The HR Person at Your Next Job May Actually Be a Bot

3. August 2016

Date: 03-08-2016
Source: Technology Review

Chatbots are being prepped to take over many administrative tasks.

The next time you’re hired, you might find yourself getting information about payroll, vacations, and expenses by talking to a chatbot instead of consulting a handbook for new employees or talking to someone in HR.

A startup called Talla, based in Boston, is working on chatbots designed to help new workers get up to speed and be more productive. The company is using advanced machine learning and natural language processing techniques in an effort to create software that is smarter than the average bot. Read the rest of this entry »

5G Wireless Is Coming, and It’s Going to Blow You Away

28. July 2016

Date: 28-07-2016
Source: Technology Review

A massive FCC spectrum release—and new advances in wireless technologies—accelerate an era of incredibly fast data.

Mobile data consumption is soaring, but a broad set of technology advances is poised to transform what today’s smartphones and other wireless mobile devices can do—ushering in high-resolution video and fully immersive, 3-D environments.

At the NYU Wireless lab in Brooklyn, students are testing prototype equipment—forerunners to next-generation phones—that are able to transmit a blazing 10 gigabits of data per second, all while moving around crowded courtyards.

And Samsung recently showed how a car traveling at 25 kilometers per hour could maintain a gigabit-per-second connection as the car moved in and out of range of mobile transmitters called base stations. Read the rest of this entry »

Business Models, Information Technology, and the Company of the Future

4. March 2016

Date: 04-03-2016
Source: Technology Review

by Haim Mendelson

Information technology has, of course, played a major role in reshaping business models over the past 20 years.

The basic social conventions of the preceding Industrial Era were all built around the notion that people physically moved in response to needs. For instance, if you wanted to buy something, you went to a store. If you wanted to build something, you worked in a factory.

But in the Internet economy, value creation doesn’t require that kind of physical movement, and income accumulates not in the form of cash, but in terms of clicks.

By changing the focus of innovation from atoms to bits, and from hardware to software, IT has dramatically accelerated the process of new business-model creation. Developments such the convergence of virtual and physical identities, models and reality, and those atoms and bits are likely to change the nature of the firm and, with it, the essence of innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Machines Eliminate Us?

29. January 2016

Date: 29-01-2016
Source: Technology Review

People who worry that we’re on course to invent dangerously intelligent machines are misunderstanding the state of computer science.

Yoshua Bengio leads one of the world’s preëminent research groups developing a powerful AI technique known as deep learning. The startling capabilities that deep learning has given computers in recent years, from human-level voice recognition and image classification to basic conversational skills, have prompted warnings about the progress AI is making toward matching, or perhaps surpassing, human intelligence.

Prominent figures such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have even cautioned that artificial intelligence could pose an existential threat to humanity. Musk and others are investing millions of dollars in researching the potential dangers of AI, as well as possible solutions. But the direst statements sound overblown to many of the people who are actually developing the technology. Bengio, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal, put things in perspective in an interview with MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for AI and robotics, Will Knight. Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve Been Misled About What Makes a Good Password

21. October 2015

Date: 21-10-2015
Source: Technology Review

Common advice on how to make a strong password is misleading, according to a new study of password-guessing techniques.

WHY IT MATTERS: Passwords are widely relied on for authentication but are frequently leaked online or implemented poorly.

“Password must include upper and lowercase letters, and at least one numeric character.” A common scold dished out by websites or software when you open an account or change a password—and one that new research suggests is misleading.

A study that tested state-of-the-art password-guessing techniques found that requiring numbers and uppercase characters in passwords doesn’t do much to make them stronger. Making a password longer or including symbols was much more effective.

“Attacks are more sophisticated now, and those best practice countermeasures are a little bit out of sync,” says Matteo Dell’Amico, a researcher at Symantec Research. He worked with Maurizio Filippone at the French research institute Eurecom. The pair presented a paper on their work at the ACM Computer and Communications Security conference last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Can We Shape the Robot Revolution?

7. October 2015

Date: 07-10-2015
Source: Technology Review

A robotics pioneer warns that technologists must consider how advances in machine intelligence will eradicate jobs.

BrooksRodney Brooks

New technologies are poised to have a profound impact on employment and society, robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks warned on Monday at Solve, a conference being held this week at MIT.

Brooks, a professor emeritus at MIT and one of the cofounders of the robotics company iRobot, said rapid advances threaten to upset many areas of work in the coming decades. “We see a common theme right now,” Brooks said, “which is digital technology changing the nature of work.”

Robotics is already playing a role in a major employment shift in manufacturing, in fact. Safer, cheaper, and smarter robots could foster a shift in employment in countries such as China in the coming years, as rising wages enable people to move from manufacturing to other kinds of employment. Brooks founded a company called Rethink Robotics that is making a robot designed to take over tasks currently done by hand on manufacturing lines.

During Solve, high-profile scientists and business leaders will consider trends that could affect the ability of millions of people to find meaningful employment. Sessions aimed at addressing the issue will include academics such as Erik Brynjolfsson, who has researched the issue of digital innovations and employment, and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet (the company previously known as Google).

Brooks compared the broader coming technological shift to the invention of the cotton gin—a device for automating the process of separating cotton fibers from seeds. Read the rest of this entry »

Online and Self-Employed

30. September 2015

Date: 28-09-2015

Source: Technology Review


New technologies give employers access to a world of workers while offering freelancers more ways to build a career.

Recently Megan Guse has been fielding questions from her former classmates about the atypical path she has taken since graduating from the University of Illinois law school. Three and a half years ago, after finishing a fellowship in the Champaign County state’s attorney’s office, Guse didn’t take the expected next step of joining a law firm or getting a government job.

Instead she became an independent contractor. She does legal work, mostly on contracts, for a company called Versata, which specializes in acquiring and restructuring struggling software companies. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Versata operates globally with almost no full-time employees. Like Guse, most of its workers are contractors. Read the rest of this entry »