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Bolt won’t beat Uber by copying it – it needs to forge its own path May 23, 2019

Bolt, previously known as Taxify, is a ride-sharing app and one of Estonia‘s four unicorns (AKA startups valued at over $1 billion). On a visit to Talinn, TNW met with Martin Villig, the company’s co-founder, to hear about Bolt’s plans to become the de facto transport app in the world. The problem? Its plans for […]

Bolt won’t beat Uber by copying it – it needs to forge its own path


Bolt, previously known as Taxify, is a ride-sharing app and one of Estonia‘s four unicorns (AKA startups valued at over $1 billion). On a visit to Talinn, TNW met with Martin Villig, the company’s co-founder, to hear about Bolt’s plans to become the de facto transport app in the world. The problem? Its plans for domination seem to revolve around copying Uber. But first, some background. Bolt is a genuinely interesting and successful company. When the business was founded in 2013, the taxi market in many Eastern European countries was, well, deeply untrustworthy. Bolt has improved this massively; you can…

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Bolt won’t beat Uber by copying it – it needs to forge its own path
Source: The Next Web

This female-led company is using blockchain to promote sustainability


At TNW Conference, we explored the future of tech, including blockchain and cryptocurrency. While the latter tends to have its literal ups and downs, blockchain technology seems quite useful when incorporated appropriately. One use case is to track and monitor supply chains. Jessi Baker, founder and CEO of Provenance, took the stage at TNW2019 to discuss how her company is making the supply chain more transparent, in an attempt to improve sustainability. Check out the full panel discussion:   I had the chance to ask Baker about how she got involved in blockchain, how Provenance works, and where she sees the technology going in the…

This story continues at The Next Web

This female-led company is using blockchain to promote sustainability
Source: The Next Web

GitHub launches Sponsors, a tool that lets you pay your favorite open source contributors; developers can opt in to a "Sponsor me" button on their repositories (Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch)


Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:

GitHub launches Sponsors, a tool that lets you pay your favorite open source contributors; developers can opt in to a “Sponsor me” button on their repositories  —  GitHub today launched Sponsors, a new tool that lets you give financial support to open source developers.

GitHub launches Sponsors, a tool that lets you pay your favorite open source contributors; developers can opt in to a "Sponsor me" button on their repositories (Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch)
Source: Tech Meme

Samsung deepfake AI could fabricate a video clip of you from a single photo – CNET

Even the Mona Lisa can be faked. Samsung deepfake AI could fabricate a video clip of you from a single photo – CNET
Source: CNet

Jeff Bezos' space colony plans are straight out of 1970s science fiction – CNET

The Blue Origin billionaire wants to send us all into space, but turns out humans have been dreaming that for a long time. Jeff Bezos' space colony plans are straight out of 1970s science fiction – CNET
Source: CNet

Which Google Home speaker should you buy? – CNET

Google’s lineup of smart speakers and smart displays is growing. Which one is right for you? Which Google Home speaker should you buy? – CNET
Source: CNet

All of Amazon's Alexa smart speakers – CNET

Want to explore the current lineup of Amazon Echo devices? Start here. All of Amazon's Alexa smart speakers – CNET
Source: CNet

A look at Amazon's AI research centers in Germany, which employ hundreds of researchers, stirring concerns about an "internal brain drain" to foreign companies (Janosch Delcker/Politico)


Janosch Delcker / Politico:

A look at Amazon’s AI research centers in Germany, which employ hundreds of researchers, stirring concerns about an “internal brain drain” to foreign companies  —  US juggernaut is tapping German PhDs to crack some of the toughest problems in artificial intelligence — to the dismay of politicians.

A look at Amazon's AI research centers in Germany, which employ hundreds of researchers, stirring concerns about an "internal brain drain" to foreign companies (Janosch Delcker/Politico)
Source: Tech Meme

Source: Amazon is working on a wearable voice-activated health and wellness device that works with a mobile app and can recognize human emotions (Matt Day/Bloomberg)


Matt Day / Bloomberg:

Source: Amazon is working on a wearable voice-activated health and wellness device that works with a mobile app and can recognize human emotions  —  – Described as a health product, it would work with a mobile app  — Machines that can understand emotions are a sci-fi staple

Source: Amazon is working on a wearable voice-activated health and wellness device that works with a mobile app and can recognize human emotions (Matt Day/Bloomberg)
Source: Tech Meme

Rabobank is the second major bank to cancel its cryptocurrency wallet


After exploring the opportunity last year, major Dutch bank Rabobank has decided it’s not going to take its plans for a cryptocurrency wallet any further. In February last year, news surfaced that Rabobank was working on a cryptocurrency service – called Rabobit – which promised to bridge the gap between bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallets. But the bank has now confirmed it’s canned the project. However, “After careful consideration with our customers in mind we recently decided that now is not the time to develop the idea further and bring it to the next phase of innovation,” a Rabobank spokesperson…

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Rabobank is the second major bank to cancel its cryptocurrency wallet
Source: The Next Web

Alexa is coming to LG’s 2019 TVs staring this month

Later this month, LG’s 2019 range of TVs in North America will be updated to support Alexa voice commands. Europe and Asia will have to wait a little bit longer.

The addition of Amazon’s voice assistant feature was originally announced when the TVs were revealed back in January, and works via the Alexa app and the TV remote’s Amazon Prime Video button. You press the button, and then speak as you would to any other Alexa-equipped device. The TVs support Alexa skills and routines, and can be used to control other Alexa-compatible smart home devices.

This isn’t the first time LG TVs have supported Alexa in some form, but with last year’s models you needed an external Alexa smart speaker to use voice commands to control your TV. This year…

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Alexa is coming to LG’s 2019 TVs staring this month
Source: New feed

Bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children presses forward with bipartisan support

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is officially introducing his bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to minors today.

Today, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) will be formally introducing his bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children, and two of his Democratic colleagues have signed on in support of the legislation.

Hawley’s Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would, if approved, prohibit video game companies from selling loot boxes to children under the age of 18 and make it unlawful for minor-oriented games to include pay-to-win mechanics. If a games company was found to be unlawfully including these features in games targeted to minors it would be financially penalized.

It’s only been a few months since Hawley has taken office and he’s already built up a reputation as a tough critic of US tech companies like Facebook and Google. With this new…

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Bill to ban the sale of loot boxes to children presses forward with bipartisan support
Source: New feed

As Bitcoin surges, hackers rush to spread cryptocurrency malware on Google Play


An unfortunate consequence of Bitcoin’s price revival in recent weeks is the resurgence of cryptocurrency malware on Google Play. ESET security researchers, have verified that there were at least two apps on Google Play specifically designed to steal users’ coins. One such app, called Trezor Mobile Wallet, was masquerading as an app version of the popular hardware wallet, Trezor. After analyzing the app, researchers found that it can’t actually do any harm to Trezor users. But it is connected to another fake wallet called “Coin Wallet,” which does have the potential to scam unsuspecting users out of money. The fake…

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As Bitcoin surges, hackers rush to spread cryptocurrency malware on Google Play
Source: The Next Web

Amazon preparing a wearable that ‘reads human emotions,’ says report

<em>Amazon Echo speaker.</em>

In a week of eyebrow-raising headlines surrounding the US-China trade spat, this latest report from Bloomberg still manages to stand out: Amazon is said to be working on a wrist-worn, voice-activated device that’s supposed to be able to read human emotions. This would be a rather novel health gadget, of the sort we’re more used to seeing in tenuous crowdfunding campaigns instead of from one of the world’s biggest tech companies.

Bloomberg has spoken to a source and reviewed internal Amazon documents, which reportedly show the Alexa voice software team and Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division are collaborating on the wearable in development. The device, working in sync with a smartphone app, is said to have microphones that can “discern the…

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Amazon preparing a wearable that ‘reads human emotions,’ says report
Source: New feed

Samsung’s new AI can create talking avatars with a single photo


Samsung’s research center at Moscow has developed a new AI that can create talking avatars of photos and paintings without using any 3D modeling. A paper posted by the research team suggests that while traditionally researchers have used a large number of images to create a talking head model, a new technique can achieve it by few, or potentially even one image. In a video, engineer Egor Zakharov, explains that although it’s possible to create a model through a single image, training it through multiple images “leads to higher realism and better identity preservation.” Samsung said that the model creates…

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Samsung’s new AI can create talking avatars with a single photo
Source: The Next Web

$200M cryptocurrency mixing operation dismantled by Eurocops


A cryptocurrency mixing service that turned over $200 million worth of Bitcoin has been shut down following an investigation led by authorities from a number of European nations. The Dutch anti-fraud agency (FIOD) and Public Prosecution Service announced yesterday they have shut down Bestmixer.io and taken its servers offline. “Six operational servers have been dismantled and seized in the Netherlands and Luxembourg,” the announcement reads. The investigation was undertaken by the Dutch Digital Intrusion Team (DIGIT), Europol, and authorities from Luxembourg, France, and Latvia. Investigations began in back in June 2018 after the cybersecurity firm McAfee notified FIOD that Bestmixer.io…

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0M cryptocurrency mixing operation dismantled by Eurocops
Source: The Next Web

AI-Enabled Teletype Live Streams Nearly Coherent Conversations

If you’ve got a working Model 33 Teletype, every project starts to look like an excuse to use it. While the hammering, whirring symphony of a teleprinter going full tilt brings to mind a simpler time of room-sized computers and 300 baud connections, it turns out that a Teletype makes a decent AI conversationalist, within the limits of AI, of course.

