Emergent Tech > More stories

Girls with bubbles photo via Shutterstock

'Many' ways to create artificial intelligence. Just ask the UK's AI businesses

Nothing brings a smile to the face of Sabine Toulson – co-founder in 1995 of Intelligent Financial Systems – faster than the notion that AI and its associated technologies are “something new”. Both Sabine and husband Darren were graduates of UCL’s Artificial Intelligence Lab – alongside other veteran entrepreneurs such as …
Marcus Gibson, 13 Jul 2017
Steady-Hand Eye robot

Robo-surgeons, self-driving cars face similar legal, ethical headaches

As drivers contemplate computer controlled cars, physicians get to ponder self-driven surgery tools. In a research paper published on Wednesday, "Robot Autonomy for Surgery," UC San Diego assistant professor Michael Yip and PhD student Nikhil Das explore the growing role played by surgical robots and the issues raised by …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Jul 2017

YASA* looks at turning commercial buildings into Internet things

A vendor collective pushing Internet of Things standardisation for commercial buildings has published its first set of specifications, and wonder-of-wonders the specs include security. In evidence that the world's fast running out of tortured names that don't sound stupid in English or funny/obscene in other languages, the …

An AI can replace what a world leader said in his video-taped speech. This will end well. Not

Video Researchers have crafted algorithms that can blend an audio recording of someone talking with a video of them saying something else entirely – and create a new convincing lip-synched video with the replacement sound. In other words, the resulting video carries the injected audio, rather than its original sound, and the frames …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jul 2017
Ocado Oxbotica driving blurred 2 photo by Gavin Clarke

AI vans are real – but they'll make us suck at driving, warn boffins

Tech and automotive firms are pushing driverless car technology on society, rather than there being a big demand for it, in the opinion of the Transport Research Laboratory's boffins. In a whitepaper published today TRL's Fellows opined that not only is there a "strong technology push for autonomous vehicles" but also that " …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Jul 2017

If at first you don't succeed, you're Microsoft pushing its magical white space broadband

Analysis As you enter the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, you step back in time. Abraham Lincoln stayed here just prior to his inauguration; Martin Luther King made the final edits to his most famous speech in its lobby; and Alexander Graham Bell used as it as the venue to demonstrate a coast-to-coast telephone call. On Tuesday, …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2017
Trotter's Independent Trading Co.

Better mobe coverage needed for connected cars, says firm flogging networking gear

One of the biggest barriers to widespread deployment of connected cars is poor mobile network coverage, according to Nokia's chief car connectivity chap. Uwe Pützchler, head of car V2X (vehicle to everything) at Nokia, reportedly said that the car industry "is not as happy as they should be" thanks to coverage notspots across …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Jul 2017
Arto Nurmikko, Brown University

DARPA cracks wallet to open heads: Brain interface projects get Uncle Sam's backing

The US military's research nerve center DARPA on Monday awarded contracts to five organizations and one company to develop brain interface technology. By funding projects at Brown University, Columbia University, Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation), John B Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics, and the …
Thomas Claburn, 10 Jul 2017

Google's Larry Page faces four-hour grilling in Waymo-Uber spat

Google's cofounder Larry Page has been told to submit himself to four hours of questioning from Uber's lawyers in the Waymo self-driving vehicle trade secrets battle. The decision [PDF] by US magistrate judge Jacqueline Scott Corley came at a case hearing on Friday, and is included in a huge document dump following the session …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jul 2017

Is this a hotdog? What it takes for an AI to answer that might surprise you

Artificial intelligence isn't going away. Even if the hype abates its presence will have succeeded in raising awareness of a smorgasbord of interlinking concepts, technologies and ideas – neural networks and machine learning, cognitive intelligence, recommendation engines, big data, statistics and analysis – that together let …
Danny Bradbury, 10 Jul 2017
Money for nothing by dire straits

Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

Last month, one of my friends noted he’d been having enormous trouble trying to buy the components to assemble a virtual-reality-ready PC. Motherboards, memory, CPUs and solid state drives were easy to find, but the one absolutely essential component - a beefy GPU to drive a head-mounted display at a vomit-preventing 90 Hz - he …
Mark Pesce, 10 Jul 2017
Waymo self-driving minivan

Waymo now way less: Robo-ride upstart drops patents in Uber battle

Waymo has dropped three of the patent claims it had been pursuing against Uber and will instead focus on nailing the taxi app maker for trade secret theft. The Alphabet-owned self-driving car upstart said in a filing [PDF] in California on Friday that it would drop allegations of patent infringement with prejudice. The now- …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Jul 2017
Tesla-Bosch driverless car level 3. Pic: Rebecca Hill

Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash

Pictures Autonomous cars, what's not to like? According to their proponents, they will herald an accident, traffic and generally hassle-free age of transportation. So much so, in fact, that Bosch – the world's largest supplier of automotive parts – has decided to "evolve into a provider of services for road users". The company used …
Rebecca Hill, 07 Jul 2017
steampunk-looking robot smokes pipe. pic shutterstock

On the couch with an AI robo-doc asking me personal questions

Something for the Weekend, Sir? "Tell me about your mother." I should have guessed that was coming. I am on a virtual couch, being diagnosed by a digital psychiatrist. Naturally it's a virtual couch. Being British, I don't own such a thing in real life. I have various other types of soft furniture and even once considered buying one of those reclining …
Alistair Dabbs, 07 Jul 2017

Now Uber sued for textual harassment

Taxi app turned lawsuit magnet Uber last week was sued by Donna Giacomaro, a resident of Levittown, New York, for text message harassment, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and New York state law. The complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York, alleges that Uber last month began sending …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Jul 2017

Google blows $800k on bots to flood the UK with 30,000 'articles' a month

Google has today awarded €706,000 ($800,000) to the UK’s Press Association to develop robot reporters that can crank out 30,000 articles a month for local newspapers and bloggers. The cash injection is part of the advertising goliath's €150m Digital News Initiative, a three-year program that allegedly supports European …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Jul 2017
Money cloud

Microsoft offers cloud to Baidu, gets autonomous car in return

Yesterday, China's search engine giant Baidu named Microsoft as a partner on its new open-source autonomous driving platform, Apollo. Technology analysts say the partnership is a smart call by Redmond. Baidu originally announced Apollo in April. It's got cloud services, software and reference hardware/vehicle platforms. It was …
Andrew Silver, 06 Jul 2017
logo for mcubed conference

Putting the machines to work for you might be easier than you think...

Event The agenda for MCubed is complete, with almost 40 of the smartest brains in machine learning and AI due in London in October to not just talk about the technology, but to show how to use it in real world organisations. And you won’t need to overtax your traditional non-silicon brain to realise that you have less than a month …
Team Register, 06 Jul 2017
woman kissing robot

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude

Sex robots may reduce sex crimes, or make them more common. According to "Our Sexual Future With Robots," a report published Wednesday by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, it could go either way. The title of the report describe sex robots as inevitable, but the text within has more questions than answers. About the …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Jul 2017

China's Baidu, GPU monster Nvidia cuddle up at Beijing dev bash

China's top web portal Baidu kicked off its inaugural developer conference in Beijing today with a flurry of news bits and bytes. Just like most major technology companies, Baidu is flinging all its efforts into AI. The one-day event, Baidu Create, was crammed with announcements signaling the Chinese giant’s stronghold on AI …
Katyanna Quach, 05 Jul 2017
Doctor examines virtual brain

DeepMind needs to think about the broader implications of its tech – report

DeepMind doesn’t fully understand the complexity of the problems it is trying to address and needs to think through the broader implications of its work, a panel in the UK has said. Google’s healthcare arm last year appointed an independent panel to assess its work, and the team of nine - including former GDS man Mike Bracken …
Rebecca Hill, 05 Jul 2017
Cars crash, man looks on - illustration.

