Business magnate Elon Musk enters the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum on May 07, 2018 in New York City. Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and Tesla CEO Elon Musk were invited to sign a 350-year-old book in London last Friday. The Royal Society, which aims to promote excellence in science, is the world's oldest independent scientific academy. The Charter Book dates back to 1663 and contains the signature of every Royal Society fellow and member. Over the years, the book has been signed by scientists such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, David Attenborough, and Tim Berners-Lee.
Most people find it a pain to receive parcels between wide time slots like 8am and 5pm, so when delivery startup Paack offered a service where everyone could narrow that window down to one hour, with no extra charge, it had a challenge on its hands. The startup's routing engine worked but needed to be more efficient. Enter Prowler.io, a Cambridge, UK-based machine-learning startup that bills itself as a decision-making platform for any company with complex problems to solve. Paack's investor at Balderton in London introduced it to Prowler in February 2018 and within months, its delivery vans and trucks were being coordinated by an intelligent, digital simulation. With the beta test over, Paack's CEO Fernando Benito sees a potential benefit to his bottom line.
Amazon's Prime Day is July 16. Chinese tech IPOs are the talk of the town this week following Xiaomi's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In spite of its less-than-ideal debut, analysts expect a flood of Chinese tech firms--including Jack Ma-backed Ant Financial and online food delivery service Meituan-Dianping--to go public this year. A month ago, another Chinese tech company with grand ambitions had already made the jump: Ecovacs Robotics, whose line of robot vacuum cleaners dominate its native Chinese market and on Amazon.com. Headquarted in Suzhou, Ecovacs raised 803 million yuan ($121 million) when it listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on May 28, making its founder, Qian Dongqi, a billionaire.
Surveillance companies are showing an increasing interest in hacking into IoT devices like the Amazon Echo. With an impressive seed raise of $12.5 million and ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as co-founder, alongside an "all-star" leadership team, Tel Aviv-based Toka Cyber can certainly claim to have nailed the definition of an auspicious beginning. But, as it comes out of stealth Monday, Toka is revealing itself as an atypical force in the digital security sphere, acting as a one-stop hacking shop for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Whatever spy tool they need, Toka will try to craft it for them. Privacy activists are hoping the company follows through on its promise to operate ethically.
The humble vacuum cleaner has come a long way over the past few years. Gone are the days when you had to carve out 30 minutes or more per week to keep those carpets clean. These days, your vacuum can clean the house for you -- meaning you can leave, and come home to a totally clean home. There are a number of smart robotic vacuums out there, and while they all do basically the same thing, there are a few key differences that might make one product better than another for your uses. Apart from the obvious -- like the fact that you want a robotic vacuum to be relatively good at cleaning, you'll also want to consider how the vacuum is controlled.
Amazon Prime Day is almost upon us and, inevitably, there are plenty of deals available on Amazon's excellent range of smart home devices with Alexa built in, especially the Echo Show which has dropped in price by $100 from $229 to $129. You can read all about the best Amazon Prime Day deals in Gordon Kelly's excellent guides here and here - and there are more to come. But what if it's Google's virtual assistant who floats your boat? Well, there are plenty of discounts on Google smart home gadgets - here are some of the best. The deals highlighted within this post were independently selected by the contributor and do not contain affiliate links.
Google was busy this week with upgrades and new features for its apps and devices, and a major security update for the Chrome browser. Here are some of the changes Google rolled out recently. The Assistant in Google Home will now tell you about events from URL and iCal calendars that have been imported into the Google Calendar app. After you've imported a calendar, tap the menu icon (upper left-hand corner) of the Home app, tap Settings and scroll down to Calendar at the bottom of the page. The calendars you imported should show up in your calendar list.
Customer service, even when powered by technology, isn't about technology; it's about customers and about service. The customer experience, even when informed by technology, isn't about technology; it's about customers and the experience. I find myself make these points over and over because, as a customer service and customer experience consultant, I hate to see my clients chase promising new technology and channels of engagement without the nuanced implementation and integration necessary. In customer service and support, technological implementation needs to be undertaken with a deft touch to ensure that you don't end up, after you've spent a ton of money and two tons of time, with something that alienates rather than engages customers. Consider the issue of bringing chatbots into the customer support mix.
One of the most contentious aspects of AI is the meaning of'intelligence.' No one debates the meaning of the word'strength,' or belittles the idea that machines can be stronger than humans, or even tries to re-define mechanical strength to mean some mysterious physico-spiritual capability that is unique to humans. The debate around the meaning of intelligence when it crops up in any conversation on AI is extremely baffling - until we take into account the fragile psychology of humans. Somehow, we've convinced ourselves that cognitive abilities are the sole province of the human brain, while we grudgingly cede the physical realm to the machines. Every encroachment on human cognitive abilities is fiercely contested.
Technology might produce a spike in slavery, and it's not related to your smartphone addiction. The Human Rights Outlook 2018 report released on Thursday by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft highlights how the rise in automation and robot manufacturing could force out of their jobs millions of people in Southeast Asia, with women disproportionately affected in the garment, textile and footwear industry. In both Vietnam and Cambodia, for example, over 85% of jobs in those sectors are at high risk of automation, and over 76% of these jobs are held by women, the study says. Automation might lead to a downward spiral, making exploited workers even more vulnerable to labor abuses and an easy prey to human traffickers and slaveholders as they compete for a diminishing supply of low-skilled and low-paid jobs. "Without concrete measures from governments to adapt and educate future generations to function alongside machines, it could be a race to the bottom for many workers," Alexandra Channer, the consultancy's head of human rights, said in a statement.