Monthly Archives: November 2018

Ford and Walmart testing new self-driving delivery

Recently Walmart has announced that they are joining forces with Ford and Postmates in order to fully autonomize grocery delivery. Up to this moment online delivery was already easy, you just waited for someone to deliver your shopping and leave it in your home or even fridge. Technology is developing rapidly, everyone is crazy about having their own autonomous product, it can be a car, a bus or a vacuum cleaner. It is no longer surprising that companies are racing in order to achive that.The newest program presented by Ford, Walmart and Postmates is being tested in Miami.

The main goal of this is to see how customers would interact with autonomous cars, and what advantage they can give to the world of delivering. In my opinion such system has a long way to go before it can be implemented everywhere. The question is how would the car unload your grocery when you’re not at home, it would require help from someone from the delivery service, which already is against the whole purpose of having self-driving cars. Of course now these test deliveries have safety drivers ready to intervine if something goes wrong and they can do the job, but who or what will do it in the future?We can make assumptions what delivery will look like in the future but we need to remember that is a part of online shopping which according to a recent report done by CNBC will grow very fast. They estimete that by 2025 American consumers will spend up to $100 billion and that is just in grocery. It is fully understandable then why everyone is trying to prepare themselfs in the best possible way to offer the best delivery service. This phenomenon of fully autonomizing every aspect of our lifes is growing faster and faster and this idea of delivering if executed correctly will be part of our life soon on my opinion. Especialy that Ford and Walmart are not the only companies trying to develop self-driving deliveries.

Sources:

https://news.walmart.com/2018/11/14/walmart-and-ford-to-test-grocery-delivery-with-self-driving-cars

https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/14/18087898/ford-walmart-postmates-self-driving-grocery-delivery-miami

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/30/online-grocery-sales-set-surge-grabbing-20-percent-of-market-by-2025.html

Internet of things

Internet was created for people to develop skills, entertain, and many other activities over the time. We created YouTube, Facebook, a lot of sites and it gave us an opportunity to communicate with  people all around the globe. We built international network. Today this is called internet of people , or just an internet.

Now it’s time for internet of things, which means that objects can communicate with each other, using the same mechanism of building network as people do on the traditional internet.

Imagine bed with microchips, that are reading the talk of your body. Afterwards they are checking your orthopaedic condition, and actualized shape of mattress in your bed. Just to make you comfortable and healthy. Morning ritual is starting with relaxing massage which is turning into terrible vibes so you have to wake up at 7.00 AM. Whenever you want it or not, you are never late.

Alright sounds nice but, how my bed can gain an information  about my orthopaedic health and what hour should I wake up?

It is all about interactions between objects:

 

In the first case bed is gaining information about health from data bases in hospital ( or any other place where you have put it). Than the mechanisms in bad are making an appropriate change of the shape of mattress.

In the second case you are putting an alarm in your phone. At certain hour phone is sending a signal to bed that is the time to wake up. Afterwards the process of waking you up is starting.

This chain of interactions is almost unlimited. Having a phone as a center of daily activities, morning routine can also looks like this:

 

 

Your bed is waking you up, the temperature in your room is changing, if it’s grey outside light of the lamp is turning on. In the kitchen you can hear the sounds of your morning coffee. In my opinion this is fascinating, because it’s a huge step in the direction of real intelligent houses or even smart cities

This is also very serious thought in business case. Companies like: IBM, Google, Samsung, Cisco are constantly investing in this technological aspect. Apart from improving daily life level, the biggest firms in the world invests in IOT because, it can significantly increase efficiency in every manufacturing sector.

 

Interest of IOT is still growing, so I think that reality of life as described above is going to be a norm sooner than most of as expect.

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https://medium.com/@iwetalaskowska

https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT

Self-driving cars and Moral Machine

The Trolley Problem. 

Loved by ones and hated by the others. Questions with no right and wrong answers. Decisions that no one would like to make. What if there is a solution to the trolley problem and our hurting morals in the world of Artificial Intelligence and Self-driving cars.

