this week

Uber being investigated in wake of "outrageous" data hack cover-up

Uber admitted this week that it concealed a massive data breach affecting 57 million drivers and passengers. The company is now facing government scrutiny around the world having paid hackers $100,000 to destroy information they stole and keep information about a breach in October 2016 quiet.

Source: The Guardian

Within a decade every other summer will shatter heat records

A study thas concluded that by the 2030s, every second summer over almost all of the entire Northern hemisphere will be hotter than any record-setting hot summer of the past 40 years, and by 2050, virtually every summer will be hotter than anything we've experienced to date.

Source: Motherboard

EU commissioner says the world is "astonishingly pessimistic" about AI

EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas believes the hyperbole around AI and alarmist views in the media risk confusing science with science fiction. “If you do any research on artificial intelligence these days, the results are astonishingly pessimistic. Nine articles out of ten on AI are negative,” said Moedas.

Robot developed to help keep hearts pumping

Researchers have developed a robot that helps to keep a heart pumping. It works by cradling the organ and uses a probe to anchor to the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. The robot could lead to devices that let doctors assist a heart in its normal function rather than relying on transplants.

Source: Wired

Scientists use CRISPR to create world's smallest tape recorder

Scientists have created a "biological tape recorder" based on CRISPR DNA editing. To build their microscopic recorder, the scientists began by modifying a piece of DNA called a plasmid, and giving it the ability to create more copies of itself in the bacterial cell in response to an external signal.

Source: Phys.org

AI can spot a forged painting from just one brush stroke

Researchers have invented an AI system that is able to detect an artist's work by analysing a single brush stroke. The AI is able to learn what brush strokes and features correlated to a specific artist, and broke down line drawings from famous artists like Picasso and Matisse into 80,000 brush strokes.

Source: Alphr

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC