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Bring the people 'beautiful' electric car charging points, calls former transport minister

AEV Bill Britain's new network of charging points for battery operated cars should be "iconic and beautiful" just like the telephone box, according the ex-minister in charge of working out their place in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. This comes from the report and third reading debate of the AEV Bill, which took place in …
Richard Priday, 31 Jan 2018
phone burn

Tensorflow Lite: Neat, but an ordeal to get running on your mobe

Late last year, Google announced a new mobile library for Tensorflow on mobile devices: Lite. If you didn't know by now, Tensorflow is Google's framework for developing machine-learning models on a large scale and is proving popular with the community – even if many developers choose to use a higher level abstraction on top of …
Andrew Cobley, 31 Jan 2018
Drones hover above a smart city. Photo by shutterstock

On yer bike! Boffins teach AI drone to fly itself using cams on bicycles, self-driving car

Vid Researchers have taught a drone to fly autonomously through the streets of Zürich, Switzerland, by using a simple neural network. As tech companies toy with the idea of using mini-drones for delivery, monitoring buildings, or surveillance, then figuring out how to fly them without human control is vital if sales are to scale …
Katyanna Quach, 31 Jan 2018
Bitcoin ban

Suspicion of villainy leads Facebook to ban cryptocoin ads

Facebook has banned ads for cryptocurrencies from its platform, on suspicion that plenty of them will be placed by scammers. A new Clause 29 in the "Prohibited Content" section of its Advertising Policies says: "Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jan 2018
A piggy bank in a pile of pound coins

Watchdog: Uh, sit down, AriseBank. This crypto-coin looks more like a $600m crypto-con

Updated America's financial watchdog today suspended an initial coin offering (ICO) from AriseBank, claiming it's a scam. The US Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a court order to halt the investment scheme based on a complaint filed under seal last week. According to the regulator, AriseBank – based in Dallas, Texas – and …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Jan 2018
Nuro R-1

Well, now Nuro: Former Waymo devs reveal cute self-driving van tech

Self-driving startup Nuro has unveiled its autonomous delivery vehicle today – as well as $92m (£65.17m) in funding. The R-1, as it has been named, is an electric driverless van approximately as long as a normal car, but half as wide, and has modular interior compartments for all your carrying needs. The company's website has …
Richard Priday, 30 Jan 2018
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

When you play this song backwards, you can hear Satan. Play it forwards, and it hijacks Siri, Alexa

Computer science boffins affiliated with IBM and universities in China and the United States have devised a way to issue covert commands to voice-based AI software – like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana – by encoding them in popular songs. They refer to these tweaked tunes, which issue mostly …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Jan 2018
A train passes in Moulsford, OXFORDSHIRE - midsomer murders town

'Bitcoin heist' shock: Cops seek 4 for aggravated burglary in Midsomer Murders town

A gang of armed robbers reportedly burgled a village home belonging to Bitcoin traders in an Oxfordshire, England. According to police, four suspects broke into the home of a man and his partner in Moulsford, a town famous for its appearances in Midsomer Murders, last Monday. One witness speaking to the Mail on Sunday …
Richard Priday, 29 Jan 2018

Blockchain bros' London powwow: Regulation, education, oversaturation

BlockchainWeek The hype around blockchain is just as frustrating for people trying to legitimise the technology as it is for those watching from the sidelines – but behind the fluff, its proponents argue there's real potential. With Bitcoin prices dominating the news and every Tom, Dick and Harry jumping on the blockchain bandwagon, most …
Rebecca Hill, 29 Jan 2018
ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP STACK WITH COMPASS AND PENCILS

It knows where the gravel pits and power lines are. So, Ordnance Survey, where should UK's driverless cars go?

UK cartographer the Ordnance Survey (OS) has been selected by the government to help it create an infrastructure for driverless cars. With £750,000 from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, OS's "E-CAVE" intends to develop an infrastructure with "open standards and architecture" focusing on "positioning and safety". "E- …
Richard Priday, 29 Jan 2018

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Tokyo crypto-cash exchange 'hacked' for half a billion bucks

Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange CoinCheck says it has been taken for around $530m by hackers. The Tokyo-based exchange says it is working with cops and Japan's Financial Services Agency to investigate a heist CoinCheck admits went undetected for more than eight hours. CoinCheck believes the theft occurred Friday around …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2018

