Posts belonging to Category AI

Hyundai, Kia deny Apple car talks

Shares are tumbling

South Korean automaker Hyundai and its affiliate Kia on Monday denied news reports they were in talks with Apple for a joint project to make autonomous vehicles, sending their shares tumbling. The announcement came about a month after the country’s cable broadcaster Korea Economic TV said the iPhone maker had approached Hyundai to discuss a potential partnership to develop electric vehicles and batteries for them, sending the car maker’s shares soaring. Reports last week suggested they could produce cars in the US state of Georgia.

But on Monday Hyundai and Kia said in regulatory filings they were “not discussing autonomous electric car development with Apple”. Both automakers added that they had talked with multiple firms about such projects, but no decision had been made. Hyundai said those talks were in their “early stages”. Kia shares slumped 14.98 percent at the close in Seoul on Monday, while Hyundai fell 6.21 percent.

Apple wants to build its first car in 2024

Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery

Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.

The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.

Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, which has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service. Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion

Creating World’s Premier Computing Company for the Age of AI

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, “SoftBank”) in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA’s non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA’s leading AI computing platform with Arm’s vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm’s long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

Palantir files to go public

The data anlytics company founded by Peter  Thiel  lost about $580 million last year

Data analytics company Palantir Technologies has released its prospectus to debut on public markets. The company aims to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PLTR. Rather than sell shares through an initial public offering, the company intends to debut with a direct listing, the same unconventional route taken by Slack in 2019 and Spotify in 2018.

Given its long history and its size — last September Reuters said the company was targeting a valuation of $26 billion or more — Palantir had been in a position to go public for years, and investors have long waited to buy shares, as they did for PinterestSnap and Uber. Home-renting company Airbnb could be next.

Palantir lost $588 million, or $580 million on a pro-forma basis, in 2019, according to the filing. Revenue grew almost 25% from the year earlier while the loss stayed about the same. In the first half of 2020, it lost $165 million, or $175 million on a pro-forma basis.

Apple Is Acquiring NextVR For About $100M

Apple’s 2020 Buying Spree

Apple made headlines this weekend for donating 20 million face masks and working to make 1 million face shields a week to address the shortage of protective equipment for health care workers treating coronavirus patients. But it’s also been busy doing something else. Namely, acquiring startups.

On April 3, Bloomberg reported the tech behemoth had acquired an artificial intelligence startup that developed a platform for digital voice assistants to better understand people’s natural language. The price it paid for the Irish startup, which is believed will help continue to improve Siri, was not disclosed. According to Crunchbase data, Voysis had raised $8 million since it was founded in 2012.

And on March 31, it was announced that Apple had acquired weather app DarkSky, which was not venture-backed.

Gileag is testing a potential coronavirus treatment

Antiviral remdesivir tested on patients with COVID-19

At the beginning of February, Gilead Sciences struck a partnership with Beijing’s China-Japan Friendship Hospital to test its experimental antiviral remdesivir on patients with COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the novel coronavirus strain. On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirmed the drug was undergoing human clinical trials in the U.S. as well—the first of their kind in America. And just one day later, Gilead announced it was launching two other  late-stage studies of remdesivir across multiple countries as the coronavirus spreads globally.

Remdesivir’s unusually rapid advance across the clinical trial process highlights the urgent nature of the coronavirus outbreak’s public health threat—and the promise that regulators and global health agencies have credited to the treatment.

The two phase 3 clinical trials Gilead announced on Wednesday will enlist about 1,000 patients who have already contracted COVID-19. The participants will mostly be in Asia, the heaviest-hit region in a global health emergency that originated in China, although other nations with a high number of cases will also be involved. The trials are set to launch in March.

Uber promises ‘profit’ milestone this year

Will Uber become profitable soon?

Uber has big plans for the end of 2020: It hopes to finally become profitable. Kind of.

The ride-hailing service announced plans to cut spending and improve profit margins in its taxi and food delivery businesses. As a result, executives expect the company to be profitable, excluding a number major expenses, a year earlier than its previous goal.

This comes from a company that, using conventional accounting, lost $1.1 billion during the fourth quarter, a jump from the $887 million it had lost during the same period a year earlier. For the entire year, by that same measure, it lost an astounding $8.5 billion.

EU to drop threat of Huawei ban

5G risks monitored

The European Commission will next week urge EU countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks but will ignore U.S. calls to ban Huawei Technologies, four people familiar with the matter said on Friday. European digital chief Andrus Ansip will present the recommendation on Tuesday. While the guidance does not have legal force, it will carry political weight which can eventually lead to national legislation in European Union countries.

The United States has lobbied Europe to shut out Huawei, saying its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. Huawei has strongly rejected the allegations and earlier this month sued the U.S. government over the issue. Ansip will tell EU countries to use tools set out under the EU directive on security of network and information systems, or NIS directive, adopted in 2016 and the recently approved Cybersecurity Act, the people said.

For example, member states should exchange information and coordinate on impact assessment studies on security risks and on certification for internet-connected devices and 5G equipment. The Commission will not call for a European ban on global market leader Huawei, leaving it to EU countries to decide on national security grounds.

