Technology

Wed
28
Mar
John Lister's picture

Google Speech Synthesis Gets More Realistic

Google says it's made the most realistic computer speech simulation ever. It uses artificial intelligence to reproduce the way humans put words together. The idea of Google's "Cloud Text-to-Speech" is to go beyond the traditional approach when ... dealing with speech synthesis. That effectively boils down to recording a batch of sound files of different syllables, then patching them together to form words. That works well for some languages such as Japanese, where speech patterns are very regular, but not so well for language such as English that have more complexity with pronunciation. Full ... (view more)

Tue
20
Mar
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Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Pedestrian Crossing Street

A pedestrian has died after being hit by a self-driving vehicle in Tempa, Arizona. It's the first time an autonomous car has collided with a person on foot, resulting in a fatality. The car was part of a test program offered by taxi-alternative ... company Uber. It's now suspended its testing which was taking place on public streets in several states. The Washington Post says the crash took place at a busy intersection of public streets. Police said the vehicle was driving northbound and hit 49-year-old pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, who was crossing the street. They added that she was not within ... (view more)

Thu
01
Mar
John Lister's picture

Amazon Still Wants to Open Your Front Door

Amazon has bought a company that makes video doorbells. The purchase of "Ring" is likely to boost a service where Amazon couriers are able to get into customer homes to drop off parcels safely. The Amazon Key service was developed as a way to get ... round the twin problems of it being inconvenient to have to wait in for deliveries, but insecure to have couriers leave parcels on doorsteps. It works with 'smart' electronic door locks where householders can unlock their door with their smartphone, either by tapping the screen or simply having their phone in their pocket as they approach ... (view more)

Tue
06
Feb
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Former Execs to Battle 'Social Media Addiction'

Former Facebook and Google employees are campaigning to warn users of the dangers of tech addiction. The 'Center for Humane Technology' will work on lobbying officials and educating children and parents. Though the organization has been running ... since 2014, it's not achieved much publicity so far. That could change with a high-profile relaunch after receiving several forms of funding including cash from a "media watchdog" non-profit, plus the equivalent of $50 million in free advertising space from companies such as Comcast and DirecTV. Google 'Ethicist' In Charge The group is largely made up ... (view more)

Thu
25
Jan
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New Cars Could Measure Tired and Stressed Drivers

Ford is working on a car that can sense the driver's mood. For now it's a marketing tool, but the company says it could make new safety features possible. The company is working with tech firm Sensum on what is something of a gimmick to promote ... sports cars, but could theoretically be used to tell when a driver is stressed or distracted. In the test versions at least, the driver needs to wear fitness trackers (similar to the watches or wristbands people use to track their daily steps and heart rate) and skin sensors, which can measure changes in breathing rate and even perspiration from stress ... (view more)

Wed
24
Jan
John Lister's picture

Facebook Creates New Unit of Time - And No, it's Not a Gimmick

Facebook has invented a new unit of time called "the flick." Perhaps surprisingly it actually serves a purpose rather than being a mere gimmick. A "flick" is a word that's a shortened version of a "frame tick". It refers to the length of time of 1 ... second divided by 705,600,000; in decimal format it would look like this: 1.417233560090703e-9. All mathematics aside, the "flick" could help make online videos smoother as well as improve virtual reality and similar technologies. The flick is now the next longest unit of time after the nanosecond, which isn't ... (view more)

Thu
11
Jan
John Lister's picture

Intel and IBM Demo Quantum Computer at CES 2018

Intel and IBM are battling to show off some of the most advanced 'quantum computers' ever made. It's a big step towards incredibly powerful computers that could even replicate the workings of a human brain. A quantum computer takes advantage of one ... of the most curious aspects of physics: that tiny particles can exist in two different states at the same time. This essentially allows a complete rewrite of the mathematics behind computing. Ordinary computers work by turning data into binary code: a string of 0s and 1s. In traditional computers, that involves a series of electronic 'gates' that ... (view more)

Wed
10
Jan
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Samsung Unveils 'The Wall' - a Massive 146" MLED TV

Samsung has unveiled a massive 146" television, nicknamed " The Wall " (pic). While the size is clearly too large for most homes, it uses a new approach that could mean more choices about television set size in future. Most TV sets these days use ... liquid-crystal displays (LCD). In simple terms, these TV's shine light through tiny crystals that - depending on their electric charge - either pass through and color the light, or simply show a black background that's behind the screen. Samsung's new screen is currently a prototype only. It instead uses what calls a MicroLED ... (view more)

Thu
21
Dec
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Uber Ruling Could Affect Other Tech Companies

A European court has ruled that Uber is a transport company rather than a tech business. It may not make an immediate difference to its operations, but could be a big step in the way online companies are regulated. Uber, which describes itself as a ... ride-hailing firm, lets users hire a cab through a smartphone app, then pairs them with self-employed drivers in the area. The ruling by the European Court of Justice stemmed from attempts by city officials in Barcelona, Spain to hold Uber to the same local regulations as traditional taxi services. The legal principle determined by the case now ... (view more)

Wed
13
Dec
John Lister's picture

Report: AI Trading May Hasten a Stock Market Crash

Artificial intelligence designed to make investing more reliable could backfire in the next stock market crash, according to a global business site. The article for website "Quartz" says AI systems might not react well if market conditions suddenly ... change. The problem is with the increasingly sophisticated way that computer programs can make investment decisions on behalf of human investments. Computers have been used for such processes for many years - but until recently, were simply set to follow basic preprogrammed rules. For example: the program might place a buy order if a ... (view more)

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