Widespread Ransomware Attack Hits U.K. Hospitals The National Health Service has found data on many of its computers locked up by hackers, and may be faced with little choice but to capitulate to demands for cash. by Jamie Condliffe May 12, 2017 Recommended for You A Single Autonomous Car Has a Huge Impact on Alleviating Traffic This Mega-Sensor Makes the Whole Room Smart The World's Largest Electric Vehicle Maker Hits a Speed Bump Mind-Reading Algorithms Reconstruct What You're Seeing Using Brain-Scan Data Linguistics Breakthrough Heralds Machine Translation for Thousands of Rare Languages Many hospitals around the U.K. have been hit by ransomware, facing them with demands to pay hackers to unlock their … [Read more...] about A widespread ransomware attack has hit hospitals in the U.K.
A new smart-home assistant and security monitor can tell the difference between specific adults and spot kids and pets, and send you smartphone alerts about what they're up to. Lighthouse went on sale on Thursday, though it won't ship to customers until September. A single Lighthouse device plus a year of service runs $399, and it will cost $10 per month after that. (By comparison, a Nest camera and its service, which together have some similar features, would cost $299 for a camera and a year of service, and $10 per month thereafter.) The device was created by Alex Teichman and Hendrik Dahlkamp, who have backgrounds in computer vision and self-driving cars. So far, the company has raised $17 million from investors, including Android cofounder Andy Rubin. Lighthouse uses several cameras, including a 3-D time-of-flight one that can see how far away an object is and determine objects in the foreground versus those in the background, Teichman says. If the device finds something that may … [Read more...] about Home assistants are getting so smart that soon there will be no more secrets in your family
A Single Autonomous Car Has a Huge Impact on Alleviating Traffic Even intelligent cruise control systems could be used to clear up congestion. by Jamie Condliffe May 10, 2017 In this replication of a phantom traffic jam, just a single car with limited autonomy (the silver SUV) is enough to clear up congestion involving 20 other cars. Recommended for You Why So Many Web-Fueled Protest Movements Hit a Wall Mind-Reading Algorithms Reconstruct What You're Seeing Using Brain-Scan Data Real or Fake? AI Is Making It Very Hard to Know The World's Largest Electric Vehicle Maker Hits a Speed Bump Using Brainwaves to Guess Passwords It's sometimes argued that the long-term benefits of self-driving … [Read more...] about Watch a single autonomous car stop a traffic jam from happening
Neural Networks Face Unexpected Problems in Analyzing Financial Data Neural networks can find hidden patterns in financial data. But they may not be the oracle the financial world was hoping for. by Emerging Technology from the arXiv May 10, 2017 Pricing error versus execution time for different machine-learning techniques. One area where machine learning and neural networks are set to make a huge impact is in financial markets. This field is rich in the two key factors that make machine-learning techniques successful: the computing resources necessary to run powerful neural networks; and the existence of huge annotated data sets that neural networks can learn from. Recommended for You Why So Many Web-Fueled Protest Movements Hit a Wall Mind-Reading Algorithms Reconstruct What You're Seeing Using Brain-Scan … [Read more...] about Neural networks are set to revolutionize the financial world. But nobody is quite sure how
Russia Tells the UN it Wants to Produce More Renewable Energy The country lives off of its fossil fuel industry, but now says it's interested in going green. by Michael Reilly May 8, 2017 Russian president Vladimir Putin surveys the construction of a hydroelectric facility in Eastern Russia. Don't look now, but Russia could get greener-and it has nothing to do with climate change melting the Siberian permafrost. Recommended for You The World's Largest Electric Vehicle Maker Hits a Speed Bump Mind-Reading Algorithms Reconstruct What You're Seeing Using Brain-Scan Data Real or Fake? AI Is Making It Very Hard to Know Apple-Picking Robot Prepares to Compete for Farm Jobs Nvidia Lets You Peer Inside the Black Box … [Read more...] about Vladimir Putin says he wants Russia to produce more renewable energy
