Openbook is the latest dream of a digital life beyond Facebook

As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled […]

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launches tonight to ‘touch the sun’

NASA’s ambitious mission to go closer to the Sun than ever before is set to launch in the small hours between Friday and Saturday — at 3:53 AM Eastern from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to be precise. The Parker Solar Probe, after a handful of gravity assists and preliminary orbits, will enter a stable […]

Siri is now trained to recognize your local, weirdly named small businesses

Getting directions to the nearest Starbucks or Target is a task Apple’s virtual assistant can handle with ease. But what about local businesses with names that Siri has never heard, and might mistake for another phrase or the user misspeaking? To handle these, Apple has created libraries of hyper-local place names so Siri never hears […]

AI training and social network content moderation services bring TaskUs a $250 million windfall

TaskUs, the business process outsourcing service that moderates content, annotates information and handles back office customer support for some of the world’s largest tech companies, has raised $250 million in an investment from funds managed by the New York-based private equity giant, Blackstone Group. It’s been ten years since TaskUs was founded with a $20,000 investment […]

AI giant SenseTime leads $199M investment in Chinese video tech startup

SenseTime may be best known as the world’s highest-valued AI company — having raised $620 million at a valuation of over $4.5 billion — but it is also an investor, too. The Chinese firm this week led a 1.36 billion RMB ($199 million) Series D funding round for Moviebook, a Beijing-based startup that develops technology to […]

Autonomous drones could herd birds away from airports

Bird strikes on aircraft may be rare, but not so rare that airports shouldn’t take precautions against them. But keeping birds away is a difficult proposition: How do you control the behavior of flocks of dozens or hundreds of birds? Perhaps with a drone that autonomously picks the best path to do so, like this […]

Scale, whose army of humans annotate raw data to train self-driving and other AI systems, nabs $18M

The artificial intelligence revolution is underway in the world of technology, but as it turns out, some of the most faithful foot soldiers are still humans. A startup called Scale, which works with a team of contractors who examine and categorise visual data to train AI systems in a two-sided marketplace model, announced that it […]

Chinese AI startup Tianrang raises a $26M funding round, launches new project to apply ML to cities

Chinese AI startup Tianrang has raised a $26 million (RMB180 million) funding round from China’s Gaorong Capital and co-lead CMB International Capital. Other investors included Ziniu Fund and Chinese fintech company Wacai. In 2016, the company raised an angel round led by Gaorong Capital and participated in by Shanghai Jindi Investment Management Ltd. Based on […]

Researchers teach an AI how to dribble

While this animated fellow looks like something out of NBA 2K18, it’s really an AI that’s learning how to dribble in real time. The AI starts out fumbling the ball a bit and by cycle 95 it is able to do some real Harlem Globetrotters stuff. In short, what you’re watching is a human-like avatar […]

Here’s Twitter’s position on Alex Jones (and hate-peddling anti-truthers) — hint: It’s a fudge

The number of tech platforms taking action against Alex Jones, the far right InfoWars conspiracy theorist and hate speech preacher, has been rising in recent weeks — with bans or partial bans including from Google, Apple and Facebook. However, as we noted earlier, Twitter is not among them. Although it has banned known hate peddlers […]