Technology

Apple Patents a Way To Keep People From Filming At Concerts and Movie Theaters

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 4:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has patented a system that prohibits smartphone users from taking photos and videos at concerts, movie theaters and other events where people tend to ignore such restrictions. The patent has been award to Apple today and was first spotted by Patently Apple. QZ reports: "It outlines a system which would allow venues to use an infrared emitter to remotely disable the camera function on smartphones. According to the patent, infrared beams could be picked up by the camera, and interpreted by the smartphone as a command to block the user from taking any photos or videos of whatever they're seeing. The patent also outlines ways that infrared blasters could actually improve someone's experience at a venue. For example, the beams could be used to send information to museum-goers by pointing a smartphone camera at a blaster placed next to a piece of art." The report also mentions that the patent could in theory be used to help police limit smartphone filming of acts of brutality, or help a government shut off filming in certain locations. Last week, SlashGear reported that Alicia Keys is the latest musician to ban cellphones at her events.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Verizon is marketing a $1.2B bond backed by mobile phone contracts, the first of its kind in US, with three categories rated triple-A to single-A by Fitch (Joe Rennison/Financial Times)

TechMeme - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 4:25pm

Joe Rennison / Financial Times:
Verizon is marketing a $1.2B bond backed by mobile phone contracts, the first of its kind in US, with three categories rated triple-A to single-A by Fitch  —  Verizon is marketing a $1.2bn bond backed by mobile phone contracts, the first of its kind in the US, which could pave the way to similar deals from other mobile phone providers.

Categories: Technology

Let's Stop Freaking Out About Artificial Intelligence

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 4:06pm
Former Google CEO, and current Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun in an op-ed on Fortune Magazine have shared their views on artificial intelligence, and what the future holds for this nascent technology. "When we first worked on the AI behind self-driving cars, most experts were convinced they would never be safe enough for public roads. But the Google Self-Driving Car team had a crucial insight that differentiates AI from the way people learn. When driving, people mostly learn from their own mistakes. But they rarely learn from the mistakes of others. People collectively make the same mistakes over and over again," they wrote. The two also talked about an artificial intelligence apocalypse, adding that while it's unlikely to happen, the situation is still worth considering. They wrote:Do we worry about the doomsday scenarios? We believe it's worth thoughtful consideration. Today's AI only thrives in narrow, repetitive tasks where it is trained on many examples. But no researchers or technologists want to be part of some Hollywood science-fiction dystopia. The right course is not to panic - it's to get to work. Google, alongside many other companies, is doing rigorous research on AI safety, such as how to ensure people can interrupt an AI system whenever needed, and how to make such systems robust to cyberattacks.It's a long commentary, but worth a read.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

German manufacturing sector more gung-ho on IoT than U.S.

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 3:45pm

Though the Internet of Things (IoT) is booming in the U.S., German manufacturing leaders expect more IoT in their factories in the future.

Yibada reported the results of a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey of 300 U.S. and German manufacturing executives that showed a much greater enthusiasm for IoT by the Europeans.

It found that only 17% of both American and German manufacturers had applied digital solutions to their factories to date.

However, a sizeable 40% of German execs said they plan to implement IoT in future manufacturing processes, compared to only 25% of the Americans.

Currently only 8% of U.S. manufacturers use autonomous robots and assistance systems versus 14% of Germans. In the next two years only 20% of American factories are expected to upgrade to such machines or systems, compared to 39% of German factories.

Germany not the only beneficiaries of IoT investment

The BCG survey also revealed that manufacturers are making significant IoT investments around the world. It reported that anticipated global IoT spending will surge to $70 billion in 2020 from $29 billion in 2015.

The report identified a trend where many firms are choosing to relocate factories from Asia back to their biggest sales markets. As well, manufacturers are increasingly finding cost savings by employing technology like industrial robots to replace paying salaries for flesh and blood workers.

IoT has had a major impact on the manufacturing sector, overturning traditional business models in the process. Manufacturers are increasingly turning to wirelessly connected machines to automate many processes and improve output.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is proving to be a game-changer in many fields, none more structurally than in the automation industry. And as reported earlier by ReadWrite, a recent study by Morgan Stanley reinforces bullish sentiment for future automation investment thanks to the huge potential of IIoT.

The report, co-authored by Automation World, predict that over the next five years IIoT-related spending will grow from around 8% to 18% as automation investments surge.

The study also found that traditional industrial manufacturing strategies will likely see major disruption due to the impact of cloud-based analytics and the entry of new non-traditional software and IT players.

