Robotic inspectors developed to fix wind farms


Fully autonomous robots that are able to inspect damaged wind farms have been developed by Scots scientists. Unlike most drones, they don't require a human operator and could end the need for technicians to abseil down turbines to carry out repairs. The multi-million pound project is showing how the bots can walk, dive, fly and even think for themselves. They're being developed by Orca - the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets hub. The hub bills itself as the largest academic centre of its kind in the world and is led from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities through its Centre for Robotics.

Robot-assisted surgery? Automation might not be all bad when it comes to health care


Need to back up personal files outside your computer? Here's a breakdown on the type of hard drives you can choose from to save your important files. Various forms of automation are sweeping through the economy. The thought of machines doing human work and eliminating jobs is a big worry, but it's not all bad. Automation can be a force for good, and health care is an example.

Powerful computer vision algorithms are now small enough to run on your phone


Researchers have shrunk state-of-the-art computer vision models to run on low-power devices. Growing pains: Visual recognition is deep learning's strongest skill. Computer vision algorithms are analyzing medical images, enabling self-driving cars, and powering face recognition. But training models to recognize actions in videos has grown increasingly expensive. This has fueled concerns about the technology's carbon footprint and its increasing inaccessibility in low-resource environments.

How Photos of Your Kids Are Powering Surveillance Technology


One day in 2005, a mother in Evanston, Ill., joined Flickr. Then she more or less forgot her account existed. Years later, their faces are in a database that's used to test and train some of the most sophisticated artificial intelligence systems in the world. The pictures of Chloe and Jasper Papa as kids are typically goofy fare: grinning with their parents; sticking their tongues out; costumed for Halloween. None of them could have foreseen that 14 years later, those images would reside in an unprecedentedly huge facial-recognition database called MegaFace.

Number of Japanese language schools soaring in Asia, survey finds

The Japan Times

About 3.85 million people studied Japanese at a record 18,604 institutions overseas in fiscal 2018, with the number of institutions soaring in Asia, according to a survey released this week. The number of Japanese language institutions jumped nearly fourfold to 818 in Vietnam from the previous survey in fiscal 2015 and nearly tripled to 400 in Myanmar, said the survey by the Japan Foundation, a government-backed organization conducting international cultural exchange programs. The number of Japanese learners overseas rose 5.2 percent to 3,846,773, led by a 169.0 percent surge to 174,461 in Vietnam, it said. The survey found a record high 142 countries and territories offering Japanese language education, five more than the fiscal 2015 level. The five include East Timor, Zimbabwe and Montenegro.

Infographic: The rise of voice search


Up until recently, when users wanted to search for something online, they would need to type their queries into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. However, the development of voice search technology means that users can now simply speak their query aloud into a device such as a smart speaker (e.g. the Google Home) or an AI-powered virtual assistant (e.g. the Amazon Alexa) and receive a verbal answer to that query. ComScore predicts that voice search will account for half of all online searches by the year 2020. So, what exactly is the appeal of this technology for users? Vocal search is changing how people search for things online so you will have to adapt your approach to keyword research accordingly.

Using Machine Learning to Hunt Down Cybercriminals


"This is a key first step in being able to shed light on serial hijackers' behavior," says MIT Ph.D. candidate Cecilia Testart. Hijacking IP addresses is an increasingly popular form of cyber-attack. This is done for a range of reasons, from sending spam and malware to stealing Bitcoin. It's estimated that in 2017 alone, routing incidents such as IP hijacks affected more than 10 percent of all the world's routing domains. There have been major incidents at Amazon and Google and even in nation-states -- a study last year suggested that a Chinese telecom company used the approach to gather intelligence on western countries by rerouting their Internet traffic through China.

Why deep-learning AIs are so easy to fool


A self-driving car approaches a stop sign, but instead of slowing down, it accelerates into the busy intersection. An accident report later reveals that four small rectangles had been stuck to the face of the sign. These fooled the car's onboard artificial intelligence (AI) into misreading the word'stop' as'speed limit 45'. Such an event hasn't actually happened, but the potential for sabotaging AI is very real. Researchers have already demonstrated how to fool an AI system into misreading a stop sign, by carefully positioning stickers on it1. They have deceived facial-recognition systems by sticking a printed pattern on glasses or hats. And they have tricked speech-recognition systems into hearing phantom phrases by inserting patterns of white noise in the audio.

'Alexa, are you invading my privacy?' – the dark side of our voice assistants

The Guardian

One day in 2017, Alexa went rogue. When Martin Josephson, who lives in London, came home from work, he heard his Amazon Echo Dot voice assistant spitting out fragmentary commands, seemingly based on his previous interactions with the device. It appeared to be regurgitating requests to book train tickets for journeys he had already taken and to record TV shows that he had already watched. Josephson had not said the wake word – "Alexa" – to activate it and nothing he said would stop it. It was, he says, "Kafkaesque". This was especially interesting because Josephson (not his real name) was a former Amazon employee.

Blizzard Entertainment Bans Professional Gamer for Supporting Hong Kong Protestors

TIME - Tech

Blizzard Entertainment has banned a professional Hearthstone player who expressed support for protestors in Hong Kong during a live broadcast following the recent Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament in which the top pro players from the region participate -- and rescinded the money he won in the competition. Blizzard Entertainment, a U.S.-based video game developer that's a part of the entertainment company Activision Blizzard, is the publisher behind the digital collectible card game Hearthstone. During a post-game interview Sunday on the official Hearthstone Taiwan livestream, the player, Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung, pulled down a pro-democracy Hong Kong-style mask and shouted, "Liberate Hong Kong. Inven Global, a website that covers esports and gaming news, reports that Blitzchung shouted the phrase in Chinese. Blitzchung is from Hong Kong, according to Inven Global. A clip of the interview can be seen here. In response, Blizzard, a U.S.-based video game developer, banned Blitzchung from competing in Hearthstone tournaments for a year, starting on Oct. 5. The company said Blitzchung has been removed from the Grandmasters roster, and will not receive any prize money he earned during the Grandmasters season 2 tournament. According to a statement from Blizzard, Blitzchung violated a competition rule that bars players from doing anything that "brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image." Blitzchung lost $10,000 in prize earnings, Bloomberg reports. In a statement to Inven Global, Blitzchung said he viewed his comments as a continuation of his participation in the protests. "As you know, there are serious protests in my country now.