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Microsoft AI Beats Humans at Speech Recognition
October 20, 2016
Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research Unit earlier this week reported that its speech recognition technology had surpassed the performance of human transcriptionists. The team last month published a paper describing its system's accuracy, said to be superior to that of IBM's famed Watson artificial intelligence.
Tech Heavyweights Join Forces to Lasso AI
October 12, 2016
Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft last month announced the creation of the Partnership on AI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to formulating best practices in artificial intelligence and educating the public about the field. The group will invite academics, other nonprofits, and specialists in policy and ethics to join its board.
Insulin Pump Susceptible to Hacking
October 7, 2016
Medical device manufacturer Animas on Tuesday warned that its OneTouch Ping insulin pump system was susceptible to hacking. "We have been notified of a cybersecurity issue with the OneTouch Ping, specifically that a person could potentially gain unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system," reads the company's letter to users of the device.
Gadget Ogling: Driving Partner, Hydration Station, and Flying Grabbers
September 24, 2016
After a bad experience when I was first behind the wheel as a teenager, I'm only just now learning to drive, more than a decade later. My partner and I are going through the school together, and when asked about our dream vehicles in class, she replied that she'd love a self-driving RV. Her wish eventually might turn true with a device that grants vehicles more autonomy.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
Bezos Trots Out New Glenn Rocket Design
September 13, 2016
Jeff Bezos on Monday disclosed details about the New Glenn rockets his Blue Origin aerospace company plans to build. "Blue Origin's next step ... meet New Glenn," he tweeted. Bezos released illustrations of two models, the New Glenn 2 and the larger New Glenn 3. They're larger than all other rockets except the Saturn V, which NASA used for the Apollo program to send astronauts to the moon and other missions.
Apple Hopes iPhone 7 Extras Will Make Up for Missing Headphone Jack
September 8, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus, confirming a rumor that has evoked widespread dread: The traditional headphone jacks are gone. The new iPhones are sleeker than their predecessors, though, as well as water resistant. Their biggest plus might be the advanced lenses in what Apple claims is the most sophisticated smartphone camera in the world.
Snazzier Fitbits Sport Beefed-Up Feature Sets
August 30, 2016
Fitbit on Monday announced two new fitness trackers with sleeker looks, more durable construction and greater data-gathering capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 2, priced at $149.95, features continuous heart-rate tracking. It uses the data to generate a cardio fitness score and provides guidance for improving it over time. The Charge 2 displays real-time exercise stats.
In a Political Season
August 24, 2016
Many, if not most, people I know don't want to talk about it -- the election, that is. Lots of them have views but they don't want to share them, based on a dislike of contentiousness. Who likes conflict? There is an article floating around the Internet that I lost track of that says nobody's mind ever changes in a heated debate about something so vital, so why engage?
Apple Buys Healthcare 'Magic Machine'
August 24, 2016
Apple has purchased medical records startup Gliimpse in order to broaden its presence in the personal healthcare information management market. Apple reportedly confirmed that the purchase took place earlier this year. Apple in recent years has delved into healthcare with offerings such as HealthKit, CareKit and ResearchKit. The Gliimpse acquisition is seen as an extension of those efforts.
The Growing Scourge of Cyberbullying, Part 2
August 17, 2016
The digitization of everything has decreased the degrees of separation between everyone. While that interconnectedness has solved many problems, old and new, digitization has worsened one age-old problem: bullying. An online bullying epidemic is now pushing parents, teens, teachers and technology companies to try even harder to mitigate the misery inflicted on its victims.
Huffington Leaves Post to Focus on Health Startup
August 13, 2016
Arianna Huffington on Thursday announced she would leave her position as editor-in-chief of the eponymous publication she cofounded 11 years ago to focus on her latest project -- Thrive Global, a lifestyle, health and wellness site. The reasons for her exit from The Huffington Post may be more complicated than that, however.
DARPA Rewards Best Bug-Bombing Bots
August 11, 2016
The code warriors of the future literally might be computer code acting as warriors to defend against attackers on computer networks. DARPA gave us a glimpse into that future last Sunday, when it announced the winners of its Cyber Grand Challenge at DEF CON. Seven teams participated in the challenge to create systems that used bots to find and fix software problems without human intervention.
No Man's Sky: The Universe So Far Feels Good
August 10, 2016
One of the most highly anticipated gaming titles ever, No Man's Sky from indie developer Hello Games, has arrived -- and it could have a major impact on the resurgent gaming world this season. The title made its PS4 debut on Tuesday in North America. It will be available for the PC on Friday. The long-awaited game takes players on a mind-bending journey of space exploration.
