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Debt-ridden Nissan hopes spending big on tech will reverse slide

The Japan Times

After two years of faltering sales and fallout from the 2018 arrest of then-Chairman Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor Co.'s newly installed management is at another crossroads: how to get Japan's second-largest automaker out of a rut and beyond the shadow of the disgraced executive who drove its strategy for decades. It's a tall order, particularly considering Nissan's hefty pile of debt, around ¥8.3 trillion ($80 billion) -- double what it had 10 years ago -- lackluster showing in Europe, and U.K. factory supply chain woes. Nissan is also facing unparalleled competition, especially in the realm of advanced autonomous driving. The automaker spends only about half of the ¥1 trillion that Toyota Motor Corp. outlays annually on research and development and carmakers in general lag behind capital-rich tech firms like Alphabet Inc., which has spent more than $1 billion on self-driving technology via subsidiary Waymo LLC. Nissan Senior Vice President Takao Asami is cognizant of the challenges, admitting that "if we lose out in terms of technology, we're going to lose out in terms of business." "Lately there's been a lot of discussion internally about what our DNA is, what areas we can dig deep into and win," Asami said in an interview.


China's growing use of emotion recognition tech raises rights concerns

The Japan Times

Technology that measures emotions based on biometric indicators such as facial movements, tone of voice or body movements is increasingly being marketed in China, researchers say, despite concerns about its accuracy and wider human rights implications. Drawing upon artificial intelligence, the tools range from cameras to help police monitor a suspect's face during an interrogation to eye-tracking devices in schools that identify students who are not paying attention. A report released this week from U.K.-based human rights group Article 19 identified dozens of companies offering such tools in the education, public security and transportation sectors in China. "We believe that their design, development, deployment, sale and transfers should be banned due to the racist foundations and fundamental incompatibility with human rights," said Vidushi Marda, a senior program officer at Article 19. Human emotions cannot be reliably measured and quantified by technology tools, said Shazeda Ahmed, a doctoral candidate studying cybersecurity at the University of California, Berkeley and the report's co-author. Such systems can perpetuate bias, especially those sold to police that purport to identify criminality based on biometric indicators, she added.


Cloris Leachman: A look back at her biggest roles, from 'Young Frankenstein' to 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top entertainment and celebrity headlines are here. Check out what's clicking today in entertainment. Cloris Leachman, known for her decades-long career in film, television and beyond, has died at the age of 94. She died on Wednesday of natural causes, her rep told Fox News. Leachman was a history-making actress, having racked up more Emmy award wins than any other performer in the business with eight awards for primetime programming and an additional Daytime Emmy for appearing in "ABC Afterschool Specials."


Commonwealth Bank's refreshed digital strategy to focus on the power of AI

ZDNet

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced a "refresh" to its digital strategy, one that CEO Matt Comyn said would help his bank provide one of the best digital experiences of any company, globally. The bank in October 2019 announced it was pumping more than AU$5 billion into technology over a five-year period. On Thursday, Comyn said that number was "continuing to increase". "We're prepared to invest in our business where we see opportunities … we've got a whole ambition in this space and it's going to require investment," he said. One such investment is the bank's Customer Engagement Engine.


Tesla's 'transformative' fourth quarter tops a full year of positive revenue

Engadget

It's 2021 and nearly 7 percent of the US workforce is currently idle on account of the pandemic but heck if Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't still making money hand over fist. He's surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on the planet over the past year, all while his company has delivered a record number of electric vehicles to Tesla customers worldwide. The company reportedly handed off 499,550 vehicles in 2020 -- just a hair shy of its 500k delivery target and a 36 percent increase over 2019's delivery figures. The company credits strong sales of the Model Y in the Chinese market for helping reach that high water mark. "Given Tesla's stock doubling again since November, we believe... bulls are betting on Tesla leading commercialization of autonomous vehicles technology," Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch told Yahoo! Finance in a note last week.


13-Inch M1 MacBook Pro 2020 Review: near perfection

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

When the new M1 Macs came out in November, we were impressed with their performance specs but also worried that the new ARM-based processors would have compatibility issues with many older, x86 based apps that users have come to love on MacOS. We thankfully saw many companies (such as Google, Adobe, and Blizzard) rushing to release M1 versions of their software right at launch, and native support has only gotten better since. For the stragglers still running on x86 architecture, Apple's new Rosetta2 emulator does a fantastic job of providing a seamless experience for users--most people won't even notice that apps like Steam aren't running natively on the M1 Macs. The M1 MacBook Pro 13 is undoubtedly the best MacBook Pro 13 we've seen in a long time. Apart from its blazing speeds in single and multi-core performance, its integrated graphics are actually a bit ahead of both AMD- and Intel-based machines (although the graphics performance is still a far cry from that seen from discrete GPUs like the AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce RTX cards).


Amazon's motorized Echo Show 10 goes on sale February 25th

Engadget

Back at its fall hardware event last year, Amazon announced the Echo Show 10. And now it finally has a release date. You'll be able to pick the company's latest smart display on February 25th for $250. In case you need a refresher, the Echo Show 10 is one of Amazon's strangest devices to date. It features a rotating base and a computer vision algorithm that allows its 10-inch screen to reposition itself and face you head-on wherever you are in a room.


Video games deserve better than blanket, parachute coverage from reporters who don't get it

Washington Post - Technology News

The headline and premise seem sound. There are many valid concerns, as well as unknowns, over the amount of exposure we're all getting to digital media while the U.S. remains on lockdown from covid-19. But the framing of the piece is flawed and embarrassing, using a Colorado parent's worry over their child's Xbox usage as its case in point. This framing conflates digital screen time to video games, which are two different things. The piece quotes a Stanford University professor who warns of a period of "epic withdrawal" because young people won't be able to "sustain attention in normal interactions without getting a reward hit every few seconds."


MIT's oncological risk AI calculates cancer chances regardless of race

Engadget

Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems continue to be adopted into an ever wider array of healthcare applications, such as assisting doctors with medical image diagnostics. Capable of understanding X-rays and rapidly generating MRIs -- sometimes even able to spot cases of COVID -- these systems have also proven effective at noticing early signs of breast cancer which might otherwise be missed by radiologists. Google and IBM, as well as medical centers and university research teams around the world, have all sought to develop such cancer-catching algorithms. They can spot worrisome lumps as well as radiologists can and predict future onsets of the disease "significantly" better than the humans that trained them. However many medical AI imaging systems produce markedly less accurate results for black and brown people -- despite WOC being 43 percent more likely to die from breast cancer compared to their white counterparts.


These Doctors Are Using AI to Screen for Breast Cancer

WIRED

When Covid came to Massachusetts, it forced Constance Lehman to change how Massachusetts General Hospital screens women for breast cancer. Many people were skipping regular checkups and scans due to worries about the virus. So the center Lehman codirects began using an artificial intelligence algorithm to predict who is at most risk of developing cancer. Since the outbreak began, Lehman says, around 20,000 women have skipped routine screening. Normally five of every 1,000 women screened shows signs of cancer.