The post German manufacturing sector more gung-ho on IoT than U.S. appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

A House of the Future You Might Actually Want to Live In

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 3:41pm
Sharing much more than the rent with speculative housing models. The post A House of the Future You Might Actually Want to Live In appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Here's How Pinterest Plans to Get You To Shop More

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 3:25pm
Pinterest is figuring out new ways to bolster its revenue. On Tuesday, the social media company announced a range of new e-commerce features that will encourage its users (the service attracts more than 100 million users every month) to purchase items directly from its website. One of the biggest features is visual search for products, which will allow users to take a picture of an object and then see similar items to buy on Pinterest. The company has also announced a shopping bag that can be accessed on its mobile apps and website. From a Fortune report:Merchants will be able to create dedicated pages displaying all the merchandise being sold through Pinterest and, like Amazon, will suggest items that a user might want to buy. [...] The company wants to make it increasingly easier for people to buy items on its site. If Pinterest does have ambitions of becoming more of an e-commerce destination, it makes sense for Pinterest to start emulating moves made early on by e-commerce giant Amazon, such as personalization and recommended items. The key to personalization for Amazon has been the trove of data it has accumulated in order to recommend more products to its users. Pinterest said that its users are currently pinning four million items per day, and this data could be key to providing users with more personalized recommendations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

How humans and AI can work together to solve society's greatest challenges (Satya Nadella/Slate)

TechMeme - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 3:20pm

Satya Nadella / Slate:
How humans and AI can work together to solve society's greatest challenges  —  Advanced machine learning, also known as artificial intelligence or just A.I., holds far greater promise than unsettling headlines about computers beating humans at games like Jeopardy!, chess, checkers, and Go.

Categories: Technology

Benghazi Report Shows the Internet Is Killing Objectivity

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 3:05pm
As it becomes easier for anyone to build their own audience online, it becomes harder for those audience members to separate fact from fiction. The post Benghazi Report Shows the Internet Is Killing Objectivity appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sources: Airbnb seeking a new investment round at a valuation of around $30B, about a year after raising at a reported $24B valuation (New York Times)

TechMeme - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 2:53pm

New York Times:
Sources: Airbnb seeking a new investment round at a valuation of around $30B, about a year after raising at a reported $24B valuation  —  Airbnb, which lets users list their homes and apartments for short-term rentals, is in talks for a new round of investment that would value the company …

Categories: Technology

US Healthcare Records Offered For Sale Online

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 2:40pm
An anonymous reader writes:Three U.S. healthcare organisations are reportedly being held to ransom by a hacker who stole data on hundreds of thousands of patients. The hacker has also put the 650,000 records up for sale on dark web markets where stolen data is traded. Prices for the different databases range from $100,000 to $411,000. Buyers have already been found for some of the stolen data, the hacker behind the theft told news site Motherboard. No information about the size of the ransom payment sought by the data thief has emerged, although he did say it was "a modest amount compared to the damage that will be caused to the organisations when I decide to publicly leak the victims."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

OnePlus ain’t interested in virtual reality or wearables

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 2:30pm

OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has no plans to invest heavily into smartwatches or virtual reality in the near future.

Co-founder Carl Pei made it clear that while it has worked on devices for both markets in the past, it does not want to become a competitor. Instead, the focus is back onto the single flagship, the OnePlus 3.

See also: Apple drives wearables to $6 billion in first quarter sales

Like most things, OnePlus doesn’t want to follow the trends of most mobile companies. In an interview with TechRadar, Pei said that wearables are “too risky” and that “jumping into Android Wear would have lost us a lot of money.”

He is probably right, Android Wear has failed to capture a large amount of sales in the past two years, in part due to Google’s passivity towards the platform. It has lacked advertising space that Apple has gobbled up for its Watch, and lacks the Fitbit’s fitness appeal.

OnePlus came close on wearables but no cigar

OnePlus was close to launching a wearable last year, but pulled the plug at the last minute, possibly due to the risk factor.

It might be worth mentioning that OnePlus is a subsidiary of Oppo, which is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics. BBK sells kids watches in China under different subsidiaries and is the fifth largest manufacturer in the world, which may be another reason why OnePlus is lukewarm on the wearables market.

Virtual reality is another area where OnePlus has flirted with, but ultimately not invested in. In 2015, sent hundreds of Google Cardboard devices to fans for its OnePlus 2 launch. This year, it offered 30,000 Loop VR headsets for the OnePlus 3 launch.

