For 12.2 Million Americans, signing up for health insurance in 2017 was a leap of faith: that Obamacare would make it through the year, that the health exchanges wouldn’t collapse, that premiums wouldn’t put their families on the street. For the 54,000 New Yorkers who used those exchanges to join Oscar—a millennial-beckoning insurance startup cofounded by Jared Kushner’s younger brother, Joshua—the 2017 enrollment period wasn’t just uncertain. It was, well, kind of bleak.
When I was young, there was no such thing as the World Wide Web or video streaming. If you wanted to watch something, you had to wait until it appeared on television. Sometimes you might think, “Hey, I think I’ll watch a show,” and flip the channels until you found something interesting. This is how I discovered The Mechanical Universe … And Beyond.
When the cybersecurity industry warns of digital threats to the “internet of things,” the targets that come to mind are ill-conceived, insecure consumer products like hackable lightbulbs and refrigerators. But one group of researchers has shown how hackers can perform far more serious physical sabotage: tweaking an industrial robotic arm to cost millions of dollars worth of product defects, and possibly to damage the machinery itself or its human operator.
Two years ago, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek pulled off a demonstration that shook the auto industry, remotely hacking a Jeep Cherokee via its internet connection to paralyze it on a highway. Since then, the two security researchers have been quietly working for Uber, helping the startup secure its experimental self-driving cars against exactly the sort of attack they proved was possible on a traditional one.
For Silicon Valley, the headline was sweet nectar: Google DeepMind, the world’s hottest artificial intelligence lab, embraces the blockchain, the endlessly fascinating idea at the heart of the bitcoin digital currency.
But the buzzwords bely the reality. The lab’s re-imagining of the blockchain has very little to do with AI—or the blockchain, for that matter.
I recently returned from a vacation to find that Google’s algorithms had created a customized slide show of my trip. I hadn’t asked for one. But the company’s software robots apparently noticed I’d traveled somewhere and taken a flurry of photos, which likely indicated I’d been vacationing. Now, I actually enjoy some of Google’s simpler customization tools, like autocomplete. But this unbidden slide-show curation seemed too humanlike. The machine had anticipated desires I didn’t have yet. I actually yelped when I saw it.
The ongoing battle between researchers and vendors over the public disclosure of security vulnerabilities in vendor products took a bizarre turn last week in a new case involving two security firms, FireEye and ERNW. In a blog post published September 10, ERNW revealed that FireEye had obtained a court injunction to prevent its researchers from publicly disclosing certain information around three vulnerabilities they discovered in a security product made by FireEye.
The Hyperloop sounds like science fiction, Elon Musk’s pipe dream: leapfrog high speed rail and go right to packing us into capsules that fling us across the country in hours using what are, essentially, pneumatic tubes. It sounds crazy, when you think about it.
It’s starting to look a little less crazy.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced today that it has signed agreements to work with Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum and global engineering design firm Aecom. The two companies will lend their expertise in exchange for stock options in the company, joining the army of engineers from the likes of Boeing and SpaceX already lending their time to the effort.
If you’re considering solar power but aren’t quite sure it’s worth the expense, Google wants to point you in the right direction. Tapping its trove of satellite imagery and the latest in artificial intelligence, the company is offering a new online service that will instantly estimate how much you’ll save with a roof full of solar panels.
On February 10th, 1982, in a room full of designers and engineers drinking champagne and eating cake, Steve Jobs called out the names of Apple’s Macintosh team. And one by one, beginning with motherboard engineer Burrell Smith, they signed their names to a large sheet of paper.
When Luis Almendarez was a junior in high school, he wasn’t interested in technology—or much of anything else he encountered in the classroom. The way he remembers it, he went to class not because he was excited by what he might learn, but because it was expected of him. He was shy, he says, and unwilling to speak up. He had come to California from Honduras as an undocumented immigrant. Under the DREAM Act, he earned the right to keep studying here in the U.S., and somewhere along the way, he developed vague notions of becoming a civil engineer.
Forty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, NASA open sourced the software code that ran the guidance systems on the lunar module.
By that time, the code was little more than a novelty. But in recent years, the space agency has built all sorts of other software that is still on the cutting edge. And as it turns out, like the Apollo 11 code, much of this NASA software is available for public use, meaning anyone can download it and run it and adapt it for free. You can even use it in commercial products.