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Using machine learning to build maps that give smarter driving advice

If you drive in the United States, chances are you can’t remember the last time you bought a paper map, printed out a digital map, or even stopped to ask for directions. Thanks to Global Positioning System (GPS) and the mobile mapping apps on our smartphones and their real-time routing advice, navigation is a solved problem. But in developing...

Retail’s evolution depends on edge computing

Radio waves from Earth have reached dozens of stars

For billions of years, Earth has been playing a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. New research published today in Nature posits that roughly 1,700 stars are in the right position to have spotted life on Earth as early as 5,000 years ago. These stars, within 100 parsecs (or about 326 light-years) of the sun, were found using data from NASA’s Transiting...

How astronauts deal with the boring parts of being in space

Mundane tasks suddenly become extremely complex in space. I spoke with former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, who flew two missions to space, to learn about how astronauts handle the day-to-day. Here are a few of the highlights. When it comes to everyday, mundane tasks you needed to relearn to do in space, what are some of the things that first...

LinkedIn’s job-matching AI was biased. The company’s solution? More AI.

Years ago, LinkedIn discovered that the recommendation algorithms it uses to match job candidates with opportunities were producing biased results. The algorithms were ranking candidates partly on the basis of how likely they were to apply for a position or respond to a recruiter. The system wound up referring more men than women for open roles simply...

The next pandemic is already here. Covid can teach us how to fight it.

It was August 2017, and pleasant and breezy in the central mountains of Madagascar. The passengers loading their bags into the minibus leaving Ankazobe, a small town in the highlands, were grateful for the morning coolness. It would be warm and sticky on the trip they were taking to Antananarivo, the island’s million-person capital 100 kilometers to...

Podcast: Hired by an algorithm

If you’ve applied for a job lately, it’s all but guaranteed that your application was reviewed by software—in most cases, before a human ever laid eyes on it. In this episode, the first in a four-part investigation into automated hiring practices, we speak with the CEOs of ZipRecruiter and CareerBuilder, and one of the architects of LinkedIn’s algorithmic...

French spyware bosses indicted for their role in the torture of dissidents

Senior executives at a French spyware firm have been indicted for the company’s sale of surveillance software to authoritarian regimes in Libya and Egypt that resulted in the torture and disappearance of dissidents. While high-tech surveillance is a multibillion-dollar industry worldwide, it is rare for companies or individuals to face legal...

Why China’s kicking out the crypto miners

The news: China’s intensifying crackdown has sent cryptocurrency prices tumbling. China has been upping its regulatory squeeze on cryptocurrencies for some time, but it now looks likely that over 90% of Bitcoin mining capacity in the country will shut down, according to a report in the Global Times, which is published by the Chinese state. Last Friday,...

Scientists might have spotted tectonic activity inside Venus

Venus might be hell, but don’t call it a dead planet. Amid surface temperatures of up to 471 °C and surface pressures 100 times greater than those on Earth, new research suggests the planet might still be geologically active. That’s encouraging news to people who think it could once have hosted life (or that it might still be able to). Earth’s...

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