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Want a hybrid workforce? The trick is getting humans and machines speaking to each other

ZDNet

A stealth company is trying to solve one of the oddest interoperability problems of the modern era: How do you get robots and non-engineers talking to each other? Founded by the former Director of Robotics for Google, the company, Formant, is making its first public bow comes thanks to a recently-announced $6 million in funding from SignalFire. Formant's pitch is straightforward, and it illustrates the peculiar problem of automation in 2019: Robots perform a lot of tasks in industries like logistics and manufacturing, but those industries still rely on humans for crucial decisions robots can't yet make. Getting robots and humans communicating in real time to facilitate that decision-making has been tricky and usually requires an intermediary in the form of an engineer. Global demand for robots is expected to exceed $77 billion by 2022, nearly doubling since 2017.


Seals have been trained to sing the Star Wars theme - have a listen

New Scientist

Three grey seals have been trained to copy speech, as well as notes from music including the Star Wars theme and the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Vincent Janik and colleagues at the University of St Andrews in the UK worked with the seals from birth, training them to copy new sounds by changing their formants. "Formants are emphasised frequency bands in our speech sounds," says Janik. "They are parts of our speech sounds that we modify to encode information. For example, different vowels only differ in their formants." The seals were first trained to copy sequences of their own sounds, and then create melodies in their pitch.


New commander named for US Pacific Fleet

FOX News

HONOLULU – President Donald Trump has named Vice Adm. John Aquilino as the new U.S. Pacific Fleet commander.


Another scooter-share company? Yep, and here's why

ZDNet

As questions fly about whether scooter-share companies like Bird and Lime can survive COVID-19 shutdowns, is there really room for another scooter company to enter the fray? If investors in a new player on the scene are any indication, the answer is a firm yes. The best telepresence hardware to go beyond video conferencing and make remote work truly collaborative. The company is Superpedestrian, a Boston-based mobility, engineering, and technology startup founded by urban transportation experts from MIT. Superpedestrian has announced that it closed an additional $15 million, adding to a $20 million the company raised late last year and bringing total funding to around $80 million. Another scooter company, even as Bird is reeling from massive layoffs?


Fleet Management Software: Making Sense of the Marketplace

#artificialintelligence

Mature fleet management software deployments use fleet telematics and software with Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. In addition to using IoT fleet management for tracking capabilities, companies use the technology to optimize compliance, efficiency and safety, and increase the effectiveness of fleet operations, including maintenance, inspections and fuel consumption. Before investing in any fleet management software technology, enterprises should define their objectives. Selecting the applications to deploy requires balancing and prioritizing the needs of different business units (e.g., fleet operations versus customer service).