Using Brainwaves to Guess Passwords Malicious software could use brain interfaces to help steal passwords and other private data. by Tom Simonite May 5, 2017 The Epoc+ is an $800 brain-wave-sensing headset marketed as being able to detect emotional states such as frustration or excitement, and permit you to control robots with your thoughts. Recommended for You Apple-Picking Robot Prepares to Compete for Farm Jobs Nvidia Lets You Peer Inside the Black Box of Its Self-Driving AI Real or Fake? AI Is Making It Very Hard to Know An Ostrich-Like Robot Pushes the Limits of Legged Locomotion The 3-D Printer That Could Finally Change Manufacturing Nitesh Saxena, an associate professor at the University of Alabama at … [Read more...] about Brain interfaces open up a whole new way to get hacked
Is Facebook Targeting Ads at Sad Teens? The social network appears to leverage sensitive user data to target ads at teens who say they feel "anxious" and "worthless." by Michael Reilly May 1, 2017 Facebook appears to be using its considerable cache of user data to single out teens-including those who are feeling down-in an attempt to sell ads that target them. Recommended for You Real or Fake? AI Is Making It Very Hard to Know The 3-D Printer That Could Finally Change Manufacturing Finding Solace in Defeat by Artificial Intelligence Deep Learning Is a Black Box, but Health Care Won't Mind Appearances Suggest That Apple's Autonomous-Car Endeavor Is Lacking According to Ars Technica, on Monday the Australian … [Read more...] about Is Facebook targeting advertising at depressed teens?
Through a series of alliances announced Monday, Phoenix Technologies Ltd. hopes to take the first click away from surfing, and shopping, the Web. Though each agreement varies slightly, the deals together signal a concerted effort to move the personal computer closer to a personal Web surfing machine, apparently recognizing the growing importance of the Internet to everyday computer use. Fueling Phoenix's new push into the Internet world is an investment by Softbank Holdings in Phoenix's new Internet subsidiary ebetween. Softbank signed a letter of intent to acquire a 20 percent stake in ebetween. Softbank Holdings, which also holds significant financial interests in E-Trade, Softbank Comdex, Yahoo!, and Ziff-Davis, gets shares of a company that is widely rated a "buy" on Wall Street. Analysts are expecting the company's earnings to grow exponentially over the next three years, with estimates at 66 cents (U.S.) per share this year after just 3 cents in 1998. For 2000, Phoenix is … [Read more...] about Phoenix to Give PCs a Web-Surfing Makeover
The latest Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance activities indicate the agency could infect millons of computers with malware, and has spoofed Facebook servers to capture traffic from targets. Documents previously leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden include detailed descriptions of its tools and techniques, First Look reported. "It is not surprising that the NSA would create and deploy malware," Harley Geiger, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told TechNewsWorld. "What is surprising is the evidence the NSA is prepared to do so on a scale that could affect millions of computers." Hacking and surveillance operations should be used "on specific targets with minimal impact on innocent parties, not on a massive scale," Geiger said. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking program operates from NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md., and from NSA bases in the UK and Japan. British intelligence agency GCHQ apparently … [Read more...] about NSA Deploys Botnet Armies, Spoofs Facebook
Smartphone-Controlled Cells Could Pump Insulin for Diabetics Researchers used optogenetics and a mobile app to stimulate cells that were designed to produce insulin in diabetic mice. by Emily Mullin April 26, 2017 A researcher uses a smartphone to control light levels in mice with implanted LED discs. Scientists in China have used a smartphone and a technique called optogenetics to precisely control cells to deliver insulin to diabetic mice. The approach could be used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels in human diabetics and automatically produce necessary insulin, a hormone that converts sugar from food into energy the body can use. The researchers engineered human cells with a light-sensitive gene that is found in plants and produces insulin on cue when activated by wirelessly powered red LED lights. They inserted those lights and the designer cells onto small, flexible … [Read more...] about Smartphone-controlled designer cells could help keep diabetes in check
