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 why most virtual assistants are female to how much we really fear self-driving cars — it’s all here.
These days, we find ourselves surrounded by helpful assistants, from Apple’s Siri to Microsoft’s futuristic Cortana to Amazon’s Alexa to … whatever the designation for “OK Google” is — and every one of them defaults to a female persona. In response, a lot of writers are asking if the tendency of postmodern digital assistants to skew female is a dangerous thing for society.
Need proof of the changing needs of the job market? Look no further than the U.S. Air Force, where for the first time, there are more jobs open for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drone pilots than for any other kind of pilot position. As the head of Air Education and Training Command, Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, told reporters during a media roundtable at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, “I never thought I’d say that when I joined the Air Force.”
Do we or don’t we? A recent AAA survey found that while more than half of all U.S. drivers want autonomous technology in their next vehicle, an even greater number reported fear of the prospect of riding in a self-driving vehicle. If we can agree that autonomous features are a given in our future, the automotive community will have to address consumer concerns and find ways to ease the transition.
Swiss watch brand Tag Heuer has returned to the world of smartwatches, after first embracing the technology in 2015 with the Tag Heuer Carrera Connected. The new model, called the Connected Modular 45, makes the Carrera Connected look like a tentative, exploratory first step. For the new watch, Tag Heuer will offer 11 standard models, with another 45 available to special order, and a huge range of interchangeable parts for a total of 500 different style possibilities.
Last year, it was the “world’s first clean meatball” that helped Memphis Meats grab headlines in February. In November, the startup launched an Indiegogo campaign with plans to grow cultured poultry meat in the lab. Today, the company announced that it has successfully served chicken and duck meat without having raised or slaughtered a bird.
As technology grows, so do the options for making purchases. Millions of people are already able to make purchases using PayPal or Apple Pay, but IBM and Visa aim expand that even further. Together, they want all connected devices to act as mobile payment systems. By collaborating with Visa, IBM will use its own Watson Internet of Things (IoT) platform to allow businesses to quickly add secure payment options to any device connected to the internet. These days, that means anything from a cars, to rings, or even shoes.
Get ready to re-enter The Matrix. While news of the film’s potential reboot was widespread due to The Hollywood Reporter’s original article, writer Zak Penn took to Twitter Friday to clarify that he’s actually working on new movies set within the film’s cinematic universe. Read our updated report for more details.
3D printing, medical scanners, and computer generated imagery may seem to have nothing in common with paintbrushes, cameras, and sculpting tools — that is, until you see the winning shots from the 20th annual Wellcome Image Awards. The contest celebrates the best science images from around the globe, from the more traditional photographs taken with an actual camera to 3D sculptures lit with a myriad of light to visualize how the brain processes language.
Since I moved into my condo in August 2016, I’ve been slowly adding smart tech … and living through the fun and frustration that come along with it. After more than half a year of residing in a smart apartment, I can say there’s no magic bullet that makes everything fully automated. The presence of Amazon’s Alexa means I have to pull out my phone way less often than I used to, but even it still has some quirks that can leave me longing for the days of unconnected lightbulbs. To wrap up the smart-apartment series, I thought I’d give my impression of all the gear I put in my place, now that I’ve had several months to get used to it.
The U.S. Department of Justice will charge two Russian spies and two hackers with targeting Yahoo and breaching more than 500 million users’ accounts, The Washington Post reports. Yahoo had previously accused “state-sponsored” hackers of carrying out the attack. A source within the department said the charges will amount to the largest hacking case ever brought by the U.S. government. These charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft, and economic espionage.
Updated 3-17-2017 at 5:09 p.m. PST by Ryan Waniata: Updated the latest news on ‘The Matrix’ reboot talks, which now appears to be focused instead on new movies created within the seminal film’s cinematic universe.
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