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Microsoft invests in General Motors' self-driving subsidiary Cruise

ZDNet

Microsoft is investing in General Motors' self-driving subsidiary Cruise. In return, Cruise and GM are touting Azure as their "preferred" (though not exclusive) cloud vendor. According to the January 19 press release about the deal, Cruise will use Azure for its autonomous vehicle solutions. GM will work with Microsoft on collaboration, storage, AI and machine learning, as well as on digital-supply chain, productivity and mobility services. And Microsoft will join GM, Honda and institutional investors in a combined, new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise.


US Army researchers are developing muscle-bound, Terminator-like war robots that have living tissue

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Combining living tissue with cold metal robots may sound like a plot from the James Cameron film'Terminator,' but the idea is being developed for real-world machines at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The US military group is working on a series of'biohybrid robotics' that integrates living organisms into mechanical systems that'produces never-seen-before agility and versatile.' The team envisions growing muscle tissue in a lab that would be added to robotic joints in place of traditional actuators – components responsible for moving and controlling mechanisms. The project aims to give robots the same agility and precision that muscles offer biological systems, allowing these futuristic machines to venture into spaces too risky for human soldiers. The US military group is working on a series of'biohybrid robotics' that integrates living organisms into mechanical systems that'produces never-seen-before agility and versatile.'


Self-supervised learning of visual appearance solves fundamental problems of optical flow

Robohub

How do honeybees land on flowers or avoid obstacles? One would expect such questions to be mostly of interest to biologists. However, the rise of small electronics and robotic systems has also made them relevant to robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, small flying robots are extremely restricted in terms of the sensors and processing that they can carry onboard. If these robots are to be as autonomous as the much larger self-driving cars, they will have to use an extremely efficient type of artificial intelligence – similar to the highly developed intelligence possessed by flying insects.


Keep tabs on your home with these Eufy home security deals

Mashable

Here are the best deals on Eufy home security cameras and video doorbells as of Jan. 19: Even if you're home all day, it's good to see who's at your doorstep, whether it's a neighbor coming over with a question or delivery man bringing the package you've been waiting on. By adding a video doorbell or security cam to your smart home arsenal, you'll be fully in-the-know on who comes to your front porch, before they even ring the doorbell. Plus, just in case something suspicious is going on in the neighborhood, you'll have backed up video footage that'll ensure your safety. Eufy has video doorbells and indoor security cameras on sale for up to 27% off as of Jan. 19. These products will keep you in-the-know and keep your family safe.


Microsoft teams up with Cruise and GM on self-driving cars

Engadget

Cruise and GM have enlisted an important ally in their quest to make self-driving cars a practical reality. The two have entered a "long-term strategic relationship" with Microsoft to speed up the commercialization of autonomous vehicles. Cruise will use Microsoft's Azure cloud platform to deliver self-driving tech "at scale," while Microsoft will draw on Cruise's know-how to serve transportation companies. GM will treat Microsoft as its preferred cloud provider, too. There's money involved, to no one's surprise.


Microsoft Bets on Driverless-Car Space With Investment inGM's Cruise

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Microsoft Corp. is investing in General Motors Co. 's driverless-car startup Cruise as part of a strategic tie-up, another sign of renewed interest in the autonomous-technology space after a relatively quiet period. Microsoft is among a group of companies that will invest more than $2 billion in San Francisco-based Cruise, which has been majority-owned by GM since early 2016. The financing brings Cruise's valuation to $30 billion, Cruise said Tuesday, up from an estimated $19 billion in spring 2019. GM is adding to its Cruise investment as part of the funding round and will retain a majority stake, a Cruise spokesman said. The investment also includes current stakeholder Honda Motor Co. and other institutional investors that Cruise declined to name.


Eyesight tests could predict which people with Parkinson's will develop dementia 18 months on

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Eyesight tests could be used to identify which people with Parkinson's disease are likely to suffer from cognitive impairment and possible dementia 18 months later. UK researchers have found that people with Parkinson's who perform less well in eye tests show worse cognitive performance a year and a half later. The study is one of two by University College London (UCL) published this month looking at people with Parkinson's – the progressive nervous system disorder that causes shakiness and stiffness. The second study found structural and functional connections of brain regions become'decoupled' throughout the entire brain in people with Parkinson's disease, particularly among people with vision problems. The findings support previous evidence that vision changes precede the cognitive decline that occurs in many, but not all, people with Parkinson's.


At CES 2021, laptops go beyond the 2-in-1

ZDNet

When compared to the Vegas spectacle, virtual CES had its advantages, including reprieves from sensory overload, cigarette smoke, endless walks through disorienting casinos and narrow exhibit hall aisles, and bombardments of me-too offerings in saturated categories. And keynotes and panels made the transition well. But it also fell short in a few key ways, including the serendipity of meeting an old colleague, someone with common interests, and a product or service that inspired new possibilities. That last point was particularly true for products in smaller or emerging categories, especially from startups. Today's CES is as much a showcase for the latest business technology as it is for consumer electronics.


Buying groceries online with food stamps?

ZDNet

Grocery shopping has fundamentally, likely irrevocably, changed during the pandemic as more consumers have opted for online grocery shopping out of convenience or necessity. But what about people who rely on food stamps? According to a recent Pew survey, a full quarter of adults have had trouble paying bills during the economic melee attributable to the pandemic. As of July 2020, over 40 million Americans were on food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Food stamps exist to help low income individuals, including those enduring a temporary hardship, bridge a crucial financial gap to access food.


'Hitman 3' is the grandest stage for your own stories, even as it tries to end its own

Washington Post - Technology News

I've already talked at length about how the brilliant second mission alone, based on "Knives out" or Agatha Christie's "Poirot" murder mysteries, already justifies this game's existence. Chongqing is another highlight, a deliberate throwback to the old Hong Kong levels of the original PC release. It's a rain-drenched district that once again illustrates the kind of grand interconnectivity and neon sheen that "Cyberpunk" tried to achieve, and "Hitman" does effortlessly. Rain slithers off his leather-coated back as he waits outside his mark's building, assessing the place. In the meantime, he can open an umbrella and make small talk with a woman waiting for her girlfriend, just one of the series' many small but important storytelling flourishes to make each level feel more alive than you've seen in any action adventure.