Month: January 2021

This new book explores the difficulty of aligning AI with our values

For decades, we’ve been trying to develop artificial intelligence in our own image. And at every step of the way, we’ve managed to create machines that can perform marvelous feats and at the same time make surprisingly dumb mistakes.

After six decades of research and development, aligning AI systems with our goals, intents, and values continues to remain an elusive objective. Every major field of AI seems to solve part of the problem of replicating human intelligence while leaving out holes in critical areas. And these holes become problematic when we apply current AI technology to areas where we expect

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Netflix is testing a sleep timer for your late night binges

Have you ever binged on a TV show so much that you fell asleep mid-episode? The last you want is for the show to keep on playing indefinitely, potentially exposing you to spoilers once you wake up and resume the show later (yes, this has happened to me before, and it sucked).

Fret no more: Netflix is testing a timer feature on Android that will let you pause a show after a certain time has elapsed. As reported by the Verge —Netflix confirmed the feature to the publication — the timer function allows you to choose to stop playback after

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Patrick J. McGovern Foundation invests in AI for public good

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation will double its investments in data science and AI grants in 2021 to $40 million. The foundation is also introducing initiatives to promote the responsible and inclusive use of data and AI.

“We sit at the frontier of the digital age with a set of choices about the future of these powerful tools,” said foundation president Vilas Dhar. “Will it be a future where control remains in the hands of a few to benefit the elite? Or a future where we all participate in the co-creation of AI and data that solves our greatest global

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The new normal needs new cloud security

A new cloud security study from Netwrix states that 54 percent of enterprises that use cloud for data storage reported security incidents in 2020. I assume these were all minor ones, seeing that few reached the news cycle, as major problems are prone to do. 

My guess is that most enterprises only disclose about 10 percent of the cloud security problems they encounter. Perhaps it’s comparable to the “alternative truths” many people tell their doctors about how many drinks, sweets, carbs, fats, drugs, or cigarettes they consume. It’s not like we want to brag about our shortcomings. Often it’s only

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Xiaomi’s Air Charge tech looks magical — but I have a million questions

I wouldn’t be surprised if right now, in an office in China, a bunch of Xiaomi employees are jumping up and down and yelling, “Suck it Apple!” The company just revealed that it has invented a device that wirelessly charges your devices over the air.

What Xiaomi has claimed to achieve is long-distance wireless charging. The company claimed it could charge several devices at once at up to 5 watts (which isn’t much). It hasn’t specified the Mi Air Charger’s range, but it said that it can work across “several meters.”

Xiaomi Air charging

The Chinese tech giant’s technical explanation

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Welcome to the client-serverless revolution

Today’s users expect the entire internet at their fingertips no matter where they are or what device they’re using. But this capability has been difficult for application developers to deliver until only recently. 

During the past several years, smartphones, browsers, and embedded devices have advanced so much that they function as globally distributed, mobile rich clients. They can deliver remote user experiences comparable to what users would experience if they were using a local or high-speed dedicated connection.

This milestone is partly due to the rise of serverless architecture, microservices, and cloud-native services and the way they enable developers to

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