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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

A.I. border agents could use machine smarts to tell if travelers are lying

If you’re at an airport or border crossing in the next few years, you could possibly find yourself answering questions asked by a surly artificial intelligence with very little tolerance for lying.

The post A.I. border agents could use machine smarts to tell if travelers are lying appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

AI will save us from yanny/laurel, right? Wrong

If you haven’t taken part in the yanny/laurel controversy over the last couple of days, allow me to sincerely congratulate you. But your time is up. The viral speech synth clip has met the AI hype train and the result is, like everything in this mortal world, disappointing.

Sonix, a company that produces AI-based speech recognition software, ran the ambiguous sound clip through Google, Amazon and Watson’s transcription tools, and of course its own.

Google and Sonix managed to get it on the first try — it’s “laurel,” by the way. Not yanny. Laurel.

But Amazon stumbled, repeatedly producing “year old” as its best guess for what the robotic voice was saying. IBM’s Watson, amazingly, got it only half the time, alternating between hearing “yeah role” and “laurel.” So in a way, it’s the most human of them all.

Top: Amazon; bottom: IBM.

Sonix CEO Jamie Sutherland told me in an email that he can’t really comment on the mixed success of the other models, not having access to them.

“As you can imagine the human voice is complex and there are so many variations of volume, cadence, accent, and frequency,” he wrote. “The reality is that different companies may be optimizing for different use cases, so the results may vary. It is challenging for a speech recognition model to accommodate for everything.”

My guess as an ignorant onlooker is it may have something to do with the frequencies the models have been trained to prioritize. Sounds reasonable enough!

It’s really an absurd endeavor to appeal to a system based on our own hearing and cognition to make an authoritative judgement in a matter on which our hearing and cognition are demonstrably lacking. But it’s still fun.


Source: TechCrunch

zGlue launches a configurable system-on-a-chip to help developers implement customized chipsets

The complexity and cost of packing an array of sensors and power inside a small amount of space has opened the door to a wider and wider variety of use cases for internet-connected devices beyond just smart thermostats or cameras — and also exposed a hole for getting those ideas into an actual piece of hardware.

So there are some startups that are looking to address this hole by providing developers a path to creating the customized chipsets they need to power those devices. zGlue is one of those, led by former Samsung engineering director Ming Zhang and former Misfit founder Sonny Vu.  The company’s chiplets are built around the kind of system-on-a-chip approach that you’ll see in most modern devices, where everything is in a single unit that reduces some of the complexity of moving processes around a larger piece of hardware — shrinking the space constraints and allowing all these actions to happen on a device, such as a smartphone. As more and more IoT devices come online, they may all have varying form factor demands, which means companies — like zGlue and others — are emerging to address those needs.

“From the developer point of view, think of us as a system that is not different from any thing else on the market, user-interface-wise,” Zhang said. “It is just smaller in size, faster in time to market, and flexible — customizable by individuals rather than just by Apple and Qualcomms. [We’re] democratizing chip innovation so it is no longer [a] privilege of Fortune 500 companies.”

The company’s first product is called the zOrigin, a “chip-stacking” product that aims to allow developers to embed the sensors and processes necessary for their devices. Stemming from an ARM 32-bit core processor (meaning it can handle more complex and precise calculations), the first launch costs $149 and can include pieces like a Bluetooth radio, accelerometers, and other necessary features.

zGlue’s chipsets have embedded memory, which is an increasingly common approach to try to reduce the number of trips going from the actual processing power to where the information is stored. Those trips cost power, speed, and can restrict the scope of use cases for internet-connected devices. Zhang said the chiplets are packaged closer together — literally reducing the space that information has to cross — in order to speed it up, though that of course carries consequences when it comes to heat constraints these processors can have.

“That’s the price to pay for the continuation of Moore’s law, as it has in the past 40 years,” Zhang said. “Heat dissipation in our system is not going to be any worse than a conventional system. In fact, with the silicon substrate in place, it’s easier to conduct heat compared to a conventional package or board substrate.”

As a kind of templated approach, zGlue is geared toward helping developers produce a custom setup that the can implement into devices that may require a wide set of sensors. The company says it looks to help developers go from a design to a prototype in a few weeks, and then reduce the turnaround time from a prototype to production in “weeks or months,” depending on the complexity and volume.

While this is one example of trying to get a prototype chip out into the wild, there are a few others as well. Si-Five, for example, offers developers a way to prototype custom silicon for their specific niches based on the hardware and IP the startup has. The goal there is to offer both a prototype flow and the ability to graduate into a production flow, allowing developers and companies to get products out the door that require custom silicon. Si-Five hardware is based on the RISC-V architecture, an open-source instruction set for silicon, and the company most recently raised $50.4 million.

Zhang, too, said RISC-V offers some potential, especially in its own scope. “RISC-V is a great tool to build small, fast, and low power IoT applications,” he said. “The nature of open source makes it more available to more people. We welcome and embrace RISC-V to join the family of ‘MCU’ chiplets supported by our technology.”

When it comes to inference — the machine learning processes that happen on the hardware to execute some kind of action, like image recognition, based on trained models — Zhang said the chipsets would support it, but he would not comment further. There is a blossoming ecosystem around custom silicon that looks to speed up inference on devices like cars or IoT devices, which is geared toward reducing the space and power constraints of those chips while also running those processes much more quickly. Companies like Mythic have raised significant venture funding in order to build that kind of hardware.


Source: TechCrunch

Gadget Lab Podcast: How to Make Bike Commuting Less Daunting

“Bikes” Calore makes a case for why everyone should bike more–and tells you the gear you need to do it right.
Source: Wired

23andMe Goes Global In Its Data-Mining Efforts

The consumer genetics company is opening its data set to some researchers—and recruiting others to make that data set more robust in the first place.
Source: Wired

Sprint targets Baby Boomers with cheaper unlimited phone plan – CNET

Are you 55 or older? Sprint has a new plan just for you.
Source: CNET

Trump reportedly pushed USPS to double Amazon’s shipping rates

According to new reporting from The Washington Post, President trump personally pushed United States Postal Service head Megan Brennan to jack up shipping prices on Amazon and and other firms.

The story comes from unnamed sources, who suggest that, thus far, the Postmaster General has held out against pressure from the President. If enacted, the new pricing structure would likely cost the online retailer and others billions.  g

Amazon has been in Trump’s crosshairs from some time, of course. In late March, he took to Twitter to personally call out a “scam” he believed was costing the USPS “billions,” writing, “If the P.O. ‘increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.’ This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!”

Brennan has reportedly pushed back on the notion that deals with companies like Amazon have been a bad deal for the postal service, offering evidence of the upsides of such partnerships in meetings with the President. She has also noted that such multiyear contracts wouldn’t be easy to break.

But Trump’s criticism of Amazon clearly has a personal element. Here’s a nice compendium of the many times he’s gone after the company and its owner Jeff Bezos on Twitter — at least through late-March. The criticism really started to hit its stride around 2015. Bezos, of course, also own The Washington Post, a paper Trump has regularly called out for reporting “fake news.” 

Further clouding all of this is the fact that the USPS hasn’t released the specfics of its pricing deals with Amazon, for fear of given competing delivery services “an unfair advantage.” It has, however, insisted that it’s made money on its deals with Amazon, in spite of the fact that the service reported a $2.7 billion loss in 2017.


Source: TechCrunch

Fortnite drops on Android phones this summer – CNET

iOS players have had a few months to brush up their Fortnite skills.
Source: CNET

Apple forks over first billion in $15B Irish tax fine – CNET

Both Apple and Ireland are appealing the EU fine.
Source: CNET

Five deals for Friday: $21 wireless headphones, $80 4K Blu-ray player and more – CNET

Here are a few of the top tech deals we think are worth checking out before the weekend.
Source: CNET

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