WIRED


Cadillac Challenges Tesla With the Super Cruise Self-Driving System

WIRED

When it comes to semi-autonomous systems--cars that do some of the driving, but leave the tricky stuff to humans--the biggest hurdle isn't the technical challenge of making a car safely drive itself. Keep ignoring the road, and you'll hear a chime, feel a buzz through the seat, and see that light turn red and start flashing. To ensure Super Cruise never faces obstacles it can't handle--intersections, pedestrians, traffic lights--Cadillac programmed it to only work on divided highways. Second, if the camera stops working or you go through a tunnel and the GPS loses its signal, the car can keep driving itself, using the map, its speed, and its steering angle to maintain its exact position.


Instagram Unleashes a Smart Algorithm to Blast Away Nasty Comments

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The Trump Administration Can't Stop China From Becoming an AI Superpower

WIRED

Last Thursday, Texas senior senator John Cornyn stood before an audience of wonks at the Council for Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, and warned that America's openness to investors looking for new ideas in technologies like artificial intelligence was putting it in danger. It recently worked with Baidu to set up a new national lab dedicated to keeping China competitive in deep learning, the technique behind recent progress in areas such as image and speech recognition, and a program called Artificial Intelligence 2.0 will funnel billions to develop AI for commercial and military use. China has made artificial intelligence a clear priority area to both its economy and military," says Peter Singer, a senior fellow who studies technology and national security at non-partisan think tank New America. Canada, which has universities that are crucial to the rise of deep learning, is using various federal and regional programs to build up artificial intelligence industry and research through immigration and foreign investment.


gecko-inspired-gripper-may-soon-snag-space-junk

WIRED

Each of these is so small that it makes extremely close contact with the surface, forming a minute attraction on a molecular level. It consists of pads covered with not hairs, but microscale wedges made of silicone rubber--the same stuff that those fancy spatulas are made of. The handheld gripper consists of pairs of adhesive pads, whose microscale wedges point in opposite directions. The wedges lie flat, making super close contact with the object, and boom, adhesion.


Y Combinator Has Gone Supernova

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I am thinking that sounds crazy--a response that might actually make Sam Altman happy. "I think we'll fund ten thousand companies next year," he says. More than 50 companies that went through the program are worth more than $100 million each and, of course, there are the multi-billion dollar valuations of YC's big three: Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe. Within the organization, there's a single talking point to describe YC's evolution: YC started as a family business but now it's more like a university.


Meet Penny, an AI That Predicts a Neighborhood's Wealth From Space

WIRED

You might think putting a helipad on Trump Tower would give the president's Manhattan residence an added veneer of affluence. Aman Tiwari, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, trained the AI by overlaying census data on high-resolution satellite imagery of New York and feeding it through a neural network. The AI started to associate visual patterns in the urban landscape with income, and different objects and shapes seemed to be highly correlated with different income levels--parking lots with low income, green spaces with high income, that sort of thing. AI Helps Facebook's Internet Drones Find Where the People Are Penny handles this task admirably, provided users take their time exploring.


Avis Partners With Google's Waymo on Self-Driving Cars

WIRED

You may remember Avis and Hertz as places where you arrive in a shuttle bus, waste time in line, then hand someone a few hundred dollars in exchange for a cheap car. Both deals signal that, when it comes to the nascent autonomous car industry, some old things can indeed be new again. Like the bureaucrats who know how to keep the state running, companies like Avis and Hertz possess expertise that remains useful (and difficult to generate from scratch) in this new state of affairs. "We built our business based on people driving the car themselves," says Mark Lawrence, cofounder and CEO of SpotHero, which lets drivers reserve and pay for parking spaces.


iOS 11: Superhuman Siri, Drag and Drop, a Totally Remodeled App Store

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Today, Apple releases the public beta of iOS 11, the latest version of the operating system driving the world's iPhones and iPads. With iOS 11, I just open the app over top of my browser, drag the paragraph over, and drop it. Drag and drop makes iOS feel like more than a collection of apps. You can now run four apps on screen simultaneously: two side by side, with a third floating over top and a fourth running picture-in-picture video.


Amazon Echo Show Review: Yeah, It's Creepy, But It's Got Big Potential

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If you want, you can use the Show just like you use an Echo: Ask questions, hear answers, the end. For one, it lets Alexa answer questions with more than a few words or sentences. Amazon built an entire chat service around this gadget, which lets you call, text, or video chat with anyone who owns an Echo or uses the Alexa app. Alexa's voice recognition works well enough to make all of this work, and developers can access the camera, the screen, the microphone, and the speaker.


What Is Steganography?

WIRED

Hackers are increasingly using this technique, known as steganography, to trick internet users and smuggle malicious payloads past security scanners and firewalls. That doesn't mean people can't discover attacks that use steganographic techniques and learn from how they work. What's clear is that instead of being reserved for the most sophisticated hacks, steganography now crops up in malvertising, phishing, run-of-the-mill malware distribution, and exploit kits (like a tool called Sundown that is popular with hackers looking to exploit software vulnerabilities). "Steganography in cyber attacks is easy to implement and enormously tough to detect, so cyber criminals are shifting towards this technique."