PR stunts are not hints at an incoming VR announcement from OnePlus though, as Pei mentions in his interview. He believes that Oculus, Google, and Valve are the three major players in VR and it will take a few years before a winner emerges, who sets the standards for VR.

Pei does see a future where OnePlus has a VR headset, but it looks like the company is waiting to see what the prefered functionality, features, and controllers are before it invested millions into the market.

The post OnePlus ain’t interested in virtual reality or wearables appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Amazon gives the Alexa 'app store' a makeover, now lets you add new Skills by voice (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 2:20pm

Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Amazon gives the Alexa ‘app store’ a makeover, now lets you add new Skills by voice  —  It will now be easier to add “Skills” - new functionality by way of voice-activated apps to Amazon's smart speaker Echo, and its other Alexa-powered devices, Amazon announced this morning.

Categories: Technology

China Tells App Developers To Increase User Monitoring

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 2:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Cyberspace Administration of China has imposed new regulation for the mobile app community, requiring that developers keep a close watch over users and keep a record of their activities. However, the proposed legislation would also prevent apps from requesting unnecessary access to users' contacts, camera, microphone and other spurious installation requests. The regulator introduced the new laws in the name of cracking down on illegal use of mobile platforms for the distribution of pornography, fraud and the spread of 'malicious' content.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Twitter launches Twitter Dashboard, an iOS and desktop app to help businesses manage their accounts, now in beta (Noah Pepper/The Twitter Blog)

TechMeme - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 1:50pm

Noah Pepper / The Twitter Blog:
Twitter launches Twitter Dashboard, an iOS and desktop app to help businesses manage their accounts, now in beta  —  For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.  It's a place for authentic interactions …

Categories: Technology

Airbnb Has Sued Its Hometown Of San Francisco

Slashdot - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 1:20pm
Robert Mclean, reporting for CNN:Airbnb is taking its hometown to federal court. The company has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, objecting to short-term rental rule changes approved by its Board of Supervisors. A new ordinance set to take effect in late July would require all Airbnb hosts to register with the city. If they do not, Airbnb would be fined up to $1,000 a day for each listing, putting the burden on the company to make sure each listing is legal. But the city's $50 registration process is analog enough to turn off many hosts. It can't be completed online and requires submitting all the documents in person. Airbnb contends the new rule violates the Communications Decency Act, Stored Communications Act and the First Amendment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Uh Oh: Google Expands Its Ad Tracking. But, Yay: It’s Opt-In

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 1:01pm
Google's got a new privacy setting, and it leaves the choice in your hands. The post Uh Oh: Google Expands Its Ad Tracking. But, Yay: It’s Opt-In appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why are moral decisions so important for self-driving cars?

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 1:00pm

Self-driving cars are in the news again, after several surveys were released showing how people would want their computer-controlled car to react in a situation where it has to decide whether to save the driver or pedestrians.

Most survey results suggested the driver would want to limit the amount of casualties, though we have seen sometimes that humans do not choose that option and end up killing more people to save themselves.

See Also: Is NVIDIA outpacing Apple, Google with its self-driving tech?

Nevertheless, the surveys appear to be a mandate for autonomous car developers to program a system to limit the amount of casualties. But is it possible we’re overthinking this function of autonomous cars?

Fatal accidents where the human can decide what to do are incredibly rare and are likely to be even rarer when self-driving eliminates drunk and tired drivers and turns off malfunctioning motors.

On top of that, Google has already patented a car hood that sticks pedestrians to it, which could prevent serious injuries if someone walks in front of the car at the wrong time. We are bound to see even more innovative solutions in the next four years, as automakers prepare to launch their first autonomous cars.

Can it just be coded to avoid harming humans?

With the additional safety from self-driving, we should be asking if programming life-and-death decisions is necessary. Why not instead work towards a world where cars don’t harm humans, or at least where the car protects both the driver and pedestrian from fatal injuries at all times.

It sounds like a dream world, with 32,000 car deaths in 2014, but McKinsey & Company expects that to fall to 3,200 as self-driving cars become commonplace. The 90 percent decrease does not include improvements to traffic, roads, and car safety that we are going to see in the next 10 years, three things that may reduce deaths to the hundreds for the first time since 1908.

We also need to take into consideration the massive reduction in accidents that are not fatal, estimated at 5.4 million in 2010, which could be stopped with self-driving.

That may not be enough for some, but if self-driving is able to save 30,000 deaths in a year, I think it’s worth the potential “moral” risks that come attached with it.

The post Why are moral decisions so important for self-driving cars? appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology