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Smelling Disease, Why You’re a Privacy Hypocrite, and AI’s Imitation Game—The Download, May 2, 2017

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Three Things You Need to Know Today

AI That Wants To Be You 
Machine learning is becoming an excellent mimic. Armed with the most accurate digital model of a human face ever created, a team of computer scientists has built an AI that can turn a simple 2-D snap into an accurate 3-D model of someone’s head. Meanwhile, Canadian startup Lyrebird claims to have an AI that can impersonate another person’s voice. Our own Will Knight contemplates a world in which artificial intelligence makes it harder than ever to tell real from fake.

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Machines That Sniff Out Disease
The doctor will smell you now. Some diseases have a scent: many cancer tumors give off an odor that dogs can identify. Now, the New York Times suggests that the technology required to detect those scents in a medical setting has matured. British firm Owlstone is testing sensors to identify lung cancer, University of Pennsylvania researchers are seeking out ovarian cancer by sniffing blood, and an Israeli team claims to spot 17 diseases with 86 percent accuracy via breath analysis.

The Future of Live TV Online
Internet giants are still fighting for eyeballs. Netflix and Hulu have changed the way we consume box sets and movies, but now there’s a tussle to win people over to streamed live TV: Twitter is to show Bloomberg news, Amazon will air Thursday night football, and Facebook makes no secret of its own ambitions. Trouble is, for live TV people still turn to ... well, the TV. This Recode article investigates how the NFL is weighing its options to perfect the transition from TV to the tubes.

Ten Fascinating Things

California's newly proposed cap-and-trade program for CO2 could set some of the highest prices in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.

What looks like a tiny mechanical ostrich chasing after a car? Actually, this pioneering two-legged robot.

We all grumble about intrusions into our digital lives, then keep on using the services that betray us. Here’s why we’re so hypocritical about online privacy.

The Chinese government is hiring 20,000 people to build the country’s own version of Wikipedia.

The Ford Fusion Energi is the first car to come loaded with Amazon’s AI assistant, Alexa. The Verge took its tech for a test drive.

In Switzerland, a bold new attempt to regrow a retreating glacier will blow artificial snow over the huge body of ice during the summer to keep it from melting.

The government is getting a tech upgrade: Donald Trump has signed an executive order to modernize federal IT systems.

Aquaculture provides half of the world’s seafood. But feed shortages and sustainability issues mean that the industry is innovating to help meet demand.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent is continuing its push into artificial intelligence with a new machine learning lab in Seattle.

Here’s how the world’s first nanocar race played out over the weekend—sadly, without a nano-scale chequered flag in sight.

Quote of the Day

"We’d love it if every world leader used Twitter as their primary mechanism to talk to their constituencies."

— Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, has lofty desires for his social network's use as a political communication tool.


Deep Dive


Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

The way forward: Merging IT and operations

Digital transformation in any industry begins with bridging the gap between two traditionally separate teams.

Investing in people is key to successful transformation

People-related factors like talent attraction and retention and clear top-down communication will determine whether your transformation progresses or stalls.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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