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Is Artificial Intelligence the Biggest Threat to Humanity? -- Sentient Machines

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The creators of these films imagine a world where humans have lost control of the technology they developed and must fight for survival of the human species. It could also be suggested the writers and directors of these films are predicting a world where these things happen. After all, many notable figures in the world of tech such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and even Stephen Hawking have all made warnings against the potential consequences of AI. But how accurate is the silver screen's depiction and are the fears of my friend based off of these films warranted? Is AI going rogue, building a robot army and attempting to eradicate humans as likely as finding a dead body on top of a lift or being attacked by a giant shark off the Isle of Wight?


Jeanette Winterson: 'The male push is to discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space'

The Guardian

"It was uproar," she says, "We saw cars on fire." Her flat is in the East End district of Spitalfields in a Georgian house, which she bought 25 years ago, complete with a little shop that she ran for years as an organic grocer and tea room until the rates got too high, and she let it out to an upmarket chocolatier. It's as if a scene from Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop has been dropped into a satire about prosperity Britain: the quaint old shopfront is still intact, while outside it a lifesize sculpture of a rowing boat full of people sits surreally in the middle of the street, and a little further along, a herd of large bronze elephants frolics. These public artworks only arrived a few weeks ago, Winterson explains, as part of a grand plan to pedestrianise the area, and make it more buzzy, just at the moment that the sort of well-heeled office workers who bought upmarket chocolates are abandoning it owing to the Covid pandemic. We're at a transitional moment in so many ways, she says – a perfect moment to launch a book that reassesses the past while staring the future in the face.


Why our fears of job-killing robots are overblown

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The more general point is that computer algorithms will have a devil of a time predicting which jobs are most at risk for being replaced by computers, since they have no comprehension of the skills required to do a particular job successfully. In one study that was widely covered (including by The Washington Post, The Economist, Ars Technica, and The Verge), Oxford University researchers used the U.S. Department of Labor's O NET database, which assesses the importance of various skill competencies for hundreds of occupations. For example, using a scale of 0 to 100, O*NET gauges finger dexterity to be more important for dentists (81) than for locksmiths (72) or barbers (60). The Oxford researchers then coded each of 70 occupations as either automatable or not and correlated these yes/no assessments with O*NET's scores for nine skill categories. Using these statistical correlations, the researchers then estimated the probability of computerization for 702 occupations.


China Roundup: Kai-Fu Lee's first Europe bet, WeRide buys a truck startup – TechCrunch

#artificialintelligence

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch's China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. Despite the geopolitical headwinds for foreign tech firms to enter China, many companies, especially those that find a dependable partner, are still forging ahead. For this week's roundup, I'm including a conversation I had with Prophesee, a French vision technology startup, which recently got funding from Kai-Fu Lee and Xiaomi, along with the usual news digest. Like many companies working on futuristic, cutting-edge tech in Europe, Prophesee was a spinout from university research labs. Previously, I covered two such companies from Sweden: Imint, which improves smartphone video production through deep learning, and Dirac, an expert in sound optimization.


An AI-Controlled Drone Racer Has Beaten Human Pilots For The First Time

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Drone racing is an increasingly popular sport with big money prizes for skilled professionals. New control algorithms developed at the University of Zurich (UZH) have beaten experienced human pilots for the first time – but they still have significant limitations. In the past, attempts to develop automated algorithms to beat humans have run into problems with accurately simulating the limitations of the quadcopter and the flight path it takes. Traditional flight paths around a complex drone racing course are calculated using polynomial methods which produce a series of smooth curves, and these are not necessarily as fast as the sharper and more jagged paths flown by human pilots. A team from the Robotics and Perception Group at UZH has developed a trajectory planning algorithm to calculates the optimal route at every point in the flight, rather than doing it section by section.


World's first 3D printed steel bridge weighing 4.9 tons opens to public in Amsterdam

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

You may have heard of 3D movies and paintings, but would you dare walk on a 3D steel printed bridge? Amsterdam has just installed the world's first, built to withstand heavy pedestrian traffic. The bridge, which is now open to pedestrians and cyclists, was created by the Imperial College London and took over four years to build, according to a press release. The bridge was publicly revealed by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. The almost 40-foot structure weights 4.9 tons and will be carefully monitored using installed sensors.


Amazon's Alexa can now answer questions about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The moment that sports fans around the world have been waiting for is almost here, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics finally kicking off today. With over 200 countries and regions competing across 33 sports and 46 disciplines, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest news. Thankfully, Amazon has your back, and has equipped its smart assistant, Alexa, with facts to give users quick and easy access to the latest news and successes throughout the games. 'Alexa, what's Team GB's Olympics update?' 'Alexa, what's Team Ireland's Olympics update?' 'Alexa, which country has the most gold meals?' 'Alexa, who is the athlete of the day?' Users of Alexa-enabled devices can ask the smart assistant a range of questions, including'Alexa, which country has the most gold medals?', and receive answers almost immediately. Amazon explained: 'Following the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday 23rd July, Alexa will give customers the low down on Team GB, Team Ireland, ParalympicsGB and Paralympics Ireland athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games this year.


Russia's Cutting-edge Drone Unveiled at MAKS 2021 - ELE Times

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Zala Aero, a Russian UAV manufacturer, presented its state-of-the-art vertical takeoff and landing drone – the ZALA VTOL – at the MAKS 2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, the company told reporters during the air show. "The ZALA VTOL combines the properties of an airplane type drone and a tilt-rotor aircraft. The flight configuration changes depending on the assigned mission. The electric propulsion system enables the aircraft to be in the air for up to 4 hours, providing a range of up to 200 km in aircraft configuration," the company said. The built-in on-board computer ZX1 based on artificial intelligence makes it possible to process Full HD format data and transmit HD videos and photos over encrypted communication links to a ground control station.


Oscar-Winning VFX House Backs Two New ML Research Fellowships

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Oscar-winning creative studio Framestore and Bournemouth University are seeking two research fellows to help drive forward the future of visual effects. Joining the Faculty of Media and Communications' Centre for Applied Creative Technologies (CfACTs) and gaining access to Framestore's world-leading teams, tech and software, the selected candidates will embark on two-year research programmes to help solve key problems facing the VFX industry. Manne Öhrström, Framestore's Global Head of Software VFX, said: "Framestore's Technology & Research Team comprises a diverse melting pot of computer scientists, engineers and physicists who are always striving for innovative solutions to take the company's work to the next level. This is a group of gifted technologists wholly focused on the industry's future, and the work they do impacts every aspect of Framestore's business. The potential for using machine learning in areas like lighting and rendering is huge, and we can't wait to welcome two new research fellows to the team – we're sure that their work will prove absolutely invaluable."


Global IoT subscriptions trends point to slow but steady progress - Verdict

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GlobalData predicts cellular IoT subscriptions will grow in the range of 12-16% CAGR, depending on region, over the next five years, as remote working, autonomous vehicles, robotics, and other advanced use cases accelerate. There are many recent examples of IoT deals and alliances that signify traction. GlobalData's Q2 mobile trends report provides insights into subscriptions for mobile networks; among many other key findings, it offers a clue to the progress of IoT uptake in different regions. North America: Cellular IoT subscriptions will reach 151.5 million at year-end 2021, and will make up 26.5% of total mobile subscriptions in the region. GlobalData expects the number of North American IoT connections to increase at a CAGR of 15.6% from 2021-2026, reaching 312.3 million at the end of the period.