Oscar the A.I. trash can sorts your garbage and recyclables

while an interesting use case for sure, i'm not sure that I would pay $1,000 for a dustbin unless it automatically managed the inventory in my kitchen cupboards for me…
Autonomous, an ergonomic office furniture company, announced a Kickstarter campaign for Oscar, a smart home appliance. The AI-based device sorts recyclables and garbage. Environmentally-conscious…

Apple’s Carlos Guestrin cautions AI leaders to think very carefully about how they use their data

In a very interesting and wide ranging talk on the history (including a very early mechanical perceptron) of AI, Carlos Guestrin outlined 4 trends he sees in the future:
1. shift from parallelism (e.g. spark) to HPC (e.g. deep learning on massive GPU clusters) workloads driving insights from huge (rather than "massive") data
2. a return to specialized hardware (e.g. custom chips, FPGAs etc. for HPC) and the engineering challenges to fix it (e.g. AutoTVM)
3. commodification of deep learning tools to reduce barriers of adoption (e.g. pretrained models, higher level libraries)
4. ensuring that models are inclusive by making models interpretable
The rise of machine learning has been one of the most exciting developments in modern technology, but according to Carlos Guestrin, one of the oldest principles of computing still applies: garbage in…

Asimo Still Improving Its Hopping and Jogging Skills

In a couple of short but interesting videos, researchers at Honda show us how they're designing robots to be tolerant of physical risks, such as knocks, which may cause the robot to topple over and sustain damage to itself or others, by hopping or "running" (several fast steps), depending on the direction of the push. The researchers indicate that future developments might include the ability to switch from vertical to horizontal movement i.e. if you push Asimo too hard it'll drop to the floor and crawl away.
Honda is teaching its robots to take longer and faster steps to recover from shoves by transitioning to a running gait, which is exactly what humans do if we need to

We Grew Algae and Asked Spectrum Editors to Taste It

I still believe that we have to change the way we're consuming the earth's resources if we want to leave to our children anything like the planet we inherited from our parents. But the products like this need to work on the marketing. Who wants to eat algae 🙂
Algae could be the environmentally-friendly superfood we’ve all been waiting for. But will anyone actually eat it?

Facebook and Apple Disagree on How to Curb Fake News for U.S. Midterms

It's interesting to see how Apple and Facebook are approaching the problem of "fake news" differently. Facebook is sticking to it's "algorithmic" approach, which i guess would be far more scalable if (and it's a big if) it can be demonstrated to work. Apple's employing more people to review the news that's presented through the hardware/software giant's own apps, teaching us:
1. the scale of the problem facing Facebook's is simply orders of magnitude larger (Apple only curates content from a chosen set of sources, not any joe schmoe writing a blog), and
2. Apple's convinced it can avoid human bias, while Facebook believes it can code it out.
Apple News launched a human-curated elections section, sparking a debate about tech companies and automation.

Lyft buys the biggest bike-sharing company in the US

I'm skeptical about the true market for bike sharing. I can see the perceived benefits, and when i lived closer in to central London I used to use Boris Bikes more often, i've recently tried to rent "dockless" bikes from several of the companies around London and although they never seem to be available nearby when i want them, cities all around the world (e.g. https://rob.al/2KI7ioo) are struggling with how to stop bike "dumping" – the natural "clustering" of bikes at the end of common commuter journeys.
The ride-share company will take on Motivate’s existing contracts, like New York’s Citi Bike


A new alloy promises sensors in temperatures of up to around 980°C – high enough to instrument engine blocks in cars, or drill heads in industrial machinery. As it's also conductive, it could be used to make solid state high current switching gear too.

Scientists Capture First Birth Of A Planet

The Very Large Telescope has been used to capture the birth of a planet around a star for the first time. Astronomers have long thought that planets grow through accretion of dust collected around stars – and this series of photographs shows this in action, giving us further evidence of the way our own solar system formed.
Photographs of a young planet orbiting a star provide useful information about how planets form and grow.

Designing for accessibility is not that hard – UX Collective

We are trying to put accessibility at the core of everything we do, and it's hard – often people see "designing for accessibility" as expensive or time consuming. But it doesn't have to be. For a start, it's much cheaper to implement from the beginning than to try to retrofit, and accessible applications are easier for everyone to use, not just those with disabilities or impairments. Most of the pointers in this article are so obvious they shouldn't have to be stated – but unfortunately many people aren't even aware of the need to think about them, let alone possessed of the skill to design for accessibility.
Seven easy-to-implement guidelines to design a more accessible web ❤️

Alibaba Debuts ‘AI Copywriter’ | Alizila.com

Chinese Tech Titan Alibaba has introduced a new feature to help sellers write compelling and useful copy for adverts with a few clicks of the neural network. Producing millions of suggestions each day, the "AI Copywriter" aims to reduce the "repetitive, low-value work" activities associated with creating multiple formats of an advert for different media. Claiming that the system "allows people to devote more energy to richly creative work", this will clearly put lower priced (although not necessarily lower skilled) copywriters in a difficult spot, and would concentrate spend on a smaller number of more "elite" copywriters.
The technology has passed the Turing test and is capable of producing 20,000 lines of copy in a second, said digital marketing arm Alimama.