INNOVATION


Lyft taxi app boosted by $1bn investment from Google-led consortium

The Guardian

The US ride-hailing company Lyft has secured a $1bn (£760m) investment from a Google-led consortium, a considerable war chest that will help finance its challenge to Uber in the US – and possibly overseas. The funding round was led by CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital), the strategic investment arm of Google's corporate parent Alphabet, and takes the valuation of Lyft up to $11bn. That's still a fraction of Uber's market cap, which is somewhere between $50bn and $70bn, but it pegs the company as a major domestic competitor to the trouble-stricken cab firm. Lyft is tight-lipped as to what, precisely, the new funding will be spent on. In a statement announcing the investment round, the company said: "While we've made progress towards our vision, we're most excited about what lies ahead.


Laundry-folding robot maker will represent Japan at startup competition

The Japan Times

A Tokyo-based startup recognized for its laundry-folding robot has gained entry to an international competition for venture firms, and hopes to represent Japan as a country of innovation. Seven Dreamers Laboratories Inc. was chosen as Japan's entry for the Startup World Cup on Wednesday night in Tokyo, beating out nine other competitors in a business presentation contest. The Startup World Cup was launched last year by Silicon Valley-based Fenox Venture Capital with the aim of connecting more startups and investors worldwide. The final round in this year's competition will be held in San Francisco in May, and will feature 32 firms that have each won their regional preliminary rounds. The overall winner will receive a $1 million (about ¥113 million) investment.


Who Is The Real Elon Musk?

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Elon Musk has become a superstar in Silicon Valley with his unique mannerisms, creative business decisions, and thirst for innovation. He's become an inspirational figure for millions of people around the world. The real question is, who is Elon Musk and what are his plans for the future? This article will sift through his life and pinpoint what he intends to do in the coming years. Elon Musk was born to Maye Musk a model and dietician in South Africa.


Australian government awards AU$5.9m in R&D grants to support defence operations

ZDNet

The Australian government has announced awarding five organisations with Defence Innovation Hub grants worth AU$5.9 million. Western Australia-based L3 Oceania has secured a AU$2.9 million contract to explore the development of an underwater acoustic sensor, while the University of Newcastle will explore the development of virtual reality-based resilience training programs for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel under a AU$2.2 million contract. Agent Oriented Software from Victoria has been awarded a AU$378,000 grant to explore the concept of an "autonomous teamed intelligent software agent capability resilient to cyber-attacks"; Explosive Protective Equipment from Queensland received a AU$242,000 grant to explore the integration of a Cobham Amulet Ground Penetrating Radar into an existing unmanned ground vehicle for the detection of improvised explosive devices; and Griffith University received a AU$183,000 grant to explore the development of a portable device that enables real-time detection of airborne biological threats. "These investments will drive growth in defence industry and innovation whilst focusing on the capability needs required to ensure Australia's national security now and into the future," Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said in a statement on Friday. Launched in December last year, the Defence Innovation Hub has invested about AU$20 million to industry and research organisations, Pyne said.


Is technology really going to destroy more jobs than ever before?

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You've probably heard that a robot is going to take your job. It's an oft-repeated refrain, heralded in article headlines and speeches from luminaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. Some experts predict that anywhere from 38 to 57 percent of jobs could be automated in the next few decades, depending on who you ask, and the jobs aren't limited to any one industry. Automation threatens to eliminate or limit jobs such as waitstaff, truck drivers, factory workers, accountants, cashiers, and retail employees, according to a recent report from PBS. But to other experts, these apocalyptic predictions are overblown.


GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Future Stars: News Highlights – Day 1

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Dr. Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer at Amazon.com, made his first regional keynote speech at GITEX Technology Week today. Speaking on how an experimental mindset helps drive continuous innovation on a worldwide scale, he highlighted how digital acceleration can create new opportunities and extolled entrepreneurs to work on things that truly differentiate their businesses. At this afternoon's keynote, Dr. Vogels said that the most disruptive businesses in the Middle East are powered in the cloud. Dr. Vogels expressed his excitement to announce that the company is building a presence in the Middle East, which will allow it to harness the power of technology to create a rich featured infrastructure platform for startups and big businesses in the region. Meanwhile, Mike Sutcliff, Group Chief Executive of Accenture Digital at his keynote address highlighted the role technology will play across the private and government sectors.


Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Perspica

@machinelearnbot

Earlier this year, Cisco announced the acquisition of AppDynamics – uniquely positioning Cisco to enable enterprises to accelerate their digital transformations by actively monitoring, analyzing and optimizing complex application environments at scale. Today, we are excited to announce the intent to acquire Perspica, the first acquisition to support and accelerate the AppDynamics vision. In our experience working with the world's largest companies, we know that machine learning is only as good as the data it ingests; only as relevant as the data's timeliness; and only as valuable as the data's business context. Cisco's AppDynamics data sets span wherever the application components are deployed, and there is a massive opportunity to correlate this with user experience and business context. With the addition of Perspica to our AppDynamics capabilities, customers will be able to further take advantage of machine learning capabilities to analyze large amounts of application-related data, in real time and with business context, including when an application is deployed in a company's public, private and multiple cloud environments.


Navigating the digital future: The disruption of capital projects

@machinelearnbot

Digital technology is disrupting capital projects. Companies that want to emerge as leaders must transform their organizations now. Productivity in the construction sector has stagnated for decades, with the average capital project reaching completion 20 months behind schedule and 80 percent over budget. Some overruns result from increased project complexity and scale, but another factor also looms large: all stakeholders in the capital-projects ecosystem--project owners, contractors, and subcontractors--have resisted adopting digital tools and platforms. These include advanced analytics, automation, robotics, 5-D building information modeling (BIM), and online document-management or data-collection systems.


If data is the new oil, is storage the new refinery? - SiliconANGLE

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Just as oil propelled Standard Oil Co. Inc. to a position of dominant industrial power in the late 1800s, data is doing the same for a number of technology firms today. Half of consumer online spending in the U.S. is controlled by Amazon, a company that relies extensively on mining data so it knows what you want before your buy it. The list goes on, but one constant is clear. Just as oil spawned the growth of many industries, data is reshaping the technology stack. From robotics (think autonomous cars) to the entire field of data science, a new era of innovation is underway.


Ontario Boosting the Number of Graduates in Science, Tech, Engineering, Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence

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Ontario is increasing support for students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including artificial intelligence, to continue to build a highly skilled workforce and support job creation and economic growth. Leading businesses from around the world choose Ontario because of its talented workforce, strong public education system and commitment to universal health care. These same qualities help to support an ecosystem that enables locally owned companies to succeed and grow. To bolster provincial competitiveness, the government plans to increase the number of postsecondary students graduating in the STEM disciplines by 25 per cent over the next five years. This initiative will boost the number of STEM graduates from 40,000 to 50,000 per year and position Ontario as the number one producer of postsecondary STEM graduates per capita in North America.