“Moral Machine”. Creation of students from MIT, who wants you to be god for a few minutes and decide who lives and who dies. This platform is a simulation of a self-driving car seconds before the unavoidable accident.There is also a choice of creating your own design. In every scenario there is someone dying. The question is who and how to decide on that. .

Even though the trolley problem may seem old and not realistic, the driverless car for sure do seems realistic enough. With the technology that we established, we are able to make a car that is going to decide for us on what to do in every situation possible. The biggest advantage of it is that the car is actually able to process the situation and make the best decision, when with people we can not predict anything. But what about the situation when the driverless car is faced with unsolvable problem and need to chose who lives and who dies. How can we overcome those ethical issues that seems to be a no-win situation. Those issue has to be solved so that self-driving cars can enter the market but for now we are facing not only problems of morality but also problems with ethnicity and people’s beliefs. It turns out that people from different countries have different reactions to the situations presented in the “Moral Machine”. For example, someone will save a pedestrian who is crossing the street on a red light and someone else will think of it as an exception to the basic moral rule and not save this person. But when we think about an accident, it is a split second before we hit someone. No-one is thinking about the fact if the person crossing the street on the red light is poor, rich, sick or healthy. It is still human life, no matter what.No one will judge you for intentionally killing a rich person instead of poor one. Unfortunately when it comes to driverless-cars, those decisions are being proceeded differently and we need to face them. The only question is how and who is going to set the rules.

http://moralmachine.mit.edu

 

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/14/cars-drivers-ethical-dilemmas-machines

http://moralmachine.mit.edu

https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Moral-Machine

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07135-0

CRISPR babies – designing your future child like a Baby Born or a prevention of serious diseases?

Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) which is an official platform and catalog for registering a clinical trials in China proves that this month researchers from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen conducted an experiment of creating babies with edited genes. The news is really recent, the last official information about this issue has been refreshed on 26th of November and there is still a lot of uncertainty…

Scientific title of this research is “Evaluation of safety and efficacy of gene with human embryo CCR5 gene”. CCR5 is responsible for being resistant (or not) to HIV. Tool used by Chinese scientists is called CRISP. It enables to edit certain genes in an in vitro fertilization. Human embryos are changed before transferring them into women’s uterus. He Jiankui, the leader of this experiment, did not want to answer all the questions, he posted a video on Youtube explaining cursorily the project, but he refuses to comment on anything else.

Source: The He Lab Youtube channel

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania crispr

Source: Cambridge University Press

It is undoubtedly an enormous step for medical as well as technological world, but it brings serious threats too. Any gene editing can cause “off target” mutations. Many specialists are concerned that this can go into wrong direction. Feng Zhang, a Chinese-American biochemist, member of the Board Institute of MIT and Harvard, said: Although I appreciate the global threat posed by HIV, at this stage, the risks of editing embryos to knock out CCR5 seem to outweigh the potential benefits”.  Vice-director of the Tsinghua University Comprehensive AIDS Research Center, Zhang Lin-Qi claims that “The consequences are impossible to predict”. Fyodor Urnov, associate director of the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences feels  “regret and concern over the fact that gene editing—a powerful and useful technique—was put to use in a setting where it was unnecessary.” However, He Jiankui believes that his experiment “will surpass” the development of in vitro fertilization. The solution to infertility gave Robert Edwards Nobel Prize in 2010. Does He deserve one too?

Gene-editing arouses a few social and moral dilemmas. Will gene-editing become a prevention, health advantage like vaccinations for privileged group of people? Or maybe people will choose physical and personality traits for their children? Where is the line between development and interference with a nature of human? How will it affect an average person? Can it change or control the evolution? Will we wake up one day and say it is too late to bring back genetic balance into our society? For now, we have to answer this questions by ourselves.

