NPR


Quantity Of 'Skills' Doesn't Mean Quality In Amazon Echo's Alexa

NPR

Amazon Echo's Alexa has helped people do all sorts of tasks. Although Alexa now has more than 15,000 so-called "skills," critics say that many of Amazon's skills are low-quality.



Sam Harris: What Happens When Humans Develop Super Intelligent AI?

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Does superhuman artificial intelligence sound like science fiction? He says it's not a question of if but when -- with potentially destructive consequences. Sam Harris is a writer, neuroscientist, philosopher, and host of the podcast, Waking Up With Sam Harris. He has written five New York Times best-sellers, and his writings cover a range of topics from neuroscience and religion to violence and human reasoning.


Department Of Transportation Rolls Out New Guidelines For Self-Driving Cars

NPR

A Ford Fusion development vehicle equipped with autonomous controls, seen at a test facility Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. A Ford Fusion development vehicle equipped with autonomous controls, seen at a test facility Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Department of Transportation released its revised guidelines on automated driving systems Tuesday, outlining its recommended -- but not mandatory -- best practices for companies developing self-driving cars. On the same day the new plan relaxed guidance on Level 2 vehicles, the National Transportation Safety Board faulted a Tesla automated driving system for playing a "major role" in a collision that killed its test driver last year. "Just as the NTSB says the government and industry should be stepping up its efforts to ensure the safety of Level 2 automated vehicles," he added, "the Department of Transportation and Secretary Chao are rolling back their responsibility in that space."


Telecom Companies Turn To Drones For Help After Hurricanes

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A drone is flown during a property inspection following Hurricane Harvey in Houston. The mass destruction brought on by Harvey has been a seminal moment for drone operators, proving that they can effectively map flooding, locate people in need of rescue and verify damage to speed insurance claims. The mass destruction brought on by Harvey has been a seminal moment for drone operators, proving that they can effectively map flooding, locate people in need of rescue and verify damage to speed insurance claims. According to Kate Harris, a spokesperson for Verizon, the company began using drones last October during Hurricane Matthew to inspect cell towers in North Carolina.


Scanning The Future, Radiologists See Their Jobs At Risk

NPR

He's sitting inside a dimly lit reading room, looking at digital images from the CT scan of a patient's chest, trying to figure out why he's short of breath. Health care companies like vRad, which has radiologists analyzing 7 million scans a year, provide data to partners that develop medical algorithms. Chief Medical Officer Eldad Elnekave says computers can detect diseases from images better than humans because they can multitask -- say, look for appendicitis while also checking for low bone density. Radiologist John Mongan is researching ways to use artificial intelligence in radiology.


Tanzania Gears Up To Become A Nation Of Medical Drones

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Zipline has hired locals to operate its drones and run the distribution centers, which stock blood products and medical supplies. Yet "two-way services are what's actually needed for clinical care," says Amukele, who heads clinical pathology labs at Johns Hopkins' Bayview Medical Center. Delivering emergency supplies and picking up diagnostic test samples require aircraft with different capabilities, says Jeff Street, a drone engineer and pilot. Street and Amukele have shown that unmanned aircraft can safely ship a range of clinical specimens and recently set a new distance record for medical drone transport -- a three-hour flight carrying human blood samples across 161 miles of Arizona desert.


Walmart, Google Join Forces In Online Fight Against Amazon

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A Google Home smart speaker (left) is shown with the Google pixel phone following a product event in San Francisco. A Google Home smart speaker (left) is shown with the Google pixel phone following a product event in San Francisco. Starting next month, Walmart customers will be able to access hundreds of thousands of products from the company's shelves -- everything from dish washing soap to dining tables -- via the online retailing service Google Express. That's why it makes sense for us to team up with Google," Marc Lore, the president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, writes in a blog post today.


Is AI More Threatening Than North Korean Missiles?

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In this April 30, 2015, file photo, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveils the company's newest products, in Hawthorne, Calif. In this April 30, 2015, file photo, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveils the company's newest products, in Hawthorne, Calif. One of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's companies, the nonprofit start-up OpenAI, manufactures a device that last week was victorious in defeating some of the world's top gamers in an international video game (e-sport) tournament with a multi-million-dollar pot of prize money. It was not long before philosopher Hilary Putnam would hypothesize the mind is a Turing Machine (and a Turning Machine just is, for all intents and purposes, what we call a computer today). And if we are, then what are we going to do if some clever young person some where -- maybe a young lady in North Korea -- writes a program to turn things off?


Colleges Have Increased Women Computer Science Majors: What Can Google Learn?

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In 2006, only about 10 percent of computer science majors at Harvey Mudd College were women. Student Erin Paeng works on human-robot trust in Harvey Mudd College's Human Experience and Agent Teamwork lab. Student Erin Paeng works on human-robot trust in Harvey Mudd College's Human Experience and Agent Teamwork lab. Today, instead of 7 percent, over 40 percent of the computer science majors at Carnegie Mellon are women.