NPR Technology


U.S. Postal Service Is Testing Self-Driving Trucks

NPR Technology

A mail carrier for the United States Postal Service makes deliveries at a Florida apartment complex in June 2018. The USPS has partnered with TuSimple to launch a multi-state driverless semi-truck test program on Tuesday. It doesn't involve home deliveries. A mail carrier for the United States Postal Service makes deliveries at a Florida apartment complex in June 2018. The USPS has partnered with TuSimple to launch a multi-state driverless semi-truck test program on Tuesday.


Microsoft President Brad Smith Discusses The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence

NPR Technology

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Microsoft President Brad Smith about why he thinks the government should regulate artificial intelligence, especially facial recognition technology.


Experts Talk Best Practices For Facial Recognition Technology

NPR Technology

San Francisco's move to ban facial recognition software has worried the industry, which would prefer regulation. But what should regulation look like? We talk to the experts on both sides.


San Francisco Is First U.S. City To Ban Facial Recognition Technology

NPR Technology

San Francisco could become the first large city to bar police from using facial recognition software. They tried a facial recognition system for a time, but sources in the department say they gave up on it because it wasn't much good. But what is significant about this legislation is the way the city has now singled-out facial recognition going forward. AARON PESKIN: Facial recognition technology is uniquely dangerous and oppressive. KASTE: That's the legislation's author, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, explaining yesterday why his legislation allows for other kinds of surveillance tech but not facial recognition.


San Francisco Approves Ban On Government's Use Of Facial Recognition Technology

NPR Technology

In this Oct. 31 photo, a man has his face painted to represent efforts to defeat facial recognition. It was during a protest at Amazon headquarters over the company's facial recognition system. In this Oct. 31 photo, a man has his face painted to represent efforts to defeat facial recognition. It was during a protest at Amazon headquarters over the company's facial recognition system. San Francisco has become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and city agencies.


When Technology Can Be Used To Build Weapons, Some Workers Take A Stand

NPR Technology

Liz O'Sullivan says she struggled for months as she learned more about the military project her in which her employer, Clarifai, was participating. Liz O'Sullivan says she struggled for months as she learned more about the military project her in which her employer, Clarifai, was participating. On the night of Jan. 16, Liz O'Sullivan sent a letter she'd been working on for weeks. It was directed at her boss, Matt Zeiler, the founder and CEO of Clarifai, a tech company. "The moment before I hit send and then afterwards, my heart, I could just feel it racing," she says.


Stopping Key Tech Exports To China Could Backfire, Researchers And Firms Say

NPR Technology

A technician works in a lab at GeseDNA Technology in Beijing. To counter China, the U.S. plans to impose new export restrictions on "emerging and foundational technology" that researchers say could affect the way they share genetic materials with international labs. A technician works in a lab at GeseDNA Technology in Beijing. To counter China, the U.S. plans to impose new export restrictions on "emerging and foundational technology" that researchers say could affect the way they share genetic materials with international labs. For the last 15 years, Addgene has dedicated itself to accelerating medical research.


Putting The 'Art' In Artificial Intelligence

NPR Technology

The best way to get away with something is to make it feel new and surprising. Using a computer is hardly enough anymore; today's machines offer all kinds of ways to generate images that can be output, framed, displayed, and sold--from digital photography to artificial intelligence. Recently, the fashionable choice has become generative adversarial networks, or GANs, the technology that created "Portrait of Edmond de Belamy." Like other machine-learning methods, GANs use a sample set--in this case, art, or at least images of it--to deduce patterns, and then they use that knowledge to create new pieces. A typical Renaissance portrait, for example, might be composed as a bust or three-quarter view of a subject.


How Mind-Controlled Robot Suits Could Enhance Our Limbs

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Thoughts can control machines in more and more intricate ways. In Episode 2 of Future You with Elise Hu, we explore mind-controlled robot suits and how they could end some disabilities as we know them or let able-bodied people gain super strength. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but using brain signals to control machines is not only possible -- it's improving fast. Just within the past few years, researchers have figured out how to let paralyzed people walk in a robotic bodysuit, or exoskeleton, simply by thinking about it. The promise here means that in the future, millions of people who are paralyzed or don't have mobility in their limbs might be able to regain it -- that is, if the technology becomes accessible.


Mind-Machine Meld: How Computer-Assisted Telepathy Helps Humans Communicate

NPR Technology

Communicating through your thoughts alone is possible -- with a little technical assistance. Scientists at the University of Washington's Center for Neurotechnology have figured out how to network human minds together to collaborate to move Tetris-like shapes on a computer screen using only thoughts. It works like this: Three players, including one main player, sit in separate rooms and watch game pieces cascade down a computer screen. Using telepathy (and a lot of hardware, including a heavily wired brain cap), two players "tell" the main player which way to move the pieces to clear the bottom row. I know because I put on the funky cap and played this mind game -- as part of the first video in NPR's new exploration of the future.