It’s worth mentioning that currently usage of genetically modified embryo while establishing a pregnancy is illegal in Europe. It is also prohibited in China. We do not know whether He got special authority or did it unlawfully. He’s media spokesman, Ryan Ferrell didn’t respond whether the project is legal.

References:

http://www.chictr.org.cn/showprojen.aspx?proj=32758

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612458/exclusive-chinese-scientists-are-creating-crispr-babies/

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612465/crispr-inventor-feng-zhang-calls-for-moratorium-on-baby-making/

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612466/the-chinese-scientist-who-claims-he-made-crispr-babies-has-been-suspended-without-pay/

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/crispr-bombshell-chinese-researcher-claims-have-created-gene-edited-twins

https://businessinsider.com.pl/technologie/nauka/crispr-cas9-genetycznie-zmodyfikowane-blizniaki-w-chinach/q0r5p5y

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RIP wallets. Are implanted microchips here to stay?

As some of you have surely noticed, old breathtaking fantastic fiction films steadily become our reality today. But, should we wave goodbye to wallets and welcome implanted microchips with open arms?


Has anybody of you encountered with inconvenience when the wallet somehow got lost in the bag or because of your goldfish memory stayed at home? Hey, we’re living in the world of cutting-edge technologies, why do we still have to lug around the rarely-used discount cards with us all the time as well as fiddle with irritating keys at the front door? It shouldn’t be our concern since technology has far surpassed the demand for any of these things.

Картинки по запросу Thousands of people in Sweden get microchip implants

Originally, the idea came to the mind of Swedes back in 2015, who seem more willing to try the technology than most other nations. It is so mainstream there that, since June 2017, people have even been able to buy train tickets with their microchips. You must admit it’s more practical to have a surgically inserted microchip than such services like Apple Pay or smart locks on your phone, which can be lost and hacked. So an increasing number of people, including approximately 3,000 Swedes, are opting for implanted microchips.

Tiny little chip implants, via X-ray.

The chip itself is the size of a grain of rice despite it could hold the key to many aspects of our life, considerably simplifying it. The microchip implanted in the hand between a thumb and a forefinger and basically functions as a digital keychain. The subcutaneous chip intended to help people do things like hold entry codes, unlock and start their car, gain access to certain vending machines or printers, log on to computers, sign into the gym, make credit card payments.

“In the past year, the chip has turned into a kind of electronic handbag and has even replaced my gym card”– says Ulrika Celsing, one of 3,000 Swedes, who have injected a microchip into her hand to try out a new way of life.

Over time, as the technology doesn’t stand still, the implant will be able to do even more. However, the question arose whether are these chip implants a step toward future where employers track their subjects’ every movement? Or are they simply an easy way to log in to accounts and open doors with a wave of a hand?

Nick Anderson, an associate professor in public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, says the privacy and security of any information stored on the chips is a conspicuous concern. The implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also used in credit cards, and are “passive”, which means they hold data that can be read by other devices but cannot read information themselves. Actually, NFC chips right below the skin give corporations a fair amount of control over you — they could track where you are, how long you take for lunch every day, or how often you go to the restroom if the chip were scanned by a reader. Moreover, abandoning this kind of data collection is too much complicated when you’ve got a chip implanted in your body tissues.

Maybe we are really stuck with small keypads and overstuffed wallets. But is carrying a key or remembering a password so difficult or potentially risky? Without additional safeguards and guarantees of privacy, the microchipping quirk may quickly become a digital security nightmare.

Links:

https://futurism.com/sweden-microchip-trend

https://www.businessinsider.com/swedish-people-embed-microchips-under-skin-to-replace-id-cards-2018-5?IR=T

 

 

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Robots will cook the pizza during the delivery

Have you ever thought that after an hour of waiting, your pizza will be fresh and hot? It’s not impossible! The joint efforts of the company: Pizza Hut and Toyota, present a project that will change the way of delivery and the mood of the client, upon receipt of the order. Companies will present a robot that will prepare pizza in a specially equipped car, during delivery to the client.