New work: Algorithms to give self-driving cars 'impulsive' human 'ethics'

RoTM In a version of the infamous Trolley Problem, you're sitting in a runaway train on a fatal collision course with five people. You can flip a switch to change tracks, but on the other track you'd still kill one person. Now change the numbers, who the people are, pretend the trolley drives itself, and welcome to the crazy world …
Andrew Silver, 05 Jul 2017
Tiny robot photo via Shutterstock

Time to rethink machine learning: The big data gobble is OFF the menu

Machine learning (ML) may well be The Next Big Thing™, but it has yet to register in mainstream enterprise adoption. While breathless prognosticators proclaim 50 per cent of organisations lining up to magically transform themselves in 2017 with ML, more canny observers put the number closer to 15 per cent. And that's being …
Matt Asay, 05 Jul 2017

Why, Robot? Understanding AI ethics

Not many people know that Isaac Asimov didn’t originally write his three laws of robotics for I, Robot. They actually first appeared in "Runaround", the 1942 short story*. Robots mustn’t do harm, he said, or allow others to come to harm through inaction. They must obey orders given by humans unless they violate the first law. …
Danny Bradbury, 04 Jul 2017

Megacorp GSK inks AI drug development deal with Brit firm

GlaxoSmithKline has announced a research deal with British company Exscientia to use artificial intelligence to identify drug targets. The deal will see GSK fund Exscientia’s research into AI-driven drug discovery, paying out up to £33m if it hits all its targets. GSK has tasked the firm with identifying molecules that have …
Rebecca Hill, 03 Jul 2017

Nokia touts future of virtual reality ads... but who's the audience?

Opinion Nokia has premiered what it calls a first-of-its-kind immersive virtual reality advertising experience for its new line of digital health products. The advert is hitting two Nokia birds with one virtual stone: the ad shows off Nokia’s own burgeoning line of VR content creating hardware – the OZO camera – and its suite of digital …

Big question: Who gets the blame if a cyborg drops a kid on its head?

Who is responsible if a robot controlled by a human brain drops, say, a baby? It's a bizarre question, but one worth asking, according to scientists who raise a host of ethical and social questions around brain-machine interfaces (BMI) in the policy forum in Science. Research in this area begun in the 1970s when the US …
Katyanna Quach, 30 Jun 2017
A Boeing 777 airliner on landing. Pic: Shutterstock

Inmarsat flings latest Wi-Fi-on-airliners satellite into orbit

Inmarsat has successfully launched its latest satellite, which will form part of the grandiosely named European Aviation Network for putting faster Wi-Fi aboard airliners. The 5.7 tonne Hellas Sat 3-Inmarsat S EAN bird was launched into orbit by French firm Arianespace from French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, at 2215 BST …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Jun 2017

The bloke behind Star Fox is building a blockchain based casino. No, really

One of the brains behind classic Nintendo game Star Fox is launching a blockchain-based online gambling service that could leave regulators stumped – and says he has raised $200,000 from the public to launch it. Argonaut Software founder Jez San’s Funfair project aims to put online gambling onto blockchain, the technology …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Jun 2017
Tesla model S

Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

My uncle Amadeo turns 79 this week and bought himself a luxe Model S Tesla as a present. Amadeo is an eminent scientist and avid student of the future, so the Tesla was an obvious choice because I suspect he recognises that he won’t always feel comfortable behind the wheel. So he opted for a vehicle that can already do some …
Mark Pesce, 29 Jun 2017
Knight Rider

US trade watchdog boss goes all Kendrick Lamar on self-driving cars

The head of US trade watchdog the FTC has pushed for companies to loosen their ties over self-driving cars. Speaking at an event for the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA), FTC boss Maureen Ohlhausen said legislators need to use "regulatory humility" when it comes to autopilots. Touting the self-driving …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jun 2017

Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

Kangaroos continue to the bane of self-driving cars in Australia, as automakers say they still can't figure out how to accurately detect the presence of the pouched marsupials. Swedish car builder Volvo told the ABC that the large animal detection software it uses for its auto-pilot system is unable to accurately gauge the …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jun 2017

