347 February 03, 2014 – Google buys into Deep Learning

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This week’s headline story: Google buys into Deep Learning

artificial-intelligenceDeep learning is a relatively new field of artificial intelligence research that aims to achieve tasks like recognizing faces in video or words in human speech. This week Google purchased one of the hottest companies involved in Deep learning research: Deep Mind Technologies, for $400 million. The acquisition marks an acceleration in efforts by Google, Facebook, and other Internet firms to monopolize the biggest brains in artificial intelligence research. The purchase will help Google generate useful information from the massive amounts of data it collects. DeepMind describes itself as a cutting edge artificial intelligence company that combines the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms. There are only about 50 experts worldwide in deep learning, many of whom are still graduate students. DeepMind employed about a dozen of them on its staff of about 50.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Disruptions: The Holodeck Begins to Take Shape [NYTimes]So, what’s the future of home entertainment? TV set-top boxes? New game consoles? Think bigger! AMD is working on holodeck technology to rival that of the Starship enterprise. Imagine entering your family room, only to have it transform into an alien landscape, where you grab your light saber to battle enemy forces. Or sit back in the virtual grass to observe history in the making as you watch Sir Isaac Newton’s biography, with opportunities to interview Isaac at your leisure. The technology which some believe will be affordable by 2024, will turn the entertainment industry on its ear, rendering the multi-billion dollar TV market worthless.
  • FCC Approves Tests for Transition to Internet Phone System [NewsFactor]The FCC has approved tests to begin transitioning the U.S. phone network from circuit-switched technology to the packet-switched technology of the Internet.
  • New Top-Level Domains Flood Web with Opportunity [NewsFactor]List of New Generic Top-Level Domains [ICANN]

    One hundred new generic top-level domains will be released this week. While once web users were content with .com, .org, .edu and a handful of others, they will soon contend with many more including .dating, .cool, .pink, .coffee, .photos, .sexy, and .guru.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • Spy Agencies Tap Data Streaming From Phone Apps [NYTimes]Did NSA Use Angry Birds or Other Apps for Spying? [NewsFactor]

    The latest revelations from Edward Snowden indicate that the government has been using smartphone apps, including the popular Angry Birds game, to collect private information on users. According to leaked documents, the N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters
    have been harvesting user personal information including location, age, address lists, buddy lists, telephone logs, from smartphones using the privacy holes provided by apps. The Angry Birds website was hacked and defaced two days after the reports were made public. Angry Birds maker, Rovio denied the claim that it assisted the NSA, saying it does not “share data, collaborate or collude” with any spy agencies and that it would strive to ensure that user privacy is protected.

  • Yahoo Mail Hacked, User Passwords Stolen [NewsFactor]Yahoo’s mail was hacked, and hackers have been rifling through user email looking for financial data to steal. Yahoo email users are advised to change their passwords ASAP.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Microsoft’s SkyDrive Cloud Storage Renamed OneDrive [NewsFactor]Microsoft is changing the name of its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive. SkyDrive now boasts more than 250 million users, and has become a key component of Microsoft’s efforts to provide cloud-based services that extend across product lines.
  • Reports Say New Windows Boots Straight to Desktop [NewsFactor]News sources are reporting that the next version of Windows, 8.1 for desktops and notebooks, will boot directly to the desktop rather than to the highly criticized tile-based interface originally known as Metro.
  • Smartphone Shipments Top 1 Billion in 2013 [NewsFactor]The smartphone market has crossed another threshold, shipping 1 billion units in a single year for the first time in history.
  • Google Focusing on Prescription Glass [NewsFactor]Google is “focusing” on a new line of Google Glass products named the Titanium Collection. The Titanium Collection brings wearable computing, to prescription eye glasses. With the prescription models of Glass, Google is addressing two big complaints. First, people with prescriptions couldn’t use Google Glass. Now they can. Second, Glass didn’t look “normal” enough for most people. That’s been addressed to some degree with the new frames , says Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
  • Google Sells Moto to Lenovo for $2.91B [NewsFactor]Google has sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. With a strong PC business and a fast-growing smartphone business, Lenovo expects the deal to strengthen its position in the handset market. The recently released MotoX and Moto G have proven to be very popular with consumers.
  • Apple Says Success in Enterprise Is ‘Unbelievable’ [NewsFactor]Those who believe that Microsoft owns the business technology market are in for a shock. According to IDC, Apple’s, iPhone and iPad control 59 percent and 79 percent of the enterprise market, respectively. Apple has been able to get its foot in the door of many businesses due to Blackberry’s recent failures.

and finally…

  • Scentee’s smelly smartphone notifications are now available worldwide [Engadget]We are used to being notified of incoming calls with ringtones and vibrations. Japanese startup Scentee now lets you smell when a new call is coming in. small device that attached to your phone’s headphone jack lights up and emits fragrances for each incoming call. Available scents include coffee, lavender, rose, rosemary, strawberry, and bacon.

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