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Nest reveals the first truly connected home

Comment After years of hype, the connected home is finally here thanks to a range of new products available this week from Google-owned Nest. Having announced back in September that it would launch a new smart security system, doorbell and lock, the company finally put the last two into the market this week, as well as a new, smarter …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Mar 2018

Machines making music, translating Chinese, self-driving trucks, and more

Roundup Welcome to this week's AI roundup. We have news on a machine learning model used by Google to make music that doesn't sound completely bad, improved translation between English and Chinese from Microsoft, and a new test bed for Waymo's self-driving trucks. Making music with machine learning - Google researchers have developed …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Mar 2018
Illustration of someone taking off a mask

FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables

Talk about the ultimate Git Blame. Programmers can be potentially identified from the low-level machine-code instructions in their software executables by AI-powered tools. That's according to boffins from Princeton University, Shiftleft, Drexel University, Sophos, and Braunschweig University of Technology, who have described …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Mar 2018
Bitcoin ban

Crypt-NO-coins: US city bans mining funbux on its electrical power grid

A city in upstate New York has become the first in America to effectively ban any new commercial-grade cryptocurrency miners from powering up. Mayor Colin Read and the city council of Plattsburgh this month signed off on a measure to place an 18-month moratorium on any new industrial-scale crypto-coin crafting operations …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Mar 2018
Leonidas, king of Sparta, as portrayed by Gerard Butler in the film 300. Pic copyright: Warner Bros

I couldn't give a Greek clock about your IoT fertility tracker

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Like to get wet, confides (or asks) the manufacturer in suitably moist English. Faithful admirers of my long-standing column will immediately recognise a sexual double-entendre when they read one. But this time you'd be wrong. Or at least you might be. I'm not sure. I am looking at Comper Healthcare's promotional web pages …
Alistair Dabbs, 16 Mar 2018

Taxpayers chuck burnt-out Bongs* millions of pounds to 'decelerate'

The taxpayer is helping fund a "Decelerator" for burnt-out startups in London's Shoreditch to help them "reflect and reprioritise". The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is contributing £2.26m to enable the "two-day journey". The recipient of the grant is London workspace and property company The Trampery. Founder …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Mar 2018
Tesla's big saloon out-performs sports cars

More power to UK, say 'leccy vehicle makers. Seriously, they need it

A lack of power remains a problem to electric car manufacturers in the UK – with one unnamed maker setting up shop in Austria over Blighty due to a dearth of capacity, MPs heard today. Speaking in front of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, David Wong, senior technology and innovation manager at the …
Kat Hall, 14 Mar 2018

Researchers create AI attacker to defeat AI malware defender

Adversarial models, already known to defeat the artificial intelligence behind image classifiers and computer audio, are also good at defeating malware detection. Last year, researchers from NVIDIA, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the University of Maryland probably felt justifiably pleased with themselves when they trained a neural …
perplexed woman on phone

Fun fact of the day: Voice recognition tech is naturally sexist

Voice recognition systems are sexist: they struggle to deal with female voices compared to male ones. It's a headache that has been lingering for a while in the machine-learning world. The issue was brought back into the spotlight again by Delip Rao, CEO and co-founder of R7 Speech Sciences, a startup using AI to understand …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Mar 2018

There's more to blockchain than dodgy cryptocurrencies

Analysis At the Open Source Leadership Summit in Sonoma, California, last week, The Register caught up with Brian Behlendorf, executive director of The Hyperledger Project, and had a chance to chat about the state of open source blockchain technology. Behlendorf took over the organization in May 2016 after the Linux Foundation …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Mar 2018
The road running through the PRATCHETT landing area

Toyota to flog 10,000 aaS wagons to Avis Budget rentals

Toyota is to flog around 10,000 connected cars to vehicle hire biz Avis over the next three years. "Toyota's mobility services platform will provide Avis Budget Group with enhanced connectivity and visibility into their fleet, and bring travellers increased control and convenience over their rental experience," Zack Hicks, …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Mar 2018
Kitty Hawk's Cora electric air taxi

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

A “self-flying” electric air taxi, as built by a startup backed by Google moneybags Larry Page, has reportedly been undergoing flight tests in New Zealand. “What if flying across town was as easy as hopping in a rideshare? What if Cora could fly for you? Cora will combine self-flying software with expert human supervision, so …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Mar 2018

Windows Mixed Reality: Windows Mobile deja vu?

Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality technology hit the shelves five months ago and the signs aren't good: dropped by retailers and ignored by developers, Redmond could be facing another Windows Mobile moment. Unveiled in October 2016 and making it to market a year later, early reviews of the devices were so-so, with little to …
Richard Speed, 13 Mar 2018
elon musk

Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

Elon Musk's audacious plans are usually met with acclaim, and sometimes even awe – but not this time. Fresh details of The Boring Company's urban transport plans have been lambasted on social media. The Tesla and SpaceX founder gushed about "1000s of small stations the size of a single parking space that take you very close to …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Mar 2018

Fear the wrath of robots, for their judgement is final and irrevocable

A colleague recently excused himself from a meeting because he had to go and judge a robotics contest. It quickly struck me this was a very modern inversion, because we're constantly judged by robots. We're observed and recorded everywhere we go online thanks to cookies, certificates and loyalty codes. All of that goes into …
Mark Pesce, 12 Mar 2018
Doctor Nick Riviera

Identifying planets with machine learning, dirty AI searches, and OpenAI scholarships

Roundup Hello, here’s this week’s AI roundup. There is new code to play around with for those interested in machine learning and space, a model that predicts hilarious search trends for sex site YouPorn, and another funny story about an ostensibly intelligent medical chatbot in New Zealand. Hunting exoplanets with ML – The machine …
Katyanna Quach, 10 Mar 2018
Image by Ryger https://www.shutterstock.com/g/RYGER

EU lawmakers seek coordinated hand-wringing over AI ethics

European policymakers have asked for help unravelling the "patchwork" of ethical and societal challenges as the use of artificial intelligence increases. The European Commission’s group on ethics in science and new technologies on Friday issued a statement (PDF) warning that existing efforts to develop solutions to the ethical …
Rebecca Hill, 09 Mar 2018
Microsoft CLAW

Microsoft floats feelers for fake worlds

At least two crucial ingredients are missing from virtual and augmented reality: revenue and a sense of touch. The industry is confident that the revenue is coming as hardware costs fall, awareness rises, and expectations become more realistic. Consultancy Greenlight Insights reckons global VR revenue will reach $75 billion by …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Mar 2018
Lady Shouting into a megaphone with news sheets floating out of the mega phone

Bots don't spread fake news on Twitter, people do, say MIT eggheads

False news spreads faster and reaches more people than the truth on Twitter and humans are more to blame than bots, according to a paper published in Science on Thursday. As social media giants come under closer scrutiny by governments worldwide hoping to clamp down on the negative political and social effects of fake news, …
Katyanna Quach, 08 Mar 2018
Drinks party at M3 day one

Yes, Alexa is all very well... but we want YOU to talk machine learning and AI

MCubed returns to London in October, and we want to hear how your organisation is using artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms, deep learning, and predictive analytics to solve real world business and technology problems. We’re looking to put together a conference schedule that shows how business and academia are …
Team Register, 08 Mar 2018
Money clown

More money than sense? Saudi Arabia invests $400m in Magic Leap

Analysis Throwing caution to the wind, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia has sunk $400m into augmented-reality biz Magic Leap. Despite a history of over-promising and under-delivering – to put it mildly – the Florida-based company continues to attract funding, pulling in just under $1bn in its fourth round of financial infusions. It …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Mar 2018
Bitcoin punch cards

US authorities call on cryptocoin 'exchanges' to sign up for regulation

The United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again warned investors to be ever-so-careful when considering cryptocurrencies, because so-called “exchanges” for the assets fit all the definitions of a subject—to-regulation exchange other than having signed up for that regulation. In a March 7th public …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Mar 2018
Time cover

Oculus Rift whiffed, VR fanbois miffed

Oculus says it is working to fix a service outage for its Rift headset caused by an expired certificate. The company on Wednesday said it was aware of the widely-reported bug that was causing users to be unable to launch Oculus Runtime Services, a vital component needed to boot up the gaming headset. "We are aware of and [are …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Mar 2018

Hey Alexa, Siri and Cortana: Cisco says you’re bad at business

VID Cisco will shortly give the world a voice assistant it believes has a shot at making life uncomfortable for Siri, Cortana and Alexa in the office. The company’s effort won’t be a general-purpose bot. Instead the company plans to make it a part of its Spark collaboration portfolio and have it do things like place calls, find …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2018

Google assisting the Pentagon in developing AI for its drones

Google is working with the US Department of Defense to develop AI algorithms to identify objects in videos taken by drones. So far, it’s unclear exactly what technology is being used and how involved Google are. But it’s all part of Project Maven, a programme launched by the Pentagon last year in April. The goal is to start …
Katyanna Quach, 07 Mar 2018
Drone shooting

