Big Tech &
Everything Google Announced at I/O 2019 That Matters (10 minute read)
Google announced a series of updates to its product range at its I/O conference. All Google Home devices have now been rebranded as Nest devices. Alarms in Google Nest Hub (previously Google Home) can now be stopped just by saying the word ‘stop’. Maps now has an incognito mode, and Pixel users will start seeing augmented reality walking directions in the app. Google will now let users opt to automatically remove data at certain intervals. New Pixel phones were announced at $399 for the Pixel 3a and $479 for the Pixel 3a XL, with both phones boasting a 30 hour long battery life. Google Assistant has received a massive speed boost and features a new driving mode that provides less distraction for drivers. Android Q will have a live caption capability that works on videos offline and it will also feature a dark mode. Other improvements to AR features and Duplex were also announced.
Waymo and Lyft partner to scale self-driving robotaxi service in Phoenix (2 minute read)
Waymo will be bringing on 10 vehicles onto the Lyft platform over the next few months in Phoenix as part of a new partnership agreement. Waymo’s self-driving vehicles have been operating in Phoenix since December under the Waymo One app. Lyft users will be able to select between normal ride-sharing vehicles and Waymo self-driving vehicles once the cars are in service. In Las Vegas, Lyft has partnered with self-driving vehicle supplier Aptiv, and have provided more than 40,000 paid autonomous rides.
Watch crazy video of Tesla Model 3 autonomously picking up owner in parking lot (3 minute read)
Tesla’s new Enhanced Summon mode has been rolled out to beta testers, who are reporting that the feature is a bit ‘hit or miss’ mostly due to the system being too cautious. The feature allows vehicle owners to get their cars to drive to their position or to a selected position as long as the owner is within 150m of their vehicle. Tesla vehicles already have a Summon feature, but this only allows owners to move their cars backward or forwards in their parking spaces. A video showing Enhanced Summon being used is available.
Who to Sue When a Robot Loses Your Fortune (7 minute read)
A Hong Kong tycoon is suing the salesman that convinced him to use a supercomputer to handle his trading, a decision which cost him more than $20 million. It is the first known instance of people going to court over investment losses triggered by trading algorithms. While algorithms may be able to make decisions and trade faster than humans, they might not always make the right decisions, or the algorithm might not be suitable for the task. In this case, the tycoon claims that the advertised stop-loss abilities of the trading bot were inappropriate for volatile trading, and this was the cause of the losses. The case opens up the question as to whether humans are to blame when their robots make the wrong calculations, or malfunction in other ways.
Programming, Design & Data Science
CSS-Only Chat (GitHub Repo)
SQLFlow (GitHub Repo)
SQLFlow connects SQL and Tensorflow together so that SQL can be used for machine learning. SQL is a popular data storage solution, so implementing machine learning capabilities to work with it allows more engineers to have access to AI technology. Users are encouraged to provide feedback to contribute to the project.
San Francisco bans cashless stores (1 minute read)
San Francisco has become the third city or state to ban cashless stores, citing that cashless stores unfairly discriminate against economically disadvantaged people. The ban exempts pop-up stores, rideshare companies, online stores, and food trucks, as they may not have the capabilities to accept cash as payment. While the city acknowledges the future will probably be cashless, many citizens are not yet ready for the transition. Many citizens still do not have bank accounts, let alone the cards that will allow them to live in a cashless society.