Information Technology


How to protect your digital privacy from new Christmas presents

The Guardian

Jeff Bezos knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good, because you didn't change the default privacy settings on the Amazon smart speaker you set up in your bedroom, for goodness' sake. This Christmas, families will be unwrapping various internet-connected devices, and, knowingly or not, wiring up their homes for levels of surveillance rarely seen outside the Soviet bloc. But you still have a bit of control. Here are the best tips to protect your digital privacy, without resorting to Christmas gifts whittled from wood. When you set up an Echo (Amazon's voice-controlled speaker), it will ask for your address book, to set up the Alexa voice-calling feature.


Google to 'shut down plans' for censored Chinese search engine

Daily Mail

Google has been forced to abandon its specialist Chinese search engine that censors results in line with the strict government, reports have claimed. The firm is believed to have shut down an internal data analysis system which was being used to develop the search engine, known as Dragonfly. According to a report from The Intercept, this has'effectively ended' the entire project. Members of Google's privacy team raised concerns about the project back in August and it is now extremely unlikely the search engine can be built without the system, according to sources close to the project. Google has been forced to abandon its plan to launch a specialist Chinese search engine that censors results in line with the strict government.


Kroger starts use of unmanned vehicles for delivery in...

Daily Mail

U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co said on Tuesday it has started using unmanned autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries Scottsdale, Arizona in partnership with Silicon Valley startup Nuro. The delivery service follows a pilot program started by the companies in Scottsdale in August and involved Nuro's R1, a custom unmanned vehicle. The R1 uses public roads and has no driver and is used to only transport goods. Kroger's driverless grocery delivery vehicles are finally hitting the road. The firm said it will start testing the self-driving cars on Thursday at a Fry's Food Store in Scottsdale, Arizona Kroger's deal with Nuro underscores the stiff competition in the U.S. grocery delivery market with supermarket chains angling for a bigger share of consumer spending.


SoftBank alum unveils 'affectionate' companion robot in...

Daily Mail

Japanese startup Groove X, founded by an alumni of SoftBank Group Corp's robotics unit, unveiled its first creation on Tuesday - a companion robot designed to make users happy. The Lovot, an amalgam of'love' and'robot', cannot help with the housework but it will'draw out your ability to love,' Groove X founder and CEO Kaname Hayashi told reporters at the launch in Tokyo. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with its surroundings, the wheeled machine resembles a penguin with cartoonish human eyes, has interchangeable outfits and communicates in squeaks. Groove X's Lovot robots are displayed at their demonstration during the launch event in Tokyo. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with its surroundings, the wheeled machine resembles a penguin with cartoonish human eyes, has interchangeable outfits and communicates in squeaks.


Creepy AI can now create '100 per cent lifelike' human faces from scratch

Daily Mail

Can you tell who is real and who is not? Artificial Intelligence is now able to create lifelike human faces from scratch. Researchers at NVIDIA have been working on creating realistic looking human faces from only a few source photos for years. For many people it's difficult to tell the difference between one of the faces generated below and an actual human face, can you spot which is which? The source image - the top row - are the only legitimate photographs of real people, the rest have been computer generated.



Elon Musk to unveil first 'Boring Project' tunnel under LA

Daily Mail

Elon Musk is set to unveil the first underground tunnel he hopes will revolutionise commuting. Musk also plans to show off the autonomous cars that will carry people through the test tunnel, which runs about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) under the streets of Hawthorne, California, Musk's SpaceX headquarters. He's also planning to unveil elevators he says will bring users' own cars from street level to the tunnel. On Saturday, Musk also shared a teaser for the launch event with a poster of one of the Boring Company's tunnels and a light at the end. The test tunnel runs about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) under the streets of Hawthorne, California, Musk's SpaceX headquarters.


Enabling Faster, More Capable Robots With Real-Time Motion Planning

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. Despite decades of expectations that we will have dexterous robots performing sophisticated tasks in the house and elsewhere, the use of robots remains painfully limited, largely due to insufficient motion-planning performance. Motion planning is the process of determining how to move a robot, or autonomous vehicle, from its current configuration (or pose) to a desired goal configuration: For example, how to reach into a fridge to grab a soda can while avoiding obstacles, like the other items in the fridge and the fridge itself. Until recently, this critical process has been implemented in software running on high-performance commodity hardware.


Kroger launches Nuro unmanned vehicles to delivery groceries to customers in Arizona

USATODAY

By 2025 Kroger will get rid of plastic bags. Kroger is using driverless vehicles to delivery groceries. After nearly half a year of anticipation, Kroger has delivered on its promise to deliver groceries to your door without a delivery person. Through a partnership with Silicon Valley startup Nuro, Kroger will deliver groceries to customers in Scottsdale, Arizona, through driverless vehicles, the U.S. supermarket chain announced Tuesday. The unmanned vehicle, which is called the R1, travels on public roads and only transports goods.


Groove X releases robot designed to show affection to humans

USATODAY

The "Lovot" will mimic human emotion. You no longer need to go to another human or pet to have your dreams fulfilled. Japanese startup Groove X, founded by a SoftBank robotics alumnus, unveiled a robot specifically designed to be a companion for humans. With the help of advanced technology like touch sensors and six-layered eye display, the Lovot -- a combination of "love and robot" -- is designed to mimic human affection. "What GROOVE X have pursued with technology is not efficiency or usefulness but rather a robot that makes people truly happy by its innocent character and charming gestures that feels satisfying to cuddle," the company said in a statement.