A drone crashed into a commercial plane in Canada on Thursday, renewing the aviation industry's worries about the growing number of small hobbyist aircraft taking to the skies. A landing Skyjet flight was less than two miles from Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City when a drone struck the aircraft, according to CTV News. The plane landed successfully and "only sustained minor damage," according to a Sunday statement from Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau. "This should not have happened," Garneau told reporters, according to CTV News. "The drone should not have been there."
All of which is part of his job as principal personality designer for Google Assistant, the company's voice-activated helper found on a wide range of smartphones and its Home smart speaker, which first went on sale last fall. To do so, the company has turned to a team of left-brained creative types that Google isn't exactly known for hiring: fiction writers, filmmakers, video-game designers, empathy experts and comedians. Making that character seem plausible falls to Google's personality team, which has been working on turning Assistant into a digital helper that seems human without pretending to be one. Coats, whose title is character lead for personality, draws on years of experience developing fictional characters.
Sci-fi author Isaac Asimov came up with the "Laws of Robotics," an influential concept, in order to help clarify how humans might constrain their creations. For Asimov, robot intelligence is categorically different from humans': we're governed by ethics we can change in the moment, whereas for robots, self-preservation comes only after protecting and serving man. The Matrix (1999) depicted a burned-out world destroyed by conflict between man and machine but characterized the machines that governed it (and thrived off energy produced by the bodies of imprisoned humans) mainly as skittering, spider-like entities. Westworld, the HBO series based on a Michael Crichton film, plays with similar themes--its robot "hosts" are there to show humans a good time in a futuristic theme park, but the robots crave freedom.
Machine learning, the most basic form of artificial intelligence, is already infiltrating the medical field, and it turns out that machines can play an important role in improving our health--including making diagnoses more accurately and quickly and finding better treatments that save people time and money and prevent exposure to harmful side effects. And with the amount of data available to physicians today--from information about disease symptoms to new drugs, interactions between different drugs and how different people treated in the same way can have very different outcomes--the ability to access and digest information is fast becoming a required skill. One level will focus on providing patients with the best available information for treating their cancer with existing therapies; Watson provides access to a database of the collected knowledge of Memorial Sloan Kettering's cancer doctors, as well as the most important cancer studies in the medical literature that these doctors rely on when making their decisions about how to treat patients. The genetic options are based on a careful analysis of the patient's specific tumor, the mutations driving the disease and drugs that might be targeted to address those mutations.
Google will release a smaller version of its Home smart speaker, the company revealed during an event on Wednesday. The device, called the Google Home Mini, will cost $49 and launches on October 19. The speaker will be available in light grey, dark grey, and orange color options. The Google Home Mini is a direct competitor to Amazon's Echo Dot, a smaller version of Amazon's smart speaker that is also priced at $49.
If that sounds familiar, it should: Apple's Siri-powered HomePod speaker, which it announced in June, is also intended to adapt to its audio based on its environment. Google says the Home Max will be available for $399 in December, $50 more than Apple's HomePod, which is expected to debut in the same timeframe. The Home Max's sound is 20 times more powerful than that of the standard Google Home, and the speaker uses artificial intelligence to alter the sound accordingly. If one were to move the Home Max a few feet in a particular direction, for example, the speaker would be able to compensate for that change.
The company's voice helper, Google Assistant, has always been a large part of what made the original Pixel stand out. Its new $399 Google Home Max distinguishes itself by intelligently adjusting its audio settings based on its surroundings. It's especially similar to the HomePod speaker Apple unveiled in June, which can also dynamically adjust audio to coincide with its surroundings. As its name implies, it's a shrunken-down, donut-sized version of Google's smart speaker priced at $49 -- just like Amazon's Echo Dot.
You can keep your old iPhone mounted in the kitchen, either on a wall or propped up on a shelf, and use the iPhone's "Hey Siri" feature to summon Apple's voice-enabled helper hands-free. To make sure "Hey Siri" is turned on, open the iPhone's Settings menu, tap Siri, and select Allow "Hey Siri." To do so, open the iPhone's Settings menu, tap the General button, select Restrictions and tweak away. Major carriers in the U.S. including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T support Wi-Fi calling, which can be enabled by launching your iPhone's Settings menu, tapping the Phone option, and turning it on.
Altogether the changes should help Siri catch up to Google's virtual assistant, which has long outshone Apple's. That's because Apple's new iPhone and iPad software will support apps built on Apple's new augmented reality platform, called ARKit. It should give the iPad a much-needed productivity boost when compared to Microsoft's Surface tablets, which have long been capable of running full desktop Windows apps. Come this fall, iPhone and iPad owners will be able use it to send money through iMessage.
The good: Beautiful screen, long battery life, helpful iris scanner for unlocking the phone, better multitasking The bad: Live Focus camera isn't as good as Apple's Portrait Mode, facial recognition is unreliable, not significantly different than Galaxy S8 and S8 though more expensive Who should buy: Android fans that really care about having a stylus and two cameras should opt for the Note 8, but the Galaxy S8 offers similar features at a lower price. With its massive edge-to-edge screen, facial recognition system and dual camera, Samsung's $929 Galaxy Note 8 -- out September 15 and the first new Note since last year's ill-fated Note 7 -- is a shot across Apple's bow as anticipation soars for Cupertino's 10th anniversary iPhone. The Note 8 offers four: facial recognition, iris scanning, fingerprint detection, or typing in a password. Samsung makes use of the Note's new double camera by adding a Live Focus shooting mode, which is essentially the company's answer to Apple's Portrait Mode.