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Weekly Rewind: Facebook vs. YouTube, animal-free pork, a Google Chromecast deal

top tech stories 02 1 20177 wr 17 head 01
A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top 10 tech stories, from the return of the Nokia 3310 to how we can prevent AI from stealing our jobs — it’s all here.

Robots and AI are coming for our jobs. Can augmentation save us from automation?

Augmentation was the running theme of this year’s Bodyhacking Conference in Austin, Texas. Attendees lined up for RFID implants, speakers demonstrated bionic body parts, grinders exhibited artificial senses, and an entire fashion show put “smart” apparel on display. Incidentally, most of the augmentations were idiosyncratic and wouldn’t make a potential employee more competitive in the future job market. With this in mind, we explored the ways in which augmentation may safeguard us from automation.

Read the full story here.

Nokia announces the return of the legendary 3310

Readers of a certain age might recall the Nokia 3310, the 2000-era cell phone successor to the popular Nokia 3210. By today’s standards, it wasn’t particularly noteworthy. True to mobile handsets of its time, it featured physical number buttons, a tiny monochrome screen, and a durably bulbous design. This didn’t stop it from breaking sales records, however. With 126 million units sold worldwide, it’s one of the most successful phones ever made. And that goodwill is the reason why Nokia celebrated the 3310 with a live video tribute on Wednesday.

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Toyota hits a green milestone with its 10 millionth hybrid sale

Sales of Toyota’s hybrid cars show no sign of hitting the brakes as the Japanese car giant announced this week that it’s now sold more than 10 million of its environmentally friendly motors worldwide. The company reached the milestone at the end of January, nearly 20 years after it first deployed the technology in the Coaster Hybrid EV minibus in August, 1997.

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Pioneer unveils the first Lightning earphones that let you charge and listen

When Apple released the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack, it was the end of an era. Like it or not, it’s doubtful the company will re-introduce the headphone jack in the future. Headphones with Lightning connectors are gaining in number, but many introduce another problem in that you cannot charge and listen at the same time. With its new Rayz Plus earphones, Pioneer lets you do both.

Read the full story here.

The workplace of the future tracks your every move, whether you like it or not

Access control is nothing new in the office world, where keys slowly migrated over to smart key cards. However, several new startups now aim to give employers a more vivid picture of their office environment by tracking everything their employees do — save for visiting the restroom — via smart sensors and new technologies. One of the most sophisticated companies in this brave new world is Enlighted, an IoT company whose goal is no less than “redefining smart buildings.”

Read the full story here.

Dutch town installs LED pavement strips to alert distracted smartphone users

A Dutch town believes it may have figured out a solution to the problem of pedestrians distracted by their smartphones. Officials in Bodegraven, Netherlands are now running trials of LED strips embedded into sidewalks near intersections that notify walkers whether or not it is safe to cross. The system, developed by local firm HIG Traffic Systems, is connected directly to traffic lights and shifts from red to green to signal pedestrians who are looking down at their devices when they may safely walk.

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Scientists use stem cells to grow animal-free pork in a lab

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports has taken us one step closer to the dream of animal-free meat (in case your mind immediately goes to the 1973 sci-fi movie Soylent Green, it ain’t people, either). “What the paper describes is research designed to generate muscle from a newly established pig stem-cell line, rather that from primary cells taken directly from a pig,” co-author Dr. Nicholas Genovese, a stem-cell biologist (and vegetarian), told Digital Trends.

Read the full story here.

Now $60, the Google Chromecast Ultra is an affordable HD streaming solution

Streaming devices have forever changed the way we watch television, allowing us to cut the cables and watch our favorite movies and shows wirelessly. Models like the highly rated and affordable Google Chromecast Ultra, now just $60 on Best Buy, let you stream high-definition video to your TV and free you from traditional cable and satellite subscriptions.

Read the full story here.

Clever new water bottle tricks your brain into thinking regular H2O is flavored

Do you get bored of drinking plain old water when you’re out jogging, but don’t want to switch it for another drink that’s full of added junk and preservatives? Then 20-year-old pre-med student Saef Munir may have the perfect solution in the form of his innovative “Flavour Bottle.” Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, the Flavour Bottle is a regular water bottle with a scented silicone spout.

Read the full story here.

Facebook meets with record labels in bid to steal YouTube’s music video crown

Facebook is chasing music licensing deals as part of its ramped up video strategy. Execs from the company recently attended a pre-Grammy awards performance to scout emerging talent, alongside members of established streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora Media. It is also meeting with music publishers, negotiators at labels, and trade associations in order to strengthen its ties with the industry, reports Bloomberg.

Read the full story here.

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