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Walmart Joins A Multibillion-Dollar Investment In Self-Driving Cars

International Business Times

Declaring "it's no longer a question of if...but when" autonomous vehicles are used in retail, President and CEO of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) U.S. John Furner announced the retail titan's intention to invest in General Motors' (NYSE:GM) Cruise self-driving car company in a press release today. Furner said the move will "aid our work toward developing a last mile delivery ecosystem that's fast, low-cost and scalable." The Walmart investment brings the total of Cruise's most recent funding round to $2.75 billion, though neither GM nor Cruise provides specifics on how much each individual company contributes to the whole, CNBC reports. Other investors in the subsidiary include GM itself, Microsoft, Honda Motor, and institutional investors. Among other projects, Cruise intends to roll out self-driving taxis in Dubai within the next two years.


Tesla settles with ex-employee over Autopilot code theft accusations

Engadget

Tesla has settled with a former employee that it sued for downloading data related to its Autopilot feature, Reuters has reported. Tesla filed the lawsuit against Cao Guangzhi back in 2019, accusing its former engineer of copying data to an iCloud account and taking it to his new employer, China's XMotors (owned by Xpeng). Cao reportedly made a monetary payment to Tesla as part of the terms of settlement, but the amount and other details were not disclosed. Cao's legal representative confirmed the settlement, saying he never provided Tesla information to XMotors or any other company. XMotors was not a party in the case, and said it developed its own self-driving technology in-house and respected intellectual property rights.


Can the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood Be Saved?

WIRED

The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter. An arc light, or arc lamp, is a source of illumination created when electricity flows between two carbon electrodes. Use of arc lamps dwindled in the 20th century, edged out by incandescents, but for a long time they were a common light source for movie projectors. Mostly this little detail is just a fun fact--something interesting to bring up at parties. But this week, it's a reminder that the history of cinema is long, even when our memories are short--and that the news of ArcLight Cinema shutting down can bring back a flood of recollections, even for people who may not know the theater chain's namesake.


The best smart speakers you can buy

Engadget

When Amazon first introduced Alexa and the Echo speaker six years ago, the idea of talking to a digital assistant wasn't totally novel. Both the iPhone and Android phones had semi-intelligent voice controls -- but with the Echo, Amazon took its first step toward making something like Alexa a constant presence in your home. Since then, Apple and Google have followed suit, and now there's a huge variety of smart speakers available at various price points. As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that's always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used -- you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it's also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too. The good news is that there's never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you're a music fan.


AI Systems Might Prefer Human Language Instead of Numerical Data

#artificialintelligence

New research coming from Columbia Engineering suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) systems prefer human language instead of numeral data like 1s and 0s. The new study is from Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson and PhD student Boyuan Chen, and it demonstrated that AI systems could reach higher performance levels if programmed with human language sound files.


Girls of Steel Robotics 2021 - CMU Crowdfunding

CMU School of Computer Science

The Girls of Steel, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3504, founded in 2010 at Carnegie Mellon's Field Robotics Center, has a team mission to empower everyone, especially women and girls, to believe they are capable of success in STEM. The principles of our team include: teamwork, communication, respect, integrity, inclusion, and safety. We teach mechanical and technical skills, programming and analytical thinking, as well as leadership, teamwork, and business skills. We also value a commitment to quality, ethical behavior, and respect for others. Through outreach we aim to educate young people in STEM using hands-on design and development of a robot.


The Morning After: Touring Mercedes' very luxurious EV

Engadget

This "S-Class of EVs" is the first full-electric car from Mercedes to come to the US, combining a low drag coefficient with a large battery pack for a range of 478 miles, using Europe's WLTP estimate. Tesla, Porsche and Audi already have electric luxury sedans, but this looks like an interesting and extremely classy competitor. Roberto Baldwin is ready to walk us through the features and its futuristic interior, which includes a biometric sensor for logging in with voice or fingerprint. There's no word on how much it will cost, and we haven't taken it on the road yet, but I'm already digging its unique taillights and fastback hatch. It's barely been a month since DJI unveiled a new drone, and the company already has another to show.


Ground zero for gaming memes: 10 excellent video game TikTok accounts

The Guardian

ShelbyRenae – @shelbyrenaeyt A Fortnite Twitch streamer and YouTuber, ShelbyRenae makes hilarious (and often very telling) TikToks focusing on her conversations with the strangers she plays with, mostly teenage boys who chuck out endless bizarre insults and gigantically inappropriate comments. Alisha – @alishakins_ Mainly a Twitch streamer, Alisha makes brilliant little TikToks of her experiences playing Call of Duty: Warzone, providing a turbo-charged voiceover, complete with her own sound effects – mostly, "Pew, pew, pew! The latest video shows the amazing full-size cabinet for Sega's Let's Go Jungle, designed to resemble an offroad truck. DKOldies – @dkoldies Similar to the above, DKOldies is an online retro gaming store and its TikTok shows off interesting items from its vast stock including rare games, ancient consoles and weird controllers. Komazawa Isolation – @kmzwisolation A Japanese YouTuber who makes astonishingly accurate real-life reenactments of games such as Grand Theft Auto and Yakuza.


Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals was issued by Microsoft to Victor Nwoguru.

#artificialintelligence

Earners of the Azure AI Fundamentals certification have demonstrated foundational knowledge of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) concepts and related Microsoft Azure services.


Facial recognition systems are deciding your gender for you. Activists say that needs to stop - Coda Story

#artificialintelligence

If you rode the metro in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo in 2018, you might have come across a new kind of advertising. Glowing interactive doors featured content targeted at individuals, according to assumptions made by artificial intelligence based on their appearance. Fitted with facial recognition cameras, the screens made instantaneous decisions about passengers' gender, age and emotional state, then served them ads accordingly. Digital rights groups said the technology violated the rights of trans and non-binary people because it assigned gender to individuals based on the physical shape of their face, potentially making incorrect judgments as to their identity. It also maintained a strictly male-female model of gender, ignoring the existence of non-binary people.