Technology

More efficient machine learning could upend the AI paradigm

In January, Google launched a new service called Cloud AutoML, which can automate some tricky aspects of designing machine-learning software. While working on this project, the company’s researchers sometimes needed to run as many as 800 graphics chips in unison to train their powerful algorithms. Unlike humans, who can recognize coffee cups from seeing one or two examples, AI networks ...

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We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

Studies have found that ships have a net cooling effect on the planet, despite belching out nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s almost entirely because they also emit sulfur, which can scatter sunlight in the atmosphere and form or thicken clouds that reflect it away. In effect, the shipping industry has been carrying out an unintentional ...

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A new map of the “darknet” suggests your local drug pusher now works online

In October 2013, the FBI shut down the Silk Road, a website on the so-called darknet that had become notorious for selling illegal drugs and other illegal items and services. Indeed, it had become known as an “eBay for drugs.” The FBI also arrested its founder, Ross Ulbricht, who was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. ...

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Slack hopes its AI will keep you from hating Slack

If you work at one of the 50,000 companies that pay to use Slack for workplace collaboration, you probably spend hours on it, swapping information, bantering, and sharing files with your colleagues. It’s a casual, flexible way to interact—you tap out brief messages in group chat rooms (called channels) instead of sending e-mail, and it feels more like a smartphone ...

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Job of the future: Wind farmer

Most people who work over 30 stories up do so in the safe confines of a skyscraper. Meredith Halfpenny, however, can feel the breeze in her hair from the top of a wind turbine. By her own estimation, Halfpenny has helped build around 400 turbines and made more than 1,200 trips up and down their giant towers. And she finds ...

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Walmart’s new robots are loved by staff—and ignored by customers

  Walmart may be grabbing headlines for its embrace of cutting-edge technologies, but at the heart of those changes are companies like Bossa Nova. The San Francisco-based robotics firm created the robots now roaming the aisles in 50 Walmart locations around the US. Bossa Nova’s robots are able to perform tasks such as identifying when items are out of stock, locating ...

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‘Hi I’m Matt Hancock’ – culture secretary launches own app

Image copyright Matt Hancock Image caption Mr Hancock greets users with a cheery video message New culture secretary Matt Hancock has become the first MP to launch his own smartphone app. The app features picture galleries and videos of the West Suffolk MP and updates on his activities. It also allows users to sign up as friends and chat with ...

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