it hears the command ‘Computer' if chosen from the list in the Alexa app. The problem with this command, however, is accidental activation since the word computer can be said at any time for things other than activating the all-hearing Alexa.
Last week, the National Highway Transportation Administration released its report on Tesla's Autopilot which showed the technology reduced accidents by 40 percent. Following its release, Elon Musk came out with his own target for a second generation of Tesla technology: 90 percent decrease in car crashes. The new technology requires a different set of sensors to be installed which means the owners of the old models will have to have their cars serviced.
Our target is a 90% reduction with HW2 as the software matures— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 19, 2017
The Guardian recently published a story accusing Whatsapp of having a backdoor. According to the story, the vulnerability could expose millions of users' messages to third parties. After receiving wide backlash from the security community, the publication replaced the word backdoor with vulnerability in its headline. However, that didn't stop the critics. An open letter signed by at least 40 cyber security experts requested The Guardian retract the story. The letter claims that the title used for the story is equivalent of putting "Vaccines Kill People" as a headline.
Thanks to Guardian's irresponsible & baseless WhatsApp reporting, I'm flooded w reports of vulnerable folk switching to less secure options.— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) January 16, 2017
Remember the cashier-free stores Amazon invented? Australia took its cue from Amazon and has started the "Seamless Traveller" project. The spirit of the project is to create a "fast, seamless self-processing experience for up to 90 percent of travellers" to allow airport personnel to focus on the dangerous folks. The system is intended to use biometric facial, iris and fingerprint technologies. Whether it will be successful or not, time will tell. The biggest benefit to the travellers will be not having to deal with the customs officer who stares at your face and passport for what feels like hours.
Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016
Those of you who follow Elon Musk might have noticed his plans to bore tunnels to solve LA traffic problems. Well, it sounded like a joke more than anything else, but according to him, there's been some progress and he's actually serious.
Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017
Yup— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017
Starting across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017