Posts belonging to Category artificial intelligence

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.

Microsoft president sounds alarm on ‘ongoing’ SolarWinds hack

The attack have been carried out by Russian nation-state hackers

Microsoft president Brad Smith warned that the wide-ranging hack of the SolarWinds’ Orion IT software is “ongoing,” and that investigations reveal “an attack that is remarkable for its scope, sophistication and impact.” The breach targeted several US government agencies and is believed to have been carried out by Russian nation-state hackers.

Smith characterized the hack as “a moment of reckoning” and laid out in no uncertain terms just how large and how dangerous Microsoft believes the hack to be. It “represents an act of recklessness that created a serious technological vulnerability for the United States and the world,” Smith argues.

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.

Tesla Will Have Fully Self-Driving Cars This Year

 Level five is completely autonomous is any situation: no human driver is required

Tesla will have essentially fully autonomous self-driving vehicles this year, CEO Elon Musk said in a video recorded for a Chinese AI conference. And it can be achieved with the existing technology inside Teslas shipping today.

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” he said. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level five autonomy.”

There are many small problems, Musk acknowledged, and there’s the challenge of not just solving them but putting the whole system together. And even when almost complete, there could be challenges.

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.

China brings in mandatory facial recognition for mobile phone users

Telecoms companies required to deploy “artificial intelligence” to check the identities of people

All mobile phone users in China registering new SIM cards must submit to facial recognition scans, according to a new rule that went into effect across the country on Sunday.

The guidelines, first issued in September, require telecoms companies to deploy “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” to check the identities of people registering SIM cards. All physical stores in the country have had until 1 December to begin implementing the new standards.

The measure, described by the ministry of industry and information as a way to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace”, makes Chinese mobile phone and internet users easier to track.

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.

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.

Netflix Consumes 15% of the World’s Internet Bandwidth

Superior stream compression technology

When it comes to devouring bandwidth online, no company can hold a candle to Netflix The streaming video giant consumes 15% of the total downstream volume of traffic globally, according to the latest Global Internet Phenomena Report from Sandvine. In the United States, that figure jumps to 19.1% of total traffic. Demand for Stranger Things and other Netflix shows spikes even higher at night. “At peak hour on fixed networks, this number can spike as high as 40% on some operator networks in the region,” the study says.

Sandvine does credit Netflix for its superior stream compression technology, noting “Netflix could easily be 3x their current volume and at 40% of network traffic all the time”. Other traffic hogs on a global scale included HTTP media streams, such as embedded videos on websites, which took up 13.1% of bandwidth; YouTube, which commands 11.4% of the world’s bandwidth; and web browsing at 7.8% of downstream traffic.

Google launches new $999 Glass

Second-generation Google Glass for Enterprise

Google Glass has gotten another facelift. On Monday, the search giant revealed the second-generation of its heads-up display glasses that feature a new design, an improved camera and processor, as well as a slew of other updates.

The $999 device isn’t available for consumers, like the ill-fated original Glass was, but is targeted to workers in factories and other facilities. Google said Glass has been used on the job by employees to view checklists or instructions and send inspection videos or photos.

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.