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How to Exert Privacy Control Over Your Home Speakers
August 6, 2019
Amazon, Google and Apple have suspended contractor review of consumer recordings following disclosures that the devices are nearly always listening and have captured personal, business and other delicate human interactions. Consumers using smart speakers and digital assistant apps from Amazon and Google can apply some control over their system settings.
How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates
August 5, 2019
Like many of you, I watched eight-plus hours of Democratic debates last week, and they seem to be getting worse over time. The last effort made it look like CNN was trying harder to create drama than to help people make a choice among the candidates. We have a ton of technology -- some new, some in place for decades -- that could make this process far more informative.
Is Biometrics ID Security Good Enough?
August 2, 2019
United Airlines has announced plans to begin rolling out Clear's biometric prescreening at its hub airports. The system works by verifying a flier's fingerprints or eye scan. Clear already is available at about 60 locations throughout the United States. It offers a system that utilizes biometrics to speed preapproved travelers to the front of the security lane.
UCSF Researchers Synthesize Speech From Brain Waves
August 1, 2019
Researchers led by speech neuroscientist Edward Chang at the University of California San Francisco have achieved success at decoding speech attempts in real time by reading the activity in the speech centers of test subjects' brains. Three persons capable of normal speech, who were being treated for epilepsy at the UCSF Medical Center, participated in the study.
Tesla's Failings Overshadow Its Impressive Successes
July 29, 2019
Launching a new car company and getting it to global scale doesn't happen often, and it has been a long time since there has been a successful launch of one in the United States. Tesla really stands alone as the only new U.S. car company of scale since American Motors and Studebaker failed decades ago, when three auto companies then dominated the U.S. industry.
Square Opens Robotic Photo Studio for SMB Etailers
July 24, 2019
The newly launched Square Photo Studio leverages state-of-the-art robotics to offer etailers professional-grade product photography. For $10, clients can get three high-resolution, multi-angle digital photos of a product. A spinning, interactive animation of the product -- which site visitors can click and drag or zoom -- will cost $30. Clients can highlight what they want the photographs to show.
Microsoft, OpenAI Shoot for the Stars
July 23, 2019
Microsoft wants to empower its Azure cloud computing service with yet-to-exist artificial general intelligence technologies to create new goals for supercomputing. It has announced a $1B investment through a partnership with OpenAI to build new AI technologies. The two companies hope to extend Microsoft Azure's capabilities in large-scale AI systems.
AI in Healthcare: Independent Living for Consumers
July 22, 2019
AI applied to healthcare includes a collection of technologies that enable machines to sense, interpret, act and learn. AI implementations for digital health can be relatively simple when they are focused largely on personal patient engagement, or vastly complex when working with big data sets, highly specialized diagnostics, and the workflows of multiple highly complicated organizations.
The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: There and Back Again
July 19, 2019
On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the now famous line, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind," when he became the first person to set foot on the moon. It fulfilled the almost as famous "We choose to go to the moon" line delivered by President John F. Kennedy to a crowd at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 1962.
FBI, ICE Turn Drivers' Licenses Into Facial Recognition Gold
July 9, 2019
State motor vehicle departments have become a rich source of facial recognition data for and FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Researchers at Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy & Technology reportedly used public records requests to gather a cache of documents that show the agencies have turned state DMV databases into the foundation of a vast surveillance infrastructure.
Clean Energy Solutions to Lower Your Electric Bill
July 1, 2019
Utility bills can get astronomical in the summer and winter. You can reduce those costs and your carbon footprint by signing up for Arcadia Power. Accessible to anyone who pays an electric bill, this service monitors the energy market for you, giving customized clean solution recommendations that'll help you save money and go green -- and you can track it all using the ultra-transparent dashboard.
The Democratic Debate That Wasn't: How Tech Could Help Elections
July 1, 2019
I watched the Democratic debates last week and was struck by three things: I'd likely rather watch paint dry; the application of technology to improve the experience was nonexistent; and I'd bet that if the Democrats don't up their game President Trump will have them to thank when he wins re-election. I'll suggest some ways technology could be used to improve events.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
6 Things We Won't Be Able to Live Without in 2035
June 24, 2019
Things rarely happen as fast as we think or progress as slowly as we hope. We all thought we'd have flying cars by the end of last century, for instance, but we are due to be up to our armpits in them by the end of next decade if the impressive number of trials continue to go well. I touched on the drone drop issue a little last week, and I have been thinking about it ever since.
Uber Drones to Make Meal Drops This Summer
June 21, 2019
Uber Elevate, the aerial arm of rideshare service Uber, will test a fast food delivery by drone service later this summer in San Diego. Delivery destinations won't be houses or apartment buildings, however, but instead will be "designated safe landing zones." Those landing zones could include the roof of a parked Uber vehicle in one scenario. An Uber courier would hand-deliver it to the consumer.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
The 5 Most Pressing Problems With Drone Delivery
June 10, 2019
Amazon plans to begin drone deliveries within the next several months. The drones have become far more capable, safer, and less noisy, but there are five other problems that will need to be addressed before this delivery method reaches its full potential. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to drone delivery. Still, there are several things that will need to be addressed.
