World Autism Awareness Day: Humanoid robot with skin sensors to help children in NHS trial

The Independent - Tech

Kaspar, a humanoid robot designed to help children with autism, is set to be trialled by the NHS. The child-sized robot was created by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and is programmed to respond to touch. Kaspar is designed to play games with children, using a collection of skin sensors placed on various parts of its body to "encourage certain tactile behaviours" and discourage "inappropriate" ones. It will be used to teach five-to-ten year-olds who have recently been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) how to socialise and communicate. This is because research indicates that early intervention increases the likelihood of improved long-term outcomes for children with the condition.

Cyber ransoming: A growing parasitical business for UK hackers

The Independent - Tech

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting UK workers files and data, and the Metropolitan Police have warned that "no one is safe". The FBI, Metropolitan Police, and security experts all agree that cyber ransoming has fast become one of UK's biggest economic crimes. Unpredictable, unstoppable and potentially fatal to a business, the rapid emergence of ransomware has become a threat to people across the nation. August Graham, the editor of the Sentinel, arrived at work one morning last summer to find a note pop up on one of the computer screens. It informed him that all the files on the firm's server had been encrypted and were being held ransom.

This is for you, Elon Musk: 5 threats to humanity greater than artificial intelligence


We need to have a little talk. I understand that you're very worried about what artificial intelligence could mean for our future. In fact, just the other week you said that it's the "greatest risk we face as a civilization," an idea that has been echoed by high-profile futurists around the world. But I'm here to tell you that it's time to take a deep breath and maybe get a little perspective on A.I. for a minute, when compared to the wide array of threats we face. SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says Mark Zuckerberg has'limited understanding' of AI Elon, it's nice that you have the privilege of focusing on an existential threat that might rear its ugly head far off in the future, but not all of us are in that position.

Paul Allen death: The Microsoft founder who was a space pioneer, football lover and guitar player 'as good as Hendrix'

The Independent - Tech

Paul Allen found fame and immense fortune through his work building Microsoft. But his passions were as broad as they were spectacular: he had an enthusiasm for everything from rocket ships to rock'n'roll. The Microsoft co-founder died in Seattle this week from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to his company Vulcan Inc. Allen came to fame and fortune as a consequence of his work with Microsoft. He gave the company its name and its start, and spawned an entire industry that changed the world: "Personal computing would not have existed without him," Bill Gates said in a statement. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.

Hackers will soon be able to manipulate people's memory through brain implants, researchers warn

The Independent - Tech

The development of so-called neurostimulators may lead to dystopian scenarios whereby hackers create false memories and implant them in people's brains, researchers have warned. The human brain is vulnerable to manipulation through implantable medical devices used to treat things like Parkinson's, according to a practical and theoretical review of this and other scenarios undertaken by the University of Oxford Functional Neurosurgery Group and Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky. Within a decade, technology will also have progressed to the point that commercial memory boosting implants will be available to buy, according to the researchers, while 20 years from now could see a time when it will the technology will be advanced enough to allow for "extensive control over memories." The development of these technologies will have a number of healthcare benefits and will open up the possibility of new bio-connected technologies like increased brain capacity, however it also holds the potential for exploitation and abuse. "New threats resulting from this could include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts; while'repurposed' cyberthreats could target new opportunities for cyber-espionage or the theft, deletion of, or'locking' of memories (for example, in return for a ransom)," the researchers wrote in their report'The Memory Market: Preparing for a future where cyberthreats target your past'.