Virtual reality has been hyped as the next big thing for decades-and yet, it never seems to deliver. Despite the potential, particularly in the world of gaming, numerous attempts have left players dizzy with disappointment, and just plain dizzy. So why should you believe us when we say that this is the year? Two words: Oculus Rift. The Rift is the brainchild of 21-year-old Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, a start-up in Irvine, Calif. Luckey was weaned on late 20th-century dreams of virtual reality. He'd read about the cyberspace Metaverse in the novel Snow Crash, watched Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, and seen Jeff Bridges teleport into the world of Tron. Coming of age in California during the dot-com boom, he assumed that brilliant geeks were already cooking up a fantastically immersive simulated world. "I grew up imagining it was some technology that people must have in a lab somewhere," he recalls. But although basic virtual reality technology had been around for decades and … [Read more...] about Oculus Rift Takes Virtual Reality Mainstream
Gail H. Marcus '68, SM '68, ScD '71, and Michael J. Marcus '68, ScD '72, Shape Policy in Washington "We started as techies and became policy wonks" by Peter Dunn April 25, 2017 Gail Halpern and Michael Marcus met in a first-year chemistry class and began dating as sophomores. They went on to study physics and nuclear engineering (Gail) and electrical engineering (Michael), got married two days after graduation, and built their careers working on technology policies in nuclear power, in Gail's case, and wireless communications, in Michael's. "We both gravitated toward the integration of technology into society-what to fund, how to regulate, how to balance different interests," says Gail. "They're not strictly engineering problems, but we both felt it was essential for engineers to be involved." Or, as Michael puts it, "We started as techies and became policy wonks." … [Read more...] about An MIT engineering couple helps shape tech policy in D.C.
Could a computer feed a hungry person? Can a ray of light produce an effective Alzheimer's treatment? How fast can an idea travel from incubation to innovation? MIT faculty working to answer these provocative questions are headlining the MIT Campaign for a Better World global tour, an event series launched to celebrate the alumni community and share with the world the vision behind the Institute's $5 billion campaign. These events are slated for cities where large numbers of alumni and friends of MIT live and work. Each will connect these individuals to the innovation under way in Cambridge and around the globe. In New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, London, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles, the tour has drawn record attendance and positive reviews for evenings that combine socializing with brief talks by leading Institute faculty members, alumni, and students. The evenings feature remarks from President L. Rafael Reif, who highlights the importance of every MIT community … [Read more...] about Building a better world, visiting one city at a time
From the President: Profoundly Global and American For the MIT community, it's not an either/or proposition. by L. Rafael Reif April 25, 2017 As a rule, leaders in higher education don't expect huge crowds. But this year-thanks to alumni enthusiasm for the MIT Campaign for a Better World-we have enjoyed overflow audiences at events from New York to Hong Kong; San Francisco to Washington, D.C.; London to Los Angeles; Tel Aviv to Mexico City. At these wonderful gatherings of MIT alumni, I have been inspired by the contagious energy. And I have been reminded, each time, of our community's distinctive character and values. Recommended for You With Neuralink, Elon Musk Promises Human-to-Human Telepathy. Don't Believe It. Google's New Chip Is a Stepping Stone to Quantum Computing Supremacy Big Data Exposes Big … [Read more...] about The MIT community on campus includes people from all 50 states-and from 134 other nations
A comfortably large group gathers in the East Campus dormitory's main lounge, where the day's schedule for Bad Ideas Weekend spins from the ceiling. Held each year since 2003 during January's Independent Activities Period (IAP), Bad Ideas actualizes the community's most impractical ideas without the limits of good judgment, "no skills required." This evening, the crowd has assembled to attend the nth annual Python Bee (a tradition dating to 2009, but always called the "nth annual"). Competitors are given tasks to complete using the Python programming language-and they must recite their answers out loud, character by character, as the judge types the work for display on a projector screen behind them. Backspace, control characters, and arrows aren't allowed, though the current line may be cleared. "I literally learned Python two weeks ago!" a would-be contestant announces. "Great! That makes you qualified," replies Brian Chen '19, who is serving as the judge. The first problem is … [Read more...] about Coding blind, under time pressure, in front of an audience-what could go wrong?
