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Sergey Brin shouts out Ethereum and warns of AI in annual founders' letter

Mashable

When Sergey Brin talks, people listen. And right now Brin is talking about AI and cryptocurrency. As the president of Alphabet, Google's parent company, Brin is uniquely positioned to not only see what technological developments are coming down the pike but to influence them as well. That makes the company's annual founders' letter an important indicator for the tech world. According to Brin, who wrote this year's, the signs are mixed.


IBM is pouring $240 million into a new AI research lab at MIT

Mashable

On Thursday, IBM and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) announced a new $240 million research center called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab that's focused, at least in part, on how new hardware can help energize and grow AI technologies. "The field of artificial intelligence has experienced incredible growth and progress over the past decade. One of those nascent technologies is quantum computing. It's a technology that excites AI researchers because it holds the potential of far greater computing power, thanks to its ability to hold bits in multiple states at once. Traditional computing can only have bits that are on or off (1s and 0s).


HP is putting a supercomputer in space

Mashable

No matter where you are on Earth, your computer just works. As long as you have power (or a battery) and a broadband internet connection, your device is good to go, with access to essentially the computing power of the entire world. Computers on the International Space Station need to connect via a laggy, bandwidth-starved connection that's beamed from the surface -- basically satellite internet. SEE ALSO: Here's how Virgin's space program is different than SpaceX If you've ever used satellite internet, you know how much it sucks. That means, for computers on the ISS, they don't have instant access to the kind of cloud computing that we take for granted here on Earth: When you ask Siri or Alexa a question, for example, your speech is digitized, processed in the cloud, and responded to in real time.


Hurricane forecasters sent a blunt warning to their bosses

Mashable

When Hurricane Sandy made a devastating left hook into the Mid-Atlantic on Oct. 29, 2012, killing nearly 150 people and causing about $70 billion in damage, a narrative took hold in the weather community and the media that made its way to Capitol Hill. U.S. weather models were late in forecasting that storm's bizarre track when compared to the top model from Europe, which locked onto it more than a week in advance. Many in and out of government began to criticize what they saw as a growing modeling gap across the Atlantic Ocean. The weather model wars are continuing, and new evidence has emerged that instead of making a leap forward in forecast accuracy as Congress has directed, the U.S. may be about to take a step back, at least when it comes to high-impact events such as hurricanes and tropical storms are concerned. SEE ALSO: Looking for hope on climate change under Trump?


Light show in Sydney features 100 synchronized flying drones

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The skyline in Sydney has become the stage for an impressive drone show. As the city's rainy weather finally subsided, Intel kicked off its show with 100 illuminated drones taking to the sky above Sydney Harbour on Wednesday night. The display will take place across five nights as part of Sydney's Vivid Festival, with Sydney's Youth Orchestra performing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as the soundtrack. This isn't the first time such a performance has taken place. The inaugural Intel drone event, which broke a Guinness World Record for the most UAVs flying simultaneously, happened in Hamburg, Germany, in 2015.


Pens, holograms and you: Microsoft's quest to make computing 'natural'

Mashable

Microsoft's vision of "natural computing" will be a significant departure from the keyboard-and-mouse combination we're all familiar with today -- but several moving parts have to come together in order to make it work. Namely, those include touchscreens, smart pens and augmented-reality headsets. SEE ALSO: Microsoft wants a piece of the VR pie, and it's using HoloLens to get it Luckily, Microsoft brought all of those elements together on stage at the Computex trade show on Wednesday. It announced that Windows Hello and Windows Ink, two features that had been seen in beta earlier this year, will become real for Windows 10 users this summer via a free OS update. Li-Chen Miller, Microsoft's engineering manager for Windows experiences, showed them off in a demo where she logged into her laptop with wearable bands and a contactless ID card, eschewing the traditional password route.


Microsoft pushes ahead with its risky dream of conversational AI bots

Mashable

Satya Nadella believes he's found The Next Big Thing. Nadella, the stylish and analytical CEO of Microsoft, is preaching the power of bots. And not just any bots -- bots powered by artificial intelligence that can carry meaningful conversations and handle tasks for you. "It's about taking the power of human language and applying it more pervasively to all of our computing," Nadella said in his cerebral introduction to Microsoft's annual developers conference, which kicked off on Wednesday. "By doing so, we think this can have as profound an impact as the previous platform shifts have had, whether it be GUI [graphical user interface], or the web, or touch, or mobile."