The Growing Scourge of Cyberbullying, Part 1
August 10, 2016
Smartphones are proliferating among adolescents, and so is cyberbullying. That's particularly worrisome due to its potential contribution to the No. 2 cause of teen death: suicide. About 26.3 percent of the middle- and high-school students who responded to a nine-school survey indicated that they'd been bullied in each of the eight years the poll was taken, researchers found.
Civil Rights Office Issues Ransomware Guidance
July 22, 2016
Ransomware infections are on the rise, and healthcare organizations are ripe targets, which may be why the federal government addressed the subject last week. Ransomware attacks have risen from about 1,000 a day last year to 4,000 a day this year, Symantec has reported. Many of those attacks are for small change, but some of the larger ones have been directed at healthcare providers.
Teal Pushes Drone Speed Limits
July 21, 2016
Teal Drones on Wednesday introduced what it billed as the world's fastest production drone. Aside from its drone's capabilities, the company is drawing attention because George Matus Jr., its founder and CEO, is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. The drone can fly at 70 mph in all weather conditions and has reached a top speed of 85 mph. It can withstand 40 mph winds.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 3: Safety First
July 20, 2016
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Returns Without a Hitch After Dragon Launch
July 19, 2016
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday returned safely to Earth, touching down at Landing Zone 1 after launching the Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. "As with previous first stage land and drone-ship landings from SpaceX, this achievement is a testament to the leadership and innovation of America's commercial space industry," said NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner.
Gadget Ogling: Purely Personal Air, Transparent Audio, and Wah-Pedaling Shoes
July 18, 2016
I was diagnosed with mild asthma as a kid. I don't take any medication, yet knowing that illness lives in my respiratory system means I try to be especially conscious of what I'm breathing. Air quality is difficult to control, so a personal air purifier is something that fundamentally interests me. Wynd filters allergens, dust, smoke and other pollutants.
Google Dabbles in Post-Quantum Cryptography
July 12, 2016
Google has launched an experiment with post-quantum cryptography in Chrome. A small fraction of connections between Google's servers and Chrome on the desktop will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm already being used. The idea is that large quantum computers eventually might be able to break current security algorithms retroactively.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 2: Devices and Apps
July 12, 2016
Concerns have been multiplying in the United States over the creaks of a medical infrastructure that's bearing the weight of an aging population. Current and upcoming members of the over-65 club are helping to drive a new age in healthcare, in which devices connect patients with caregivers, things get even smarter, and machines get even better at learning what sensors are saying.
Parsing the Clinton Email Scandal
July 11, 2016
I've been watching the Clinton email scandal closely, because I not only have been in and out of law enforcement and security for much of my early life, but also was an internal auditor for IBM and one of the leading email experts in the 1990s. I think this is the only time I've seen an investigator channel a prosecutor and give someone a pass without addressing why crimes were committed.
New Apple Health App to Serve as Organ Donation Matchmaker
July 5, 2016
Apple and Donate Life America have partnered to offer an organ donation app with the next iOS 10 update. iPhone users will be able to register for the program with a couple taps of a button. They'll be able to sign up to make organ, eye or tissue donations, automatically entering their information in the National Donate Life Registry, which is managed by Donate Life America.
Gadget Ogling: Artsy Audio, Stress Detectives, and Wee Violins
July 2, 2016
I don't think any product range beats speakers for running the design gamut from gorgeous to ghastly. There are so many to choose from, in all shapes, sizes and colors, that there's something for everyone -- plus a few things no one should buy. But what if your sound system were a piece of art, literally? Case of Bass has created a boombox print that houses a speaker system in a shadow box.
Clinton Issues Clarion Call to Boost Tech in the US
June 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, this week unveiled a technology and innovation agenda that calls for a broader commitment to improving computer science and STEM education, expansion of broadband Internet to the entire United States, and deployment of 5G wireless networks. Clinton's plan calls for advancing high-tech training in American schools.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 1: A New Concept in Healthcare
June 30, 2016
Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
Facebook Tackles Suicide Prevention Worldwide
June 16, 2016
Facebook plans to roll out its suicide prevention tools and resources around the world. Already available in the U.S., the resources are designed to help members who may be thinking about committing suicide or otherwise hurting themselves, as well as family and friends who are concerned about their loved ones' well being. The tools are available in the local languages where members are based.
Fiery Ex-NASA Chief Unveils Neuro-Computing Firm
June 13, 2016
Former NASA administrator Dan Goldin last week introduced a 10-year-old startup to the public. Backed by $100 million in private funding, KnuEdge is working to develop breakthrough technologies in voice biometrics and neural computing. KnuEdge launched two new products upon its emergence from stealth mode. KnuVerse offers military-grade voice recognition and authentication technology.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.