If you haven’t yet registered for Robots, AI, and the Future of Work (Pittsburgh, June 12–14; agenda, registration), now would be a good time. We’ll be hearing about the economics and ethics of AI and about robots from the size of a Paramecium up to a 54-foot-high 6-arm behemoth—and our field trip to Carnegie Mellon University will be an unrobotic look at dozens more.
As we write this, the blacklisting of Huawei continues to grow and now includes such heavyweights as Google, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom. Huawei’s phones can still run open-source versions of Android, but will not include Google’s apps, including the App Store itself. (Michael Hayden, Washington, D.C., Sep 2016)
Neural stimulation as a way of repairing and improving brain function is quickly moving from phrenology to serious medical science. (Rajesh Rao, San Francisco, Dec 2013; Ed Boyden, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009; Jorg-Uwe Meyer, Toronto, Apr 2002)
In what looks like an important test of autonomous vehicles, the U.S. Postal Service and startup TuSimple will move mail between Phoenix and Dallas (a 20-hour drive of 1,000-miles) over a two-week period (five round trips in all) via autonomous 18-wheel trucks with backup drivers (Rich DeMillo, Austin, Feb 2004). Meanwhile, a Swedish developer, Einride, has begun driverless freight deliveries using electric trucks for a German logistics company, DB Schenker on public roads.
HP bought Cray this week for $1.3B. Yes, Cray is still around (Bob Ewald, Tempe, May 1992). Yes, HP is still around (Dan Viederman, Detroit, May 2015).)
San Francisco State University has created a graduate certificate in artificial-intelligence ethics to begin this fall. We’ll have an ethics-in-AI panel discussion, “What Shouldn’t We Automate?” at the June meeting with three experts.
Some lost souls think of a gargantuan mutual fund company when they hear the name “Vanguard,” rather than our bijou community. But this week, the financier has some technology news of its own. It seems that its app—designed for millennials—is extremely popular among its older clients. If that other Vanguard needs some help designing for specific demographics, this Vanguard may have some insight. (Jolijt Tamanaha, Washington, D.C., Sep 2015)
Take a fly-over tour of ancient Rome (Michael Doyle and Leslie Ventsch, Seattle, Dec 2012).
The team here at TTI/V tilts a bit more toward dog fans than cat aficionados. A Swedish study suggests that genetics may play a strong role in dog ownership. Cat ownership, of course, is strictly a matter of rationality. (And if anyone in the L.A. area needs a new kitten, Robin Lockett is fostering three adorable ones.)
Google’s new Glass (Marc Levoy, San Francisco, Dec 2014) seems a lot like Google’s old Glass.
It looks like the FCC is ready to approve the merger of the U.S.’s number 3 and 4 wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint. On one way of thinking, it will of course reduce competition. In another way, though, it will increase competitive pressure on the two larger carriers. (David Reed, San Francisco, May 2016; Preston Marshall, Los Angeles, Feb 2013; Lee Franklin, Boston, Nov 1992)
If there’s industry you wouldn’t expect to come up with a two-legged humanoid delivery robot, it would be the car companies, right? Yet Ford has one. Meanwhile, Hyundai already has a hybrid robot that walks and drives, which we’ll hear about in Pittsburgh.
At its annual meeting, Amazon’s shareholders waged a strong but unsuccessful effort to block the company from reselling its facial recognition software to the government. (Roger McNamee and Jonathan Taplin, Los Angeles, Mar 2018)
As Apollo 10 circled the moon, Thomas Stafford radioed to mission control, "Houston, tell the Earth we have arrived." Last Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing’s dress rehearsal. (Jeff Greason, Seattle, Dec 2006; Daniel Clancy, Phoenix, Dec 2003)
To all our U.S. readers, have a good holiday weekend and let’s never forget sacrifices made.
"It’s not our only database, it’s not our best database, it’s not currently very fast or very scalable and it’s not very mature."
—FedEx blockchain strategist Dale Chrystie