US Army warns of the potential dangers of swarming toy drones on US soldiers

US warplanners are going to have to deal with an increasing drone threat, both from off-the-shelf hardware today to possibly more intelligent dangers. The increasing power and sophistication of "hobby drones" is making them attractive to insurgents, according to a report drafted by the US National Academy of Sciences, …
Katyanna Quach, 06 Mar 2018

UK takes first step towards criminalising driverless car hackers

The Law Commission is to conduct a study into British driving laws with the aim of making sure humans can still be blamed for road accidents caused by driverless cars – and criminalising hackers who target autonomous vehicles. "Key aspects will be adjusting traditional laws to reflect the fact self-driving vehicles of the …
Gareth Corfield, 06 Mar 2018
GATEway shuttle photo by Oxbotica

Fancy sitting in a Level 4 driverless car roaming London? Get in line

World+dog will be let loose with Level 4 driverless cars in London, the Greenwich Gateway consortium has declared. The vehicles themselves have been trundling around the southeastern London borough for about a year, as part of a wider trial led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the government. For the next four …
Gareth Corfield, 06 Mar 2018
Google's Bristlestone quantum processor

'Quantum supremacy will soon be ours!', says Google as it reveals 72-qubit quantum chip

Google reckons it's on the cusp of demonstrating “quantum supremacy” with the development of a 72-qubit processor. Quantum supremacy refers to the point at which a quantum computer should outperform a classical computer, without incurring the performance costs of error correction (as described in this 2016 paper). Google …
Internet of things in the cloud

Good luck saying 'Sorry I'm late, I had to update my car's firmware'

The IETF has noticed how badly Internet of Things firmware is managed, and wants it fixed. Whether it's the Mirai botnet's attack on Dyn, smart sex toys with dumb vulns, or easily hackable home routers, the problem is often that firmware fixes are needed but too often aren't installed. The Software Updates for Internet of …
A screenshot of Airmap, centred on Geneva airport

US startup wheels out EU-compliant drone traffic management app

An American upstart says it is the first company to implement the EU's vision of drone air traffic management – over the skies of Switzerland. Airmap, one of many small companies around the world hoping to make a breakthrough in the elusive field of unmanned traffic management (UTM), has joined forces with Swiss air traffic …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Mar 2018
Flag of Iceland

Bitcoin heist with a twist: This time it's servers that were stolen

Icelandic police have cuffed 11 people in connection with four raids on data centres that targeted cryptocurrency mining equipment. The raids started in December 2017 when three data centres were cracked in December. Another raid took place in January. 600 servers went missing in the heists. Icelandic police kept the raids …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2018
AI Robot viewed from the back against an arty landscape. Pic via SHuttertock

Senate mulls offensive AI, new training tools and now Chinese faceswaps Trump

Roundup Your weekly dose of tidbits from the AI world, beyond everything we've already covered, begins with a senate committee hearing in which a US lieutenant general, currently a nominee for the role of the director of the NSA, spoke about his concerns around the technology. And it ends with a CEO of a Chinese AI startup …
Katyanna Quach, 03 Mar 2018
Confused lost-looking driver with map. Photo by SHutterstock

MIT gives one-star review to Lyft, Uber over abysmal '$3.37/hr' pay

Updated An analysis published by MIT has found that Uber and Lyft drivers in the US only net around $3.37 per hour on average, and nearly a third are probably losing money after car costs. A study [PDF] put out this week, and carried out by Stanford researchers Stephen Zoepf, Stella Chen, Paa Adu and Gonzalo Pozo, has found that …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Mar 2018

With IoT you too can turn your home into a giant flashing 'HORSE BIRTH NOW' klaxon

An American company has devised a system that takes over your entire home, makes all your lights start flashing and broadcasts neighing noises through the whole house when your pregnant horse starts giving birth. Custom electronics trade news website CE Pro, reporting on this interesting mashup of smart home and Internet of …
Gareth Corfield, 02 Mar 2018
Cartoon of someone stealing information from a Mac

Boffins baffled as AI training leaks secrets to canny thieves

Private information can be easily extracted from neural networks trained on sensitive data, according to new research. A paper released on arXiv last week by a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, National University of Singapore, and Google Brain reveals just how vulnerable deep learning is to …
Katyanna Quach, 02 Mar 2018

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