The presentation took place at the SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) in Las Vegas. Mobile pizza factory is located in the back of Toyota Tundra pickup truck. The development was called Tundra PIE Pro, also does not pollute the environment.

“We are always looking for ways to be closer to our customers.”- said the chief operating officer of Pizza Hut Nicholas Burquier. “Our main idea is always the same: to reduce the gap between the moment when the pizza is cooked and the moment when the customer starts to enjoy our product.»

The technology of cooking pizza is not complicated. Robots take out pre-assembled pizza from the refrigerator and cook it in a conveyor oven. Then transfer ready pizza on a cutting board, cut it into pieces and put in packing. The developers said that the process of cooking pizza will not take more than 5-6 minutes. After that, the driver can take the pizza and hand it over to the customer, but Pizza Hut plans to transfer this system to Autonomous cars as soon as they get widespread.

“Pizza Hut will be testing this prototype in real conditions in the coming months. We’re going to find out how viable these systems are.»

 

Links:

https://hi-news.ru/technology/video-pizza-hut-i-toyota-predstavili-robota-kotoryj-budet-gotovit-piccu-pryamo-vo-vremya-dostavki.html

https://newkuban.ru/novosti/roboty-budut-gotovit-pitstsu-pryamo-vo-vremya-dost01112018/

https://amurmedia.ru/news/755489/

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The new, best way to deal with cyber-attacks?

Darktrace autonomous AI-system finds out about any digital threats, before they get severe.

Information leaks happen almost every day in the Internet. Meanwhile most of the engineers try to find a way to prevent hackers from getting into the digital systems, some of them noticed that it might be better to do it the other way around. In 2013 with that idea in mind, Darktrace has been created.

A group of former MI5 agents joined forces with Cambridge mathematicians with a mission in mind to develop a new tool to fight cyber-attacks. Interestingly enough, they decided to use AI to make that happen. As their philosophy states ‘Pit the machines against the machines to keep your data safe.‘.

So how does it really work and why is it effective? Frankly, it is quite simple. Darktrace connects their software with company’s system. From that moment, the AI starts monitoring all the activities that occur within the digital infrastructure. Furthermore, it is learning how does the company operate.

Well, you may now ask yourself a question why is it all for? With all of the data accumulated, Dartktrace’s software can now easily detect any instances of unusual activities or deviations. This is called unsupervised learning, a very rare type of machine learning, that doesn’t require any information from us humans, to know what to look for.  This really revolutionized the market, because before that we used supervised learning, which is quite the opposite. In that case we had to provide data to the AI in order to allow it to learn about the threats and problems that may occur. Although it works fine in most of the cases, it has its flaws too. The main problem is that it is useless when unknown threats appear. That’s where Darktrace has the advantage.

Darktrace software here just neutralized an anomalous, dangerous behaviour

For example, in 2017 the software was introduced to one of the Las Vegas casinos. Although the company states, that their AI usually is not really useful within first days of working due to its learning process taking at least a week, just after its start, it registered some unusual activities. It turned out, that their recently installed fish tank, which had electronic sensors connected to the servicing company, had transferred over 10GB of data to an external device, which did not belong to the company. After some digging they have found the hacker all the way in Finland.

As Dawn Song, a cybersecurity and machine-learning expert at the University of California, Berkeley stated “the whole system is as secure as its weakest link” and that is the great example of that.

An example of how Darktrace interface looks like.

What also accumulates to their superiority over the market is the accessibility. Their software is really easy to use and to see through. They also provide consultations, if anyone from the IT department encounters any problems with the software. Although co-chief executive Poppy Gustafsson said that they do not want to focus on that part of service “We don’t do consulting” she said “Our tech is not just about detecting cyber threat but also to autonomously respond.”.