Skynet? More like Night-sky-net. AI hunts for Milky Way's turbo stars

An artificial neural network has detected rare super-fast stars zipping through the Milky Way – by crunching piles of data collected by the European Space Agency’s Gaia probe. Hypervelocity stars (HVSes) are flung from the Way's Galactic Center and can reach speeds faster than our galaxy's escape velocity. Only 20 unbound …
Katyanna Quach, 27 Jun 2017

IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

French Internet of Things connectivity firm Sigfox says it is partnering with a hitherto unheard-of firm, WND-UK, to cover "95 per cent" of Blighty by 2019. WND is a very recent expansion into the UK, having set up shop earlier this year. Sigfox is a French-headquartered firm which has had an active commercial presence in the …
Gareth Corfield, 23 Jun 2017

Breaking news, literally: Newspaper's quakebot rumbled for fake story

A Los Angeles Times article-writing bot sent shockwaves through the internet Wednesday – by falsely reporting a hefty 6.8M earthquake had hit Santa Barbara county, California. The quake did occur, but it was back in 1925 – 92 years ago. It’s not the first time bots have been accused of spreading fake news. The US elections in …
Katyanna Quach, 22 Jun 2017

Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

Waymo has proof Uber execs knew their star engineer Anthony Levandowski was in possession of designs stolen from Waymo well before Uber acquired Levandowski's self-driving vehicle startup. This is according to an unsealed filing Waymo presented to a San Francisco court Wednesday to support their motion to gather more …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jun 2017
Young robot studying photo via Shutterstock

Gov.UK pops open tin of AI and robotics research cash

The UK government's long-promised Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is open for business. Jumping swiftly on the AI bandwagon, the first lump of cash to be awarded through the multimillion-pound fund will be for robotics and artificial intelligence. The fund, announced back in November 2016, was conceived as part of wider …
Rebecca Hill, 22 Jun 2017
logo for mcubed conference

Putting AI to work in finance? Think algorithms, ethics first

Events Ethics, algorithms and finance are all key areas for machine learning and AI, which is why we’re chuffed to announce three more excellent speakers who will be joining us at MCubed London in October. Dr Catherine Flick, of De Montfort University, will be talking ethics and morals, and while she doesn’t promise “any easy answers …
Team Register, 22 Jun 2017
Zombies photo via Shutterstock

Numbers war: How Bayesian vs frequentist statistics influence AI

If you want to develop your ML and AI skills, you will need to pick up some statistics and before you have got more than a few steps down that path you will find (whether you like it or not) that you have entered the Twilight Zone that is the frequentist/Bayesian religious war. I use the term "war" advisedly because war, by …
Mark Whitehorn, 22 Jun 2017
his low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin." The MAHLI camera on Curiosity's robotic arm took multiple images on Aug. 5, 2015, that were stitched together into this selfie. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Humanity uploaded an AI to Mars and lets it shoot rocks with lasers

In late 2015 NASA gave the Curiosity Mars rover a software upgrade to let it operate autonomously. The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) code was uploaded because the rover can't be told what to do during the long periods communication with Earth is not possible. A little autonomy, NASA reckoned, …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jun 2017
Illustration of a "bitcoin" dissolving into numbers. Photo by SHutterstock

ITU thinks Blockchain and pals need interoperability

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has decided the time is ripe to start talking about what standards might be developed for distributed ledgers, aka Blockchain and fellow-travellers. The august body will therefore convene the The ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology (FG DLT) for the …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jun 2017

Want to learn machine learning in 15 minutes? Start here...

How to If you’ve heard the excitement about machine learning, but aren’t quite sure how it could apply to your business, the best way forward is to rip off the cover and see it working for yourself. Machine learning models can be used to improve efficiencies, identify risks or new opportunities and have applications across many …
Cheryl Everitt, 21 Jun 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017