IBM has unveiled the world's smallest computer - a device no bigger that a grain of salt. Presented at the company's Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the unit measures just 1mm by 1mm but has the same processing power as the x86 chip that ran early Nineties IBM desktop computers. The microscopic "crypto-anchor" CPU is essentially an anti-fraud device, designed to be embedded within price tags and product packaging like barcodes, tracking and logging the movement of goods during shipping. "The world's smallest computer is an IBM-designed edge device architecture and computing platform that is smaller than a grain of salt will cost less than 10 cents to manufacture and can monitor, analyse, communicate and even act on data," the company said. "It packs several hundred thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye and can help verify that a product has been handled properly throughout its long journey."
There's no question as to who the real technology star is now: it's you. Your voice is what hundreds of companies are vying to attract, with thousands of new products calling out for you to talk to them. Voice-activated technology has erupted over the last 12 months since Amazon's Alexa was informally crowned breakout technology champion of the CES 2017 consumer tech show. Seemingly by stealth, Amazon had snuck Alexa into a dizzying array of products and everywhere you turned, there she was. Alexa was the name on everyone's lips – literally – and Amazon had achieved this near-ubiquitous name- recognition without even having a stand at the gargantuan annual gadget-fest in Las Vegas.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to impact several industries in a big way. Retailers, banks, carmakers, or technology companies, are scurrying to embrace AI to make their customers' lives easier. Not surprisingly, the market for AI software is predicted to jump from just $3.2 billion a couple of years ago to $89.8 billion by 2025. Tech giants like Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) have been pouring a lot of money into AI research. Let's look at how Baidu plans to take advantage of the AI opportunity and why it could be one of the best bets in this space.
In the wait for self-driving technology, cell-phone toting tech bros may have to cede their spot in line to pizzas, Craigslist couches and the mounting ephemera of e-commerce. The future-at least in the near-term-will not only be driverless, but sans passenger as well. The early conversations around driverless cars have focused on robot taxis because taking the human driver out of a cab seemed like the quickest path to profitability. "The revolution in commercial vehicles will come first, then the passenger cars" will follow, said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of Renault-Nissan's light commercial vehicle business. "The moment business people start believing this is going to generate additional revenue and that this is going to be more efficient, then I think they'll start working on it."
Robotic arms perform inner frame welds for 2018 Honda Accord vehicles during production at the Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. Marysville Auto Plant in Marysville, Ohio, U.S.. But humans are still an integral part of the assembly process. President Trump might think that the way to protect workers in the U.S. is to wage trade wars with countries that he believes are undercutting the prices of domestically-produced goods. But it is increasingly obvious that the real issue is the latest wave of automation. Of course, reports like those from the McKinsey Global Institute and Oxford University have been warning for a while that many of the jobs we know today are at risk of disappearing as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and widespread.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Washington's consumer watchdog, has filed a lawsuit against two businesses it accuses of operating cryptocurrency pyramid schemes. The FTC is taking action against Bitcoin Funding Team and My7Network over what it defines as "chain referral" scams, in which participants pay upfront entry fees in order to be able to recommend others to follow suit. The companies allegedly promised customers who made an initial investment of just $100 (£71) that they could earn an $80,000 (£56,938) monthly income from doing so - although payouts seldom amounted to anything like that. The two businesses defrauded an estimated 30,000 people worldwide between them, the lawsuit alleges. "Bitcoin Funding Team's structure, which created a continual chain of recruitment and recruitment-related payments, ensured that few participants would obtain the results depicted or projected by the defendants," the FTC's complaint reads.
These three companies--the so-called BATs--are plowing millions of dollars into electric-vehicle startups, car-sharing services and online retailers, as well as software platforms for autonomous driving and online car selling. U.S. tech companies, notably Alphabet Inc. and its self-driving car unit Waymo, also are pushing into the auto sector. But the BAT companies have a big advantage in China, where tight government internet controls make it difficult for foreign enterprises to compete. For example, non-Chinese companies aren't allowed to operate digital mapping systems needed for autonomous driving. That has prompted both foreign and domestic auto companies like Ford Motor Co., BMW AG, SAIC Motor Corp. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. to seal tech partnerships with the BAT firms.
Twitter is reportedly about to join Google in banning cryptocurrency adverts. The social media site is "preparing to prohibit a range of cryptocurrency advertisements amid looming regulatory intervention in the sector", according to Sky News. The company is expected to prohibit advertising for initial coin offerings, token sales and wallets in order to protect consumers from scams. Google announced last week that it would be culling crypto-investment promotions from its search results from June as part of a crackdown on "deceptive content", a damning verdict on the emerging sector. That decision led to a downward slump in the value of all but two of CoinMarketCap's top 50 digicoins, underlining the volatility of virtual currencies and their susceptibility to wild fluctuations.
Christopher Wylie, the man at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, has had his account suspended by Facebook. The whistleblower has accused his former employers of harvesting personal information from more than 50m American Facebook users in order to pass it on to third parties affiliated with the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, enabling them to microtarget potential swing voters with tailored party political advertising. Wylie told The Observer that the start-up he once worked for had used data originally collected from the Facebook pages of paid participants in an academic study and those of their wider friendship networks in order to pass it on to Trump's then-campaign manager Steve Bannon for strategic purposes. The whistleblower joined Twitter in the run-up to the story's publication and tweeted yesterday that Facebook had disabled his account. On something they have known privately for 2 years.
Facebook has a problem it just can't kick: People keep exploiting it in ways that could sway elections, and in the worst cases even undermine democracy. News reports that Facebook let the Trump-affiliated data mining firm Cambridge Analytica abscond with data from tens of millions of users mark the third time in roughly a year the company appears to have been outfoxed by crafty outsiders in this way. Before the Cambridge imbroglio, there were Russian agents running election-related propaganda campaigns through targeted ads and fake political events. And before the Russians took centre stage, there were purveyors of fake news who spread false stories to rile up hyper-partisan audiences and profit from the resulting ad revenue. In the previous cases, Facebook initially downplayed the risks posed by these activities.