Driverless cars will lead to data-sharing – of the electrical kind

AEV Bill A new amendment to the UK's Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill aims to make it mandatory for electric car charging point operators to transmit power consumption data to Britain's National Grid. The amendment, tabled by transport secretary Chris Grayling, would make it a legal requirement for "charge point data" to be …
Gareth Corfield, 26 Jan 2018

We won't need to go outside if these haptic tricksters have their way

Haptic controllers are being touted as the next frontier in virtual reality. Having spent years obsessing over headset pixel counts, the VR industry is now playing with exoskeletal gloves, ultrasound waves and even electric shocks in order to simulate a sense of touch. This focus is arguably long overdue: current VR …
David Matthews, 26 Jan 2018

No parcel drones. No robo-trucks – Teamsters driver union delivers its demands to UPS

The Teamsters labor union wants package delivery giant UPS to promise not to replace any of its drivers with drones and self-driving trucks. The demand was made as part of ongoing negotiations between UPS and its 260,000 union workers in North America. The Teamsters presented the biz with a 91-page document detailing demands …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jan 2018
Woman starting to undress

FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces

The faces of celebrities, politicians, children, or pretty much anyone, can be pasted over faces of porn stars in X-rated movies using freely available machine-learning software. The resulting flicks look convincing, and effectively allow miscreants to place people – from the rich and famous to the powerful to ex-partners – …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Jan 2018

Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

A motorcyclist is suing General Motors in the US after he was knocked off his motorbike by one of the automaker's self-driving cars. In a civil lawsuit [PDF] alleging negligence and demanding damages, photographer Oscar Nilsson claimed he was hit by an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt that had a human driver at the wheel. The driver …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2018
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Facebook AI guru alt-tabs out, Nvidia EULA audits, Baidu changes, chip tricks, and more

Roundup Welcome to El Reg's January roundup of AI-related news beyond all the wonderful and terrible things we've covered separately. Drop us a line if you have any machine-learning news or gossip to share. Facebook AI chief LeCun steps aside – Yann LeCun, considered to be a pioneer of neural networks for computer vision, has stepped …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Jan 2018

Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge

At today's adoption levels, electric vehicles' impact on overall household energy consumption is negligible, but grid planners probably need to look to the future sooner rather than later. Research conducted by Matteo Muratori of the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds in the medium term …

Hey, look who's rushing to weigh in on crypto-coins. Hello, United Nations and European Commission!

Following a warning from America's financial regulator, the European Commission and the United Nations have weighed in on the issue of crypto currencies. This week, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission Jay Clayton warned companies thinking of adding “blockchain” to their names that his agency is watching them …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jan 2018

Stripe in Bitcoin hype flight while fans blindly gobble up crypto-cash

Roundup Payment biz Stripe on Tuesday said it plans to phase out support for Bitcoin payments – citing declining interest among merchants and rising transactions times and fees. "[W]e've seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease," said Stripe product manager Tom Karlo. "And of the businesses that are accepting …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Jan 2018
tesla

Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

Another Tesla driver needs reminding that the flash motor's Autopilot mode doesn't mean you can ignore what's on the road. On Monday morning, a Tesla Model S slammed into a stationary firetruck at around 65mph on Interstate 405 in Culver City, California. The car was driven under the fire engine, although the driver was able …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jan 2018

Info Commish tells UK.gov we shouldn't let artificial ignorance make all our decisions

Algorithms should not be solely responsible for criminal sentencing, while a change in law may be required to open up public data sets involving health information. These were just some of the topics Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham touched on today in a wide-ranging Parliamentary hearing about the use of AI in …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2018

Facebook open-sources object detection work: Watch out, Google CAPTCHA

RoTM Facebook has brought us one step closer to a Skynet future made a commitment to computer vision boffinry by open-sourcing its codebase for object detection, Detectron. Written in Python and powered by the Caffe2 deep learning framework, the codebase – which implements object-sniffing algos such as Mask R-CNN and RetinaNet – is …
Jude Karabus, 23 Jan 2018
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Blockheads changing company names to surf crypto wave get a warning from the SEC

The chairman of the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission has again taken aim at cryptocurrency speculators, this time warning companies thinking of adding “Blockchain” to their names that his agency is watching them. Closely. In remarks delivered at the Securities Regulation Institute, SEC Chair Jay Clayton said “ …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2018

Cyber-coin crackdown continues: Commission charges couple crypto-currency company chiefs concerning 'conned' customers