The Teletype machine that [Hugh Pyle] used for this interesting project, a Model 33 ASR with the paper tape reader, is a nostalgia piece that figures prominently in many of his projects. As such, [Hugh] has access to tons of Teletype documentation, so when OpenAI released their GPT-2 text generation language model, he decided to use the docs as a training set for the model, and then use the Teletype to print out text generated by the model. Initial results were about as weird as you’d expect for something trained on technical docs from the 1960s. The next step was obvious: make a chat-bot out of it and stream the results live. The teletype can be seen clattering away in the recorded stream below, using the chat history as a prompt for generating text responses, sometimes coherent, sometimes disturbing, and sometimes just plain weird.

Alas, the chat-bot and stream are only active a couple of times a week, so you’ll have to wait a bit to try it out. But it looks like a fun project, and we appreciate the mash-up of retro tech and AI. We’ve seen teleprinters revived for modern use before, both for texting and Tweeting, but this one almost has a mind of its own.

AI-Enabled Teletype Live Streams Nearly Coherent Conversations
Source: HackADay

GDPR has helped big tech companies cement their dominance in the data economy while smaller companies have suffered from relatively high compliance costs (Mark Scott/Politico)


Mark Scott / Politico:

GDPR has helped big tech companies cement their dominance in the data economy while smaller companies have suffered from relatively high compliance costs  —  The region’s data protection overhaul was supposed to help citizens.  Instead, it’s helped Big Tech.

GDPR has helped big tech companies cement their dominance in the data economy while smaller companies have suffered from relatively high compliance costs (Mark Scott/Politico)
Source: Tech Meme

Fujifilm GFX100 medium-format mirrorless dispenses with the dials – CNET

Because a retro look just doesn’t mix well with the needs of video shooters. Fujifilm GFX100 medium-format mirrorless dispenses with the dials – CNET
Source: CNet

Fujifilm's $10K GFX100 is the most versatile medium-format camera ever – CNET

A 102MP sensor, 4K video, in-body image stabilization, full-res 5fps shooting with tracking and a hybrid autofocus system makes this seem like a terrifically well-rounded camera. Fujifilm's K GFX100 is the most versatile medium-format camera ever – CNET
Source: CNet

Fujifilm’s GFX 100 is a medium format camera that performs like a mirrorless

Fujifilm has just officially announced its next medium format camera, the GFX 100. The latest GFX, the new model joins the GFX 50S and GFX 50R, released in 2016 and 2018, respectively. The GFX 100 introduces some major leaps over the prior models, including a much higher resolution, in-body image stabilization, and much faster performance. It will be available starting on June 27th for $9,999.95.

Unlike Fujifilm’s prior medium format bodies, the GFX 100 features a full-size design, meaning it has an integrated vertical grip and a much larger stance than the typical mirrorless camera. It’s much closer in size to Canon’s EOS-1D X than even Fujifilm’s own GFX 50R. Inside that hulking, three-pound frame is a new, 102-megapixel sensor and…

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Fujifilm’s GFX 100 is a medium format camera that performs like a mirrorless
Source: New feed

NASA wants your help bringing back pieces of a potentially hazardous asteroid – CNET

The Osiris-Rex mission to asteroid Bennu needs extra eyes to scope out the right spot for grabbing a sample of the rock. NASA wants your help bringing back pieces of a potentially hazardous asteroid – CNET
Source: CNet

Acer updates two notebook lines with Ryzen processors – CNET

AMD’s mobile processor is landing in Acer’s Nitro 5 and Swift 3. Acer updates two notebook lines with Ryzen processors – CNET
Source: CNet

Windows Utility Helps ID Serial Ports

The humble serial interface has been around for a very long time, and will stay with us in one form or other for the foreseeable future. It was easy enough to keep track of back in the days when a computer only had one, or perhaps two COM ports. However, in this day and age of USB-programmable microcontrollers, it’s likely you’ve got COMs coming out the wazoo. Thankfully, [Amr Bekhit] has put together a utility to help solve this problem.

[Amr’s] utility is called Serial Port Monitor, and it does what it says on the tin. When new serial ports are enumerated in Device Manager, a system tray notification pops up noting the number of the newly attached COM port. Additionally, it maintains a list of ports sorted in order of the newest first, and also features a right-click menu that allows the launching of various terminal programs.

It’s a useful tool to keep in your back pocket that can prove particularly so when programming many devboards at once, or any other time when you find yourself dealing with a mess of serial devices.

Incidentally, if you find yourself having continual headaches with USB-to-Serial adapters on Windows, this might just be your problem. Happy hacking.

Footnote: In light of this article, the author would like to formally apologise to [Cosmos2000] for permanently disabling COM1 on his main programming rig. Sorry, friend.

Windows Utility Helps ID Serial Ports
Source: HackADay

Siri and Alexa Reinforce Gender Bias, U.N. Finds

Virtual helpers that come with female voices by default are perpetuating bias, a Unesco report argues. Siri and Alexa Reinforce Gender Bias, U.N. Finds
Source: NY Times Tech