The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today Google's Pixel 2 smartphone is smarter than we knew.

Google’s First Mobile Chip Will Turbocharge Image Processing

And it’s already inside its latest smartphone, the Pixel 2. The Verge reports that Google’s new Pixel Visual Core chipset is designed to make image processing faster and smoother. It has eight processor cores that are meant to make HDR+ image processing—which… Read more

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  • Google

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Alphabet’s Drones Are Now Delivering Right Into People’s Backyards

A new trial in southeastern Australia will see Alphabet’s X lab use its Project Wing drones to drop parcels of Mexican food and medical supplies (one hopes the former doesn’t necessitate the latter) right next to people’s back doors. Two local stores,… Read more

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  • X
Robots and humans need to get along.

Can Robots and Humans Learn to Labor and Love as One?

That's hardly a new kind of question, but with increasing leaps in AI and robotics, the search for answers gains more urgency. Indeed, as we've reported in the past, to truly make most effective use of robots we'll need to work out how to best get along… Read more

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  • Tecnalia | Flickr
Yesterday Big Ben at Night

Keep Calm and … Massively Increase Investment in Artificial Intelligence

The U.K. government has just released a thoughtful report on the potential of AI, along with some jolly sensible recommendations for making the most of the profoundly important technology.

The report, coauthored by the Department for Digital, Culture,… Read more

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  • Samuel Zeller | Unsplash
The future of gas may be short-lived.

Global Gasoline Demand Could Peak by 2030

At least, it could if electric-car adoption plays out the way some experts think it will.

The prognostication comes courtesy of the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which has taken a fresh look at the shifting thirst for oil around the globe. Its analysts… Read more

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  • Markus Spiske | Unsplash

This Robotic Surgeon Cuts Cleaner Than a Human

One day, this machine might slice into you.

Called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), the semi-autonomous device uses a near-infrared camera to constantly monitor how predefined marks on tissue move in relation to its cutting tool, according to IEEE… Read more

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  • Justin Opfermann and Ryan Decker
Your secure Wi-Fi isn't quite so secure.

Secure Wi-Fi Networks Everywhere Are Wide Open to Hacks, Thanks to a Newly Discovered Security Flaw

Your wireless network isn’t as safe as you thought it was.

Security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has discovered a serious flaw, which he’s calling KRACK, in the WPA2 protocol that secures almost every modern Wi-Fi network. The vulnerability could allow hackers… Read more

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  • Christiaan Colen | Flickr
October 13, 2017 Your connected devices aren't as secure as you think.

Should IoT Devices Come with Public Safety Warnings?

You know, like the ones on cigarette packets.

There’s certainly a strong argument to be made for it as an idea. Whether it’s hackers taking control of cars, childrens’ toys, or vast swaths of devices as an Internet-crippling botnet of things, connected… Read more

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  • Troy Hunt
This geothermal power plant is squeaky clean.

Iceland’s New Negative-Emissions System Buries CO2 as Stone

Just when you thought geothermal energy couldn’t get a whole lot greener, it went and did.

Quartz reports that a 300-megawatt geothermal power plant in Hellisheidi, Iceland (pictured above), now captures carbon dioxide and buries it as stone. Per unit… Read more

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  • ThinkGeoEnergy | Flickr