WIRED


The Robots Will Be Soft and Cuddly and Heal Their Own Wounds

WIRED

"So in the long term, the robots can decide when is the best time to start the healing and start heating up." That and they pack well: A four-foot-long soft robot arm can deflate and ship in far less space than a traditional robot arm. But what Terryn's team has shown is that you could theoretically have an injured soft robot deflate itself and heat up to repair the wound. So get ready to see a lot more soft robots and, at some point, soft robots you can stab without getting in trouble.


Flying Deloreans, the Electric Nikola Zero, and the Rest of This Week's Car News

WIRED

New ways to deliver stuff may not help traffic, and yet: General Motors' Maven mulls entry into a crowded ridehail and on-demand delivery market, Reuters reports. More in traditional automakers gone Silicon Valley: Fiat Chrysler says it will join a potent alliance between BMW, chipmaker Intel, and the tech and sensor mavens at Mobileye to build self-driving cars. New ways to deliver stuff may not help traffic, and yet: General Motors' Maven mulls entry into a crowded ridehail and on-demand delivery market, Reuters reports. More in traditional automakers gone Silicon Valley: Fiat Chrysler says it will join a potent alliance between BMW, chipmaker Intel, and the tech and sensor mavens at Mobileye to build self-driving cars.


This Lumbering Self-Driving Truck Is Designed to Get Hit

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Such cars remain years away, of course, but you can find an autonomous vehicle saving lives on the road right now, in Colorado. It's an autonomous impact protection vehicle, which you probably know as one of those weird trucks with a big orange or yellow bumper on the back. Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation is deploying an autonomous impact protection vehicle to shake down technology that could eliminate one of the riskiest jobs on the road. Nationwide, there's a work zone crash every five minutes, according to the Federal Highway Administration--resulting in 70 injuries every day.


Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on Free Speech, Artificial Intelligence, and Internet Addiction.

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It was a long conversation, but here is a 20-minute overview in which Systrom talks about the artificial intelligence Instagram has been developing to filter out toxic comments before you even see them. NT: These are the comments: "Succ," "Succ," "Succ me," "Succ," "Can you make Instagram have auto-scroll feature? And what we realized was there was this giant wave of machine learning and artificial intelligence--and Facebook had developed this thing that basically--it's called deep text NT: Which launches in June of 2016, so it's right there. And then you say, "Okay, machine, go and rate these comments for us based on the training set," and then we see how well it does and we tweak it over time, and now we're at a point where basically this machine learning can detect a bad comment or a mean comment with amazing accuracy--basically a 1 percent false positive rate.


The Artist Who Made Zuckerberg Out of Poop Has a New Muse: Elon Musk

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"I'm pretty blown away at how good his hair plugs are," says Katsu, whose mysterious posters appeared in San Francisco and New York City. Criminals," Katsu's new art show opening this weekend in San Francisco, which explores the idea of artificial intelligence as this generation's atomic energy, where the race to profits outweighs the risks. The show explores the risks of artificial intelligence, so Musk--a crusader for the same cause--seemed like a good fit, Katsu says: "We're going into an age where titans of tech are mutating into these weird idols in our head." By building systems trained on "biased data generated from biased policies," Katsu says, we will perpetuate the cycle: "We're teaching our offspring our same biases.


Ditch That Landline and Use Google Home Instead

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You can now call any business or person in your contacts, as long as they live in the US or Canada, just by asking Google to do so. You should also sign up for either a Google Voice or Project Fi account. For now, if you make calls out from your Google Home, others will see it as "No Caller ID" or "Unknown." Even with the new calling features, Google Home won't have you throwing out your smartphone anytime soon.


The Solar Eclipse Is Coming--Here's Exactly When It'll Happen

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The way of setting dates on the device is a bit funky (after all, the modern calendar wouldn't be invented for another 1500 years), but if one takes the simulation on the Wolfram Demonstrations Project (which was calibrated back in 2012 when the Demonstration was created), and turns the crank to set the device for August 21, 2017, here's what one gets: And, yes, all those gears move so as to line the moon indicator up with the Sun--and to make the arm on the bottom point right at an Η--just as it should for a solar eclipse. In different years, the picture will look slightly different, essentially because the moon is starting at a different place in its orbit at the beginning of the year. Here's a plot for 20 years in the past and 20 years in the future, showing the actual days in each year when total and partial solar eclipses occur (the small dots everywhere indicate new moons): The reason for the "drift" between successive years is just that the lunar month (29.53 days) doesn't line up with the year, so the moon doesn't go through a whole number of orbits in the course of a year, with the result that at the beginning of a new year, the moon is in a different phase. To see more detail about eclipses, let's plot the time differences (in fractional years) between all successive solar eclipses for 100 years in the past and 100 years in the future: And now let's plot the same time differences, but just for total solar eclipses: There's obviously a fair amount of overall regularity here, but there are also lots of little fine structure and irregularities.


Uber Can't Keep Driving Itself

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When Benchmark Capital distributed a letter this week about its lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, it was addressed to Uber's employees. There is no chief operating officer or chief marketing officer, and the company's first employee, Ryan Graves, left his role as senior vice president of operations last week. Rather than expanding into new markets, Uber is pulling back, announcing the sale of its China business to Didi a year ago and more recently ceding control of its Russia operations to Yandex.Taxi. Liane Hornsey, who joined Uber as chief human resources officer in January, openly acknowledged employee burnout in a Buzzfeed interview.


Meet Hexa, a Six-Legged Insectile Robot That's Just As Creepy As It Sounds

WIRED

The uncanny valley teems with creepy humanoids--machines not quite perfect enough to be mistaken for people, but not quite comically robotic enough to be endearing. Now, a new robot is scuttling into the uncanny valley. And it just might bring robot hacking to the masses. You control this bot with your phone, and it scales steps and uneven terrain with ease.


The Plan to Put a 3-D Printer With Robot Arms Into Orbit

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But a company called Made in Space is indifferent to space's indifference. It's a milestone in the outfit's ambitious Archinaut program, which hopes to launch a 3-D printer with robot arms into orbit. If all goes according to plan, one day Archinaut's robotic arms will use machine vision to grab printed parts as they leave the machine, then piece them together into satellites or dishes. "We're going to need fairly complex, large, and capable systems for human exploration that we're going to use kind of over and over again," says Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.