Grindr, Tinder and OkCupid are sharing user’s personal data with thousands of advertising partners

Selling informations about their sexuality and location

Grindr, Tinder and OkCupid are all sharing user’s personal data with thousands of advertising partners, including information about their sexuality and location, according to a new study. The popular dating apps are said to be handing over the sensitive details to around 100 other businesses, a Norwegian consumer group said Tuesday.

Grindr, which markets itself as the ‘world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people,’ shares the GPS data, IP addresses, ages and genders of its users, a report by The Norwegian Consumer Council found.

According to the government-funded non-profit organisation, the sharing of this data implicitly discloses users’ sexual orientations and in some cases drug use. Tinder is also accused of sharing user data with at least 45 companies owned by the Match Group, which operates a dating website of the same name.

90% of Tesla’s Model 3 owners feel safer using autopilot

Tesla currently offers two packages of Autopilot features

5,000 Model 3 owners were asked  about Tesla’s software for automated driving on highways and parking lots. More than 90% said the feature makes them safer.It seemed, for a terrifying moment, that Tesla’s automated-driving software had made an error at highway speeds. A driver from Florida reported an experience of inexplicable braking by the Autopilot feature on his Model 3. An instant later, the vehicle ahead swerved out of the lane to reveal a stopped car. Tesla’s sensors had detected the upcoming hazard and acted without human input to avert a crash.

A Model 3 driver from Alabama had a very different experience. He was cruising along the highway with a state trooper following directly behind. There was nothing obstructing the road ahead, but finicky Autopilot sensors triggered the brakes. Only human reflexes prevented a rear-end encounter with a cop, after the Model 3 driver jammed his foot on the accelerator to override Autopilot.

U.S. urged to invest more in AI

Warning of China’s progress

U.S. government funding in artificial intelligence has fallen short and the country needs to invest in research, train an AI-ready workforce and apply the technology to national security missions, a government-commissioned panel led by Google’s former CEO said in an interim report on Monday.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), created by Congress last year, raised concerns about the progress China has made in this area. It also said the U.S. government still faces enormous work before it can transition AI from “a promising technological novelty into a mature technology integrated into core national security missions.”

The commission thinks an allied effort on AI in the realm of national security is important, Robert Work, vice chairman of the NSCAI and a former deputy secretary of defense, told reporters. The NSCAI has spoken with Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union, Work said.

Quantum Breakthrough

Has Google achieved  quantum supremacy?

Google said on Wednesday that it had achieved a long-sought breakthrough called “quantum supremacy,” which could allow new kinds of computers to do calculations at speeds that are inconceivable with today’s technology.

The Silicon Valley giant’s research lab in Santa Barbara, Calif., reached a milestone that scientists had been working toward since the 1980s: Its quantum computer performed a task that isn’t possible with traditional computers, according to a paper published in the science journal Nature.

A quantum machine could one day drive big advances in areas like artificial intelligence and make even the most powerful supercomputers look like toys. The Google device did in 3 minutes 20 seconds a mathematical calculation that supercomputers could not complete in under 10,000 years, the company said in its paper.

Scientists likened Google’s announcement to the Wright brothers’ first plane flight in 1903 — proof that something is really possible even though it may be years before it can fulfill its potential.

SoftBank unveils a second AI-focused Vision Fund

$108bn in funding

Japans’ SoftBank Group Corp. has unveiled a second technology megafund that it hopes to invest in startups around the world. The Vision Fund II will focus on AI-based technology and promises around $108bn in capital from more than a dozen investors. SoftBank said that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Standard Chartered Bank and Foxconn have agreed to invest in the fund.

SoftBank said it would invest around $38bn in the fund, more than $28bn it invested in the first fund. The Japanese conglomerate launched its original Vision Fund in 2016, investing in firms such as Uber and WeWork. At the end of March, the company pointed out how it had invest $64bn in 71 companies, including two it had exited.

SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said he hopes to create a new fund every two to three years.

Amazon’s warehouse-worker tracking system can automatically fire people without a human supervisor’s involvement

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year 

Amazon’s demanding culture of worker productivity has been revealed in multiple investigations. But a new report indicates that the company doesn’t just track worker productivity at its warehouses — it also has a system that can automatically fire them.

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year (August 2017 through September 2018), The Verge’s Colin Lecher reported. The Verge cited a letter by an Amazon attorney as part of a case with the National Labor Relations Board.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider, “Approximately 300 employees turned over in Baltimore related to productivity in this timeframe. In general, the number of employee terminations have decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America.”

Amazon’s system tracks a metric called “time off task,” meaning how much time workers pause or take breaks, The Verge reported. It has been previously reported that some workers feel so pressured that they don’t take bathroom breaks.

Tesla will roll out 1 million robot-taxis next year

Tesla to compete with Uber

On Monday, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company’s plans to compete with incumbents like Uber with the company’s strategy for an autonomous ride-hailing fleet. Robo-taxis are essentially any Tesla vehicle with autonomous-driving functionality. To turn a Tesla into a robo-taxi, a car’s owner simply adds it to the Tesla Network platform by way of the company’s app.
Musk said that by “next year for sure, we will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road.” Riders will be able to summon a robo-taxi via the same Tesla app – similarly to how they call for an Uber or Lyft today. The key difference, of course, is that there won’t be a driver in the car.