NPR Technology


An Imagined Future Speaks In 'Talking To Robots'

NPR Technology

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. We've been talking to robots for a while now. In the decade or so since Siri and her compatriots first appeared, we've all gotten pretty used to having conversations with computers in various forms. While your Alexa doesn't look much like a Cylon (the scary metal kind or hotty flesh kind) now, it seems like it's just a matter of time of time before we'll be talking with all kinds of robots -- including those that look just like us. Time, robots and conversations are at the heart of David Ewing Duncan's new book Talking to Robots: Tales from Our Human-Robot Futures.


VIDEO: Move Objects With Your Mind? We're Getting There, With The Help Of An Armband

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In the latest episode of Future You, check out an armband that lets you control tech devices with your mind. This is not a brain implant or even a headset. It's an armband that reads neuron activity to let you move objects in digital space. Then it goes further, giving you mental control of physical robots too. Think "the Force" from Star Wars.


Alan Turing, Computing Genius And WWII Hero, To Be On U.K.'s New 50-Pound Note

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The Bank of England's new 50-pound note will feature mathematician Alan Turing, honoring the code-breaker who helped lay the foundation for computer science. The Bank of England's new 50-pound note will feature mathematician Alan Turing, honoring the code-breaker who helped lay the foundation for computer science. Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence who broke Adolf Hitler's Enigma code system in World War II -- but who died an outcast because of his homosexuality -- will be featured on the Bank of England's new 50-pound note. The new note will be printed on polymer and will bear a 1951 photo of Turing, the bank announced Monday. It's expected to enter circulation by the end of 2021.


Bet On The Bot: AI Beats The Professionals At 6-Player Texas Hold 'Em

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During one experiment, the poker bot Pluribus played against five professional players. During one experiment, the poker bot Pluribus played against five professional players. In artificial intelligence, it's a milestone when a computer program can beat top players at a game like chess. But a game like poker, specifically six-player Texas Hold'em, has been too tough for a machine to master -- until now. Researchers say they have designed a bot called Pluribus capable of taking on poker professionals in the most popular form of poker and winning.


Will Your Job Still Exist In 2030?

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Robots helped build your car and pack your latest online shopping order. A chatbot might help you figure out your credit card balance. A computer program might scan and process your resume when you apply for work. What will work in America look like a decade for now? A team of economists at the McKinsey Global Institute set off to figure out in a new report out Thursday.


The Debate Over Facial Recognition Technology's Role In Law Enforcement

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Facial recognition technology has come under fire from lawmakers, advocacy groups and citizens, but Lt. Derek Sabatini of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department says it helps control crime.


Robots, Not Humans, Are The New Space Explorers

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This illustration shows NASA's Cassini above Saturn's northern hemisphere before making one of its "Grand Finale" dives. This illustration shows NASA's Cassini above Saturn's northern hemisphere before making one of its "Grand Finale" dives. When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon 50 years ago, it was an inspiring moment for people around the world. But another kind of explorer is responsible for much of the modern enthusiasm for space exploration. "Since the days of Apollo, the greatest adventures in space have been these robots that have gone all over the solar system," says Emily Lakdawalla, a self-described planetary evangelist at the Planetary Society.


ICE Uses Facial Recognition To Sift State Driver's License Records, Researchers Say

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In many cases, federal agents can request access to state DMV records by filling out a form. This is an example of a Homeland Security request that was made to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles in 2017. In many cases, federal agents can request access to state DMV records by filling out a form. This is an example of a Homeland Security request that was made to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles in 2017. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents mine millions of driver's license photos for possible facial recognition matches -- and some of those efforts target undocumented immigrants who have legally obtained driver's licenses, according to researchers at Georgetown University Law Center, which obtained documents related to the searches.


ICE Turned To DMV Driver's License Databases For Help With Facial Recognition

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Now we're going to look more broadly at what's been revealed today about ICE turning to DMV offices for help with facial recognition - that is, using driver's license photographs and algorithms to identify people suspected of being in the country illegally. Now, this collaboration was unearthed by a team at Georgetown University, and here to brief us is NPR's Aarti Shahani. CORNISH: I understand that in the past, ICE has gone to DMV offices and just asked for records on immigrants. We just heard about the case in Vermont that alleges that much. What exactly is new here?


ICE Uses Facial Recognition To Go Through Driver's Licenses, Researchers Say

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There is a logic behind a newly revealed use of data by federal immigration authorities. Many states welcome people who are in the U.S. without legal status to obtain a driver's license. Now researchers have found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with the FBI, have been running databases filled with driver's license photos through facial recognition software, looking for immigrants of interest. Jake Laperruque is here to talk about this. He is senior counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, an independent group that focuses on corruption and abuse of power.