Reliving D-Day Through Augmented Reality
June 6, 2019
The National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, is honoring the exploits and sacrifices of the Greatest Generation in a new augmented reality exhibit "D-Day: Freedom from Above." This AR experience commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, which helped liberate France and Western Europe from the Nazis and lead to the Allied victory in the Second World War.
Stripe Offers SMBs Chargeback Fraud Relief
June 4, 2019
Payment processing company Stripe has launched Chargeback Protection, a machine learning-based system to limit the impact of fraudulent credit card transactions on merchants. A chargeback is a demand by a credit card provider for a retailer to make good on a fraudulent or disputed transaction by repaying the full purchase amount plus a chargeback fee.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
Trailblazing a Path for Blockchain
May 30, 2019
Many of us think of blockchain as the technology that prevents counterfeiting digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the so-called cryptocurrencies have hit the rocks recently, losing value or at least fluctuating wildly, making them look more like the stocks of startups than stores of value. Still, as an independent technology the value of blockchain is only growing.
Amazon Debuts Echo Show 5: Smaller, Cheaper, More Private
May 30, 2019
Amazon has announced the Echo Show 5 and is taking preorders. This third-generation Echo Show is called the "5" because it has a 5.5-inch diagonal display. he Echo Show 5 is available in the line's standard Charcoal and Sandstone colors. It is priced at $90. New Alexa routines are available on the Echo Show 5, such as a nighttime routine that turns off the bedroom lamp and plays soothing sounds.
Apple's New iPod Gets in Touch With Gamers
May 29, 2019
Apple has refreshed its iPod touch line of media players with a faster processor, greater storage capacity and improved communications features. The new iPod is built on Apple's A10 Fusion chip, the same processor used in the iPhone 7. According to Apple, the power upgrade delivers two times faster performance than previous models and three times better graphics.
Leveraging the Tools That Fuel E-Commerce Growth
May 25, 2019
E-commerce technologies have been innovating fast. It's no surprise, considering e-commerce in North America grew by 15 percent in 2018, to reach more than $500 billion. Today's e-commerce businesses need to stay ahead of the curve if they want to be the consumer's choice, as convenience and relevance remain king. Companies can stand out by deploying some of the latest technologies.
T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Teeters Between FCC Approval, DoJ Rejection
May 23, 2019
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week gave the green light to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, currently the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers respectively. The nation's top telecom regulator agreed to the $26 billion merger, but with some conditions -- the most notable being that Sprint would sell off its Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand.
US Post Office to Test-Drive Autonomous Trucks
May 22, 2019
The U.S. Postal Service has announced a pilot project using self-driving trucks. It will conduct the two-week experiment in collaboration with TuSimple, an autonomous driving technology company based in San Diego. TuSimple's contract with the postal service calls for one of the company's self-driving trucks to make five round trips hauling USPS trailers between Dallas and Phoenix.
Better Customer Satisfaction Through AI-Enabled CRM
May 22, 2019
You don't have to be entrenched in the tech world to have heard the term, "artificial intelligence," but what is artificial intelligence, or AI, as it's commonly known? Simply put, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes performed by machines or computer systems. Nowadays, AI is being used to carry out many jobs previously held by humans, but there's no need to panic.
How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping the Workforce
May 17, 2019
Shoppers soon might see a lot more robots in Walmart stores -- but not toy robots or even human assistant gadgets that are available for purchase. Walmart's new robots will be taking over repeatable, predictable and manual tasks that up to now have been carried out by human employees. At Walmart stores, robots will scan shelf inventory and track boxes as part of its inventory management.
Online Shopping Gets Real: The Rise of Interactive Product Visualization
May 13, 2019
The shopper's desire to touch, feel, see and hear is what interactive product visualization is all about. In a world dominated by digital interfaces, interactive product visualization gives consumers the opportunity to experience, see, and understand products before buying them. Interactive product visualization brings products closer to the people interested in purchasing them.
Google, Microsoft In Step in New Era
May 13, 2019
Apple, Google and Microsoft are three very powerful companies. Two of them had big events last week -- Google I/O and Microsoft Build. What I found interesting was that both Google and Microsoft largely were on the same page about focusing on the customer. Both Google and Microsoft have been making massive advancements with AI. Both have increased their efforts to make the world a better place.
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What should be done to curb hate speech online?
Social media should crack down -- "free speech" is not an issue for private companies.
Laws should impose penalties on companies that allow incitements to violence.
Schools should do a better job educating students about the dangers of hate speech.
Public officials should exercise stronger leadership in rejecting all forms of hate speech.
Parents should do a better job fostering tolerance and respect at home.
Nothing -- any attempt to regulate hate speech could have unintended negative consequences.
Inside TechNewsWorld