Tag Archives | Technology

Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles due to hacking danger

We all pretty much saw this one coming. You have cars that can switch into automated drive. This poses a danger in which unscrupulous tech-wizards can hack vehicles while you’re driving. We have already seen cases where loan agents can disable an individual’s vehicle by smartphone if the owner of the vehicle misses a payment. We have seen the conspiracy theories that the death of journalist Michael Hastings was brought about by the CIA taking control of his car through computer devices and causing it to crash. Now here is a first — Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles so their onboard computers can be upgraded for the purpose of reducing the chances they can be hacked.

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What do machines sing of?


What do machines sing of? from Martin Backes on Vimeo.

“What do machines sing of?” is a fully automated machine, which endlessly sings number-one ballads from the 1990s. As the computer program performs these emotionally loaded songs, it attempts to apply the appropriate human sentiments. This behavior of the device seems to reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough to have its very own personality.

What do machines sing of? (90s Version)
2015
Size: 170 x 55 x 45 cm
Material: metal stand, mic stand, mic, cable, 2 screens, computer, custom-made computer program

More information:
http://www.martinbackes.com/portfolio/what-do-machines-sing-of/

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Canary App Tells You If You’re Too Stoned To Drive

If you’re a stoner and a driver you might want to check out the new app Canary being touted by NORML. Fast Company reviews:

Last week, NORML, a group dedicated to legalizing marijuana announced a new iPhone app designed to prevent stoned driving.

The app, called Canary, allows users to determine whether they’re in a suitable condition to drive. It runs through a battery of tests: remembering a sequence of numbers, balancing on one foot, playing a digital whack-a-mole game, and then estimating a time period of 20 seconds. By comparing the results against a personal baseline or a collective average, users receive a green, yellow, or red light assessing their level of functioning.

Drivers can be impaired by factors as diverse as fatigue, alcohol, or legal medications, but NORML is plugging it as a way for potential drivers to determine whether they are too high to drive, which has proven to be a confounding issue as more states allow medical and recreational marijuana.

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Online carjacking: do auto manufacturers realise dangers of networked motors?

mroach (CC BY-SA 2.0)

mroach (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While computers bring great benefits they come with drawbacks too – not least, as news stories reveal every day, the insecurity of often very private data connected to the public internet. Only now that computers are appearing in practically everything, the same insecurity also applies – as demonstrated by the drive-by hack of a speeding Jeep SUV, hijacked and shut down by security researchers as it sped past at 70mph.

Vehicles are growing ever more sophisticated, with technological additions to newer models designed to increase safety, comfort and convenience while providing entertainment features and improving the car’s environmental impact. These innovations are more than just marketing ploys for manufacturers to sell their vehicles as cutting edge, they also help save money on materials and to comply with increasingly stringent safety and environmental laws.

Consider the benefits of a fully-connected vehicle: computers are never distracted, never get tired.… Read the rest

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iSperm: Check Your Sperm on Your iPad

screenshot9 Taiwanese start-up, Aidmics, has created a sperm counting gadget that connects to an iPad. It was originally created to help farmers manage their livestock, but the company is hoping to expand its use to men. The device isn't the first at-home fertility tester, but it does offer live visuals of the sperm. Aidmics founder Agean Lin told Reuters that he hopes to price the device between $100 – $200. Personally, I think they should look into expanding beyond the iPad to regular ol' smart phones.
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Are we entering a digital dark age?


This podcast explores the risks of humanity storing as much info as it is on digital formats. Of interesting note, when NASA turned off Voyager 1‘s camera to save on battery usage, no computer remained in existence which could decode the date from the satellite’s camera system.

It is possible for the cameras to be turned on, but it is not a priority for Voyager’s Interstellar Mission. After Voyager 1 took its last image (the “Solar System Family Portrait” in 1990), the cameras were turned off to save power and memory for the instruments expected to detect the new charged particle environment of interstellar space. Mission managers removed the software from both spacecraft that controls the camera. The computers on the ground that understand the software and analyze the images do not exist anymore.

From OnTheMedia’s website:

On this week’s episode of On the Media, we’re engaging in some chillingly informed speculation: what would happen if we, as a species, lost access to our electronic records?

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Virtual Reality is the Future of Religion

Dali_Crucifixion_hypercubeRev. Dr. Christopher Benek via H+mag:

25 years ago most people didn’t imagine that the Internet would reshape the way that they existed on a day-to-day basis. 25 years from now people will think about Virtual Reality the same way we think about the Internet today – we won’t even be able to imagine our global existence without it.

One of the largest beneficiaries of this technological development could be the global church because VR is going to change the way that Christians participate in worship.

The main impact that VR is going to have on the global church is that it is going to, one-day, enable Christians to easily gather from a variety of places without being in the same physical location.   This will enable persons who are homebound, sick, caregivers, without transportation, on vacation, or severely disabled to participate in worship with the larger community of faith without needing to leave the place where they are physically residing.

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A robot passed a self-awareness test

A robot solved the “wise men puzzle” at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Duncan Geere via TechRadar:

Roboticists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have built a trio of robots that were put through the classic ‘wise men puzzle’ test of self-awareness – and one of them passed.

In the puzzle, a fictional king is choosing a new advisor and gathers the three wisest people in the land. He promises the contest will be fair, then puts either a blue or white hat on each of their heads and tells them all that the first person to stand up and correctly deduce the colour of their own hat will become his new advisor.

Selmer Bringsjord set up a similar situation for the three robots – two were prevented from talking, then all three were asked which one was still able to speak. All attempt to say “I don’t know”, but only one succeeds – and when it hears its own voice, it understands that it was not silenced, saying “Sorry, I know now!”

Continue reading.… Read the rest

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The Exoskeletons Are Coming

Dual Arm Power Amplification Robot by ActiveLink

Dual Arm Power Amplification Robot by ActiveLink

Panasonic and other manufacturers will soon be offering mechanical exoskeletons that workers can put on in order to become, um, better workers, or something like that. From MIT Technology Review:

Even if you lack the resources of Tony Stark, you can obtain a high-tech suit to enhance your natural abilities, or at least help you avoid a backache. Mechanical outfits, known as exoskeletons, are gaining a foothold in the real world.

The Japanese company Panasonic announced recently that it will start selling an exoskeleton designed to help workers lift and carry objects more easily and with less risk of injury. The suit was developed in collaboration with a subsidiary company called ActiveLink. It weighs just over 13 pounds and attaches to the back, thighs, and feet, enabling the wearer to carry 33 pounds of extra load. The device has been tested by warehouse handlers in Osaka, Japan, and is currently in trials with forestry workers in the region.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrates 25 years of defending online privacy

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

EFF Photos (CC BY 2.0)

Maria Korolov via CSO Online:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the digital world’s top watchdog when it comes to privacy and free expression.

But while cops and firefighters are often ready to retire after 25 years on the job, protecting citizens, the EFF has a full agenda as it celebrates its 25th anniversary today.

The EFF was founded in 1990, when the Web still had just one webpage. Its first major case was one in which the U.S. Secret Service, hunting a stolen document, raided a company’s computers, computers that were also used to run an online bulletin board, and read and deleted those users’ messages.

The company, Steve Jackson Games, and some of the users of that bulletin board, thought that the government overstepped its warrant.

The situation inspired former Lotus president Mitch Kapor, Sun Microsystems employee John Gilmore and John Perry Barlow, cattle rancher and Greatful Dead lyricist to form the EFF and represent Steve Jackson Games and their users against the U.S.

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