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Punny SUVs at the NY Auto Show and More Car News This Week

WIRED

On the floor of the New York Auto Show this week, Genesis showed off its sweet little Mint concept, an electric two-seater with a very abbreviated sedan body. The Hyundai luxury arm does not, however, have any plans to put the adorable thing into production--perhaps because, as we learned this week, getting world-changing tech into the market takes a fair amount of elbow grease. Elon Musk's Boring Company is slowly making its way through the necessary paperwork to make its DC to Baltimore Loop concept a real, live thing. Uber is rounding up the oodles of cash it needs to develop self-driving vehicles. "Flying taxi" engineers are trying to get their concepts past now-nervous aviation regulators.


Machine learning on edge devices solves lack of data scientists

#artificialintelligence

The current approach to AI and machine learning is great for big companies that can afford to hire data scientists. But questions remain as to how smaller companies, which often lack the hiring budgets to bring in high-priced data scientists, can tap into the potential of AI. One potential solution may lie in doing machine learning on edge devices. Gadi Singer, vice president of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group and general manager of architecture at Intel, said in an interview at the O'Reilly AI Conference in New York that even one or two data scientists are enough to manage AI integration at most enterprises. But will the labor force supply adequate amounts of trained data scientists to cover all enterprises' AI ambitions?



Facebook confirms it's working on an AI voice assistant for Portal and Oculus products

#artificialintelligence

Facebook has confirmed a report from earlier today saying it's working on an artificial intelligence-based digital voice assistant in the vein of Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. The news, first reported by CNBC, indicates Facebook isn't giving up on a vision it first put out years ago, when it began developing an AI assistant for its Messenger platform simply called M. This time around, however, Facebook says it is focusing less on messaging and more on platforms in which hands-free interaction, via voice control and potentially gesture control, is paramount. "We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products," a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge today, following the initial report. That means Facebook may not position the product as a competitor to Alexa or similar platforms, but as more of a feature exclusive to its growing family of hardware devices. CNBC reported that the team building the assistant is working out of Redmond, Washington under the direction of Ira Snyder, a general manager at Facebook Reality Labs and a director of augmented and virtual reality at the company.


From '12345' to 'blink182', the most hacked passwords revealed in warning over cyber-security

The Independent

Using easily guessed passwords across multiple accounts is a major gap in the online security habits of British people, a government study has found. The survey by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) found that many internet users did not know the best ways to protect themselves from cybercrime, with 42 per cent expecting to lose money to online fraud. Only 15 per cent of the survey's 2,500 respondents said they knew "a great deal" about how to protect themselves from harmful activity online, while fewer than half of respondents said they do not always use a strong, separate password for their main email account. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Drone discovers a Hawaiian plant that was thought to be extinct

Mashable

The plant, which is also known as "Wood's hau kuahiwi" and was thought to be extinct, is apparently still around and possibly even flourishing in its native Hawaii. Researchers for the National Tropical Botanical Garden on the island of Kauai made the discovery with a little help from a drone. Three of the plants were spotted in footage captured by a drone that was sent out to explore Kalalau Valley. The remote region of Kauai is known for its biodiversity, thanks to cliffs that make the region inaccessible to the humans and goats that pose a threat to local plant life. You can see the NTBG's drone footage below, and see the plant itself (clearly marked) at roughly the halfway point.


The Growing Marketplace For AI Ethics

#artificialintelligence

AI-powered loan and credit approval processes have been marred by unforeseen bias. Smart speakers have secretly turned on and recorded thousands of minutes of audio of their owners. Unfortunately, there's no industry-standard, best-practices handbook on AI ethics for companies to follow--at least not yet. Some large companies, including Microsoft and Google, are developing their own internal ethical frameworks. A number of think tanks, research organizations, and advocacy groups, meanwhile, have been developing a wide variety of ethical frameworks and guidelines for AI.


Uber's self-driving car unit valued at $7.3bn as it gears up for IPO

The Guardian

Uber's self-driving car unit has been valued at $7.3bn (£5.6bn), after receiving $1bn of investment by a consortium including Toyota and Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. With weeks to go until the loss-making San Francisco firm's stock market float, expected to value the company at up to $100bn, Uber said it had secured new financial backing for its plans to develop autonomous vehicles. Japanese carmakers Toyota and its compatriot Denso, a car parts supplier, will invest a combined $667m in Uber's Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). The remainder will come from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank's $100bn Vision Fund, whose largest investor is Saudi Arabia. Toyota and SoftBank are already major investors in Uber, with the latter owning 16%.


Preparing high schoolers for a tech-driven future

MIT News

In the advent of artificial intelligence, robots, and automation, today's K-12 educators around the world are asking the question: "What skills do our students need to be ready for the future?" The "Freshman Technology Experience" -- a recent two-day event at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- brought MIT researchers into the classroom to explore just that. As their 10th grader schoolmates underwent Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing in late March, 9th grade students put technologies developed by MIT to the test, rotating through sessions playing Shadowspect, a 3-D geometry puzzle game designed to assess learning, and MIT App Inventor, an intuitive, visual programming environment that makes coding easy and fun. Organized by instructional technologists at CRLS with MIT's Office of Government and Community Relations, the event sought to inspire a diverse array of students to build future-ready skills by seeking educational opportunities in fields like computer science. As students down the hall worked through problems with multiple choice answers on the MCAS, the freshman class tried out a new means of assessing their math skills.


Zuckerberg could be held personally accountable for Facebook data breaches

Mashable

The federal government wants to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook's privacy woes. According to a report in the Washington Post, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently investigating Facebook and looking into whether the Facebook's founder and CEO should be held liable for the company's data mishandling and privacy issues. Facebook and the FTC have been in discussions for more than a year over the agency's probe into the company. Sources familiar with these discussions say that the FTC is mulling over an unusual decision to hold Zuckerberg himself accountable for the company's data leaks and breaches. The FTC does not regularly go after executives when levying fines or other penalties for a company's wrongdoings.