FAA drone testing program takes off in 10 cities

ZDNet

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving forward with its plans to accelerate drone testing in the US -- with help from technology companies including Alphabet, FedEx and Intel. The agency announced 10 states that will participate in the the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, an effort that aims to study the potential uses of drones in agriculture, commerce, emergency management, and human transportation. The 10 pilot winners include the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in Durant, Oklahoma; the City of San Diego, California; the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, in Herndon, Virginia; the Kansas Department of Transportation; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; the North Carolina Department of Transportation; the North Dakota Department of Transportation; the City of Reno, Nevada; and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. First announced last October, the UAS program aims to partner the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, along with private sector technology companies, to explore the integration of drone operations across industries. The program will also address public safety and security risks that go along with bringing drones into the national airspace.


US will test expanded drone use in 10 states

Engadget

The US government is making good on its promise to expand the use of drones. The Department of Transportation has named the 10 projects that will participate in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, and they represent a wide swath of the country. Most of them are municipal or state government bodies, including the cities of Reno and San Diego, Memphis' County Airport Authority and the Transportation Departments for Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota. However, the rest are notable: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will be part of the program, as will the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Virginia Tech. Notably, Virginia Tech is working with Google's Project Wing drone delivery initiative as well as transportation and tech giants like Airbus, AT&T and Intel.


Congress, Privacy Groups Question Amazon's Echo Dot for Kids

WIRED

Lawmakers, child development experts, and privacy advocates are expressing concerns about two new Amazon products targeting children, questioning whether they prod kids to be too dependent on technology and potentially jeopardize their privacy. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday, two members of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus raised concerns about Amazon's smart speaker Echo Dot Kids and a companion service called FreeTime Unlimited that lets kids access a children's version of Alexa, Amazon's voice-controlled digital assistant. "While these types of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology offer potentially new educational and entertainment opportunities, Americans' privacy, particularly children's privacy, must be paramount," wrote Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas), both cofounders of the privacy caucus. The letter includes a dozen questions, including requests for details about how audio of children's interactions is recorded and saved, parental control over deleting recordings, a list of third parties with access to the data, whether data will be used for marketing purposes, and Amazon's intentions on maintaining a profile on kids who use these products. Echo Dot Kids is the latest in a wave of products from dominant tech players targeting children, including Facebook's communications app Messenger Kids and Google's YouTube Kids, both of which have been criticized by child health experts concerned about privacy and developmental issues.


Amazon argues AI assistant Alexa has free speech rights in murder trial

The Independent - Tech

Amazon has argued that the voice of Alexa, the artificial intelligence assistant used in its range of Echo speakers, has First Amendment rights. The company is fighting an order to hand over recordings from an Amazon Echo used by James Andrew Bates, who is on trial for allegedly murdering his friend Victor Collins in Arkansas in November 2015. Amazon has filed a 90-page document, which is available to read on Forbes, contesting the warrant demanding the audio covering the 48-hour period from 21-22 November 2015. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo.


'Explainable Artificial Intelligence': Cracking open the black box of AI

#artificialintelligence

At a demonstration of Amazon Web Services' new artificial intelligence image recognition tool last week, the deep learning analysis calculated with near certainty that a photo of speaker Glenn Gore depicted a potted plant. "It is very clever, it can do some amazing things but it needs a lot of hand holding still. AI is almost like a toddler. They can do some pretty cool things, sometimes they can cause a fair bit of trouble," said AWS' chief architect in his day two keynote at the company's summit in Sydney. Where the toddler analogy falls short, however, is that a parent can make a reasonable guess as to, say, what led to their child drawing all over the walls, and ask them why.