Here’s a unique new way Facebook is tracking you down

facebook artificial intelligence maps internet user heat map
Facebook
Drones, satellites, and lasers, oh my! A team of Facebook engineers has spent the last several years building all sorts of technology in an effort to bring Internet access to those around the globe who doesn’t have a way to join the world wide web. But first, the company needs to locate these people — and is turning to artificial intelligence for a little help.

Facebook’s Connectivity Lab and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University are working on a global map to help determine the best ways its new Internet technology can reach the offline population by finding out exactly where people live. With a combination of computer vision techniques and Facebook’s image-identification generator, the engineers were able to identify man-made structures in satellite imagery of the planet. The image-recognition generator was trained to distinguish if a particular scene contained a building, for example, or merely a hut-shaped pile of rocks.

Researchers analyzed a total of 20 countries, covering 21.6-million square kilometers and obtaining 350 terabytes of data. Once the data was collected, the social networking platform was able to use these findings to determine where and how people are living. “This data will give us a greater understanding of how populations are dispersed, so governments and others can prioritize investments in infrastructure, from transportation to healthcare and education. It can also help rapid-response times during emergencies and other disasters and inform our understanding of the ecological impact of growth,” says Facebook in a press release.

The Mark Zuckerberg-owned company says this will be a helpful guide for its Connectivity Lab. “It will help identify the types of projects to prioritize and support target developments,” says Facebook. “We believe this data has many more impactful applications, such as socio-economic research and risk assessment for natural disasters.”

The team will continue to work with Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network to help create a new population dataset, set to be released later this year.

Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Our quick-and-easy guide to programming an RCA universal remote

If you're tired of using a million different remotes in your home theater, office, or living room, you'll likely be interested in a single RCA universal remote. Here's how to program it for your system.
Digital Trends Live

Pro4Ma CEO Liz Dunn explains the retail trends of Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Black Friday is a day of sales, but also of chaos. Pro4MA CEO Liz Dunn appeared on Digital Trends Live to discuss the shifts she has seen in Black Friday weekend, and what they mean for consumers.
Mobile

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.
Mobile

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Mobile

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.
Mobile

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Mobile

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Mobile

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.
Apple

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.