Science & Technology

Trump's artificial intelligence order lacks funding but not a target - China

February 18, 2019

The executive order is the first attempt by the Trump administration to lay out its views about artificial intelligence. It says AI “promises to drive growth” and that the US must “maintain leadership” in the field, and it puts agencies on notice that the White House expects them to pay attention to the subject. It also encourages the availability of big data sets that could be used to train AI. systems.

Return to sender: High court to hear undeliverable mail case

February 18, 2019

Mitch Hungerpiller thought he had a first-class solution for mail that gets returned as undeliverable, a common problem for businesses that send lots of letters. But the process he helped develop and built his small Alabama technology company around has resulted in a more than decadelong fight with the U.S. Postal Service, which says his solution shouldn't have been patentable.

New York Times Explains Why Virginia's Deal with Amazon Was Better than New York

February 18, 2019

“State and local officials continue to hand out goodies even though evidence suggests that such subsidies have little effect on jobs,” Liu declared. “Sure, we all want good corporate citizens, but companies will always put self-interest and shareholders before the needs of communities, no matter how much they receive in incentives.”

AI can diagnose childhood illnesses better than some doctors

February 17, 2019

Diagnosing an illness requires taking in a lot of information and connecting the dots. Artificial intelligence may be well-suited to such a task and in recent tests one system could diagnose children’s illnesses better than some doctors.

Google reportedly scored tax breaks using secret shell companies

February 17, 2019

Google used shell companies and subsidiaries to hide its involvement in expansion plans that yielded millions of dollars in tax breaks, according to a report by The Washington Post on Friday, casting light on how tech companies cut deals with local governments. When the search giant planned to build a data center in Midlothian, Texas, Google used a subsidiary called Sharka LLC, The Post reported. Other subsidiaries Google set up for development projects include Jet Stream LLC and Questa LLC.

Trump science adviser calls for more collaboration between industry and government

February 17, 2019

Kelvin Droegemeier, newly minted science adviser to US President Donald Trump, wants industry to take a larger role in funding research, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a “second golden era” of US science. Collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as reducing regulatory burdens, would be key to maintaining America as a dominant global force in science, the meteorologist said on 15 February, in his first public address since taking office last month.

US science agencies set for budget boost in deal to avert government shutdown

February 15, 2019

With less than two days to go before the US government runs out of money, lawmakers in Congress are scrambling to pass a budget deal that would give small increases to NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other science agencies. The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the legislation on 14 February -- clearing the way for President Donald Trump to sign it before the 15 February deadline to avert a government shutdown.

How Google and Facebook Spawned Surveillance Capitalism

February 15, 2019

“Surveillance capitalism has taken human experience, specifically private human experience, and unilaterally claimed it as something to be bought and sold in the marketplace,” Dr. Zuboff told me during a visit to The Times’s office. “This new kind of marketplace trades in behavioral futures. It’s like a form of derivative. But it’s about us.”

Top US Navy admiral slams $500mn railgun project as a 'case study' in failed innovation

February 14, 2019

“I would say that railgun is kind of the case study that would say ‘This is how innovation maybe shouldn‘t happen,‘” the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson,  the Atlantic Council. “It‘s been around, I think, for about 15 years, maybe 20. So ‘rapid’ doesn‘t come to mind when you’re talking about timeframes like that.”

Trump's executive order on AI, explained

February 14, 2019

The “American AI Initiative” comes at a time when the US is competing fiercely with China and other countries to better develop AI technology -- which has wide-reaching applications, from the military to the health sector. The Chinese government released its own sweeping AI plan nearly two years ago and has committed tens of billions of dollars in spending toward developing it. The US, so far, has put out some research reports on the state of AI but has lacked any federal-level national policy agenda.

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