"Alexa's responses are protected by the First Amendment" Big tech would really like you to engage with their products using your voice. Firms like Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ:APPL), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) have collectively spent tens of billions of dollars perfecting the technology that allows their gadgets to listen attentively for your voice, understand your commands, and respond obediently. A recent survey by market research firm SUMO Heavy has found that approximately 30% of US adults are active users of voice assistants. As far as the device type, the bulk (49%), use voice assistants with their smartphone, followed by smart speaker, and then PC. Those that do use voice assistants on their smartphone tend to be iPhone users.
What do Russian trolls, Facebook, and US elections have to do with machine learning? Recommendation engines are at the heart of the central feedback loop of social networks and the user-generated content (UGC) they create. Users join the network and are recommended users and content with which to engage. Recommendation engines can be gamed because they amplify the effects of thought bubbles. The 2016 US presidential election showed how important it is to understand how recommendation engines work and the limitations and strengths they offer.
Summer romance is in the air and the special someone you just met at an online dating site or on social media seems too good to be true. The sad truth is the person just might turn out to be. In fact, your would-be dreamboat could be a "catfisher." Some states have a higher risk than others, it seems. HighSpeedInternet.com has issued a new report "When Love Bites," in which the internet service provider comparison website identified the states where you are most likely to fall prey to these scammers.
Twitter has just announced it has picked up London-based Fabula AI. The deep learning startup has been developing technology to try to identify online disinformation by looking at patterns in how fake stuff vs genuine news spreads online -- making it an obvious fit for the rumor-riled social network. Social media giants remain under increasing political pressure to get a handle on online disinformation to ensure that manipulative messages don't, for example, get a free pass to fiddle with democratic processes. Twitter says the acquisition of Fabula will help it build out its internal machine learning capabilities -- writing that the UK startup's "world-class team of machine learning researchers" will feed an internal research group it's building out, led by Sandeep Pandey, its head of ML/AI engineering. This research group will focus on "a few key strategic areas such as natural language processing, reinforcement learning, ML ethics, recommendation systems, and graph deep learning" -- now with Fabula co-founder and chief scientist, Michael Bronstein, as a leading light within it.
In the early 2000s, Bluetooth almost met an untimely end. The first Bluetooth devices struggled to avoid interfering with Wi-Fi routers, a higher-powered, more-established cohort on the radio spectrum, with which Bluetooth devices shared frequencies. Bluetooth engineers eventually modified their standard--and saved their wireless tech from early extinction--by developing frequency-hopping techniques for Bluetooth devices, which shifted operation to unoccupied bands upon detecting Wi-Fi signals. Frequency hopping is just one way to avoid interference, a problem that has plagued radio since its beginning. Long ago, regulators learned to manage spectrum so that in the emerging wireless ecosystem, different radio users were allocated different frequencies for their exclusive use. While this practice avoids the challenges of detecting transmissions and shifting frequencies on the fly, it makes very inefficient use of spectrum, as portions lay fallow.
Microsoft and Mojang have announced a new Minecraft game, 'Minecraft Earth,' for mobile devices, which uses augmented reality to place objects from the game in your real world. Minecraft is expanding its reach – into your real world. A new game, "Minecraft Earth," coming this summer for mobile devices (Android and iOS), uses augmented reality – à la "Pokémon Go" – to let you find objects in real-world locations and place objects from the game there, too. "The game's mechanics are simple: explore your neighborhood to find blocks and unique mobs for your builds. Once you have them, any flat surface is an opportunity to build," said Minecraft creative director Saxs Persson in a post on Xbox.com.
Sales of smart speakers are soaring despite some people's concerns over privacy, with Amazon's Alexa leading the charge into homes in various Echo devices and Google's Home and Assistant snapping at its heels. They come in various shapes, sizes and prices, but if you just want to dip your toe into the burgeoning voice-powered world, what's the cheapest way to get Alexa or Google Assistant into your home? Voice assistants don't actually need a dedicated speaker to work. If you have a modern smartphone chances are you either already have Google Assistant, if you have an Android phone, or can install the app on an iPhone. The same goes for Amazon's Alexa, which can even be set as the default voice assistant on an Android phone.
Walt Disney World recently showed the Associated Press what it takes to put their shows together. It's a shift for a resort that hasn't allowed many peeks behind the curtains of the fantasy it creates. Maybe romantic Disney fairy tales come true after all. Data from the popular global online dating site Plenty of Fish reveals that singles who have expressed an interest in Disney are 3.6 times more likely to leave the app in a relationship compared to singles who more generally list interests in music and movies. That was certainly true for Disney fan Abby Schiller.
At the endless booths of this week's RSA security trade show in San Francisco, an overflowing industry of vendors will offer any visitor an ad nauseam array of "threat intelligence" and "vulnerability management" systems. But it turns out that there's already a decent, free feed of vulnerability information that can tell systems administrators what bugs they really need to patch, updated 24/7: Twitter. And one group of researchers has not only measured the value of Twitter's stream of bug data, but is also building a piece of free software that automatically tracks it to pull out hackable software flaws and rate their severity. Researchers at Ohio State University, the security company FireEye, and research firm Leidos last week published a paper describing a new system that reads millions of tweets for mentions of software security vulnerabilities, and then, using their machine-learning-trained algorithm, assessed how much of a threat they represent based on how they're described. They found that Twitter can not only predict the majority of security flaws that will show up days later on the National Vulnerability Database--the official register of security vulnerabilities tracked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology--but that they could also use natural language processing to roughly predict which of those vulnerabilities will be given a "high" or "critical" severity rating with better than 80 percent accuracy.
If you shop at Westfield, you've probably been scanned and recorded by dozens of hidden cameras built into the centres' digital advertising billboards. The semi-camouflaged cameras can determine not only your age and gender but your mood, cueing up tailored advertisements within seconds, thanks to facial detection technology. Westfield's Smartscreen network was developed by the French software firm Quividi back in 2015. Their discreet cameras capture blurry images of shoppers and apply statistical analysis to identify audience demographics. And once the billboards have your attention they hit record, sharing your reaction with advertisers.