Lots of interesting tech news going on recently – read up:
Jetsons update: Rosie the Robot Is Coming
Alphabet X is working on a robot that learns and adapts to changes in its surroundings. The company’s Everyday Robot project is “building robots that can learn from human demonstration, the experiences of other robots, and even from simulation in the Cloud.” Other places are working on intelligent robots too, of course, and some are making improvements while others are not. Autonomous, smart, general-purpose robots are not showing up anywhere in the immediate future. But they will be here soon. Hopefully they will know how to cook and clean.
Tesla’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Tesla showed off its new bulletproof pickup – and the way the windows shatter. Not the demonstration they were going for. As they intended to show off how tough the vehicle is, a metal ball thrown at a window only showed that the unbreakable windows may not, in fact, be such. To prove it, they threw the ball at another window and achieved the same result. Also, its military DeLorean look is not a hit with all of its potential customers. As noted on Reddit, the design was outclassed by non-designers on the internet.
It’s a good time to start a data security business
An organization called the Unknown Fund is giving $75 million of bitcoin to startups who focus on the protection of personal data, cryptocurrency and anonymity. The group wants to fight large corporations that collect a lot of data, which is then used to profit the corporation. Anonymity is apparently important to this group as the organization is anonymous and apparently led by the black hat hacktivist group Anonymous, though that is not confirmed.
Memes aren’t as harmless as you may think
Images and videos can be easily manipulated these days, thanks to the multitude of photo retouching programs and apps that are available. Sophisticated machine-learning algorithms take things one step further, making a final product that is sometimes too realistic. Called “deepfakes,” these modified images can be wielded as popular but dangerous memes and used for disinformation. As MIT Technology Review notes, “Meme wars are a consistent feature of our politics, and they’re not just being used by internet trolls or some bored kids in the basement, but by governments, political candidates, and activists across the globe.” Be careful next time you retweet that video.
Could TikTok be here to stay?
Who would have predicted a new social media platform that may actually stick around? TikTok is dominating the app store, and not only by middle schoolers. For example, it’s used by the Amish, moms and the army. Businesses are also figuring out how to take advantage of its younger audience and video capabilities. However, TikTok needs to shake off ties to China if it wants to keep growing in the US.
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