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Synthetic Sensors Is a Sensor That Could Soon Make Homes Scary-Smart (Liz Stinson)

If you want to set up a connected home, you’ve got two options. You can buy a bunch of smart gadgets that may or may not communicate with other smart gadgets. Or you can retrofit all of your appliances with sensor tags, creating a slapdash network. The first is expensive. The second is a hassle. Before long, though, you might have a third choice: One simple device that plugs into an electrical outlet and connects everything in the room. That’s the idea behind Synthetic Sensors, a Carnegie Mellon University project that promises to make creating a smart, context-aware home a snap. The tiny device, unveiled this week at the big ACM CHI computer interaction conference, can capture all of the the environmental data needed to transform a wide variety of ordinary household objects into smart devices…

Source: Synthetic Sensors Is a Sensor That Could Soon Make Homes Scary-Smart | WIRED

The U.S., Canada and Mexico are buying more job-killing robots than ever before (April Glaser, Rani Molla)

Robots are getting cheaper and smaller and, as a result, sales have grown significantly over the past year, particularly in North America, as more companies move manufacturing operations closer to U.S. markets. North American manufacturing companies bought a total of 9,773 industrial robots, valued at approximately $516 million, in the first quarter of 2017. That means 32 percent more robots were bought this year than at the same time in 2016 — it’s the strongest first quarter on record for robots ordered by North American companies, according to the Robotic Industries Association…

via The U.S., Canada and Mexico are buying more job-killing robots than ever before – Recode

Good read, and a lot of truth behind it: Regulating the internet giants – The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data (The Economist)

Source: Regulating the internet giants: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data | The Economist

Watch out for these People and their Ideas: NEXT LIST 2017 – 20 Tech Visionaries who are creating the Future (various WIRED Staff)

Microsoft will build computers even more sleek and beautiful than Apple’s. Robots will 3-D-print cool shoes that are personalized just for you. (And you’ll get them in just a few short days.) Neural networks will take over medical diagnostics, and Snapchat will try to take over the entire world. The women and men in these pages are the technical, creative, idealistic visionaries who are bringing the future to your doorstep. You might not recognize their names—they’re too busy working to court the spotlight—but you’ll soon hear about them a lot. They represent the best of what’s next…

via WIRED Next List 2017: 20 Tech Visionaries Who Are Creating the Future of Business | WIRED

Really insightful Long-Read: Alien Knowledge – When Machines justify Knowledge (David Weinberger)

The new availability of huge amounts of data, along with the statistical tools to crunch these numbers, offers a whole new way of understanding the world. Correlation supersedes causation, and science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all.

So wrote Wired’s Chris Anderson in 2008. It kicked up a little storm at the time, as Anderson, the magazine’s editor, undoubtedly intended. For example, an article in a journal of molecular biology asked, “…if we stop looking for models and hypotheses, are we still really doing science?” The answer clearly was supposed to be: “No.”

But today — not even a decade since Anderson’s article — the controversy sounds quaint. Advances in computer software, enabled by our newly capacious, networked hardware, are enabling computers not only to start without models — rule sets that express how the elements of a system affect one another — but to generate their own, albeit ones that may not look much like what humans would create. It’s even becoming a standard method, as any self-respecting tech company has now adopted a “machine-learning first” ethic…

via Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand

This Tech would be a super powerful VR Enabler: How Adobe Wants to Turn Flat 360-Degree Videos Into True Virtual Reality (Janko Roettgers)

Hardly a day has gone by this month without the announcement of a new virtual reality (VR) camera system. Facebook, Google and GoPro all aim to make VR more immersive with new cameras, some of which won’t be commercially released for the foreseeable future. However, researchers at Adobe believe that you may not need new camera hardware at all for a big leap in immersion.

Adobe’s head of research Gavin Miller is going to present new cutting-edge technology at NAB in Las Vegas this Tuesday that could one day be used to turn flat, monoscopic 360-degree videos shot with consumer-grade spherical cameras into fully immersive VR video, complete with the ability to lean into the video — something that’s being called six degrees of freedom (6DoF) among industry insiders…

via Adobe Is Using Algorithms to Add 6DoF to Monoscopic VR Videos | Variety

A very good long-read on an extremely important Topic for our Digital Future: A human-centric trust model for the Internet of Things (David Maher)

For IoT security to be successful, there needs to be an effective way to reason about how humanity can trust the security, safety, and privacy of this massive transformation of the world. Most importantly, “ordinary people,” whether they are consumers or workers, must be able to safely, reliably, and intuitively interact with vast, complex, interconnected systems of IoT devices. It can be overwhelming to think about all the ways individuals and society can be damaged by the haphazard engineering of systems that merge the physical and digital worlds. Technologists have done a terrible job with security technology so far, yet now we are about to impose those failures onto the physical world on a scale that only ubiquitous, pervasive, even invasive computing and connectivity can accomplish. Continuing the status quo is unsustainable…

via A human-centric trust model for the Internet of Things – O’Reilly Media

Silicon Valley’s elite have a new buzzword technology to dangle over our heads (Dave Gershgorn) 

One day we won’t need technology, because we’ll be the technology. At least that’s the promise of tech leaders like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Regina Dugan, who have all expressed interest (and Musk even started a company) around the idea of merging our brains with computers. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg said this will undoubtedly be the future, and Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8 research lab spoke at length about the company’s pursuits… 

https://qz.com/963587/silicon-valleys-elite-have-a-new-buzzword-technology-to-dangle-over-our-heads/

The Coming Electrification of Everything (Andrew Beebe)

At Obvious Ventures, we believe stored electricity, increasingly derived from renewable sources, will entirely replace fossil fuels as the preferred method to power everything in our lives. From cars to scooters to boats to locomotives to industrial equipment, we are in the midst of a transition that will electrify everything previously driven by combustion.

There are two simple reasons we’ll make this change sooner than most people think. First, electrically powered things just work better. And people want things that work better. The second reason is really just a piece of the first…

via The Coming Electrification of Everything – World Positive

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