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The Independent - Tech


YouTube to let creators use Google AI to automatically reply to comments

The Independent - Tech

YouTube is rolling out its "SmartReply" technology to YouTube, meaning that comments you see on the site might not actually have been written by a human. The technology analyses messages and then uses artificial intelligence to guess what a person might want to say in response to them. Users can then select that response and post it, without ever having to write anything out for themselves. It has already appeared within Gmail and Android's Messages app, and is open to developers who can integrate it within their own app. But it is now coming to YouTube, which represents the most public place any messages written by the SmartReply software will be seen.


New glove translates sign language to speech in real time

The Independent - Tech

Bioengineers have designed a glove that is able to translate American Sign Language to speech in real time. The glove has thin, stretchable sensors inside which run to the fingertips. These sensors are able to pick up and motions and finger placement through electrically conducting yarns. Those sensors are then connected to a small piece of circuit board – approximately the size of a coin – that users wear on their wrists. As such, when people move their hands and fingers to sign words, the glove is able to translate the individual letters, numbers, words and phrases into spoken words.


Nasa delays trip to Mars carrying Perseverance rover amid fears it could miss chance to launch

The Independent - Tech

Nasa has been forced to delay the launch of its newest and most ambitious Mars rover – leading to fears it might miss its launch window entirely. The Perseverance rover and its associated mission will cost about $3 billion. It will look for signs of Martian life in the past, as well as gathering materials from the surface that will one day be returned to Earth.


DuckDuckGo down in India: Private browser mysteriously stops working

The Independent - Tech

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has reported that its service is not working in India. "To our users in India: We've received many reports our search engine is unreachable by much of India right now and have confirmed it is not due to us," the company tweeted. "We're actively talking to Internet providers to get to the bottom of it ASAP. It is unclear why DuckDuckGo would be unavailable in the country. It remains online in other countries, including the United Kingdom.


AI experts warn against crime prediction algorithms, saying there are no 'physical features to criminality'

The Independent - Tech

A number of AI researchers, data scientists, sociologists, and historians have written an open letter to end the publishing of research that claims artificial intelligence or facial recognition can predict whether a person is likely to be a criminal. The letter, signed by over 1000 experts, argues that data generated by the criminal justice system cannot be used to "identify criminals" or predict behaviour. Historical court and arrest data reflect the policies and practises of the criminal justice system and are therefore biased, the experts say. "These data reflect who police choose to arrest, how judges choose to rule, and which people are granted longer or more lenient sentences," the letter reads. Moreover, by continuing these studies, "'criminality' operates as a proxy for race due to racially discriminatory practices in law enforcement and criminal justice, research of this nature creates dangerous feedback loops" the letter says.


Amazon buys self-driving car startup Zoox

The Independent - Tech

Amazon has bought self-driving car company Zoox. The company aims to build autonomous vehicles that people will be able to order like taxis, and will now do the same under Amazon's direction, it indicated. Zoox was developing robotic vehicles without steering wheels, brakes, and accelerator pedals. The news was first reported on Thursday by The Information before being announced by Amazon. The purchase gives Amazon control of a 1000-person team, which had previously been designing prototype vehicles for travel in urban areas.


Samsung Pay Card offers rival to Apple Wallet and credit card

The Independent - Tech

Samsung has partnered with London-based fintech startup Curve to launch a digital payments card later this year. The Samsung Pay Card will allow users to link all of their bank and loyalty cards to a single digital card on their phone, the tech giant said. It will also allow people with Samsung smartphones to control their money and view all their spending from a single place. The company is also working with Mastercard to launch the new feature. The announcement continues a growing trend of technology firms such as Google and Apple offering a variety of digital payment solutions on their smartphones – last year Apple launched its own credit card for the first time through its Apple Wallet payments app.


Google to start automatically deleting data as part of privacy drive

The Independent - Tech

Google will start automatically deleting users' data as part of a plan to increase privacy on its services. The new change is just one of a wide number of alterations intended to show the company's commitment to privacy, according to chief executive Sundar Pichai. It will also allow people to more easily turn on incognito mode, invest in better technology to protect privacy, and more easily perform checks that alert users if their password is caught up in large breaches. Perhaps the largest of the changes is the switch so that activity gathered about people's physical location as well as about their behaviour on the internet is automatically deleted after 18 months. That option has been available for users since last year, but has been turned off by default.


Scientists create the fastest computer ever made, as 'Fugaku' supercomputer hits top of ranking

The Independent - Tech

Scientists have created the fastest computer ever. The Japanese supercomputer named "Fugaku" now sits at the top of official rankings of how quickly they can do certain real-world tasks. Fugaku was awarded the top spot on the Top500 list, which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers, its creators said. It is also now at the top of other rankings that test how quickly it would perform in real-world applications, how well it can conduct certain artificial intelligence tasks, and how well it can perform with data-intensive processes. No supercomputer has ever scored at the top of the three rankings – known as Top500, HPCG, and Graph500 – before, the creators said.


Apple AirPods update brings host of new features to wireless earbuds

The Independent - Tech

Apple has unveiled a new software update for its AirPods, bringing a host of new features. It includes a "spatial audio" feature, which uses filters and other technology to allow the sound to feel like it is coming from around the person despite using only two headphones, Apple said. The feature uses motion sensors in the earphones and the device to keep the sound static even when a person's head or iPad is moving around, Apple said. That feature will only be available on the newer AirPods Pro, Apple said. The new software also includes "automatic switching", which means that the AirPods will connect to whichever device is being used, rather than their owners having to manually change between their iPhone and iPad, for instance.