On the day I arrive at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to meet James Allison and his longtime collaborator Padmanee Sharma, they are nowhere to be found. The previous day, one of their colleagues informs me, Allison was summoned up on stage by Willie Nelson, in front of 60,000 people at a rock festival in Austin, to deliver a harmonica solo. They are still on their way back. By now, Allison is almost used to adulation. There are even murmurings that his work in cancer immunotherapy might win him the Nobel Prize. Twenty years ago, he was the first to show it's possible to turbocharge the body's response to cancer with a drug that releases the immune system so that it destroys tumors on its own. The drug he identified to do that, called Yervoy, went on sale in 2011 to treat metastatic skin cancer. In lucky patients, it causes otherwise fatal tumors to melt away. By last year, worldwide sales of Yervoy and two newer drugs had reached $6 billion a year, and the medications had been … [Read more...] about The unfinished business of immunotherapy
Flying Cars Are Becoming Reality—But Do You Have What It Takes to Own One? You’ll need strong nerves—and a large wallet—to make use of the world’s first commercially available airborne automobiles. by Jamie Condliffe April 21, 2017 You were promised flying cars. And pretty soon, you’re going to have flying cars. But there will be a couple of rather significant barriers to entry if you decide to take the plunge and buy one. Recommended for You Flavor Networks Reveal Universal Principle Behind Successful Recipes The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI We Need More Alternatives to Facebook Edible CRISPR Could Replace Antibiotics Google’s Health Study Seeks 10,000 … [Read more...] about Flying cars might be real, but they’re not for everyone
Plywood Drones Could Help the Marines Safely Deliver Supplies A cheap, disposable glider that can carry 700-pound payloads could fly one-way cargo missions. by Jamie Condliffe April 18, 2017 What’s made from plywood, a handful of metal fixings, and some hobbyist electronics? Not your child’s next school project, but a prototype drone being tested by the U.S. Marines. IEEE Spectrum reports that the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is developing a new drone designed to carry payloads of up to 700 pounds. But unlike many military drones that trade affordability for war zone smarts, this aircraft—known as TACAD, or Tactical Air Delivery—could be made for as little as $1,500 using hardware that you might have lying around on your own workbench. The idea: it won’t matter if it’s ever recovered or not. Recommended for You The Dark … [Read more...] about A plywood drone could help the Marines safely deliver supplies
Mr. Tech The Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Shaking Up Much More than Money Blockchains are being used to trace blood diamonds, verify health records, and secure supply chains. by Will Knight April 18, 2017 Blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin, may be poised to inspire solutions to key societal challenges, from trading carbon emissions to maintaining healthcare records. But only if the companies and developers involved can agree on things. Recommended for You The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI We Need More Alternatives to Facebook College Dropout Says He’s Cracked Self-Driving Cars’ Most Crucial Component Engineering the Perfect … [Read more...] about Bitcoin’s foundations are reinventing more than money
David Mitchell pulls into the parking lot of the Desert Research Institute, an environmental science outpost of the University of Nevada, perched in the dry red hills above Reno. The campus stares over the tops of the downtown casinos into the snow-buried Pine Nut Mountains. On this morning, wispy cirrus clouds draw long lines above the range. Mitchell, a lanky, soft-spoken atmospheric physicist, believes these frigid clouds in the upper troposphere may offer one of our best fallback plans for combating climate change. The tiny ice crystals in cirrus clouds cast thermal radiation back against the surface of the earth, trapping heat like a blanket—or, more to the point, like carbon dioxide. But Mitchell, an associate research professor at the institute, thinks there might be a way to counteract the effects of these clouds. It would work like this: Fleets of large drones would crisscross the upper latitudes of the globe during winter months, sprinkling the skies with tons of … [Read more...] about It might be time to begin experimenting with geoengineering schemes to test what works