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the latest financial watchdog to haul into court companies in the virtual currency space. On Friday, the CFTC, which oversees the derivatives markets in America, announced a pair of civil lawsuits against businesses it claims defrauded customers out of their hard-earned …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jan 2018
Soaring costs in San Fran. from www.shutterstock.com

In Soviet California, pedestrian hits you! Bloke throws himself in front of self-driving car

While commuter buses ferrying Apple and Google employees have been rerouted to avoid being shot at – reportedly with a pellet gun – GM Cruise has had less success keeping one of its self-driving cars out of harm's way. Earlier this week, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of automaker General Motors (GM) said that one of its …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Jan 2018

Apple: The exclusive sales channel for an, er, AI toothbrush

Word reaches us of an, er, AI-driven revolution taking place in dentistry but you’ll only be able to get you hands on Colgate’s Smart Electronic E1 Toothbrush from Apple as it is the exclusive sales channel. This week, The Verge reported the mega move to readers and asked, “Would you believe there’s no Android app?” And never …
Paul Kunert, 19 Jan 2018
ripper3

Baywatch hero drone saves silly struggling swimmers Down Under from going down under

Video Australian politicians are claiming a world first after a drone saved two teenagers from drowning in heavy surf. At 11.30am on Thursday, passersby alerted lifeguards that two people were in trouble in the sea off Lennox Head beach in New South Wales. The lifesavers just so happened to be in the middle of a training course on …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jan 2018
Theresa May glass of water photo via Shutterstock

What do voters want? An IRL Maybot? Sure, give that a whirl

A local Tory candidate has suggested the party creates a chatbot to up its digital cred and boost engagement with voters. Its name? Theresa Maybot. The idea is mooted in an apparently straight-faced blogpost on Conservative Home by Leon Emirali, a "media entrepreneur" who co-founded digital PR agency Crest and is a candidate …
Rebecca Hill, 18 Jan 2018

Software that predicts whether crims will break the law again is no better than you or me

Software that predicts how likely a criminal will reoffend – and is used by the courts to mete out punishments – is about as smart as a layperson off the street. That's according to a paper published in Science Advances on Wednesday. The research highlights the potential dangers of relying on black-box algorithms, particularly …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Jan 2018

Crypto-cash exchange BitConnect pulls plug amid Bitcoin bloodbath

Amid a cryptocurrency price correction that has seen the price of Bitcoin drop by half from its mid-December peak, UK-based cyber-cash lending and exchange biz BitConnect said it is shutting down. The firm, dogged by accusations that it is a Ponzi scheme, cited bad press, regulatory orders, and cyber attacks for its market …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Jan 2018

Free gift for all readers: Google's AutoML launch translated into plain English (where possible)

Google today tore the covers off something called Cloud AutoML, a new service that's part of its "mission to democratize AI." The technology is touted as artificial intelligence that can design artificial intelligence. In other words, rather than build your own machine-learning software, Google's Cloud AutoML will take your …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Jan 2018
smart city concept drawing - self-driving cars, wifi hotspots etc - but no people

Destroying the city to save the robocar

Special report Behind the mostly fake "battle" about driverless cars (conventional versus autonomous is the one that captures all the headlines), there are several much more important scraps. One is over the future of the city: will a city be built around machines or people? How much will pedestrians have to sacrifice for the driverless car to …
Robot reading photo via Shutterstock

Today in bullsh*t AI PR: Computers learn to read as well as humans (no)

Analysis Researchers from Microsoft and Chinese cyber-souk Alibaba separately claimed this week that their artificially intelligent software is as good as, if not better than, humans at understanding the written word. Journos fell over themselves to breathlessly report that, for instance, "ROBOTS CAN NOW READ BETTER THAN HUMANS, …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Jan 2018
A 3D Robotics (3DR) Solo drone with a gimbal-mounted Gopro camera. Crown copyright/AAIB

Drone crashes after operator failed to spot extra building site crane

A pilot flying a 3D Robotics Solo drone let his autonomous aircraft fly itself into a crane that some inconsiderate person erected on a building site. The accident, which happened in England in June last year, was revealed in this month's Air Accidents Investigation Branch monthly update. The AAIB investigates aircraft …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2018

Amount of pixels needed to make VR less crap may set your PC on fire

Put on a virtual reality headset and it's hard to believe that your visual system is being stretched beyond its limit. Individual pixels are still visible and the narrow field of view makes it feel like you're wearing ski googles. Yet even now VR bombards our visual system with more information than it can process. Engineers …
David Matthews, 16 Jan 2018

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