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Automatic refill: Driverless prescription delivery is here

ZDNet

A company targeting the nascent driverless urban delivery market is now testing an autonomous prescription delivery service. Nuro, which has been opening up delivery testbeds and was recently awarded a DOT exemption for driverless delivery, has revealed plans along with CVS Pharmacy to test prescription delivery in Houston, Texas, beginning in June. Founded by former Google engineers Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson, Nuro's business model is to deploy a fleet of small, self-driving vans on an as-a-service basis for last-mile urban delivery. According to the company, its pint-sized, battery-powered vans are safer than human-piloted vehicles and will relieve congestion and pollution by taking bigger delivery trucks off crowded city streets. The prescription delivery testbed is a first-of-its-kind rollout in the autonomous delivery space and suggests significant faith in Nuro's identification and security protocols by CVS and the city of Houston.


The CEO's guide to safely reopening the workplace

MIT Technology Review

Perhaps the single biggest implication of reopening national economies is that responsibility and thus liability for dealing with the covid-19 pandemic will shift from the public to the private sector. Fortune 500 CEOs and small business owners alike will soon be making decisions that affect the health not only of their business but also their people (employees, contractors, customers, suppliers)--which in turn affects the health of their families, friends, and neighbors. With so much at stake, how should business leaders plan for operating in the post-stay-at-home phase of the recovery? The current crisis is driven by a health problem: we don't yet have a treatment or a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Managers have little control over that.


AI could help scientists fact-check covid claims amid a deluge of research

MIT Technology Review

An experimental tool helps researchers wade through the overwhelming amount of coronavirus literature to check whether emerging studies follow scientific consensus. Why it matters: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a flood of relevant preprints and papers, produced by people with varying degrees of expertise and vetted through varying degrees of peer review. This has made it challenging for researchers trying to advance their understanding of the virus to sort scientific fact from fiction. How it works: The SciFact tool, developed by the Seattle-based research nonprofit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), is designed to help with this process. Type a scientific claim into its search bar--say, "hypertension is a comorbidity for covid" (translation: hypertension can cause complications for covid patients)--and it will populate a feed with relevant papers, labeled as either supporting or refuting the assertion.


The UN says a new computer simulation tool could boost global development

MIT Technology Review

The news: The United Nations is endorsing a computer simulation tool that it believes will help governments tackle the world's biggest problems, from gender inequality to climate change. Global challenges: In 2015, UN member states signed up for a set of 17 sustainable-development goals that are due to be reached by 2030. They include things like "zero poverty," "no hunger," and "affordable and clean energy." How could the tool help? Called Policy Priority Inference (PPI), the software uses agent-based modeling to predict what would happen if policymakers spent money on one project rather than another.


It's hard to make real money selling virtual goods

Engadget

There's plenty of news right now about how people are trying to make real money through video games, and not just by trying to get a taste of that Ninja game-streaming fortune. Most recently, people are selling items for hard cash inside the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons. As the coronavirus takes a hammer to the economy and a number of people are at risk of penury, selling goods inside the game seems like a good idea. But while there's plenty of hype about the potential for virtual economies to thrive as the real-world ones collapse, the truth is a little different. If you're unfamiliar, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a sim game for the Nintendo Switch in which you build a life for yourself in a community of adorable, anthropomorphic animals.


Amazon's Echo Look fashion camera will stop working on July 24th

Engadget

We hope you wren't leaning on Amazon's Echo Look for fashion advice -- you'll have to find an alternative soon. Simply put, the company no longer feels the Look is necessary given recent changes. Now that Style by Alexa features have found their way into Alexa devices and the Amazon Shopping app, "it's time to wind down" the Look, a spokesperson said. You can read the complete statement below. You aren't completely stranded if the smart camera was a mainstay of your morning routine.


Video Games Don't Have To Be Educational To Spark Learning

NPR Technology

Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. When I was in high school, the best way I could describe myself was as a parent's worst nightmare: I didn't care about my education, didn't do homework, and was known to sleep in class. My SAT score was so bad that I still don't know how I did! My very frustrated mom threw that letter in the trash.


Google to reopen offices in July after coronavirus lockdowns

The Independent - Tech

Google will start reopening its offices from July, after coronavirus lockdowns sent all of its staff home. But the plans will be very phased at the beginning, with only a small number of staff allowed in on a rotating basis, according to its chief executive. In an email sent to staff, Google boss Sundar Pichai said city-based offices will begin to open to some members of staff from July 6. He said phased reopening will allow Google staff to return on a "limited, rotating basis", for example, one day every two weeks, with offices reaching around 10% occupancy. The technology giant began urging staff to work from home in March as the coronavirus outbreak spread around the world.


Amazon facial recognition falsely matches more than 100 politicians to arrested criminals

The Independent - Tech

Amazon's controversial facial recognition technology has incorrectly matched more than 100 photos of politicians in the UK and US to police mugshots, new tests have revealed. Amazon Rekognition uses artificial intelligence software to identify individuals from their facial structure. Customers include law enforcement and US government agencies like Immigration and Custome Enforcement (ICE). It is not the first time the software's accuracy has been called into question. In July 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found 28 false matches between US Congress members and pictures of people arrested for a crime.


Facebook knew its algorithm made people turn against each other but stopped research

The Independent - Tech

Facebook executives took the decision to end research that would make the social media site less polarising for fears that it would unfairly target right-wing users, according to new reports. The company also knew that its recommendation algorithm exacerbated divisiveness, leaked internal research from 2016 appears to indicate. Building features to combat that would require the company to sacrifice engagement – and by extension, profit – according to a later document from 2018 which described the proposals as "antigrowth" and requiring "a moral stance." "Our algorithms exploit the human brain's attraction to divisiveness," a 2018 presentation warned, warning that if action was not taken Facebook would provide users "more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform." According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, in 2017 and 2018 Facebook conducted research through newly created "Integrity Teams" to tackle extremist content and a cross-jurisdictional task force dubbed "Common Ground."