TIME - Tech


Everything You Need to Know About 5G

TIME - Tech

Wireless carriers around the world are beginning to deploy 5G, the latest and greatest in mobile broadband technology. Like the evolution from 3G to 4G, the jump to 5G will mean faster speeds, lower latency and many other benefits. It'll be a major boost for businesses, gamers, livestreamers and more. It could be a huge leap in other ways, too -- 5G is so much faster than 4G, and has so much less latency, that it could become the platform for all sorts of new services. Of course, there are also downsides.


AI Voice Assistants Reinforce Gender Biases, U.N. Report Says

TIME - Tech

Artificial intelligence voice assistants with female voices reinforce existing gender biases, according to a new United Nations' report. The new report from UNESCO, entitled "I'd Blush If I Could," looks at the impact of having female voice assistants, from Amazon's Alexa to Apple's Siri, projected in a way that suggests that women are "subservient and tolerant of poor treatment." The report takes its title from the response Siri used to give when a human told her, "Hey Siri, you're a b-tch." Further, researchers argue that tech companies have failed to take protective measures against abusive or gendered language from users. "Because the speech of most voice assistants is female, it sends a signal that women are obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like'hey' or'OK,'" the researchers write.


Review: 'Observation' Is a Space Station Thriller With One Clever Twist

TIME - Tech

A camera films Dr. Emma Fisher, an astronaut aboard what seems to be an otherwise empty International Space Station, as she floats through the facility's tangled modules just after some horrible accident. The situation looks bleak: the rest of the crew is missing, and the ISS is no longer in Earth orbit. Fisher must piece together what happened and why. Wires creep like blue veins into a centralized hub, connecting the live feed to a station-wide artificial intelligence system called "S.A.M." As the game begins, Fisher's trapped in a station module, and needs S.A.M.'s help to escape -- but moreover, S.A.M. needs her help, too.


Britain Has More Surveillance Cameras Per Person Than Any Country Except China. That's a Massive Risk to Our Free Society

TIME - Tech

How would you feel being watched, tracked and identified by facial recognition cameras everywhere you go? Facial recognition cameras are now creeping onto the streets of Britain and the U.S., yet most people aren't even aware. As we walk around, our faces could be scanned and subjected to a digital police line up we don't even know about. There are over 6 million surveillance cameras in the U.K. – more per citizen than any other country in the world, except China. In the U.K., biometric photos are taken and stored of people whose faces match with criminals – even if the match is incorrect. As director of the U.K. civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, I have been investigating the U.K. police's "trials" of live facial recognition surveillance for several years.


A Confused Police Officer Pulled Over a Self-Driving Vehicle on Its First Day Carrying Passengers

TIME - Tech

A self-driving shuttle got pulled over by police on its first day carrying passengers on a new Rhode Island route. Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements says an officer pulled over the odd-looking autonomous vehicle because he had never seen one before. The bus-like vehicle operated by Michigan-based May Mobility was dropping off passengers Wednesday morning when a police cruiser arrived with blinking lights and a siren. It was just hours after the public launch of a state-funded pilot shuttle service. The shuttle offers free rides on a 12-stop urban loop.


Google's Biggest Event of the Year Just Started. Here Are the 4 Biggest Announcements So Far

TIME - Tech

Google on Tuesday kicked off the first day of its 2019 I/O developer conference with a keynote highlighting the company's latest projects and products, as well as its accessibility initiatives powered by machine learning. Those more ambitious projects, like developing speech recognition software for people with speech impediments and using machine learning to detect diseases in their early stages, are all built atop the company's research into machine learning and computer vision. While the conference is ostensibly geared toward developers, there was plenty for Google fans and Android users to get excited about. After more than a few leaked images heralding the cheaper Android phones' arrival, Google officially unveiled the comparatively affordable Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones. On their surface, they don't look much different from the original Pixel 3 and 3 XL counterparts, save for their plastic construction compared to the previous version's glass and metal build.


Experts Aren't Impressed With Google's New Privacy Tools

TIME - Tech

Location data has been a sore subject for Google. In 2018, an Associated Press investigation found that Google continued storing phone location data even when users turned off a "location history" setting in Android. The company also revealed plans to overhaul Chrome to let users rein in so-called tracking cookies, which are bits of software that follow people around on the web. The move, which could have major repercussions for the digital advertising industry, would require companies to identify cookies used by third-party websites and advertisers to track users. "Unimpressive," declared Princeton computer scientist Jonathan Mayer, who said the scheme would be easy for advertisers to evade.


'We Haven't Invested in Humanity.' Will.i.am, Tech Execs Discuss Tech Optimism and Anxieties

TIME - Tech

Rapper, producer and technology entrepreneur will.i.am "The investment that society has put in AI (artificial intelligence) surpasses the investment for HI, which is human intelligence," said Will.i.am during a panel at the Dell Technologies World 2019 Conference on Wednesday. "It's so lopsided that subconsciously we know that we haven't invested in our youth, in our communities. We haven't invested in humanity to keep up with intelligent machines." Will.i.am was joined by Dell Chief Marketing Officer Allison Dew as well as Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of Mirror, which makes a full-length mirror that doubles as a screen for streaming home workout classes.


Your Amazon Echo Could Soon Make Phone Calls

TIME - Tech

It may soon be possible to make or answer phone calls through an Amazon Echo or Google Home, The Wall Street Journal reports. Both Amazon and Google are reportedly working on new features that would enable their Internet-connected speakers to work as telephones. The functionality could launch sometime this year. Still, there are a number of concerns to overcome before Google and Amazon can integrate phone calls into their devices, the Journal notes, mostly around privacy, telecom involvement, and emergency services. For one, people may be uncomfortable having phone conversations on a device that's capable of recording speech.


Here's Everything In 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' Expansion Pass

TIME - Tech

It's dangerous to go alone, and if Nintendo has its druthers, you'll invoke something along the lines of that logic as you pore over the particulars of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's just-unveiled $20 expansion pass. Nintendo says the pass--the first ever for a mainline Zelda game and available from March 3--will fund two sets of downloadable content for the company's upcoming $60 action-adventure when it arrives on March in tandem with Nintendo's imminent $299 Nintendo Switch home/mobile console (also due March 3) as well as for the company's extant Wii U. Buy the pass and Nintendo says you'll instantly get three new treasure chests (located in the game's Great Plateau area, the focus of all the prerelease footage and demos). One of these harbors an in-game wearable shirt emblazoned with the Switch logo, while the other two "will deliver useful items." The first pack is due this summer and includes a new "hard" difficulty mode, a Cave of Trials challenge (presumably like Twilight Princess' Cave of Ordeals, or The Wind Waker's Savage Labyrinth) and, mysteriously, "a new feature for the in-game map." The second pack will arrive during the holidays, and sounds more like a narrative expansion, with a new dungeon and "new original story."