Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotics.

Robots can walk, climb, and even open doors. But can they iceskate?

Well, it seems now they can.

Stelian Coros, a professor at the Computational Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich, says the only thing his team did was to tell the robot how one skate behaved on the ice, and that it was free to move in the direction of the blade.

Source: BBC Future

Date: February 14th, 2019

Link with video: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190208-the-robot-that-learned-how-to-skate-on-ice

Discussion

1) What does it say about the development of robots that there is now one that has learned to skate but not been taught to skate?

2) Why is this an important step for robotics (or not)?

Posted by & filed under SaaS Software as a Service.

The speed of technological innovation has seemingly compressed time. Peter Coffee, VP of Strategic Research at Salesforce.com, has the job of predicting what’s next in technology, what forces we should be afraid of, what issues we are wasting our time on, and how we should prepare for all of it.

Source: A New Angle

Date: February 12th, 2019

Link to podcast: http://anewanglepodcast.com/2019/02/peter-coffee-sees-the-future/

Discussion

1) Salesforce is a SaaS company. What is SaaS?

2) Why are companies using to SaaS?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing.

A story of digital transformation: Accenture assists Carlsberg in cloud transition image

Jakob From, vice president of transformation, operation and CIO, Western Europe, at Carlsberg said: “We had the opportunity to make a major change because the maintenance contracts for our data centre infrastructure were up for renewal.

“The goal of the project was to create a foundation for our entire IT infrastructure. Carlsberg has existed for 171 years, and we must also be here 171 years more.”

Source: Information Age

Date: February 7th, 2019

Link: https://www.information-age.com/accenture-carlsberg-digital-transformation-123478550/

Discussion

1) What might a “digital transformation” involve for a company that makes beer globally?

2) “Carlsberg’s main driver in their transformation was the transition of their technology infrastructure to public cloud, to help them be digitally enabled.”  Why does a beer maker need to be “digitally enabled”?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

 

A Lake Barrington homeowner hasn’t had a restful night’s sleep in 10 days, after he said his Nest home security cameras and thermostats were accessed by malicious hackers.

“I couldn’t believe that these devices that I had put up in my home to watch over it, my family, were now being used against me,” said Arjun Sud.

Sud tells NBC 5 Investigates that shortly after he and his wife put their 7-month-old son to bed on Jan. 20, they heard a strange noise coming from inside the nursery.

“Right as I approached the baby’s room, I heard a deep voice talking to him,” Sud said.

Source: NBC news

Date: February 7th, 2019

Link: https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/My-Blood-Ran-Cold-as-Smart-Cameras-Thermostat-Hacked-Homeowner-Says-505113061.html

Discussion

1) What devices do you have in your home that could be hacked in this way?

2) What SHOULD manufacturers be doing to stop this?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Oil tankers at sea

For a long time, being out at sea meant being out of sight and out of reach.

And all kinds of shenanigans went on as a result – countries secretly selling oil and other goods to countries they’re not supposed to under international sanctions rules, for example, not to mention piracy and kidnapping.

The problem is that captains can easily switch off the current way of tracking ships, called the Automatic Identification System (AIS), hiding their location.

But now thousands of surveillance satellites have been launched into space, and artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied to the images they take.

There’s no longer anywhere for such ships to hide.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 4th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47046979

Discussion

1) How might this technology/system be used to improve the type of food we eat?

2) How might this technology/system be used to improve the clothes we wear?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Privacy.

Julian Ranger

Ever since the world wide web went public in 1993, we have traded our personal data in return for free services from the tech giants. Now a growing number of start-ups think it’s about time we took control of our own data and even started making money from it. But do we care enough to bother?

Source: BBC Business

Date: January 31st, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47027072

Discussion

1) Why is that almost everyone doesn’t “care enough to bother” about their own, personal data?

2) Are free services ever really free?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Ethical issues.

Huawei

A lot of people are talking about Huawei – and not just because they make really well reviewed, top-end phones.

The Chinese company is in pretty hot water in various places, because certain people believe they are using their tech to spy on people – something the company totally denies.

There’s a court case against Huawei taking place in the US right now.

And other countries all over the world are losing faith in this tech giant due to security fears.

But although it can be quite hard to care about the ins and outs of a technology company on the other side of the planet – you might be worried about your handset or whether to buy a new Huawei.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 31st, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-47041341

Discussion

1) Why is the comment that “it can be quite hard to care about the ins and outs of a technology company on the other side of the planet” not correct for anyone doing business today?

2) How might you test whether or not a Huawei phone is spying on you, or not?

Posted by & filed under Censorship, China, Civil Liberties.

Microsoft confirmed Thursday that Bing was unavailable in China, raising concerns that it could be the latest in a growing list of global internet platforms to be shut out of China’s huge market.
Hours later, however, some users were once again able to access the service.
“We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored,” a Microsoft(MSFT) spokesperson told CNN Business on Thursday.
Bing is the last major foreign search engine operating in China after Google (GOOGL) pulled out in 2010. The service interruption suggested that even tech companies that submit to Beijing’s strict internet censorship regime can still run into trouble in the country.
Source: CNN Technology
Date: January 24th, 2019
Discussion
1) Should Microsoft operate in a country that subjects its citizens to censorship of information like this?
2) Is it possible for Western, democratic governments to censor information on the internet?

Posted by & filed under Autonomous aircraft.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and air taxis are no exception.

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, said it completed the first flight of its autonomous air taxi Tuesday at a small airport outside Washington, DC. No one was on board.

The flight lasted less than a minute, according to Boeing, and it didn’t actually go anywhere. Instead, it hovered above the runway. Boeing declined to share how high above the ground it flew.

But Boeing is hailing the achievement as a milestone for its NeXt division, which develops autonomous airplanes.

 The flying car prototype is 30 feet long and 28 feet wide. It’s designed to fly up to 50 miles at a time.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: January 24th, 2019

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/tech/boeing-flying-car/index.html

Discussion

1) In what ways are the issue with an autonomous air taxi different from an autonomous car?

2) What could go wrong?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

Scout, the delivery robot

Amazon is experimenting with delivery robots, starting with a little truck called Scout which is taking to the pavements in Washington State.

Six of the autonomous electric trucks will deliver parcels “at walking pace” round Snohomish County.

The robots will only operate during the day and will be accompanied by an Amazon employee initially.

It is the latest in a series of trials of pavement robots, seen as being a good alternative to road deliveries.

“We developed Amazon Scout at our research and development lab in Seattle, ensuring the devices can safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and anything else in their path,” said Amazon vice-president Sean Scott on the company’s blog.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 24, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46987779

Discussion

1) What problems, if any, do you see with a robot delivery system like this?

2) It is currently snowing in Missoula, Montana.  How would this work in the snow?