Also interesting is the fact that the whole idea was inspired by human body. In one of the interviews, the co-CEO of the company, Nicole Eagan said “It’s very much like the human body’s own immune system,” and moreover  “As complex as it is, it has this innate sense of what’s self and not self. And when it finds something that doesn’t belong—that’s not self—it has an extremely precise and rapid response.”

This start-up has been performing incredibly ever since it was created. In March 2015 they were evaluated at 80M dollars. Only three years later in September 2018 they are valued at over 1,65 billion dollars. This rapid growth is was mainly accelerated by Mike Lynch and his Venture Fund, Invoke Capital. He owns right now over 40% of the company making him the shareholder with the highest ownership.

Although right now it may seem for you, as if this is a perfect software and solution to cyber-crime, it has its flaws too. Some IT workers had reported that this AI-based system, continuously reports multiple deviations throughout the day, to the point when they had to stop checking the alerts, just because it was a waste of their time. Furthermore, Darktrace’s plans for their customer are not cheap at all, which can make them less desirable.

Frankly, I would say that even though it will help bigger companies to eliminate some threats, especially from the inside, it is nowhere near the perfect solution yet.

What do you think about this start-up? Are AI-based systems the solution to our problem with cyber-crime? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Reference list:

  1. Leslie, I. (2018, June 15). You used to build a wall to keep them out, but now hackers are destroying you from the inside.
    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/darktrace-insider-threats-hackers-security
  2. Ram, A. (2018, October 10). Inside Darktrace, the UK’s $1.65bn cyber security start-up.
    https://www.ft.com/content/2fa5bade-cb09-11e8-9fe5-24ad351828ab
  3. null. (null). Cyber-Security SEIM | IDS. https://msp-partner.com/darktrace/
  4. Clifford, A. (2018, August 7). How billion-dollar start-up Darktrace is fighting cybercrime with A.I. .
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/07/billion-dollar-start-up-darktrace-is-fighting-cybercrime-with-ai.html
  5. Hao, K. (2018, November 16). The rare form of machine learning that can spot hackers who have already broken in.
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612427/the-rare-form-of-machine-learning-that-can-spot-hackers-who-have-already-broken-in/
  6. Darktrace. (null). Company Overview. https://www.darktrace.com/en/overview/

 

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Have science fiction spaceships just become a reality?

Recently, MIT engineers have designed and built an electric airplane with no moving parts. The absence of turbines and propellers is possible thanks to “ionic wind”, which occurs when ions generated by the thruster on the aircraft collide with air molecules and propel the plane forward. This ground-breaking machine makes virtually no sound and is powered entirely by battery.

Source: MIT

The airplane made by MIT engineers has a 5 meter wingspan and weighs only 2.45 kilograms. Steven Barrett and his team have been working on this design since 2009. Barrett has said that the science fiction phenomenon, Star Trek, which he often watched during his childhood, greatly inspired him when developing the aircraft. Is it possible that the spaceships we have seen in Star Wars and Star Trek can soon become more than just geeks’ fantasies? While Barrett’s design has still got a long way to go, especially when compared to the USS Enterprise, Millennium Falcon or TIE Fighter, it is still a fantastic accomplishment.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/21/first-ever-plane-with-no-moving-parts-takes-flight

In theory, Ionocrafts could be a game-changer in transportation of cargo and people. Still, one has to remember a revolution is still many years away. The aircraft was tested on a distance of about 60 metres, in a closed gym, under close supervision. Still, Barrett and his team have repeated the test 10 times and found that enough ions have been produced to sustain flight the entire time.

Source: Nature YouTube channel

What struck me the most is the fact that the concept of ionic wind propulsion has been around for quite some time –  it was mentioned as far back as 1709, when an English scientist Francis Hauksbee published Physico-Mechanical Experiments on Various Subjects, and in the 1920s by Thomas Townsend Brown, whose research and work have influenced further discoveries. But it was not until the 1960s, when Russian pilot Alexander Prokofiev de Seversky introduced his idea of Ionocraft , that it became to feel more realistic. Still, it was not until earlier this week, in November 2018, that an actual prototype was built and tested.

