Big Tech &
Google brings its Duplex AI restaurant booking assistant to 43 states (1 minute read)
Google’s Duplex AI wowed the audience at least year’s I/O and is set to be launched in 43 states this week. The Duplex AI will allow Pixel 3 owners to make bookings at restaurants that accept reservations but don’t have an online booking system using Google Assistant. Duplex AI will roll out on Android and iOS in the next few weeks as Google continues to develop the program through user feedback. A video is available demonstrating the Duplex AI being used, showing the experience for both the user and the restaurant.
Samsung Working on Two More Foldable Smartphones (2 minute read)
Samsung has only just announced their Galaxy Fold phone, but they’re already working on concepts and designs based on the feedback that they’re receiving from their first foldable device. Two design ideas have been leaked, one that is a clamshell-like device and another that folds outwards, similar to Huawei’s Mate X. The new devices will be unveiled later this year or early next year and may have an extra screen on the outside, depending on the reception of a similar display on the Galaxy Fold. While Samsung works on these devices, they are still figuring out ways to improve on the current Galaxy Fold phone, as the device has an issue where a crease will appear on the panel after it has been folded 10,000 times.
Crypto Mystery: Quadriga's Wallets Are Empty, Putting Fate Of $137 Million In Doubt (5 minute read)
Quadriga's CEO, Gerald Cotten, died in late December without leaving the passwords to the wallets that held millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies for the exchange. After an investigation, it was found that the six wallets that held Quadriga's funds were emptied in April 2018, many months before Cotten’s death. Additionally, more than a dozen fake accounts were discovered which were created internally and used to trade on the cryptocurrency exchange. These accounts showed significant activity, with high trade volumes and withdrawals to addresses that were not associated with Quadringa. A full copy of the report from Ernst and Young’s investigation into Quadringa is available.
Triton is the world’s most murderous malware, and it’s spreading (8 minute read)
Triton was discovered in a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in 2017, after a couple of incidents where the safety systems in the plant were triggered and caused shutdowns. The malware targets the safety systems of the plant, granting attackers remote control over the systems. Fortunately, no damage was done, but such an attack could have caused the release of toxic gases or created explosions, putting people’s lives at risk. This is the first time that a cyber attack was deliberately designed to endanger human beings, and there is evidence that the hacker group that built the malware is looking for new targets.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Calculator (GitHub Repo)
The Windows Calculator app ships pre-installed with Windows. It is written in C++ and provides standard, scientific, and programmer calculator functionality. Calculator is also able to do measurement and currency conversion. This repository allows users to contribute to the continual development of the calculator, as well as report any issues with the app.
TensorFlow Privacy (GitHub Repo)
Tensorflow Privacy implements Tensorflow optimizers for training machine learning models with differential privacy. The repository contains source code, tutorials, and analysis tools for computing under these privacy constraints. Contribution to the repository is encouraged.
France targets Google, Amazon and Facebook with 3% digital tax (2 minute read)
A new tax, introduced into the French government on Wednesday, will raise an estimated 500 million euros per year. The 3% tax will apply to around 30 major companies, mainly from the US. Large tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook benefit from lower tax rates in European countries. Companies that generate over 750 million euros worldwide and 25 million euros within France will be eligible for the tax.
Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will shift to emphasize encrypted ephemeral messages (3 minute read)
Mark Zuckerberg today released a 3200-word statement saying that encryption will be one of the keys to Facebook’s future. He announced plans to shift the company’s messaging platforms to be more like WhatsApp, with its end-to-end chat encryption. These privacy tools also allow for the development of payment and commerce systems, which is a primary focus for Facebook. Zuckerberg states that it is willing to be banned from countries that do not allow for encrypted communications and Facebook will move customer data storage away from countries that have weak records of human rights, like privacy or freedom of expression.