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Is Robotic Prostate Surgery Better Than Traditional Surgery?

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Advocates of robotically assisted prostatectomy argue that the procedure brings a number of advantages. Among them: less blood loss, shorter stays in the hospital and faster recovery times. However, it isn't clear that the robotically assisted procedures provide an advantage when it comes to survival rates and urinary and erection problems. And it costs significantly more. Ashutosh Tewari, system chairman of the department of urology at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, believes the robotic surgery is better.


Short of Workers, Restaurants Turn to Robots

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Experts have warned for years that robots will replace humans in restaurants. Instead, a twist on that prediction is unfolding. Amid the lowest unemployment in years, fast-food restaurants are turning to machines--not to get rid of workers, but because they can't find enough. The hospitality industry had 844,000 unfilled positions in April, a record high, according to the Labor Department. Employment in food service and drinking places has increased by 1.6 million since May 2013 to 11.9 million in May 2018.


Police: Operator in Self-Driving Uber Crash Was Streaming 'The Voice'

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"This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted," the Tempe, Ariz., police report said. The police report said Ms. Vasquez could face vehicular manslaughter charges. Tempe police have referred the case to the Yavapai County attorney's office, where a spokeswoman said the matter is under review. Uber said in a statement it has a "a strict policy prohibiting mobile device usage for anyone operating our self-driving vehicles." Ms. Vasquez, who no longer works for Uber, couldn't be reached for comment.


Amazon's Face-Scanning Surveillance Software Contrasts With Its Privacy Stance

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Face recognition is a stark example of a technology that is being deployed faster than society and the law can adopt new norms and rules. It lets governments and private enterprise track citizens anywhere there is a camera, even if they're not carrying any devices. In general, people who are in public don't have any legal expectation of privacy and can be photographed or recorded. Because of this, the technology has the potential to be more intrusive than phone tracking, the legality of which the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide. There are only two states, Texas and Illinois, that limit private companies' ability to track people via their faces.


A Burger Joint Where Robots Make Your Food

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On June 27, he and Steven Frehn, a mechanical engineer, will open Creator, a San Francisco burger shop where a robot preps, cooks and assembles your meal. Creator is betting that robotic efficiency and consistency, combined with techniques borrowed from Michelin-star chefs, will lead to a better burger--for the relatively affordable price of $6. The restaurant is designed with the muted colors and clean lines of a luxury home-goods store. All the better to focus on the real stars: two 14-foot-long burger-making machines, each comprised of roughly 7,000 parts, including hundreds of sensors. Buns, tomatoes, onions, pickles, seasonings and sauces are stored in clear tubes, which sit over a copper conveyor belt on a wooden base carved into Zaha-Hadid-style swooping lines.


Harvester of Facebook Data Wants Tighter Controls Over Privacy

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Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), chairman of the Senate's consumer protection subcommittee, said he was considering joining in an effort by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) to pass a privacy bill of rights in Congress. His comments showed that the risks for big internet companies haven't dissipated since Facebook's scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a political data consultancy that worked with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and obtained data of millions of Facebook users from an app developer, Aleksandr Kogan. Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), the chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee, added that Facebook "remains under the microscope" and said lawmakers continue to examine potential measures to protect user privacy. But key lawmakers appeared to be far from a consensus on how to proceed. At Tuesday's hearing, Mr. Kogan, a social psychologist and University of Cambridge lecturer, in prepared testimony, called for strengthening the system of obtaining users' consent for subsequent use of their information.


Google Invests $550 Million in Chinese Online Shopping Site JD.com

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The search giant is building alliances as it races Amazon to develop new ways for people to shop, from voice-enabled smart speakers to faster and more convenient home grocery delivery. Google last year teamed up with Walmart Inc. WMT 0.73% to let users order a selection of the retailer's products on Google's virtual assistant and speakers, a challenge to Amazon's Alexa service. Earlier this month, Google joined with Carrefour SA, Europe's largest retailer, to offer same-day delivery of perishable groceries to people's homes in France. The deal announced Monday also could help Google boost advertising revenue, which has been threatened by Amazon recently as businesses increasingly shift ads to the internet shopping site. The JD investment comes as Google seeks to strengthen its connections in China.


The Death of the TV Remote---and What's Coming Next

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But in the last few years, Alexa and Siri have moved in. With this invasion of AI assistants comes incredible command over technology: Don't set a timer or check the weather; ask. And don't spring for that spinning, oak coffee-table caddy to house your obnoxious array of remotes. With the latest TV innovations, all you'll need to say is "Alexa, play'Dawson's Creek'" to immediately power on your TV, streaming device and soundbar, search for the show (now on Hulu), and start where it you left off. "The control and convenience that comes from the next generation of voice is really going to enhance the TV experience," said John Taylor, senior vice president of LG Electronics and friend of Eugene Polley and Dr. Robert Adler, engineers who invented Zenith's original 1950 remote.


Grabbing an Uber? Now You Can Buy Your Own Insurance for the Ride

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The startup, Sure Inc., has developed a product for passengers to purchase accident and death coverage on an on-demand, per-day basis via a smartphone application. It covers costs of injuries sustained when traveling in a ride-sharing vehicle. One of the world's biggest property-casualty insurers, Chubb is part of an industrywide race to develop new products as the car industry goes through a monumental shift. Ride-hailing services continue to rise in popularity, while growth in autonomous vehicles will shift driving from humans to computers. Both trends threaten to cut into one of the industry's biggest product lines in the U.S.: car insurance bought by individuals.


This Robotic Chessboard Is Like Something Out of Harry Potter

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Old-school purists might argue that the pervasiveness of online chess has ruined the game's tactile appeal. Instead of pushing beautifully carved pieces across a painted board, most players nowadays drag and drop computer icons--a mouseclick is the only tangible element. But like something out of "Harry Potter," Square Off uses motors and magnets to glide an opponent's solid pieces over its rosewood surface, restoring an experience many players thought might be lost to technology. I bought two boards and shipped one to Danny. Paired to our smartphones via Bluetooth, the boards speak to one another over the internet.