Source: http://www.doctorkoontz.com/Antigravity/Townsend_Brown/Thomas%20Townsend%20Brown%20Scientific%20Notebooks,%20Vol_%201.htm

 

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612451/an-electric-plane-with-no-moving-parts-has-made-its-first-flight/

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/mit-plane-no-moving-parts/

http://news.mit.edu/2018/first-ionic-wind-plane-no-moving-parts-1121

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181123135137.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/21/first-ever-plane-with-no-moving-parts-takes-flight

 

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Razer makes Xbox mouse and keyboard

Gaming hardware manufacturer Razer is making the world’s first wireless keyboard and mouse designed specifically for the Xbox One, and it will talk more about them at CES 2019.
Aside from a flashy trailer featuring glimpses of the mouse and keyboard, Razer didn’t provide any other details. We only knew that more information would be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2019) next year. While we still don’t know how much this fabled mouse and keyboard will cost, we’ve now a better look at the device on Razer’s website.

You can clearly see the Xbox Button on the bottom right where the “Control” key should be. The Xbox Dynamic Lighting is also on display and appears to be based on Razer’s “Chroma” technology which provides similar functions on the company’s keyboards. All in all, it’s a gorgeous device, bolstered by its mechanical keys. Hopefully it’ll won’t be too hefty and tout strong battery life.
It’s up to developers to implement keyboard and mouse support in Xbox One games. Fortnite in particular will match up keyboard and mouse players with other players using those same inputs to keep play balanced.
There’s no word yet on how much the Xbox One Razer keyboard and mouse costs or when they’ll hit store shelves. That will likely be announced at CES, which takes place Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sources:
https://www.windowscentral.com/get-your-first-look-razers-xbox-one-mouse-and-keyboard
https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/razer-xbox-one-keyboard-mouse-1203035517/
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/10/18083040/xbox-one-keyboard-mouse-support-features-launch-november

A system that makes calls for you – Google Duplex

Are you the kind of person that hates phone calls, or do you have too little time to handle them all?


Google has announced a system that will solve your problem. It is finally possible to have a natural conversation with computers. Google’s new AI system, Google Duplex, sounds as natural as a real human being! It understands, contextualizes and has correct timing.

Here is an example of how Duplex could schedule an appointment at the hair salon for you.

 

Of course, this could be invaluable in the business world. Duplex could:

  • allow organizations to reduce their customer service teams,
  • allow customers to book at any time, even in the middle of the night,
  • remind customers about their upcoming appointments and reduce no-shows,
  • give information that is not available online – and upload the information online to reduce similar calls.

 

One would expect that a system like this would have a lot of bugs and would not work in the real life. Watch Duplex talking to a woman that barely speaks English and making an appointment at a restaurant.

 

For normal users Duplex could also be very useful and could save people time. This graphic shows an usual way to use Duplex.

According to www.wired.com the technology is, unfortunately, not perfect yet. WIRED writer, Lauren Goode, answered a call in a demo in June. She was very surprised that Duplex sounded just like a real person and she thinks this can be disorientating. She managed, however, to confuse the bot by saying something about allergies in the middle of a discussion about available times for a restaurant reservation.

According to neowin.net, there is also going to be a new feature that works together with Duplex. It enables the Assistant to respond to and reject unwanted commercials with minimal imput. It will also provide transcripts.

Google has announced that Duplex will be available on their smartphones, Pixel. However, this is for now only available in a few big cities in the US. There is no information on when, or if at all, it is going to be launched in Europe, but for the moment it’s still considered in the experimental phase. 

 


Do you think that Google Duplex will become a revolutionary system? What would you use it for? Let me know in the comments!


 

More info at:

AI Google Blog, 25th November 2018

Wired, 25th November 2018

TechRadar, 25th November 2018

VentureBeat, 25th November 2018

Business Insider, 25th November 2018

Neowin, 25th November 2018

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